Throughout Media and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa, I have renewed my understanding of media – its prevalence throughout history, and the extent of its effects.

While I have learned more about media (particularly mass media), I have not changed my media habits or relationship to mass media. Prior to this class, I had a distaste for media. It was and still is my opinion that current media is somewhat of a sickness. While media framing serves both the producer (making money and pushing an agenda) and the consumer (entertainment, a detached feeling of involvement, and sometimes political reassurance), it comes at a cost to all. Opening a website or newspaper, the front page tends to be concentrated with negativity or superficial controversy. If not, it is mindless filler articles about past events that have no serious effects. I have never enjoyed media, aside from entertainment pieces. The only difference between my previous media consumption and my media consumption now is that I have added another grain or two of salt to an entire bottle of media distaste is the form of sodium chloride.

I would also like to mention that personally I am shocked that not as many people were aware (if at all) of media bias and how much actually happens “behind the screen”. There is also an element of self awareness and self importance. Looking at MENA, American reporting is usually through a heroic, patriotic lens, and on top of that, usually the political lens of the reporting organization. Additionally, there is a presence of somewhat “selective hearing”. People seek news that agrees with them, and current media can pick this pattern up, only presenting more media that continues a specific set of values and opinions. People like to think that they are important, and more importantly, that they are right. This creates a sense of superiority and heroic, “Player one” archetype. The truth is, this “superhero” is really just some 30-50 middle aged, genderless, colorless body sitting on a grey couch and watching CNN or FOX, arguing in the depths of the comment section on a reddit post that 10 people will click on and 2 will read. Reddit is a form of social media, but the second a polarizing piece of news appears, it is snatched up by the claws of the painfully present mass media of a two party government, locking up in a never ending tug-of-war. The truth is, news just locks up an already stuck system. At the end of the day, the government will create the same response that was always going to happen, and send the same, filtered news out to a population that is unwilling to compromise. Watching the news and arguing to deaf ears does not create change. It makes people angry, and it makes news cooperations money.

I suppose it is somewhat of a hypocrisy that I expect people to be aware but not participate, and I am aware that I have many moral flaws in my opinion. However, my opinion is just that- an opinion. And, morality is a matter of opinion in the form of social rules.

I feel as though as I have no power (except for voting) to make a serious impact on anything. Yes, you can create and participate in protests, but they just slowly get silenced and “addressed” until people calm down and return to their processed sugar and antidepressants and watching screens full of garbage. I have my own opinions, and rather than making myself and others angry, and making some cooperation (that I do not care for) money, without actually makingĀ change, I’ll choose to vote and mind my own business. If I wanted to get my hands dirty, I’d serve our country. Instead I’m just paying taxes.

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