Everywhere, the media encroaches upon our ideologies and everything that we hold sacred and changes it in ways that we are often unaware of. Holding on to our personal ideologies in the face of media is swimming upstream against resistance and the irresistible currents of change. Indeed the media has been a powerful force in influencing peoples perceptions, and by extension, their actions as well. Business, politicians, and showbiz personalities pay huge sums of money to media firms in order to create an image or change an existing one. Politics in particular, has been making use of the media to generate public support for certain policies.
As an economic force the media has been used by Western nations to trespass into Third World Cultures and impose their own Western views and in effect promote Western goods. The westernization of these countries has led to the destruction of the many elements of native cultures. Similarly, the media infringes upon our system of values and we are never the same. With the greater outpouring of media coming from the United States, advertisers, writers and even politicians of other countries are forced to swim upstream against certain influences from a society that preaches to a larger audience than it can actually support.
A trend is emerging in the presentation of media products which Sony has described as global localization: the structuring of media products designed for certain cultural consumption or presentation, which are assembled without particular concerns for national cultural heritage or tradition (Thussu 21). Of course it must be said that media per se is not the culprit. It is a neutral instrument that can be used both for good and bad ends. The capacity of media to effect positive or negative effects on an individual or a given society depends on the people using the media as a very powerful tool to advance their own, often selfish causes.
As such, this paper intends to look at how the media is being used as a tool primarily to promote political and economic agendas. Ideas on Ideology Ideologies refer to a set of beliefs of ways of living that structures the way we see things and act upon accordingly. These ideologies often act below the surface and are the driving force that determines our actions of a daily basis. Ideologies are products of the culture that people were exposed to. In the realm of the social sciences, ideology is perhaps one of the most difficult to define because of its highly complex nature (Bailey 4).
Regardless of the difficulties of the concept, we all have some functional grasp of our own ideologies, and it serves as the framework with which we perceive the world at large and by which we base our decisions and value judgments. In terms of society, the word ideology basically makes the connection between ideas and the kind of society that we have (Bailey 23). This implies that a society is the realization of the collective thoughts or ideas of a people, and as such, can also be changed by the same token. For sociologist, ideology refers to ideas that are actually forwarded and manifested for the very purpose of effecting change.
These ideologies are ideas or beliefs applied in the public realm; abstract made real. As such, every political entity has a set of ideologies that form the basis of its platform and policies. This paper uses the term ideology in a more general sense; ideology as the set of beliefs and values that buttress an individual and how such ideologies change in the face of media manipulation. As such, these ideologies are the main targets of media as they endeavor to convince people to change their beliefs and value systems.