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'media may distort the image of the hero' - GRE AWA PRACTICE: Issue topic

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Jun 5, 2012   #1
I am horrible at writing and would like some feedback on this AWA Issue topic for the GRE, Thank you:

Claim: It is no longer possible for a society to regard any living man or woman as a hero.
Reason: The reputation of anyone who is subjected to media scrutiny will eventually be diminished.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the claim and the reason on which that claim is based.


Whether or not a person is considered a hero by society may be determined by many factors. One major influence on the reputation of someone who has earned the right to be called a hero is the media. I believe the media today does indeed impact how a person is viewed by society - whether good or bad - and may easily increase or destroy the public image of that person. However, whether or not the impact of the media completely eradicates society's regard for deeming a person a hero is highly debatable.

First, in order to understand how society regards a particular man or women, one must define what it takes to be a hero in that particular society. For instance, a hero may be defined as someone who has won a great victory or freedom for his or her country by the majority of the members of that society, such as Nelson Mandela or Gandhi. On the other hand, someone from popular culture may be considered by some to be a hero and popularized by the media, such as actors or actresses who promote a specific cause.

Thirdly, the media may promote specific men or women as heroes and significantly influence public opinion. The media is not immune to bias; in fact, the media may introduce bias as a way to control the outcome of public perceptions of a particular person. Democratic elections in the United States provide an excellent example. For weeks debates between Republican and Democratic candidates for President are aired across television stations, radio stations, newspapers and magazines. Depending on which state the media station originates from - either Democratic or Republican - may influence the information publicized. As a result,

In contrast, many positive effects of the media may exist that influence whether or not a person is considered a hero by society. For instance, the media may popularize a hero that may have otherwise gone unknown. For example, Nelson Mandela was considered a hero by some for his continuous fight for equality during the apartheid in South Africa. Mandela was imprisoned for more than 20 years and still he endeavored to win the freedom from oppression in his country. Had it not been for the vast media coverage during this horrific time, Mandela may not have been give the respect and admiration as a hero he receives today. In this example, the media did not project a negative picture of Mandela, but a positive one, which earned him international respect.

In conclusion, the claim that it is not possible for a society to regard any member a hero because the media may distort the good deeds of the hero, thereby reducing the value of what it means to be a hero, is flawed. The media may indeed distort the image of the hero, but the distortion is not always negative.

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