The language has always had a great ability to create realities. We have always had the ability to invent imaginative stories that correspond to nothing that we have lived. Therefore, all that is communicated in words has the uncertainty of the truth. Instead, the information that we perceive through the senses has always had great reliability, although some moments at some point have been questioned. What we see, feel and touch has always given us great security. With the current media, this security is disappearing. The digitalization of the picture and sound are making possible the manipulation. The binominal reality/camera breaks: what we see and hear on the television not necessarily exists in reality. The television has a control over time: what we are seeing maybe is not happening at that time, but it can also manipulate the content: what we see can be simulated (virtual) reality. Originally the information transmitted through the communication channels refers to facts and situations in the world. At present, the world has become independent. The image takes on a new meaning, apart from being the image of an object such as representation or reproduction of reality, it is also a self-image. The receptors find in the image a real object that makes sense by itself. In this new direction that takes the image, the one that dominates its creation (the journalist in many cases) it becomes the real protagonist, because it is the true one created from the reality.
This new reality corresponds to what Jean Baudrillard called: hyperreality. According to this author, the impact of mass media on society is profound, it has come to transform human nature (follower of McLuhan) and it has created a new environment, a new reality (hyperreality).
In 1990 on the occasion of the Persian Gulf War, Baudrillard argued that it was a war in hyperreality, that the war, in reality, did not exist. It was a war of communication era; it became a television show. Many of the images we saw on television were an application of computer simulation. The same protagonists, George Bush, and Saddam Hussein were following the reports from CNN to know what was really happening or rather what was happening in hyperreality. It was a simulated war, not in the sense that there were not really dead people but in the sense that the war which was of interest was done in the hyperreality, because that one has the influence on the population. Televised death of a child has a strong public, social, political and even economic significance; the genocide of an entire population unless it has a media treatment may be lacking any kind of influence.
The media of communication inform in a fragmental way, breaking the reality and reporting with the short news. In the news, there are heroes and villains, rich and poor, and the news is handled as a powder keg against the poor and against those who has the least power. The media seek the most negative and dark side of the story as if the happiness in the world had ended, which in the ads is not reflected because everything is perfect and everyone is happy. Another feature of the media is its asymmetry, i.e., the one that focuses on the most interesting facts of humanity, without regard to what the desired audience wouldn’t give them. For example, the media focuses exclusively on the Kosovo conflict, without looking at the hardships of hunger in Africa.
Nothing is more ephemeral than the news because as soon after being released they are covered by thousands of information. The news is handled as weapons, who owns the means possesses the weapons. What it is news, exists, and what it isn’t, as if it doesn’t. Thus, the purpose of media is adapting to the established order. For it, every day has more technical means, selects and filters the information so that for some people we receive true alluvium of information, and for others, we do not know anything. If any of them dies naturally, for days that’s the only news, while every day thousands of people die South with barely getting a few lines or images. Countries and whole continents are systematically ignored unless the North is interested for the news to come out, or the cry of its misfortune exceeds the limit of deafness of the rich.
Many people may ask where is the origin of this impressive revolution? It is as follows: one well-aimed bomb could destroy the computer and strategic center of the United States. That was believed by the American defense in the sixties, so they instructed the Agency Advanced research Projects (ARPA) to design a plan to decentralize data and computer network. But it was necessary that all the "small schools” were connected with each other. Some teachers and students in 1969, from University of Los Angeles for the first time sent a message to another computer at Stanford Research Institute. That is how ARPANET was born. The origin of Internet and computer networks. Ten years later, after creating the protocol to determine the structure of the information, the Internet was created to connect research centers. The next step was the improvement of telephone lines: the pressures of rapid computer market did the rest to popularize the Internet. Subsequently, more than 40 or 50 million of people have joined the largest network in the world, which increases its size on an everyday basis.
There has been a real revolution in recent years on the subject of the Internet. A transformation more powerful than we think is happening in our society, a second electronic revolution. Until recently, only official institutions could afford to use the Internet, while now its expansion is remarkable, coming to be within reach of many people and collapsing telephone networks. The usefulness of these networks depends on the information transmitted.
The advantages of communication networks are evident. For years, there are mailing lists and servers on all sorts of topics. The European Union has already launched programs to offset the ideological Internet coming from the United States. And Internet censorship raises many questions. Most networks cannot constantly monitor and control what people say on the Internet through their servers. When dealing with information from other countries legal problems arise; even if a supernatural control is possible, there should be some global standards of behavior and ethics.
Television meanwhile is the most widespread means of communication. Television is the truth of our culture, it reflects what we are. Its rhythm patterns our time: it marks when we eat when we sleep and the moment when we relax. To say that the television lies distorts or marks the reality would be an understatement. The misleading nature of the television lies not in what it conveys, but in the way in which it conveys it, because although what emits it is truthful, the treatment, the form in which it expresses it creates a new structure of reality.
The television is considered an "open window to the world,” which it is accessible and close to us: we may know what happens anywhere and even attend to its happening. The television allows us to open up on the outside, facilitating the intercommunication. Although this may not be entirely true, since privacy revolves around television, that "open window to the world” ends up being the axis of privacy. The crowding and promiscuity of news, announcements, programs, etc., prevent any kind of consistency. Subjected to the domain hoarding and confusion of ideas, according to which everything has the same importance claiming the least argumentative coherence is almost impossible. As a result, they have to worry for the viewer who is unable to stay for several minutes without ending up in a yawn.
Money becomes favorable information for their owners, and mass information transforms into money if the audience passes a certain number, so every time we sit in front of the big screen we make the rich people even richer, while they are impoverishing us as people and we are allowing it. The influence of media in children’s education makes them unable to form a self-awareness and, if it succeeds, will be frustrated for not being able to satisfy all the desires that led them or irritated them by not being able to respond to the stimulations coming from the media.
Describing the reality is the main mission of the media. In fulfilling this mission, the journalist must try to seek the greatest possible objectivity, to explain the facts in a transparent manner and as such as they are. The media should be the mirror where all people can recognize themselves. The ambiguity seen in the media gives a big responsibility to journalists. As media is not merely a passive reflection of everything that happens in the world, but also a place where ideas are formed, then they will represent an important humanizing mission: they will not only have to inform but at the same time form. Not in vain has Edgar Allan Poe said: "Believe only half of what you see, and nothing that you hear.”