We are in the midst of a media revolution. Never before have so many entertainment alternatives been available to us—from motion pictures to television; from CDs to video games; from the Internet to DVDs. All are in tremendous competition not only for our time and money, but also for our affections.
When watching a movie, most people believe they are simply being entertained. Likewise, when they hear the news they believe they’re simply getting the facts. However, nothing could be further from the truth. All communication involves the persuasive transfer of ideas. And when technology is added to the mix, the entire system of manipulative techniques are made available to those who control the process.
Just what affect is all this media having on society? Some are pointing a finger at the entertainment industry. Take movies and television, for example. No matter how hard a director may attempt to achieve realism, what we inevitably see on the screen is a counterfeit world. Lighting, make-up, editing, rehearsed dialog, music, sound effects, all of these combine to create an alternative world. The choice of camera angle forces us to focus our attention on exactly what the director wants us to see, to the exclusion of surrounding areas. With the use of enticing images, likable celebrities, and dramatic stories, the entertainment and news media both have the ability to manipulate our emotions and thought processes, and, therefore, must be viewed with caution.
— Chuck Edwards, from a film clip played in Engaging Popular Culture Part 1 at 6:20