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Images of Aging

Geezer Bashing, Invisible Elders, "old Warhorses" In U.s. Newsrooms, Advertising Rates Trump Ratings

The mass media's neglect of older people—and the often distorted presentation of elders as uniformly robust "golden years" retirees on the golf course—is generally regarded as regrettable, but financially understandable. Economic interests in news, entertainment, and advertising are used to rationalize the marketplace bias against anything more than an incidental inclusion of older age groups. This bottom-line approach is driven by the quest for dollars that slip through youthful fingers. Young families are considered to be more easily swayed by brand appeals than affluent but tight-fisted seniors, who are supposedly set in their consumerist ways. Yet, those who have taken a harder look have seen the ageism pervading the media as a tangled skein of stereotypes dyed by unfounded assumptions that are threaded with financial and political conflicts of interest. The devaluing of older people in the media is reinforced by the acrid image of geezers, a disparaging term that has become commonplace in major-media descriptions of elders.

Additional topics

Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 2