I found the story about the grassroot efforts that stopped the proposed Wal-Mart from being built in St. Petersburg, Florida to be the most compelling. I was amazed and shocked when reading about Wal-Mart’s history and how they treat their employees. It is fascinating that in only 30 years, 5,000 Wal-Marts were built. I was disgusted when I read that Wal-Mart gets most of their products from China and that these workers only get paid 40 cents an hour whereas the CEO of Wal-Mart made $32 million dollars in 2008. This means that it would take 27,397 Chinese workers who worked 365 days a year for eight hours a day to add up to the $32 million dollars that this one CEO makes. I also thought it was awful that Wal-Mart gives their employees very low salaries. Williams states that, wages and benefits were so low that employees qualified for food stamps and healthcare. These are just a few facts that I found very interesting about the history of Wal-Mart and how they treat their employees.
I thought that the story about how the media helped to get people involved in preventing the construction of a new Wal-Mart in St. Petersburg, Florida to be very compelling. One individual who really took a stand and helped others in the community realize the harm of building a Wal-Mart in this community was WMNF radio reporter Andrew Stelzer. The way in which he reported fascinated me. He used many arguments to persuade listeners’ way a new Wal-Mart should not be built. He interviewed three activists on his show that all brought up different points that would appeal to different members of his audience. One activist brought up the point that there are already three Wal-Marts near this area and one is only 4.2 miles away. Another activist brought up the issue that if this new Wal-Mart was built, it would cause major traffic jams in this area that many citizens would not want to deal with. The final activist that Stelzer had on his show explained that, many of Wal-Marts employees receive their health care benefits from the state. On his radio show, he then played audio from a member of the Sierra Club that stated that Wal-Mart said there were only six acres of wetlands, when in reality there were 20 acres. She also stated that, “Wetland mitigation has a 50 to 90 percent failure rate” (128). From these interviews on Stelzer’s show, it helped inform people about the potential dangers and problems that this new Wal-Mart could have on their community and the natural environment.
Another way in which Stelzer helped stop this Wal-Mart from being built through using his radio show is that on the day of the hearing, he let his listeners know that they could still make it to the hearing and show their disapproval of the proposed Wal-Mart. He did this by giving out a telephone number that listeners could call to get more information on this hearing. He stated that by the end of the hearing, hundred of people showed up to show their disapproval of building a new Wal-Mart. I thought that Stelzer’s reporting was very inspiring. It is sad to say, but I do not think I have ever heard or seen a report take so much action in helping to make a community a better place. I hope that in the future more reporters will choose this career because they truly care about helping others and will not be persuaded by corporations with a lot of money.
The St. Petersburg Times was another aspect of the media that talked out against the construction of building a Wal-Mart in this community. In the St. Petersburg Times they discussed a story about another Wal-Mart that was built in Oldsmar, Florida. The company promised to create a wetland in order to gain five acres of land they needed to construct their store. Reporters Craig Pittman and Matthew Waite stated that the man-made wetlands the company made failed and the company then tried to sell this land. The one problem in the St. Petersburg Times articles was that they did not give their readers an idea of what they could do to help prevent this Wal-Mart from being built within their community.
Before reading this article, I never realized how powerful the media can truly be. This story showed that the media can be used to inspire people to talk out against what is wrong and what they can do in order to fix or solve a problem. I also find it incredible that through one source of media it can inspire hundreds, if not thousands of people to get involved and fight for what they believe in.
The question I have for Eesha Williams is, Why do you think that so many different classes of people are under represented in the media (especially in the news) and what do you think will need to happen in order for this problem
The one way in which our interaction at South High related to globalization is that through some of the videos we showed, we are able to view aspects of different cultures that would have been hard to imagine before the advances in media technology. Croteau states that, “With electronic mass media, the ideas, images, and sounds of different cultures are potentially available to vast networks of people outside the culture from which the original message originated” (326). Some videos I remember that vividly displayed other cultures, sounds, ideas, and images were the videos on social media and the video on how news is represented differently between China and the United States.
I learned a great deal about Cultural imperialism after reading this chapter. I was completely amazed that Western media, especially from the United States had such a big impact on other nations. Popular shows and movies in America dominate what is seen in other countries. According to Croteau, he states that, “European Union movie theaters are dominated by American movies, with U.S. productions attracting over 67% of European cinemagoers in 2009” (333). He also states that U.S. TV series and films account for 60% of series and 55% of films in Europe (333). I also learned that the reason that U.S. films and television series appeal to other countries is because of the big budgets and amazing effects that these U.S. production companies can put into their products. The final aspect that I found interesting about cultural imperialism is that many countries choose to use U.S. made media products because they are cheaper to buy then if the country was to make their own TV series and movies.
I also found the idea of Marshall Mcluhan’s “global village” absolutely fascinating. His idea is that people of the world would become closer if they made their voices heard (325). What really intrigued me was that this is most certainly not the case. Almost all of the world’s media comes from North America, Japan and Europe. Just like the video that my group and I made that discusses how only a few corporations truly control what we see and hear in the media, this seems to be the case on a worldwide scale. In reality, the only people in the world who really get to let their voices be heard within the media are major media corporations that are in wealthy nations.
I think that the politics of information is very important. I completely agree with the Final Act of the 1948 UN conference that states that, “freedom of information is a fundamental right of the people…” (339). I found it interesting that the idea that information should flow freely is something that many nations don’t have and that the United States takes for granted. I found it astounding that much of the news that the world receives comes from the Western associated press services such as United Press International or Reuters. I do agree that the government should have involvement with the media in developing countries. Croteau states that, “…in developing nations, government involvement with local media represented the only way to ensure the existence of an alternative to Western media conglomerates. In addition, many developing nations did not want to be simply flooded by the “free flow” of information from the West” (340). Many of these nations want a free and more balanced flow of information instead of information that only comes from Western nations. These are just a few of the main aspects that I found very interesting and compelling within this chapter.
From my experience at South High school it does not make me want to change my video essay. I thought that our video really captivated our audience with its unique sense of humor and the examples that we used in our video. One of the students from South commented on our video saying that he thought that our use of the Old Spice character and how this can be seen through many mediums was a very funny and clever way of presenting our argument. If even only one student learned from our video about why horizontal integration and the concentration of media ownership is bad and found it to be clever and humorous then I believe our video succeeded in what it was supposed to do and I would not change a thing about it.
Throughout this class, the theory that I have found the most compelling and interesting is Media Economics. The reason that I find Media Economics the most compelling theory is because it explains to me how everything we see and hear is influenced by only a hand full of media companies. For example, there are only five global firms that dominate the mass media in the United States and those firms are, Time Warner, The Walt Disney Company, News Corporation, Viacom and Bertelsmann AG (32). I am also interested in some of the consequences that Media Economics has on our society. Media Economics shows me that the main focus of the media in our society is to make a profit. I find it absolutely terrifying that everything I see, hear and listen to is controlled by only a few corporations.
The number one goal of major media corporations is making a profit. This concept has damaged many media industries including the music industry. It has also affected the quality of the music we see and hear. For example in the chapter discussing the Economics of the Media Industry, it talks about how MTV started up as a way to promote its music to younger audiences. Media companies loved the idea of MTV because; “MTV was economically viable because it had virtually no programming costs…” (68). Also they loved it because the idea of music videos was a new way for their record companies to advertise an artists and see how successful they will become. Another example that demonstrates how media corporations are more interested in profit than content can be seen in contemporary news media. According to Croteau, “Advertisers are the dominant source of revenue for print, broadcast, and online news…” (66). Since news media primarily gets its money from advertisers, they have come up with many elaborate techniques to put advertising in their news broadcasts to please their contributors. For example, in news broadcasts, they will cover topics such as music, computers, health, food and fashion because it will attract advertisers or put current advertisers products in a favorable light. Another example would be how news broadcasts always end with a happier story because it will make it so that audiences are in a buying mood and will be more attentive to advertisements that follow the news broadcast (67). This interest in profit over content can be seen in many other media outlets such as television shows and movies.
I believe that Media Economics affects other theories. One theory that I saw that was truly affected by Media Economics was the theory of Media Effects. Since our media is concentrated in the hands of so few corporations, very few people really have a say in what we see in the media. There is one weakness I found within the theory of Media Effects that strengthens the idea that Media Economics is the dominant ideology. In the “Hypodermic Model,” it states that the media is injecting its message into the “bloodstream” of its audience (231). This sub theory clearly demonstrates how very few media owners are allowed to manipulate and influence the views of the public. They coerce the public into believing that the messages they see and hear are correct and that there is no room to disagree with these messages. This also demonstrates that the effects media have on the public are really in control of these corporations because the only messages the media portrays is that of these media giants.
For all of the reasons that I have demonstrated, this is why I believe that Media Economics is the most compelling and interesting theory about how the media is portrayed and interpreted in our society.
Free Press first started in 2002 by a media scholar Robert W. McChesney and Josh Silver. Free Press is a national, unbiased, nonprofit organization that is working to make changes and improve the media in the United States. The main aspects they promote are independent media, ownership, quality journalism, public media and universal access to independent communications. As of today Free Press is the largest media reform organization in the United States with half a million activists. They believe the media system in our country is corrupt and that the only real people that have a say in how media is distributed and portrayed is the powerful media companies that have lobbyist get the laws passed that would benefit them. Free Press’s purpose is that they want the public to have a say in how the media should be distributed and portrayed.
One clear example that demonstrates why Free Press does what it does that was in the chapter on political influence on the media is when it was discussing “Net Neutrality.” On page 89 it states that, “Instead, [telecommunication and cable providers], have proposed plans for a two-tiered Internet with an expensive high-speed network that major content providers will pay to access, along with a much slower lane for everyone else.” Free Press believes that the media should not be influenced solely on what politicians and media giants want. Instead they think that the public should have the real say in how they get their media. Also Free Press is against unequal treatment of media distrbution and their organization is trying to get rid of corrupt media tatics such as this one. If practices like these go into effect, it could have serious consequences for the general public.
One question I have that I would like to ask the director of Free Press is why has the issue of Net Neutrality occurred fairly recently? Why didn’t cable providers do this two lane Internet when the internet was first created and widely used by the public? Also another question I have is what can members of the general public do to try and stop media companies from proforming unethical practices such as this?
One bias in our culture that I noticed in many films is how wealth is achieved and valued in our society. Many movies that have recently come out demonstrate an underdog who defies the odds and becomes successful and wealthy. These types of movies demonstrate that through hard work, dedication, perseverance and believing in themselves the American dream can be achieved and that any hard obstacles can be overcome. These movies seemed to have become very prevalent in the past decade due to the economic recession that America has been going through during the 2000’s. During this time, many individuals in our society lost almost everything they had. When this happened this shattered the confidence and belief that many people had in themselves as well as in the American economy. Some movies that demonstrate these rags to riches stories are The Pursuit of Happiness, Notorious and the Blindside. Within these movies the main characters start out with virtually nothing but deify the odds and become extremely successful through hard work and dedication.
In the Pursuit of Happiness, The main character, Chris Gardner, starts out by investing his family’s savings into a product that eventually fails. He eventually becomes homeless and through dedication, hard work, and the love he has for his son, he is able to gain an internship with a brokerage firm and eventually gains a full time job there. Later he ends up starting his own multi-million dollar brokerage firm. This type of story inspires people who have almost nothing that they can achieve anything if they believe in their abilities and aspire to perform to the best of their abilities.
These movies tend to benefit the working and lower income classes in our society. In a society where many people are losing their jobs in a poor economy, these films show that people can become successful and wealthy as well as overcome their adversities if they work hard enough. These types of films also show that even if they are at a low point in their life, they can always pick themselves back up and achieve success. These films also benefit the people who hold power in our society because when their workers see these types of rags to riches stories they may start working harder and obtain money which they will start spending which will help our economy grow.
Here is the link for a review of the Pursuit of Happiness: