The image the United States portrays within the newspaper “USA Today”
The image the United States portrays within the newspaper “USA Today” is an apocalyptic depiction of The U.S, reflecting on some elements of modern discourse with amplification bias and intelligence. The telegraph that Postman talks about was the origin of the information media that lays the foundation of language that displays this catalytic view of the U.S.
Broadcast media isn’t location-based meaning it can travel globally, right now it is amplifying the catastrophe of the COVID19 pandemic which seems to be taking over the world. Now the constant media for this massive outbreak is amplifying the impending economic, social, and political crash. The image it’s displaying is not pretty and there are countless biases towards individuals through this particular news platform which can partially be blamed for people not taking the stay inside order seriously. “Psychologist Max Wachtel says police impersonators hassling people about travel restrictions are similar to people who post social-media shaming photos of strangers violating personal-distance guidelines.” (usatoday.com) This proves that the media is painting a terrible picture of the U.S post-pandemic and attempting to present their fear mongering tactics as facts. It seems like another economic depression is setting in and the reflection of the U.S is negatively amplifying due to the biased and uneducated or unqualified opinions of those pushing the liberal and conservative agendas.
Amplification bias is seen in Postman’s essay as well as “USA Today”. For example, “USA Today” publishes stories with empathetic titles such as “President Trump’s 2017 performance review, from Putin with love.” “USA Today” also displays the other side such as “Democrats, it’s time for you to dump Hillary Clinton.” This newspaper presents both sides but there have been more editorials favoring the liberal cause through wording along with story selection. “Each of the media that entered the electronic conversation in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries followed the lead of the telegraph and the photograph, and amplified their biases. Some, such as film, were by their nature inclined to do so. Others, whose bias was rather toward the amplification of rational speech-like radio-were overwhelmed by the thrust of the new epistemology and came in the end to support it.
Together, this ensemble of electronic techniques called into being a new world-a peek-a-boo world, where now this event, that, pops into view for a moment, then vanishes again.” (Pg.77 Postman) Postman explains how photos amplify biases and it’s almost impossible to never be biased throughout broadcasting media. The peek-a-boo world neither allows nor permits people to do anything about the information it provides. The media entertains people, that’s its main purpose but now with the amplification of economic and financial fears skyrocketing, the editorials are mostly based in the unfortunate situations we face in this time such as the stock market crashing. The media is known to panic which is ironic seeing how the peek-a-boo world being thrown about is not a good thing, in fact this might not even be the end of a new beginning but the beginning of the end of the world.
Postman takes modern discourse to a new level as intelligence becomes an important factor. “We are told that we cannot run our businesses, or compile our shopping lists, or keep our checkbooks tidy unless we own a computer. Perhaps some of this is true. But the most important fact about computers and what they mean to our lives is that we learn about all of this from television. Television has achieved the status of “meta-medium”-an instrument that directs not only our knowledge of the world, but our knowledge of ways of knowing as well.”(Pg 79) they say computers run the world and maybe someday that could happen, we are in an intense technology era that acts as though if you’re computer illiterate you aren’t smart. It seems like the world is more digital than face to face than it’s ever been, in this era it’s frowned upon if you’re computer illiterate. Now, with this global pandemic all over “USA Today” proves Postman’s point that you can see the pictures, the telegraphs of news on multiple devices but it all ties together to paint the same picture that the telegraph had started.
Information, knowing a lot of things, but intelligence is knowing about them and action-less behavior is what the media has to offer. In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman talks about the way people just know things but simply don’t know about them. Which is that entertainment, engaging people as it does, can be extremely democratic. Still, Postman understood what might come with the way the telegraph has altered, because he understood what had been going on. He saw the systems of things. In one way he couldn’t have imagined the world of 2017, one in which television, still, defines so much of American life. The view of the U.S is utterly terrible in this day and age, the telegraph makes or breaks American life. Right now intelligence is important and since the media is trying to educate through news but isn’t doing the best job.