The president of the United States has gone through a lot of targeting from media coverage. From various topics that range from how he runs the country to how he handles his own life. This type of attention can result in various opinions being shaped over how the information is being told by any media source that covers the information towards their consumer or audience. Due to being a consent target within the media’s coverage, the term “Fake news” and “fake media” have become a common term being used by the president when certain news anchors who are out asking questions to the president (Ross & Rivers, 2018). The term is a result of being a target and words being twisted for the media’s coverage to defame the president.
The President has used a social media platform, Twitter, to get his word out to the citizens of America, i.e. the consumer, instead of using the media to do it. There is a total of three ways that are constantly used to create empowerment occurs.
Through the social media platforms, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, made it become easier to engage in discussions with a wider diverse audience. The use of “retweets” or “shares” posts to further the reach to the consumer. Lastly, using these platforms to encourage more contribution to the campaigns. For instance, in televised debates, the use of social media is used to show the various perspectives and ideologies surrounding the incident (Ross & Rivers, 2018).
Clearly, there are more ways to get the information out, but the differences between how it is conveyed to the consumer are what is commonly missed.
Although the use of Psychological warfare (PW) has been only seen within the battlefield although it has transitioned into the civilian aspect or off the battlefield into the media sources (Zeynalyan, 2016). Moreover, literature discussing psychological warfare (PW) between various media sources and how they differentiate.
Thus, the purpose of this study is to describe the Psychological perception, the way the media can have the ability to create different opinions, ideologies’ and thoughts, and lastly, how it creates a huge divide between the consumers.
Today’s main wars have transitioned past the common battlefield and military operations as what it used to be in previous years, it’s now conducted in a virtual space that is readily available to each individual in the world. The informational realm has shifted to the exchanging of information in the domestic and international platforms that can influence the quality of public debate and ideology which will affect social attitudes and decision-making processes (Zeynalyan, 2016). The definition of perception is the mental processes in which concepts are converted into knowledge. The way that we think and handle things are developed during our maturation in life. Zeynalyan (2016) explains the phenomenon of selective attention: which is basically how the individual pays attention to the messages that strengthen the individual’s ideology, then the information that conflicts it.
Within a country there are bound to be different opinions, therefore, creates the saying “nor two people are alike”, and the media, i.e. social media, news channels, is a perfect example of just that. Technology is constantly changing and with that, the social structures surrounding it will also be changing. Millions of people visit online social media/networking sites, making it one of the important platforms for sharing content (Hossain et al., 2018). With social media being readily accessible i.e. technological advances instead of the older way i.e. traditional print media, consumers can easily change their position (Blokh & Alexandrov, 2016). Internet users have supported commenting/discussing/sharing about politics on their platforms (Hossain et al., 2018) creating more fuel to the PW. In the country there are different ways to reach the consumer, as stated previously, social media, news channels are the way to go. Local news channels and even more popular channels such as Fox, CNN, MSNBC are the most common/widely known names used by the consumers.
Being the main source of government/political news, Fox, CNN, and MSNBC are the common news channels used and are widely used by consumers. Each news channel has its own “political views” which is where the common divide is seen. There are two types of ideologies, Conservative and Liberal. This is where the divide is foreseen, each news channel i.e. Fox, CNN, and MSNBC, always fight over who’s program is more accurate. Even in the printed press such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post also contribute to the PW in their own way. Along with the digital news channels such as Yahoo News, Google News, and The Guardian contribute to the PW as well. Each reaches out to their own group of consumers with their own spin of the news (Mitchell et al., 2014).
The Huge Divide Between Consumers
As stated previously, there are two types of consumers: Conservative and Liberal. There was a survey conducted that labeled which news source was considered to be more trusted by each consumer as trustworthy or not. In a survey conducted, it discussed the most trustworthy types of new channels from both sides, Liberals and Conservatives. For Liberals the survey founded that they trust a wider mix of news outlets and out of the 36 mentioned, 28 are more trusted than others whereas for Conservative’s it’s 24 percent that draw more distrust and only 15 percent are those with mostly conservative views (Mitchell et al., 2014).
Therefore, with the different preferences between the two groups, are the divide that is seen within the country and the PW realm. It doesn’t matter if the individual has a conservative or a liberal mindset that type of ideology is what dictates what the individual will have around them. If the individual has a conservative or liberal mindset then they will have mostly the same ideology surrounding them. That is what causes turmoil within the people. Some don’t mind the opposite mindset but some do.
Research has concluded that the individual’s ideology is not only based on what channel they watch or receive their news from but also their demographic location along with the news channel (Martin & Yurukoglu, 2017). Yet the PW doesn’t just surround politics within the media, the PW can reach into the other realms as well. In 2012 for instance, the media paid a great deal of their attention towards the LFTB (Lean Finely Textured Beef) a product of beef that is fairly more low-valued fat content that was beginning to be produced for the consumers at the turn of the millennium (Yadavalli & Jones, 2014). This type of beef was 70% more lean and was sold in supermarkets across the United States but once it was announced social media started to bash it heavily stating their opinions such as unnecessary and unsavory addition to ground beef products (Yadavalli & Jones, 2014). Along with those statements made on social media, other corporates of agribusiness i.e. McDonalds, Burger King, and Taco Bell, all withdrew the use of the LFTB in their food products to keep their corporate strategy afloat (Detre & Gunderson, 2012).
No matter the topic at hand, if the particular topic has a way better “draw” to it then it’ll get more media attention. Media attention is basically the media focusing on topics that can get more organizational capacity, mobilize people i.e. ideologies, and are geographically proximate to draw more publicity (Andrews & Caren, 2010). With the usage of a “spin” tactic, a specific reporting strategy, rather it is unintentional or intentional, only emphasizing the beneficial aspect of the information (Yavchitz et al., 2014). With consumers also indulging in medical research as well, the media can easily either inflate or disregard certain health facts with the general public rather if the facts are brought out in mass media, or social platforms (Yavchitz et al., 2014).
Common usage & emotions with media articles. With the use of a survey method, measured by a Likert 10-point scale. With 0 being most likely to be not viewed/used meaning that it will not be watched at all, 5 being may be viewed/used, meaning that it’ll possibly be watched, and 10 being extremely likely to be viewed/used, meaning that it is always watched). Along with the option to explain the point chosen by the participants.
Research Method and Design
Participants in this type of survey will include common citizens age ranging from the youngest being in the twenty-year range (20-29), middle year range (30-50), and elder year range (60+). With all minorities, races, and genders surveyed as well as political standpoints, i.e. Conservative, Democrat, Liberal.
This study will involve the understanding to examine the consumers’ attitudes towards certain media platforms and their particular point of view on it as an individual. The survey will include a total of five dimensions that will be asked. The dimensions include demographics, attitude towards the televised media, attitude towards the paper media, the seriousness of the content, and the usage of social media.
The demographic questions will be general questions such as age, gender, race, education, location, political viewpoint i.e. was the political viewpoint created by family or own choice. The political viewpoint scale items will be adopted by the Mitchell et al., (2014) work. The survey will include the following type of statements, i.e. “would you watch the following televised news channel?”, “would you read the following papered news?”, etc. And will be based around the type of news media i.e. Fox, CNN, New York Times, etc. Along with common basic level questions such as “What is the gender of this participant?”, “What is the age of this participant?”, etc. The items that will be more statistical will be adapted from a survey by Flores & Lopez (2018) and Katerina Eva Matsa (2018) which will show the overall statistic by demographic.
Participants will be all-volunteer applicants and the sample will include all the previously mentioned demographics i.e. age group, gender, ethnicity, and be completely anonymous, nothing other than age, gender, and ethnicity will be the only personal information asked for. A brief explanation will be provided to all applicants on what is being asked and how the survey will be conducted. After all surveys are turned in, another brief will be conducted to thank and provide refreshments to all applicants as an appreciation for their time. The survey will take only 10-15 minutes to complete.
The psychological warfare is no longer just seen on a battlefield but also in everyday lives as a consumer. The media has a strong grasp on the consumer and can easily manipulate the consumer into a certain type of ideology. Research has shown that consumers of a certain type of political view surround themselves with the same viewpoints and are more likely to be watching/reading certain media platforms such as Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc. (Mitchell et al., 2014). Yet the grasp can be viewed on the social platform such as Facebook and Twitter, by how the consumer posts/discusses/shares content as well. Minimal research or studies have been conducted over the matter of how media sources are viewed by certain types, how the psychological aspect ties into the consumers’ thought process when it comes to sharing content etc.