Staff editorial: Staying cautious of influences

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Everything we believe, the values we hold and the decisions we make are all influenced by the media. What sports team we believe will win, what freedoms we value, even what fast food restaurant we decide to eat are all influenced by what we see every day, whether we like to or even consciously admit it or not. Students are impressionable to all the influences they face every day: the media, entertainment and the people they are around. They must be able to understand how they cannot always trust all their sources of information.

The goal of the media is not always to keep us informed. News stations must decide between which stories attract the most viewers. Television series are designed to keep fans’ interest to make more money off of advertisement sales. If these institutions are not profitable, they will not last. According to a Fortune 500 list, seven media companies, Walt Disney Company, NBC Universal, CBS Corporation, Viacom, Time Warner, Sony Corporation of America and News Corporation, own 95 percent of the media we see every day. This means that if these corporations had a political and cultural bias, it would be very hard to avoid them. And most news stations do have some bias to cater to the perspectives of their audience. This feeds the wedge between differing ideologies in the country. If this strategy was not successful, news would not be driven to sacrifice the unbiased and accurate truth that the public needs.

Talent and hard work do not make celebrities money if no one is paying attention. Artists like Miley Cyrus have said before that if people are still talking about her at the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter how she could get there. Doing drugs and grinding on the stage is one sure way to keep everyone’s attention. People love to criticize her actions, but she’s right in that celebrities are motivated to attract attention to not be forgotten. In the end, celebrity actions are a reflection of the way our social culture is designed.

As teenagers grow up, they may learn that the people who are the biggest influences in their lives do not actually always have all the reason. Our friends and family are human, so they are flawed just like everyone else. Students may be inclined to accept the values and beliefs that friends, parents and other family pass on to them. But teenagers need to know that it is time they begin questioning what they have always believed is right in order to learn and form their own sound beliefs.

If we want to become a public that thinks for itself, we must be open to be informed with reliable information that comes from multiple perspectives. Students are especially impressionable and must realize that they must keep an open mind in a world that is fighting to win them over in order to become a driving force to a better future.

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