Because visual media communicates more clearly and deeply than the written word, as this paper will demonstrate, it has more power to influence those who consume this media. Therefore the impact and effect of images in communication, both independently and in tandem with text, will be examined with the goal of showing how this impact has the power to either instigate or mitigate conflict and harm, and what impact this implies regarding the responsibilities as well as the ethics of media professionals. By examining many sources including Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, the author will posit that moving from current media technology into virtual reality and high sensory forms of communication -- where media consumption will be quicker, easier, and more complete -- carries with it an inherent danger of multidisciplinary problems, but, at the same time, an equal chance that the outlook for collaborative possibilities will bring people and our society a brighter future, as this author believes.
Communication accomplished through image is more effective and has a more lasting impact than communication through either written or spoken words. Images are the most basic form of communication, more instinctive and reflexive than verbal or written language. Outside the confines of words and text, communication can occur in a more intuitive way. The clarity and depth accomplished by transmitting ideas through image is more effective and compelling than verbal language. Those who consume image are more deeply affected than those who consume text or the spoken word and the ideas communicated through those images are remembered on a more visceral level than mere worded concepts. With an image there are two layers of meaning, the first, which is narrow, is the literal representation of a figure or scene, the second which is deeper and broader, tells a symbolic story by communicating a feeling, attitude, tone, or historical context. Images, which include both the narrow and broader definition, communicate independently of any text or verbal ideas presented with them My position is that not only do images communicate in addition to text of verbal expression, but that they communicate more strongly, than words, and because of this, have a greater potential for either harm or good. The current media, saturated with image, bypasses filters and firewalls in the consciousness and directly penetrates the minds, leaving a lasting impression, and as Neil Postman demonstrates in his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, also leaves consumers wanting more. He takes the position that because of the impact and deeply holistic nature of image, people will hunger for more of this touching communication and be ruined by it. Although I agree with his attribution of great power to media, I posit that it will be a salvation rather than annihilation. The deep way media can communicate will bring people together, creating previously unknown opportunities to collaborate and connect and therefore bridge differences in culture and ideology.
Throughout the history of civilization, communication has been integral to development. Before the creation of written language, humans used images to communicate ideas. Two and a half million year old cave paintings from the Paleolithic era, scattered across the globe, give us a glimpse into nascent communication techniques. Cave artists were not making pictures to entertain themselves and their viewers, intending only the narrow meaning of what was literally depicted. They were communicating concepts beyond the literal drawings. The development of cave art was the development of synthesis, cognitively assimilating what was viewed into a mental representation of information. No longer was image limited to expressing an exact and literal thought. A bison etched on a cave wall did not necessarily represent a bison that was standing in view, but rather could now tell a story of the hunt, of abundance, of loss; it could symbolize a leader, or an enemy. This advancement in cognition was precipitated by the simple understanding that an image could communicate more than was seen by a verbatim interpretation. According to Miyagawa, a professor of linguistics and Japanese language and culture at MIT, "Cave art was part of the package deal in terms of how homo sapiens came to have this very high-level cognitive processing." (Miyagawa 2018). The method of using image to communicate has a significantly longer history than written language. In addressing image, style must also be considered. Image is how the visual representation connects with style. Personal understanding can be conveyed in the style and the same image can have different meanings because of the way it is stylistically expressed.
Verbal language evolved from pictographs and it is this basic root of language which reaches the mind at a pre-verbal level and communicates instinctively. According to a publication from the Linguistic Society of America (Mastromarco, 2014) humans' communication through spoken and later written symbols most likely developed in stages that consisted of expanses of time during which development plateaued, followed by steep and rapid progression. It is theorized that language as we know it today began with literal words that named the objects which surrounded early man, then moved forward to include concepts. From this a protolanguage developed which included such things as plural and tense markers, relative and complement clauses, and the ability to structure ideas into communicable phrases. We see a microcosm of this when we watch children at the stage of language acquisition during the first 6 years of life. (Paulsen, 2003) Though development of cognitive ability is the key to language acquisition in children, it can be noted that pre-verbal children successfully communicate through pictures and images long before they can put their ideas into verbal language. In a parallel with the development of language in humanity, children develop to first recognize images and attribute meaning to them, and then they translate those images to words. Because the recognition of image and its symbolic meaning come first in both the general development of humanity and the individual development of a human, it follows that the image is the basic and the more inherent mode of communication.
Visual images are extremely accessible and readily understood. The human brain can more directly receive and assimilate information from images, and do it more quickly, than from text. Scientific research shows us that "...visuals are processed in the brain at 60,000 times the speed of text". (Trafton 2014) This near immediate understanding of image means that non-verbal communication reaches the brain in a quicker and more complete way than verbal communication, which has to be translated to the mind through the language of words (Riggio 2012). Since images more directly reach the human brain the ideas communicated through those images are digested in a way to make them easier to maintain in memory. Children can draw before they can use complex language to explain themselves. The basic drawings of children communicate in an inherent way that supersedes language. That same concept can be seen in mental health treatments that include drawing images. A therapist can reach their clients in deeper ways by asking them to draw rather than speak to communicate. Guided therapeutic imagery is a technique mental health professionals employ in order to elicit a clear and honest response from individuals in therapy. Asking their patients to focus on mental images in order to communicate concepts, to draw those images, and then to explore those images as a means of communicating and examining deeply held issues and conflicts as well as feelings and emotions is a technique recognized by the American Psychological Association as valid and effective. Therapists who use this technique assert that it "can give you another avenue of communication of feelings, thoughts and experiences." (Malchiodi 2017). That is, an avenue besides verbal or written language, supporting the view that image is more than just a significant communicator, it is a deeper and more powerful mode of communication. Exploiting this characteristic of image, the modern media sits on a knife’s edge, with the equal potential to destroy humanity’s greatest attributes, as there is to enhance and progress civilization forward. With an eye on the advancement of humanity up to this point in time, there is every probability that the outcome will fall to the positive side.
We can see just how significant a communicator that image can be when we recognize the dominance of image in the digital media our present society embraces. Instagram and Snapchat are just two examples of worldwide social media platforms in which millions of people engage each day in a milieu of communication based on image. Statistics presented by Smart Insights show us that there were over 101 million US users of Snapchat in January of 2020, and over 200 million for Instagram (Smart Insights 2020). These users are primarily communicating through image and style alone. To the users of these platforms image is given a higher value than written communication and Alicia Eler describes social media which disseminates image rather than text as "... a place where image makers can go to freely express themselves and find other like-minded aesthetes" (Eler 2017). We see image take the lead in communication in other forms of popular media as well. In film, ideas and concepts communicated through image alone are quickly and easily understood by their audience as well as absorbed more completely into the consciousness and unconsciousness of those consuming the media. We see blatant examples of this in the film genre. It takes little to set the mood of a film if visuals are used rather than verbal exposition. Every Hitchcock movie leverages this, and the wedding ring image in Rear Window is a classic example. In the scene, Lisa is discovered by Lars Thorwald in the act of searching his apartment. "When she gamely climbs into Thorwald’s apartment, she finds his wife’s wedding ring and slips it on her finger, proudly displaying it to Jeff as he watches through binoculars." (Spoto 1976) There is a deep cultural significance to a wedding ring, and the film's visual usage of this symbol, in a moment when no words are spoken, gives more information more quickly than could a large amount of dialog. The power of visual images to communicate comes from the brain's ability to quickly and deeply comprehend an image. In this example, the image of the wedding ring is automatically registered in the mind, a staple of the way film noir uses visual symbols to replace extended exposition. John Huston's The Maltese Falcon (1941), Frank Tuttle's This Gun for Hire (1942), Otto Preminger's Laura (1944), and Edward Dmytryk's Murder, My Sweet (1944), all use image to communicate in ways that words could never express. Animation also expresses reams of dialog in a single moment. The CGI animated short film, The Present, by Jacob Frey (2014) communicates the complex mental journey of a young boy coming to terms with a recently acquired handicap. In one visual at the finale of the film, when we see that not only is the dog missing a leg, but the young boy is as well, and the two step outside to play ball, an emotional understanding is evoked that would have taken abundant dialogue to convey. These are but a few examples of how layers of meaning can be expressed in image and understood more clearly than ideas explained in words.
Cultural and historic information can be understood naturally, and often subconsciously, when communicated through images. Without even realizing it viewers assimilate multiple message conveyed an image. For example, Tang Dynasty artistic representation always shows the emperor and royal family as larger with enormously large hairstyles so that, without stating it in words, the viewer knows the identity of the people depicted. The consumers of these images not only understand the societal position of the figure, but also what their position means. The royal figures are bigger in stature and in importance than the other figures and the message is the prominence and superiority of royalty. We inherently know which depicted figure has the dominating or controlling position (Cartwright 2020). This manner of painting can be designated a particular style of painting, so it can be said that it is not just image which communicates strongly: style itself can communicate a message.
A stark example of how integral style is to the communication of message is the example Ann Burdick uses in her paper on Neomania. A 15 year old girl in Burbank, California made a sweatshirt memorializing a classmate who had died, but the font she used for the words on the shirt, which were associated with gang affiliation, told a more ominous message of vengeance for his death. The school administrators understood the message expressed in the stylized font and suspended her. But the words were innocuous so she followed up with a lawsuit, innocently claiming that the typeface was only meant to convey the meaning in the written words. Within the design field, font has been explored within the context of the psychology of emotions. "Every font has a unique personality and purpose." (Noodlor 2020) Originally it took great craftsmanship to design type with details like serif, whereas block lettering was simpler and less time consuming to produce. Therefore, items printed with serif were more carefully designed, and though in the digital age it takes the same amount of effort for sans-serif, in the consciousness of humanity, after a nearly 500 year history of literal design values, the symbolism remains. Noodlor cautions that "While working on a project, it is imperative to know which font matches the intended tone of communication. Serif fonts portray tradition, sophistication and a formal tone. Sans serif fonts are modern, humanist and neutral. Slab serifs are bold and contemporary." (Noodlor 2020) In the case of the font used by the Burbank student, there were additional layers of meaning to the font she chose, namely, that the font was associated with gang lifestyle and values, which included avenging the death of one of their members. Called Blackletter, the font was the official typeface used by the Nazis. "Nazi leadership used Fraktur, an archetypal variety of blackletter, as their official typeface. They positioned it as a symbol of German national identity and denounced papers that printed with anything else." (Hersh 2017) It is highly ornamental and a little difficult to read, but the preference for this font by a regime with a reputation for using cruelty to dominate has caused it to appeal to contemporary gangs. That the Nazi government later banned this typeface is irrelevant. They banned it at a time they were losing dominance, leaving the typeface its association with Hitler and the Nazi rise to power. The adoption of this typeface by gangs made it so that "In just a few years, blackletter went from ordinary to a widespread taboo." (Hersh 2017) The significance of the font used by the Burbank student was understood by the school administrators, and no doubt those responsible for the young man's death -- deeply and immediately understood within the form of the letters. It was the message of the font, not the content or thought the text itself represented with written language, that was the more powerful message. To quote the Canadian philosopher whose work is a cornerstone of the study of media theory, "The medium is the message." (McLuhan 1967) Because style can evoke ideas separate from what the image portrays, or can complement the image, which in turn can contradict or complement the words associated with the image, communication can be strongly affected by visual presentations not printed or spoken, but beyond that, style and image transmit a message that is a more powerful communicator than words and text, and will be more effectively understood and remembered.
Being that there are so many ways images can communicate and that they are so quickly and thoroughly comprehended and digested, an image attached to text can undermine the intended communication of that text, specifically intercultural communication, in a deeper way than words can. A person may inadvertently communicate an idea contrary to the one being spoken or written because of an image which presents unintended meaning. Perhaps a realtor photographs a home she wishes to sell and places a lovely pot of marigolds on the window sill. Showing this image to a client who has a Mexican background, the realtor will be puzzled that the client is slightly repelled and critical of the house. The image of marigolds, also called "Flor de Muerto" or "flower of death", has communicated an ominous or even repellent feeling to the client. Whether or not the client is completely aware of why, the image of the flowers of death in the promotional material for the house has associated a feeling of dread and grief with the house. Similarly an image of children waving hello in a fun ad for a product will meet with shock and disapproval from a Greek audience because, "In Greece, extending all five of your fingers while waving your arms is an insulting gesture that's called a mountza". (Bruck, 2019) The Moutza, also called faskeloma, is a traditional form of insult going back for generations. It is said to date back to ancient times, and compared with hand gestures from other cultures, the moutza exceeds them in its level of offensiveness. It is so highly offensive and so universally understood in Greece that in the instance that a person wants to bring their hand to their face to adjust a hat or brush hair out of their eyes, they are aware of the palm and take great care to maintain its position inward. This little movement, that to someone with no context of the thousands of years of meaning and symbolism piled on to it, would see it as a cheerful wave, but without the understanding of the meaning of this sign, could undermine any words spoken by adding a level of insult to a perceived friendly wave. On the flip side, an image of a person with their hands together can universally communicate congeniality. In a Christian context it could be seen as hands folded in prayer; in a Buddhist context it is a humble greeting calling upon one of the names of buddha: 阿彌陀佛, pronounced “Ēmítuófó”. It could also look like a pleading gesture and there is even an emoji with hands together that shows up either “please” or “thank you” is searched. With an image of hands together in this fashion, even if the text is misunderstood, the image of the gesture can communicate a friendly tone. Such images tell a story to the viewer in a way that captions and text cannot.
Walter Fischers's Narrative Paradigm can be seen as a basis of understanding the impact of the image as ‘story’. Fischer proposes that the human mind relates to other humans within the context of stories. Fischer gives evidence that "...humans are not rational and ... the narrative is the basis of communication." (Griffin, 2015). An image tells a story much more effectively than words, and following the logic of Fischer's argument: the story communicates because cognitively humans understand through stories, and the image is telling the viewer a story. According to Fischer, the words do not deeply allow understanding unless within the context of a story which contains a beginning, middle, and end. The aforementioned marigolds from the realtor example tell as story of a life concluded with ritual, grief, and moving on. Words can convey Fischer's Narrative Paradigm, but visual images can make that paradigm more deeply felt. Fischer's paradigm was directly related to multinational working relationships by Barker and Gower as they examined effective communication in a diverse environment. Their research demonstrated that story, especially story made understandable through images, was "a key to managing the complex structure of human relationships" in a multicultural setting. (Barker/Gower, 2010). The storytelling function of image can impact understanding to the point of exclusion of text or verbal attempts to impart a specific message. Viewed alongside the verbal message, an image takes precedence in its meaning. An experiment was conducted at an airport in Australia to determine the power of image to communicate differently in different cultures. Both Japanese nationals and Australians were shown a picture of a fish in the sea, when later asked about the picture, the Japanese, who live in a group-oriented culture where fulfillment and purpose are sought and found collectively, recalled the setting of the undersea scape and attributed the purpose of the picture was to show the seaweed, coral, and other environmental items. The Australians, on the other hand, did not even recall the background. Living within a highly individualistic culture, the Australians interpreted the meaning of the picture as simply an example of the fish in the foreground. So it follows that the image could be telling a different story than the verbal communication and thus create a miscommunication between people, societies, and cultures. I have a personal experience of a symbol demonstrating a meaning contrary to the words it accompanied. When I was working in Guangzhou as an illustrator in 2007, the year of the pig, I was commissioned to create an illustration for an article introducing a scene at the flower fair (street fair) held annually for the New Year. At the event there was an actual statue, changed out each year to reflect the current zodiac animal. In 2007 there was a pig statue in the square, which I, of course, included in my illustration. I was told that the pig itself was an offensive symbol to the muslim population in the city and I was asked to get the pig out of the picture. I reluctantly replaced it with a fish, which has no offensive implications in either culture, though it also had no real meaning in the context of the lunar new year. For me and those who share my culture, the symbol of the pig in my illustration was communicating overall good fortune, generosity, and the hardworking nature of that particular zodiac sign. But to others viewing the illustration, the pig was communicating an unclean immorality. The image of the pig within the context of the festivities in the illustration gave one set of viewers an idea that they were seeing a scene of debauched revelers in the midst of immorality, while another set of viewers had the idea of hard working wholesome celebrants enjoying a family friendly event. The article that accompanied the illustration was immaterial, the pig image was doing the communicating, regardless of the words that accompanied it.
Image and the way it is used in the current media technology offers a myriad of opportunities to manipulate and addict consumers. George Orwell warned that society will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. He states that people will come to love and adore their technologies to the point that they will lose their capacity to think. (Orwell 1948) And Aldous Huxley takes this a step further, arguing that a world of overstimulation and visceral communication will become a trivial world, an irrelevant place in which there is nothing of substance to think about. (Huxley 1932). Postman presents the view, in Amusing Ourselves to Death that Huxley, not Orwell, was right and a culture that is abridged for convenient consumption becomes a culture bereft of depth and thus the very act of ravenously consuming media dilutes the value of what is being communicated, destroying culture and the individual’s ability to appreciate and function in that culture. In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman stated his point in one phrase: ‘the Medium Is the Metaphor’, which means medium as a format in our communication is influencing and even changing the information content. Though Postman sees this as a negative, that is not the only interpretation. The medium of today, though perhaps a metaphor, is a ubiquitous metaphor with as many contributors as there are humans on the earth. Orwell and Huxley were focused on a world where the media is controlled by a central authority, but in today’s world the consumers can also be the controllers, with the ability to disseminate information in real world time, sharing viewpoints that span the spectrum. Had the USS Maine sunk last week instead of last century, every YouTuber, TicToker and blogger, along with the formal media outlets, would be giving conflicting viewpoints. Hearst could not start a war in the current media environment. Consider the Arab Spring, as presented by the Pew Research Center. They present that because 65% of Egyptians are not online, the media cannot be considered a strong causal link to the uprisings, but as mobilization force fo young protesters, and most applicable to my argument, a means of communication to the rest of thew role what was happening in real time during the uprisings. (Brown 2012) Something traditional media outlets were not able to communicate clearly and in a relevant manner.
In the modern era images, in particular moving images, have been replacing pure text. The literal medium has the capacity to be used to encourage people to think more deeply and with logic, in an organized way. Though with the emergence of Television, film, and social media, usage has not encouraged this path. Today's social media has developed image in a way that discourages in-depth discussion and thinking about the content in an authentic way. The reason for this is that in order to catch the biggest attention in a shortest time, the images that currently dominate the media will provide (1) fragmented information and (2) shallow content. These are the effective and efficient ways to be attractive to audiences. This leads people to seek entertainment in place of critical thinking. An example of this is how, instead of enhancing understanding in the most recent presidential debate, image distracted and encouraged a lack of depth. Historically in these debates, disseminated in newspapers and the radio, when people read about and heard the debates, they could focus on the content, but with the dominance of image driven media, today’s current presidential debate focuses on presentation and appearance, and sound bites in a way that move the audience away from concentrating on the conceptual content of the debate and put their attention on fleeting images of the candidates appearance and illustrated fragments of their talking points. This fragmented, incomplete content allows audiences to receive more information in less time. Consumers are attracted to this, as Social Psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores in his seminal works on the root causes behind political and religious polarizations in the US and Europe. This hunger for concentrated information by consumers requires media professions to pick the so-called “content essences” for audiences. These so-called essences are often grandstanding moments, that is, they cannot reflect the full truth of the content. An example of this is the reporting of protests on TV news. Media outlets often choose the most serious conflict and disseminate the most superficial view of it in only minutes, not spending time to report and analyze the political and historical background, and various causes of the protest, so the audience accepts that the abbreviated version reflects the whole process of the protest. Simplification, in which the content has no depth and is presented as the whole story discourages analysis and comprehensive investigation of topics. This is especially true when today’s media has an almost infinite offering of content. Viewers want to know everything, all at once, and the only way to accomplish that is by boiling down topics to their most basic elements, presenting them, and then moving on to the next topic. The more content that is offered and the easier it is to assimilate, the larger the audience a media outlet can attract in the shortest time, so it is necessary to choose the easiest way for the audience to understand the story. This method makes the originally complicated creditworthiness superficial, and also erases the aspect of understanding the facts. (Toscano 2018).
In Toscano’s 2018 work Automating Humanity, he attributes a sinister motive of tech power brokers who have offered this amputated version of not only current events, but all content from history to science. In a competitive capitalistic arena all content is competing for an audience with an eye to profits. In an authoritarian system, it is pro-government propaganda, rather than profits, that informs the content creators to shape their offerings. But in both cases, fast paced, packed content that jumps from one neatly packaged conclusion to another entices viewers to continued viewing without in-depth consideration of the neatly packaged conclusions presented. Of course, negative control may be a motive for some, but that is not endemic to the media, but rather to those who are manipulating it. There is evidence of the positive effect of media communication that is rooted in images. The reason so many American citizens actually had an opinion on the Vietnam War rather than blindly following the lead of politicians, was the images they saw on the nightly news. From rows of dead soldiers lying in the blistering sun, over 8000 miles from their grieving families, to screaming and weeping Vietnamese war victims in despair as the last US C-130 lifted off the tarmac in Saigon with the final evacuees on board. (Hagan 2014) It was those visual communications that reached deeply into the consciousness of those viewing them and communicated what was happening in Vietnam in a way no long winded wordy written evaluation could. Though media creators may be using the power of such media to “addict their audiences” (Toscano 2018) to a system of shallow information that will result in a non-questioning obedience to authority and a public that can be easily manipulated and led, there is an opposing result. Quick bites of visual information can be used to communicate reality in an intimate way that brings the viewer in contact with ideas and situations far flung from their daily lives, thus uniting humanity. A photo, or snippet of video, from 10,000 miles away, of a person or incident within a culture that is somewhat incomprehensible to the viewer, can be made tangible and real and understandable. The current media technology presents information in a way that in-depth cerebral studies cannot. Images inject an understanding of a topic in a deep and real way to the consumers of the media. It is the precise nature of media, which is being criticized by Postman and Toscano, that is the component capable of bridging misunderstandings between cultures, and the political and religious groups Haidt states are being torn apart and polarized by. The danger of media is not within the nature of media, but in the hands of the media professionals and creators who present the media.
The addictive nature of the current media presentation is convincingly argued by both Postman and Toscano. They come to practical and reasonable conclusions, yet humanity has many times throughout history, shown itself to avoid cultural desolation, in spite of contrary predictions. From the Dark Ages into the Renaissance, and before that, from the fall of Rome to the rise of Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire -- which thrived and offered a previously unheard of opportunity for ethnic mixing and philosophical and scientific advancement. The bread and circuses of the current incarnation of media, which has the capacity to tempt consumers with vapid and fast paced opportunities for consumption (rather than depth of communication), can definitely addict consumers, who can then amuse themselves into oblivion. But after that? After the hunger for amusement is sated? And consumers begin to crave more? That is when society will avail itself of the opportunity for collaboration and deep understanding of previously misunderstood and unknown ideas, concepts, cultures and ways of thinking, which new media technologies can offer. At everyone's fingertips will be great potential for the understanding that comes from instant and deep communication.
Postman's assertion that we are Amusing Ourselves to Death and Toscano's accusations that media is the most deadly drug are flawed because both naively point the finger at media as a dark force in the evolution of humanity. Media is nothing more than a tool. The positive or negative effect it has on society is caused by those that wield that tool. Digital totalitarianism is part of what Adorno foresaw 100 years ago. Authoritarian countries use modern media to manage and control their people. Facial recognition techniques help the government to trace individuals by binding individuals’ phone with their Health and credit information. They use modern media to deliver content to people for political propaganda, deeply communicating these destructive ideas because of the power of image to reach the depths of understanding in those who consume it. The current format of media discussed earlier is ideal for this purpose because the content the government disseminates doesn’t encourage people to ponder any issues deeply which, if they did, might lead to social unrest. The fast paced, shallow media described by Toscano is extremely beneficial to a regime that wants to control its people. Of course, media can be used in open societies to purposefully control a population. In open societies in which consumers can choose their media, there is also control and oppression because of a phenomenon described as an echo chamber that "refers to situations in which beliefs are amplified or reinforced by communication and repetition inside a closed system and insulated from rebuttal. ... individuals choose the content that matches their preferences and value systems every time, plus, the 'Network Algorithm' repeatedly provides people content similar to previously consumed content." (Grey 2020) This is also referred to as confirmation bias, ”potentially resulting in social and political polarization and extremism.” (Haidt 2021) This is a very real negative consequence of media, and in the future, as modern media and technology develop, visual-based communication will be become a deeper multi-sensory experience. The ability to communicate more instinctively, easily and directly will amplify. This could make media more dangerous, or it could make media more beneficial. It is media professionals who will direct the outcome. Is it the fault of the 1985 Cabernet that the man became drunk on wine? I propose that it is not the “fault” of the video, audio, images, and growing VR aspects of media itself that pose any danger, or threaten to stupefy and manipulate society. It is the media professionals who control the creation, production, and distribution of this media who are the cause of any negative consequence to exposure to media today. I acknowledge that media technology carries with it an inherent danger of multidisciplinary problems, but I propose that, at the same time, there is an equal or perhaps even greater probability that today's media technology will lead to collaborative possibilities that bring people and our society together, and will present a depth of communication impossible in the past which will preclude the misinformation and miscommunication predicted by sociological naysayers.
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