Sample Book Review On The Reality Of Mass Media Book Review

Type of paper: Book Review

Topic: Media, Literature, Books, Society, Reality, Information, Theory, News

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2023/04/10

The Reality of Mass Media is a book written by Niklas Luhmann. The Stanford University Press first published the book in the year 1995. The book comprises of different mass media theories, which are applied in our modern society. In addition, Luhmann talks about the construction of social realities with the use of the mass media. The author argues that the mass media plays a crucial role in the modern society. It is through the mass media the society constructs its illusion of their definition of reality. Therefore, Niklas Luhmann presents a book that explain how the modern mass media works and how it affects the society and the people’s opinions.
The book begins by examining the functional importance of the mass media, and how it applies to the modern society. After that, Luhmann makes it clear that the mass media does not present an image of reality, but they show the reality they have created for their daily communications. The author notes that this reality is a manufactured one with far-reaching effects. Therefore, the media operates selectively by generating its own reality and does not function as a medium or channel for the public (Gotthard and Stehr, 2011). Moreover, another concept in the book is that the modern mass media does not disseminate the truth; however, it organizes information that will flow and ensure originalities. Besides, according to Luhmann, there is no relationship between the society and the modern mass media when acquiring information because the media seeks to manipulate information and the public opinion by framing topics to fit their views and communication.
The Reality of Mass Media book focuses on the mass media, which includes advertising, entertainment, and news. The author applies different dynamics of how the mass media is essential to the society. According to Luhmann, “whatever we know about our society, or indeed about the world in which we live, we know through the mass media (Luhmann, 2000. P. 1). For Luhmann, the society learns about lots of things through the mass media, which passes information worldwide. Luhmann describes the role of the mass media in giving information to the society and the entire world. According to him, the mass media is an important tool in the world, especially in this modern era. By distinguishing the three main components of the media content, which are entertainment, news, and advertising, Luhmann explains their functions and how they are significant to the society. He further notes that the news is for the political system, advertisement for the purpose of business, and entertainment for every day’s life and art.
According to the author, the news is a system of broadcasting ignorance (Luhmann, 2000). Luhmann asserts that the news as a component of mass media obeys no impulse at all. This system of mass media filters the information they consider useful and pass it to their audience. The news is then presented to the audience who are supposed to watch and accept the news. Likewise, advertisement as a system of mass media also does the same. Advertisement scatters its information with so many information to perceive something to be better than what is available. Most advertisements we see through the mass media only serve the purpose of the promoter. According to Luhmann, advertising starts with the assumption of a person who wants to gains financially. Afterward, the individual creates information that is to be passed to the mass media for personal gains (Luhmann, 2000). According to the book The Reality of Mass Media, the advertiser will use the mass media to promote whatever he/she wants to sell without caring for the interests of the public. What’s more, there is entertainment whereby the entertainers will do everything by using the mass media to market themselves. Therefore, all the constituents of mass media mentioned in the book are all recursive and selects their information from its environment. Both the systems of mass media; news, entertainment, and advertisement contributes to the social construction of the society. Because, the description of the society happens via the three strands of social media mentioned in the book and can be either positive or negative.
For Luhmann, the mass media is a set of recursive and a self-referential form of communication whose functions are not determined by the truth but by what the system selects to pass to the public. The system selects the information it deems reliable and suitable to give to the society without valuing the truth or the particular social interests. Luhmann notes that the information passed by the many systems of the mass media are controlled by the internal code establishment and non-formation that enables the systems to select the information and communicate it according to its own reflexive standards (Luhmann, 2000).
Luhmann, a professor, designates the mass media as one of the primary cognitive systems used in the modern society. According to him, the society uses the media to construct the realities (Luhmann, 2000). In addition, through the mass media, the society can process information without the threatening social roles because one creates his/her realities in the mass media. The author goes through the contents of the mass media and their effects on the society.
Luhmann writes an excellent and interesting book about the realities of the media. The Reality of Mass Media is an insightful book that makes a significant contribution to the media and the media studies theories. The author made an incredible effort in compiling the theories in the book. The Reality of Mass Media is a fascinating book on the issues of the media. Luhmann builds the theory of the society with the use of mass media theories.
Luhmann’s insightful book is compelling to the mass media studies as it deals with the subject topically and theoretically. Thus, it allows a deeper understanding of the mass media with its numerous extracts. The author makes his book different from other mass media books because of the approach he takes on the subject. Therefore, the strength and significance of the book The Reality of Mass Media rest in the approach, which differs from the other books written on the topic of mass media.
The book The Reality of Mass Media is an exceptional and first-rate book for the people interested in learning about mass media theories. It is an excellent book for graduates and scholars in political theory, mass media studies, communication studies, and cultural studies. It is an understandable collation of various theories on mass media and is well suited for those beginning to enter in mass media studies. The book is remarkably compiled with coherent and relevant information on the subject of mass media. The author has effectively articulated the notion of the media in different perspectives.
One weakness of the book The Reality of Mass Media is that Luhmann uses many key terms in his book. He uses these terms without giving a definition even though most of these terms have been defined in his previous books. However, the author should not have assumed that the readers reading this book have read his previous books. Furthermore, some complicated terms are repeatedly used in the book and the reader only comes to understand them at the end of the book. Therefore, Luhmann’s book has some loopholes whereby at some point, it is difficult for the readers to understand some of the concepts in the book. Nonetheless, behind the difficult concepts and the complex strands, the author gives a simple analysis of how the society works with the use of the mass media. In his book, Luhmann does his best to discuss the subject of mass media using different theories and how it is significant to the modern society.
In conclusion, The Reality of Mass Media is a media theory book written by Niklas Luhmann. It is a book that described different theories of the mass media and how the work in the modern society. Luhmann presents a book that explains how the society relies on the mass media to function. The author analyzes the construction of the society realities with the use of the mass media. According to Niklas Luhmann, the mass media is a system where there is the self-referential dispensation of information. Therefore, the mass media represents other than producing what the public needs. Therefore, in Luhmann’s book, the mass media is a reflection of the other social systems in the modern world. Overall, The Reality of Mass Media book is an excellent book to choose when studying mass media and its theories.

Reference List

Luhmann, N., 2000. The Reality of Mass Media. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Gotthard, B. and Stehr, N., 2011. Niklas Luhmann’s Theory of the Mass Media. Society Impact, 48(2), pp.142-147.

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