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Posts Tagged ‘agenda setting function’

#7 – Still doubting the power of Internet?

March 26, 2011 15 comments

The release of the above video had since became viral and caught the attention of netizen as well as the media. The ‘UCLA girl’ controversy had caused Alexandra Wallace to become an overnight sensation. Various news agencies covered the controversy and reported the story. However, I observed the 2 major opinions of the press based on the tone of media coverage – free speech versus the negative effects of Internet.

First, The New York Times gave coverage to this controversy with the underlying point that the content should be taken purely into the context of free speech, despite it degrading to the Asian group that she was talking about.

On the other hand, The Huffington Post covered it highlighting the repercussions of Internet fame and how youths are now more reckless with Internet (uploading pictures, sharing thoughts without even censoring and thinking about the outcome etc).

Based on this controversy and the media coverage observed, I believe agenda setting function was adopted to raise the issue. Aside from reporting the news, the difference in several of the media’s tone of coverage shows the difference in agenda the news agency is adopting. In the case of New York Times, they supported the stand of free speech, and that curbing it would only be a threat to education. For The Huffington Post, as much as they disagree with the content of the video, they highlighted what Internet has done to the youth of this generation. Based on the coverage, I agree with Huffington’s Post stand on the creation of reckless youths with Internet.

Based on the definition above, the Internet is a new communication technology, with facilitating communication as its aim. People seem to lack the grasp of the power Internet has with its ability to reach people across geographical location. Even though the purpose of the video was for Wallace to rant, her action showed her lack of judgment. Sure she is unhappy, but ranting on the Internet specifically uploading her video on Youtube is a dumb action. Did she really not anticipate her video going viral considering the content?

Since the video gone viral, Wallace had received death threats causing her to leave school (not expelled though). However, one of the thing that struck me was how is she going to move on from here. Is it possible for her to be accepted into a new school or even getting a job as she is widely known as racist? The Internet is a medium that can affect your future; people can look up information on you on the Internet and it might not be flattering. You can ultimately limit your opportunities in life based on the information and pictures uploaded on the Internet.

I still think Internet is the greatest invention. However, when you act recklessly thinking that you are too small to make an impact in this world, think again.

So what do you think about the controversy? Has the Internet created a reckless generation?

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