In today’s so-called “information age”, we are constantly barraged with news and media coverage of every event. It often seems that each event is accompanied by a maelstrom of negative ideas, with coverage of events presented with an emphasis that makes every event seem more disheartening than the last. For viewers, this can create an inaccurate perception of the world around us that has the same negative undertone, making us suspicious and insecure. In time, we may be less likely to consider the difference between the truth and what the media presents to us. The negative bias of the media means that as viewers, it becomes our responsibility to maintain a critical, discerning and positive mindset that allows us to form our own opinions about the world around us.

The term ‘critical’ is often mistakenly viewed as being a term with negative connotations. However, in this sense, critical means merely to view what we see and hear with the mindset that not everything is presented the way it really is. Instead, we should view stories presented by the media through the lens of our own thoughts and experiences to interpret the truth behind the media portrayal. Becoming a media critic allows the viewer to take an active role in the reporting of events by analyzing for him or herself what the message is.

Discerning viewership is one of the responsibilities we each carry. By patronizing those media outlets that consistently present news in a negative and slanted manner we are encouraging the continued transmission of biased information. Instead, when you get your news, look for the media provider that gives the most balanced view of the news. All media is driven by viewers, and the more you avoid negative presentations of news, the more you will encourage change. You control the information that is presented simply by changing your channel, cancelling your subscription, or surfing to a new page.

Viewers must also choose to approach news with a positive mindset because your view of what you see will change how your mind receives information. Have you ever heard the advice that you should smile when you answer the phone because the listener can hear the emotion behind a smile and will pick up on the positivity you are displaying? A positive mindset works on the same concept- when you make the choice to view the world around you in a positive and upbeat manner, your mind will see through the negativity and better pick up on the meaning that you need to glean.

The negative bias of the media has created a world in which we view the people and events around us in a manner that is not only distorted, but creates hostility and suspicion. As viewers, it is our responsibility to change the information we receive by changing how we understand what is told to us. Rather than accepting the portrayal of the world around us as spoon-fed by a media driven to present it in a negative light, we can view information through a lens that is critical, discerning, and positive. By changing the way we understand the world around us, we can begin to have an impact on how the world is presented to us.