New Age Myth and the Role of the Media: a Study of Dr Mahathir Mohamed

New Age Myth and the Role of the Media: a Study of Dr Mahathir Mohamed


The world is shaped by myths. Our understanding of ourselves and our culture is based largely upon what we are told by the media. Yet much of the media’s content includes unexamined assumptions and myths, an agenda set by those in control of the media. These myths are stories, themes, and ideas that embody an aspect of culture. Politicians, advertisers, activists, journalists, and others create myths to manipulate how we think, what we value, and what we fear. In common usage, “myth” and “history” denoted contradictories where “if it’s true, it’s history; if it false, it’s a myth.” But evidently, myth and history in a very special sense are interdependent and both has been preserved and also shaped by the media.

Deborah Tannen, in her book The Argument Culture, says that “culture, in a sense, is an environment of narratives that we hear repeatedly until they seem to make self-evident sense in explaining human behavior.” Many of these narratives take the form of myths.

The word myth is derived from the Greek word ‘mythos’ meaning fable, story-telling, or fictions to make sense of the world. The Oxford Illustrated Dictionary defines myth as a fictitious tale usually involving supernatural persons, some popular idea or historical phenomena. Myth can, however, also be a distortion of memory. Mythology is that which we do not think is necessarily true, whereas memory is thought to be more precise. The term myth here can also mean an encompassing story emerging from several specific narratives. The mythic paradigm insists that human understanding be viewed as the result of the fusion of several individual narratives combining to create mythic structures that define humankind’s place in the universe. (Owens, 2007)

One commonly held view is that myth represents a past phase of history. This idea has been supported as a way of explaining why we no longer accept certain myths. But it is a fallacy. They are still with us, albeit often in a...

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