Tag Archives: regulation

An Unpredictable Future

Media is constantly changing, evolving, and growing due to the influence of countless factors.  The media today is nothing like the media of ten years ago and the media ten years from now will be nothing like todays.  While knowing what the media of the future will look like is impossible we can look at how media has evolved up to this point, and how other major influences are currently evolving to make assumptions as to what media might look like in the future.

Technology, in my opinion, is the biggest influence on the media currently.  I believe this because of the power it gives media producers and consumers.  It is rapidly evolving, opening new possibilities for media consumption and distribution.  In recent years technology has given the former consumers the power to produce media and to gatewatch more effectively.  This has taken some of the power to gatekeep from the large media producers.  As technology evolves it will continue to change the dynamic between large media companies and the general public, hopefully for the better.

Over the past 50 years one of the most controversial and influential trends in media is the concentration of ownership.  We are down to so few companies owning most of the media that it is hard to imagine ownership getting any more concentrated.  This past week Comcast agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, formerly the nations two largest cable companies will soon be one.  As greedy companies like Comcast continue to buy out every competitor how long will it be until our Big 5 become consolidated into a single conglomerate?  While the formation of one mega conglomerate is very unlikely, even the consolidation from five to four major media companies would give each company a great increase of power and influence.

Technology and ownership concentration are just two of many influences on the future of media.  Technology has given more people access to information and the ability for the consumers of media to become producers of media.  With this new increase in information and power the consumers can be better informed.  This will hopefully lead to larger concern about ownership consolidation.  The media has a enormous effect on everyone viewing it, and so it is important for the viewers to have an interest in knowing the truth about that media.  As we move into the future it will be increasingly important to be active viewers.  Looking to the future we can only hope that everyone does their part in staying informed and keeping the media working for the people.

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Regulating for Morality

The content displayed in the media has been a controversial issue for a number of years.  The content portrayed in the media has influence over everyone who observes it, and as a society, we need to be aware of what we are being exposed to.  Do we want young children having access to inappropriate music, movies, or other forms of media? What will be the affects if they are exposed?  We also have to look at the other side of this, which is freedom of speech and censorship.  I personally don’t like censorship; I think it takes away from the ultimate goal of what the content is supposed to portray.  But then I think about the music industry, and the clean versus explicit version of songs.  For a long time, my mother would only let me purchase the clean version of songs.  Which is fine, but then parts of the music are beeped out, or substituted with milder language.  Is this considered censorship?  Does using profanity really add to the goal of a song?  There are a number of different perspectives to take from this.

Our text discusses how once presidential candidate Bob Dole gave a speech on the evil of pop culture. He stated, “One of the greatest threats to American family values is the way our popular culture ridicules them.  Our music, movies, television and advertising regularly push the limits of decency, bombarding our children with destructive messages of casual violence and even more casual sex.”  The first issue with this is that government shouldn’t regulate what a family views in terms of the media.  That decision should be up to the parents.  Another issue is that not all families are the same, and they have different values.  Dole appears to be narrow minded while generalizing typical “American values”.  Also, not every song, movie, show or piece of media ridicules family values.  I do think that adverting rides the line of indecency, sexism, and a number of other issues, in order to make money.  Dole also argues that, “we must hold Hollywood and the entire entertainment industry accountable for putting profit ahead of common decency.”  If the entertainment industry were held accountable for their actions, society would view things differently and act accordingly.  Top executives benefit from the profits, while society is constrained because they are exposed to a poor influence.  However, there is an argument that censorship constrains the artist and freedom of speech, which is something America, prides itself on.  In this case, one could argue that families benefit from censorship.  Ultimately, I don’t think there should be censorship and regulation by the government.  Nowadays, everyone has access to everything because of social media and the Internet, so attempting to regulate the media is almost impossible.  I think if parents don’t want their children to view certain things, then it’s their decision and responsibility to regulate what they view.  However, I also think that advertisers need to stop objectifying women in their ads.  Women shouldn’t be portrayed like that if men aren’t.  It’s disrespectful and widens the gender barrier, which is a problem to our society.

 

 

Money vs. Morality: The War on Advertising Accuracy

      Living in today’s society, it is almost impossible to escape the constant onslaught of advertising. Print ads, television ads, radio ads, and, most recently, internet ads bombard the brain with extreme frequency. Because advertising is such a large part of and has such a great impact on our lives, its content is a hot topic. Many agencies, such as the FCC and FTC, have formed in order to regulate the advertising industry, but even with regulations in place, there is great debate over the content that advertisers should and should not be able to use. In this debate, there are two main side: that of the business and that of the consumer. 

     From the perspective of the business, advertising provides a way to sell a product or idea. Because of this, it makes sense that I business would attempt to lure potential customers in by the most effective means necessary. This may mean blurring the lines of accuracy and morality in order to make a product more appealing. From this point of view, advertising is not about ethics, but rather the main goal is effectiveness. 

     On the other side of the coin, however, you have the perspective of the consumer. When deciding what products to buy, consumers must place a certain amount of trust in the advertisements put out by the companies selling the products. To the customer, advertisements provide a window into products, ideas, and the companies behind them. Thus, customers desire advertisements to be truthful. 

     In this battle, I side with the consumer. This is due to the fact that I am a consumer and expect a certain standard from companies attempting to sell to me, as well as my overall believe that there are moral values companies should be compelled to align with. Because so many citizens have this same opinion, the FTC, FCC, and other agencies help hold companies accountable for their advertisements for the benefit of consumers. Issues these organizations address include, the accuracy of the information advertisements provide, ethical concerns of the advertisements, and amount of advertising time. Although business’ may be constrained by these rules, such as not being able to have the most effective advertisements because of time or content restrictions, they provide numerous benefits for society overall. For one, each of us, including those in the advertising and business industries, are consumers. Thus, each of us benefits from more accurate information when deciding what to buy. Furthermore, regulations regarding ethical issues, such as advertising to children and advertising for certain vices (tobacco, alcohol, etc.), are beneficial because they reduce the possible negative influences advertising can have. Because exposure to advertising is so constant in our society, the ideas expressed in advertisements have a huge impact on our thinking. Therefore, the less detrimental ideas we are exposed to, the less of an impact they will have on us. Thus, although regulations are not favorable for companies, the services they provide are crucial for consumers and society as a whole. 

Sources

Media/Society by David Croteau and William Hoynes