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Representation and Reality: Essay

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Representation is created by humans, and it is impossible for humans to be completely objective, which is why there cannot be unbiased representations of the world. Therefore, I agree with what Richard Dyer said that “representation never 'gets' reality” to a large extent. Representation only can show part of reality at most, and it can easily be seen from the news that media construct reality rather than depict reality. This essay will discuss the relationship between representation and reality, and also take the news of Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement as an example to explain how media affect the truth of the representation.

The political background of the news producer is a significant factor when we consider the authenticity of the news. For example, Wenweipo is state-owned and controlled by the Liaison Office of the Central Government, there is no doubt that their news is biased in favor of the government. In the news of Wenweipo regarding the Umbrella Movement, we can see the heading 'Occupy Central with Violence'. They used the word 'violence' to describe the Umbrella Movement, already showing their political stance, which is they opposed the movement and think it was a social disorder. In contrast, the founder of Apple Daily News, Jimmy Lai, who is a supporter of the pro-democracy camp, and the heading of Apple Daily News 'Fearless of Suppression'. It appears that they are standing on the side of the protester and appreciate their demonstration. It can be seen that the same issue can represent the opposite viewpoint by different groups and either they are only able to show one aspect of reality. However, the reality is more extensive. The news is always a biased representation of reality.

All representations have gone through the process of construction and selection. The news that we received was the re-construction version of reality, such as it might be emphasized or omitted part of fact, and they would use different texts that are selected to represent 'the reality' and manipulate our perspective.

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Some news tends to use exaggerated headings to attract attention and boost competitiveness in the market. For instance, the heading of Oriental Daily News 'Tear Gas Flying in All Directions' was overstated and that will mislead the reader to think the movement was in a state of utter chaos. The news should merely describe the fact to be more objective, as mention the actual number of tear gas fired by police. Also the news of Oriental Daily News, the heading 'Reporter Got Shot Too, and Pass Out' that makes people think the reporter was shot by the gun, but in fact, the reporter was 'shot' by the gas tear. It is obvious that they are intended to omit part of the fact.

In addition to the text, today's news contains many photography elements. The image seems can present more reality, but those images have also been screened as well. Such as the Apple Daily News picked a photo of a protester suffering from tear gas in the news, whereas the news of Oriental Daily News chose to show a photo of a protester breaking a police car window. The reality that these photos attempt to represent was completely different, one of them shows the helplessness of the protester, and another one shows the violence of the protester. Both of these photos are surely fact, however, based on which photo the news is going to select and represent to us, can manipulate our viewpoint of those protesters.

It is dangerous that people blindly believe 'the reality' which represent by the image because it depends on how the news reconstructs the reality and which side of the reality they want to present to people.

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Representation and Reality: Essay. (2023, November 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
“Representation and Reality: Essay.” Edubirdie, 21 Nov. 2023,
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Representation and Reality: Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 21 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from:
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