How Reading the Novel Media and Society Affected the Way I View the Media
In this day and age many different types of media exist. Newspapers, television, internet, and other print media. These Medias have their own good and bad side. In my paper I will discuss the downsides that I have learned about through this class and through reading the book Media and Society. I would have to say the three main points that have changed my views are the ownership factors of the mass media, the political influence of the mass Medias upon our society, and finally the way in which the Medias portray race, class, and gender on their shows. In this paper I will discuss how these have affected the way I view the media now. Now I know I really have to pay attention to what I see.
This first topic that I think needs the most attention is that of political influence upon the media viewers. When we viewed the video Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism we witnessed that one sided-ness of the Fox News channel. This is a way of showing their viewers their own point on topics. When we watch the news we as people expect that the news is supposed to be unbiased. This company is definitely not that. Rupert Murdoch is a Republican to the bone. He had his anchors report his view upon a situation. He sent notes and memos about what he wanted on the news, and what he wanted to show the people. We now know that most people get their information about political candidates from the news media. “Candidates have complete control over media images when they produce their campaign commercials. Television advertising is a central part of most electoral campaigns, and some evidence suggests that voters receive more information about candidates from campaign commercials than from news coverage.” (Croteau & Hoynes, p.237) So if Murdoch has complete control over what we see on the Fox News Network then what do you think that we see most of the time. They present positive Republican promotion and they negatively promote Democrat views. Yet Fox states that they present the news in an unbiased fashion. They only present other views in this way, “Sources say,” Or they say, “they say.” The news anchors act as if they want to take no credit for other views that they report on their shows.
Another way in which television or radio stations have influence upon political races is the advertisements that they present to viewers or listeners. Political leaders can pass specific bills or laws to benefit radio stations or television stations for airtime. In return commercials for candidates are played to promote that person. The book even describes this, “It is possible that those building media empires could use their media outlets to promote a very specific political agenda; when media barons become candidates for major office, their media holdings can be invaluable political resources” (Croteau & Hoynes, p48). That is another way media has political power. They have a specific political plan that can help candidates so the runners for the presidency or government positions get on board with the media stations. Therefore they rely on each other.
The second issue that catches my attention is how the media is diversity of conglomerates in the USA. I just want to state one thing first; there is not a big diversity of conglomerates. There are very few ways in which we receive or information from news. AOL Time Warner and Viacom own pretty much everything in the mass media. We tried to prevent this at first by passing laws that state that there could not be a monopoly across the mass media. After Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act it pretty much went downhill. At first we stopped a company from buying too many radio or TV stations. “The FCC has regulated the number of television stations and radio stations a single company can own, although the limit has changed over time” (Croteau & Hoynes, p90). The limit has definitely changed. Now a company can own an ungodly amount of radio stations and a big number of TV stations. What does that mean? It means that all of media is portrayed the same. If a conglomerate puts out a product, film, or music it will be on all of the affiliated stations, radio and television. The commercials for the film, music, or product will be promoted so much.
Along with the promotion of those products we as a people will also get something called “repackaging.” This is what all conglomerates do. They take a movie for instance, and they will make action figures, posters, blankets, collectibles, and so on. I think you get the picture. Why is this a problem you say? I think it is a very big problem because of variety. If we as a people do not get variety then what happens is we get bored with what comes out. Therefore making us want more and more. It is as if we have no voice of our own anymore. “The days of “free speech” protecting the small publisher of pamphlets are largely over. Instead, the control of major media has become centralized in the corporate offices of giants such as AOL Time Warner and Viacom” (Croteau & Hoynes, p.90).
Lastly, I want to present that fact of race and gender being depicted in the media. Race is something that is important to the diversity of the United States. Race is shown in many different ways in the media. African Americans are shown to be gangsters and thugs. Oriental people are shown to be in positions of intelligence or dealing with computers. Mexican people are shown to be not very intelligent and they are shown in jobs of hard labor rather than higher intelligent jobs. These shows that render these people in these ways hurt everyone else’s view of their races. We form prejudices and stereotypes about these cultures based upon these television shows and that is not right.
Another way in which people are shown as what they usually are not is women. Women and men are supposed to be equal in this day and age, right? That is not the way in which women are depicted as on television. “Television, for example, features more portrayals of men than women, and men appear more often in lead roles” (Croteau & Hoynes, p212). I have not seen a show in a while where the lead character was a women. “Central plots of many films, music videos, and television programs, ensure that women are regularly included in these Medias, though in secondary roles” (Croteau & Hoynes). This should not be. Women are just as powerful as men. Women sometimes are more powerful because the have suffered so long, and have been unequal for so long.
Through this class I have learned many different ways to look at the media now. I have begun to notice the way in which women are and are not portrayed in television and media. Also with regards to diversity of the media it really is not. There are very few companies that have control over everything. Therefore repackaging occurs very often. Similar product are at are disposal. Lastly, the influence upon the political society that the media has is very large no matter what they say. Fox news is the biggest culprit. They have ultimate control over everything. They are the most right-winged media station in America. They totally support the Republican Party. If you cannot get the news unbiased or without any type of influence, then what is the point of that type of media. This class and the text have totally opened my eyes to a world of bias and power hungry maniacs. I definitely will think of all of these things whenever I watch any form of media from this moment on. I just have to say if it was not in this class I would have had something similar to a blindfold on the rest of my life.