Free «Media Analysis» Essay Sample

Media Analysis

Everybody can criticize social media. However, only a few really know how it truly works and how it affects people. Only a serious scientific study can give answers to many questions relating to the social media. It is easy to draw attention to the problem of violence in the mass media, but it is difficult to accurately assess the impact the violence portrayed in media has on the society. It is easy to complain about the lack of family values in television programs, but it is hard to determine what still preaches the value of television. People’s relationship with the media is so difficult because of the media satisfying some of the deepest psychological needs of any person. The event analyzed in this paper can be an example of this.

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On April 7th, 2014, when separatists seized the government buildings in Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk, Eastern Ukraine, the acting president Oleksandr Turchynov announced in Parliament to establish crisis management headquarters and perform anti-terrorist operation against the separatists. A week later, the presidential decree was passed to announce that the east of Ukraine will be involved in the anti-terrorist operation. The main action occurred in Lugansk and Donetsk regions. Ukrainian security officials initially resisted to the Russian small detachments of mercenaries and the former police Special Forces soldiers who participated in Kiev in killing the activists of the Maidan. Large-scale military operations involving multiple rocket launching systems such as "Grad," "Twister," and "Hurricane" was unfolded the last summer in Donbas. The Russian military attacked with fire from anti-aircraft missiles knocking down planes and helicopters. According to the Security Service of Ukraine, the Malaysian "Boeing" was, probably by mistake, hit from the Russian setting "Buk-M1" in July 2014 over Donetsk region. The international investigation team considers it to be the main version. There were 298 passengers on board and all crew members died. That event was the beginning of sanctions aimed at the suppression of Russia as the aggressor and provoker of the hostilities. However, even today the shooting does not stop in Donbas. Thousands of people have been killed and even more injured, millions were left homeless. Chaos in the region has led to emigration of the region's most skilled and wealthy citizens. By April 15, 1.228 million people moved to the other Ukrainian regions from Donbas. According to the authorities of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, now there are approximately 3 million people in Donbas, most of whom are pensioners and handicapped.

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The most suitable theory that can fully explain the situation in Donbas is the social cognitive theory of mass communication. The general principle of the theory is a cognitive statement that data processing is constructive ‑ people do not just encode and then reproduce the information they have read or heard in the media (or anywhere else). Rather, they internalize the information by interpreting it according to their existing knowledge and understanding as well as the context in which the message was received. The acquisition of television program involves constant interaction of the program content with the knowledge that people already have. People actively conceptualize what they see and hear, and these thoughts are an important part of the constructive process of learning. During mastering the information, circuit and schemas are involved (McClelland & Rumelhart, 1980). The term "circuit" is connected with the structure of knowledge or a common framework that streamlines individual memories of persons and events. The scheme is a common construction that handles all types of information regardless of the modality, sight, and sound, verbal and nonverbal type, etc. A person follows mental schemes based on the past experience. Thus, the processing of information can be affected in such a way that an individual goes beyond the fact of the information provided and makes conclusions about people or events that relate to the previously formed schemas.

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If to apply this theory to the events in Donbas, it can be analyzed in the following way:

  1. Attention ‑ everyone is starting to follow the events on Euromaidan divided into two groups: those who support Ukraine and integration, into the EU and those who support the union with Russia.
  2. Retention ‑ it is not necessary to know from people’s own experience, where it is better to live ‑ in Ukraine or Russia.
  3. Reproduction ‑ the need to find allies who will support the general idea.
  4. Motivation – having objectives for the better life in the future, even with the usage of violence.

The motivation process is inspired by vicarious motivation. The information provided is a direct path of influence. According to the Ukrainian media, Russia's actions are illegal and they should stop. The Russian media claim that Russia operates exclusively to protect the Russian-speaking population of Donbas. The social media becomes the main source of imposing ideology. Conventional peaceful marches transform into a protest movement and then in the armed conflict, which cannot be stopped without some external force. People are starting to behave harshly, because they believe that cruelty is the only right way in this situation. The mechanism of cruelty is progressing.

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The essence of the problem is that people behave like predators in a more vivid way than we can imagine. People need aggression, violent emotions, and cruelty. Only accepted social norms inhibit in people the desire for aggression. If to give to them any chance to come out, it will happen. The media in Ukraine and Russia has given people a chance to free their aggression, but no one could imagine that the consequences will be as significant.