I often think about what the future holds for our consumption of media. I also ponder whether or not it will be a bright one. I have viewed many of the posts for this blog prompt, and I have seen a common theme of fear for the impending advancements that society will see in technology and its relation to media.
It seems to me that with all of the freedom that we have as producers and consumers of media through the Internet and other technologies, there will be a following of stricter control over how we interact with these freedoms. I’m not too sure if this is a good thing. The thing is, all throughout this class we have really only been able to study the past of media, and how it has developed to what it is today. This is because what the future holds is very unclear. Thus, with this uncertainty of what and how media becomes in the future, it seems that all of us will be unsure how to handle it. Take for instance the whole buzz over the NRA over the last year. A lot of people were very upset when it was found out the lengths in which the government can take through monitoring our activity as members of the internet. On one hand I am upset as well, but on the other I realize that it was the only measures plausible to ensure that there was some length of legal control over our freedoms.
One phenomenon that I find interesting is the new fad that we see on facebook where members of universities create confessions pages. There is clearly someone who manages these facebook pages, yet at the same time people feel anonymous enough to post some pretty embarrassing stuff, and they seem to not realize that there is someone reading it. Thus, I think there needs to be a balance and realization that people need to embrace when it comes to anonymity through text. You can see the DU confessions page here.
Another perplexing concept when it comes to the idea of instant information within society is that I believe we think we are more connected than we actually are. Take for instance the mystery behind the missing Malaysian Airlines Jet. It seems that in today’s time we are always a click away from knowing exactly what happens all over the world. Yet somehow, despite the abundance GPS utilities that comes along with it, has been missing for many days now. I feel that we perhaps can over estimate exactly how accurate the information we receive actually is. If a massive airline jet can go missing so easily, then how can we be sure that information that is quickly updated on the web about events all over the world is accurate? Perhaps we have a far too reliant attitude towards the media and its connection to us.
In the end, I feel that we are taking the initial steps needed to understand our relationship to how media is changing. However, I believe we need to further it by taking more in depth views at how we are going to be agents of how it changes in the future.
A few weeks ago I was channel surfing on my couch and soaking in all the T.V. advertisements without thinking much about it. That is until a cheap commercial promoting U.S. soccer came on the screen. Unfortunately I couldn’t find this commercial online despite about 45 minutes of searching for it, but heres the gist:
The commercial embraced an epic and inspirational tone as it showed a group of soccer players forming a wall in front of the goal for a free kick. The narrator then gave some corny anecdote about how the players have no choice to block the ball with their bodies, and thus praised them as heroes. Then there was a montage of actual times in games that players have been struck in the face while blocking the ball, and it showed an array of players spitting up blood, or mending their bleeding heads. This was all accompanied by heavy music.
Heres the problem I had with the commercial. Soccer is by no means a violent sport. Is it a beautiful sport? Yes. Is it a difficult sport? Yes. However, by no means does any body watch soccer in order to satisfy their craving for human carnage. You don’t see fans lining up outside the stadiums with coolers of beer and MLS shirts preparing to get drunk to watch someone get hurt. No, that is reserved for NASCAR crashes. We get it, a lot of people watch football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, etc., all for the purpose of seeing violence. However, somewhere along the line, the producers of this advertisement thought it may be a good idea to portray violence in soccer with hopes of selling tickets. To the guy who bought a ticket to a soccer game after seeing that commercial just so you can see players bleeding out their ears: I’m sorry to say you will be greatly disappointed.
However, what is even more disappointing is what this strategy for advertisement says about me and other American viewers. The commercial could have easily portrayed the fluidity, athleticism, and poetic nimbleness found in a soccer game, yet they knew that they may have a better shot at selling tickets to a dog show if they stuck to that plan. Instead, they plucked the crux of American entertainment and somehow found a way to sell it along with soccer- blood.
Is it that media knows we want blood though? Or are they simply trying to tell us that we want blood by showing it in even the curiousest of places. I will continue to look for this ridiculous advertisement, but for now enjoy this montage of NASCAR crashes.
And if you clicked on that, then you are a part of the problem. Shame on you…. just kidding!
Lately I often wonder who is gate keeping for the news media website msn.com. While today is just an example, I logged onto the site to pursue a news roundup, and what I found in its headlines was an array of mindless and hardly entertaining jumble. Don’t get me wrong, I am the first guy to be suckered into clicking on an entertainment news article that will tell me about how a guy taught his dog to speak English, or a woman who did a million jumping jacks. But in all honesty, when I truly want to be informed I have lost faith in this website that I used to use quite often.
Where does this problem begin? Gatekeeping. The editors of the news need to monitor just how enriching their material is. Every day there is something important and enriching happening in the world. However, the headlines I see today are focused on some idiot who punched two kids in the face, along with a video of a news reporter getting hit with snowballs.
While it obviously catches my attention when I see anything about a grown man punching kids in the face, I am not so fussed to learn about it , that it should be standing in place for the harder to find material on msn.com.
In order to find important information going on in the US, the world, and outside Sochi for once these days, I need to click on the news portion of the website, and from there filter through the genres in order to keep out all the buzz on entertainment, and strange stories. I know, I know, I’m complaining about having to click a few more times on my computer to get news that people weren’t exposed to so easily even 15 years ago. However, the reality is that this is what the world has come to, and in embracement of it, we should hope that the gatekeepers on popular sites such as msn.com would use their power responsibly, thus finding a much happier medium between important news, and stupid mumbo jumbo that fills the gaps and catches people’s attention.
A very touchy and grey area in the regulation of media is that of media morality. While this subject is entirely objective to any individual consumer of media, there is certainly a line that must or must not be crossed. An example of what makes the media regulation on morality a bit hazy can be found in the textbook’s account of Bob Dole “shaming” Time Warner for producing immoral channels of media. Croteau and Hoynes point out may ways that Dole was in fact condescending himself on the subject of moral regulation. As Dole attacked Time Warner, his rhetoric was calling upon citizen driven pressure to amend the immoral content coming form the company. However, at the same time, Dole had helped pass legislation that allowed the media to be more consolidated, thus nullifying the citizen power. Therefore, if we are to look to our leaders to try and understand how we can regulate the morality in the media, it is difficult to find an entering point in which discovering moral boundaries can occur. Dole is quoted to have directly questioned the morality behind the “gangsta rap” that Time Warner was producing, yet one must wonder if it is really Time Warner’s fault for supporting media with an immoral message, or if it is a much larger issue at hand that speaks to the American condition. If the “gangsta rap” is what is selling, is it really such an issue for Time Warner to provide that- they are just doing what they do to make money. The entire essence of morality is un-definable, and by trying to figure out where the immoral bud is to nip, one will just fall into a rabbit hole. Morality in the media seems to be a two way channel- the people want what they want, and the producers produce what the people demand. However, if in this case it is that the media is telling the people what they want, and then Bob Dole’s attack is completely justifiable.
There is an anonymous letter that has been circulating the Internet lately that tells a tale of a “secret meeting that changed rap music forever”. This letter is by no means proven to be legitimate, and is nothing more than a conspiracy theory. However, if any of it does reign true, it shows the lack of morality behind moneymaking decisions in the media. In so many words, the letter describes a secret meeting that the writer had attended, which consisted of music producers in the early 90’s organized by an anonymous group. At the meeting the producers were briefed about how the companies they worked for had invested in private prisons, and they were ordered to increase their production of gangster rap with more criminal messages in order to fill these prisons. Whether this letter is true or not, it does rise the scary notion that media companies can utilize their power of connecting with citizens in order to benefit their other interests. How should morality in the media be regulated? It seems that this question is too general to answer. Perhaps there needs to be a more bureaucratic line of officers in each corporation that keep check on one another in order to defend the powers at the top. But regardless it seems difficult to tell any company not to operate in their best financial interest.
THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY OWNERSHIP MAP
ABC television network
Disney Channels Worldwide
A&E Lifetime Television
The History Channel
Lifetime Movie Network
The Biography Channel
Lifetime Real Women
Live Well Network
ESPN Radio Network
ESPN The Magazine
Disney Publishing Worldwide
Disney Music Publishing
ABC Media Production
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Records
Buena Vista Records
Lyric Street Records
Buena Vista Concerts
Disney Theatrical Productions
The Disney Store
Disney theme parks and water parks
Disney Interactive Media Group
The Walt Disney Company started in October of 1923 as the Disney Brother’s Cartoon Studio. A household name ever since, Disney has grown to become the largest earning media corporation. Through out the 20th and into the 21st century, the Walt Disney Company has conglomerated ownership through many facets of the media industry, owning well-known media outlets such as ESPN, Buena Vista Records, Marvel, and The History Channel. What I found very interesting in observing all these companies under The Walt Disney Company is that Disney has successfully held an incognito presence in their media components. Disney is a household name across the world, and the name “Disney” is always associated with its frontage of innocence and make-believe. It seems that whenever the company chooses to market its name there is a certain mold that the public eye must associate with it. Thus, it is very interesting to notice that when consuming products such as ESPN, or Marvel, etc., one would not have any inclination that it was owned by the same Disney that brought the world Disney World, or the Disney Channel. I looked deeper into some of the companies that Disney owns to observe the media that they produce and I found some funny information. Disney’s Mammoth Records produced the soundtrack for the film Orgamzmo by the creators of South Park, and the album featured the Wu-Tang Clan – Quite different from the mouse ears that the Walt Disney Company wants the people to be familiar with.
Of the forty companies owned by Disney, only 13 are titled to be associated with the conglomerate.
I received this information from: