Are the Media Manipulating Us?

A mere two months ago, B**P reviewed The Rich Kids of Instagram, a programme documenting the lives of rich youngsters who found fame on social media by sharing every extravagant detail of their life online. December was a month that provided us with a multitude of similar programmes, from Rich Kids Go Shopping to How to Live the Chelsea Life, making many of us jealous that we couldn’t afford the same luxuries that they relished in. Due to such an array of similar programmes, B**P came to the conclusion that the media was trying to influence the public’s view on consumerism and money, possibly prompting us to go out and spend a little bit extra at Christmas time, while at the same time in previous years we were all consumed by programmes documenting poverty, such as Benefits Street and Britain’s Benefit Tenants. Yet again this year, we now have The Great British Benefits Handout. So, what is the purpose behind these programmes and what affect do they really have on the public’s attitude?

Well, it’s particularly interesting to note that programmes such as Rich Kids Go Shopping aired on our TV screens back in December, as Christmas was approaching, possibly tempting us to spend more money than we usually would to feel that little bit better about ourselves. However, once the Christmas season was over, we were bombarded again not only  with documentaries about poverty, but with adverts that reminded us we had probably spent a bit too much and should save up by finding the best deals, or shopping at a cheaper store, etc, etc. The list goes on. There is no doubt that we are manipulated by the media, and the attitudes that we are presented with week after week, year after year, but it just doesn’t seem fair that they are allowed to have so much power over us.

Taking The Great British Benefits Handout into particular consideration, it seems that through this documentary, the media are trying to promote a positive attitude towards those on benefits, giving them an opportunity to spend the £26,000 that they have been provided with sensibly. This comes after the media faced a huge amount of public uproar as a result of broadcasting Benefits Street back in 2014, for supposedly presenting those on the show as lazy or even animals. And it works. The media like to get a response out of the public, and they always succeed, with a multitude of comments arising within minutes of its airing via Facebook and Twitter.

However, it’s important to remember that we don’t have to be manipulated by the likes of these programmes. Yes, it’s important to learn about how others live, and the world around us, but don’t believe everything you see and do some research for yourself.