Selective Processes in Mass Media

Attitude change theory contains several components two of which are applicable to information distribution. Selective retention is the idea “that people remember best and longest those messages that are consistent with their preexisting attitudes and beliefs” (Baran, 2014, p. 327). Selective perception is the process “that people will interpret messages in a manner consistent with their preexisting attitudes and beliefs” (Baran, 2014, p. 328). Providing audience with information that cannot be cherry-picked and contains multiple angles is a way to ensure accuracy is replicated through various channels. Information can easily be manipulated and evolve into inaccurate, untruthful, and false reports after it is released to the public.

Journalists are responsible for distributing vetted information but is the public also held to the same ethical standard? Does the public have an obligation to present unbiased and vetted information on blogs, social media fan pages, twitter accounts, and personal websites? Dissecting and criticizing is practically a Constitutional right and the ubiquity of technology has given every person with Internet access a voice of dissent. With computer mediated-communications (CMC) becoming a dominant method of communicating, developing and maintaining ethical standards interaction is developing into a necessary process. Ethical standards are necessary because without ethical standards, anyone can make a profusion of claims without repercussion. Claims without validity are not only damaging but could potentially create lawsuits from the distribution of faulty information. Understanding how people communicate through CMC is exciting and interesting but people should also work within their scope of expertise and experience


Baran, S. J., (2014), Introduction to Mass Communication Media Literacy and Culture. (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.




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