Linda & Richard Eyre: Why much of what our media say is a lie

By Linda & Richard Eyre, For the Deseret News

Published: Tue, Aug. 5, 2014, 5:10 p.m. MDT

 Most entertainment media are represented as a reflection of typical or majority lifestyles, values and conduct. However, media is more in the business of creating trends, suggesting lifestyles, and remaking values and moral codes.

Most entertainment media are represented as a reflection of typical or majority lifestyles, values and conduct. However, media is more in the business of creating trends, suggesting lifestyles, and remaking values and moral codes.


We consume an enormous amount of media. Entertainment media, from music to movies to television, and data from the Internet fill several hours each day for most people living in developed countries — particularly kids.

Most entertainment media are represented as being a reflection of typical or majority lifestyles, values and conduct.

However, media are more and more in the business of creating trends, suggesting lifestyles and remaking values and moral codes.

Media show a tiny and grossly non-representative minority but have an enormously disproportionate influence over the rest of us. A few hundred individuals (media executives, producers, directors, moguls) influence virtually every movie or TV show we see. Similar disproportionate influence exists in the music we hear. And this tiny “cultural elite” is widely removed from the mainstream. Most are far less oriented to family and considerably less likely to be married, to attend church or to profess belief in God. They have much more money than average people. Most live materialistic, jet-set lives and often disdain and belittle traditional values. Yet they portray what they produce as typical, average and mainstream.

Whenever a minority masquerades as a majority, the real majority is made to feel like a minority. Too many of us today have been made to feel awkward and defensive about our lifestyles, values and morality.

As parents, we need to help our kids correctly interpret the world and to understand that, despite what they see on their large and small screens, the fact is that the real majority still believes in basic principles of morality and traditional values.

Here are the two things kids need to know in order to avoid being deceived.

First, the facts run contrary to what is seen and heard in so many movies, TV shows, Internet games and rock songs.

Sexually active high schoolers are not the norm, and there are consequences. According to stayteen.org, more than half of high school students are virgins. And half of kids who have had sex say they wish they hadn’t.

Not everyone worth knowing drives a trendy new car, wears only name brands and lives in luxury

Divorce is not something that happens smoothly and easily and without long-term consequences.

People throughout the world, old and young, do continue to value commitments and relationships and character. 

Second, a small cultural elite creates much of the media they see. Most people in this group are neither as family-oriented nor as religiously inclined as the average person. It is they, not we, who are the minority. But their visibility and influence, magnified a million times by media, sometimes make them appear to be a majority. 

Kids who understand these two simple facts will have an immunity of sorts to the compelling “be part of it” influence of media. They will be able to stand aside a bit and see error as error, figure consequences for actions and take some comfort in the fact that how they live and what they believe is much more common than it sometimes seems.

Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit them anytime at EyresFreeBooks.com or at valuesparenting.com, and follow Linda’s blog at eyrealm.blogspot.com. The Eyres' new book is "The Turning: Why the state of the family matters and what the world can do about it."

1. Bob A. Bohey
Marlborough, MA,
Aug. 6, 2014

Wow Eyre's, those are some incredible and inflammatory accusations you are throwing around. With no data or facts to support them in your article they come across as hysterical ramblings.

2. amigo
sandy, UT,
Aug. 6, 2014

Actually, I think I'd like to take opinion from thousands of media members, rather than two people, who for 150 years (seems like it anyways) have forced their own opinions on us as if they had the only answers.

3. I M LDS 2
Provo, UT,
Aug. 6, 2014

This article has a tone of paranoia, fear, and conspiracy theories. And it treats "media" as one, monolithic evil entity. That just isn't truthful.

4. JustGordon
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
Aug. 6, 2014

I found the Eyres' generalizations Hollywood media as a less than transparent attempt to drive readers to the their net sites and sell copies of the books.

The Eyres' position is established by setting up a straw man boogie man, the Hollywood media, which they then proceed to castigate with a series of generalizations intended to feed the fears of those who don't think for themselves.

Yes, Hollywood and the media can be to sexual, violent and cynical about relationship. On the other hand, it can also provide us with movies, songs and stories that touch the very fabric of what it means to be human, alive and in love.

Eyres' cynical attempts to demonize Hollywood because there are only a few hundred media moguls all in the name of their financial success is at best tawdry and definitely irreprehensible

5. JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT,
Aug. 6, 2014

I don't think that "Hollywood" is some kind of vast conspiracy that set out to destroy the moral fiber of this nation. But I do agree with the authors that it is largely a group of like-minded people whose values are generally much different than that of the average American.

Like the uber-liberal main stream media which is dominated by left leaning and far-left advocates, it tries to push an agenda that reflects its values rather than most of ours. What sells as "entertainment" and news these days contains a healthy dose of propaganda. (And no, its not all coming from the left.)

We have to be vigilant about teaching our values to our children to counter-balance what they see in the media. Monitor what they are exposed to and limit their exposure in general.