The mass media have certainly made an indispensable contribution to the development of modern society, to the increase of the inner awareness of men and to the rapprochement between peoples. And yet, they are often accused of manipulating consciences, of plagiarizing individuals with a low capacity to react. Television, Internet, radio, newspapers, magazines and cinema influence our life, imposing novelties, fashions and thus provoking our constant adaptation to a type of development of society and ideas that we do not choose.
They subtly operate a real aggression against our conscience, our capacity for chosen freedom and even our privacy. Obviously, this is a passive taxation, given that no one is obliged to follow the currents created precisely through the mass media, but it is still a form of limitation of freedom which is not easy to escape. In recent years their power has grown further, either due to the large-scale advent of the Internet phenomenon, which is causing a real information revolution, perhaps comparable to epochal events such as the introduction of electricity in homes, or to the emergence of synergies and “trusts” even more frightening than those that until now have “dealt” with us. The obsession with the “network” has infected all the magnates of the earth, who are willing to ally themselves even with former enemies in order to get a place in the sun in the “gold race” of 2000. However, we must not forget that these means of communication they allow us to come into “contact” with faraway places, which show us events and images that otherwise we would not be able to receive and which enrich our knowledge with “live” events, unrelated to our daily life. Thanks to them, one no longer feels isolated in one’s own regions, in one’s thinking, but one feels a certain unity, a sort of belonging to a single social and human structure. Thus, everyone becomes aware of all the most important facts that occur in other countries and can form their own opinion on these events, becoming in some way a participant in the unfolding of current events and its flow into history. A century ago newspapers were already circulating, but those who could read were certainly few and the mass was not easily aware of everything that was happening around them. Furthermore, in those days there was no substantial freedom of the press today. It is true that, apart from the official newspapers, clandestine newspapers were often printed to make known the “true” news, but they, while doing more justice to the facts, were still polluted, like the official ones, by a marked political orientation and ideological. Nowadays, the development of the means of mass communication is such as to impose a constant and careful control of the sources, in order to prevent errors or manipulations from circulating, with uncontrollable results, false or “too” cleverly distorted news. But the major problem connected with the use of the mass media is that of political influence on the sources. It has always been discussed, but so that it is said, basically, a certain manipulation remains. To realize this quite easily, it is enough to compare the news of the various television channels and the various newspapers. If we dwell in particular on the comments, on the way to highlight certain facts more than others, we immediately realize a different way of seeing things, of judging them and therefore of relating them. A glance at the front page headlines of the various newspapers, immediately after an electoral consultation, and everything becomes even clearer; the nature of the political direction leaps to the eye, the satisfaction or displeasure of the writer of the article for the reported event becomes palpable. These are tools capable of plagiarizing the large masses and converting them to any type of thought, of sanctioning the validity of a political system against another, the preciousness of a perfume, the qualities of a bar of soap, the pleasures of a alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink. But woe to let your guard down, stripping ourselves of our critical conscience which is the only tool through which it is possible to escape their immense power. By maintaining a constant objectivity and serenity of judgment on everything that happens around us, we will be able to ensure that these wonderful products of progress have an exclusively beneficial effect on us.
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