Our media and culture class is primarily made of white, privileged students. South High school, however, is known for its cultural awareness and diversity. After visiting South High, I recognized how important diversity is in the media. I realize now how growing up in a predominantly white and upper-class suburb has blinded me to the diversity of our country.
Before we presented our videos, we were introduced to a few students from South High school that were from other countries. They also had videos prepared for us and I realized that the variety of their backgrounds reflected the variety in topic choices for their videos. This further proved to me how important it is that all viewpoints deserve to be heard. My group’s video focused on the control of the media through big conglomerates. Five major companies have complete control over the media and because of their control; it is their opinions that are portrayed.
Marshall Mcluhan’s idea about the “global village” and the connection that could be made amongst the world if everyone’s voice was heard can be closely related to our experience. The discussion in my group’s video about the five media conglomerates can also be compared to the rest of the world. The only voices heard in the world are those that are within affluent nations or chief media companies. If the world had access to media in a “global village” setting then there would be an influx in the diversity of opinions. This increase would educate the world on issues in a myriad of contexts.
My experience at South High school does not make me want to change my video essay. Although the demographic we were aiming for was different from the students at South High, I still believe our video was captivating for the media students at South High. Even if you had not seen the Old Spice commercials before, seeing a man in a robe by a fire place is still funny! If I could, I would add something about media economics on a global level.
Clearly, the media plays a major role when it comes to influencing our society. Growing up in a large family I have seen how certain commercials have affected my siblings. Watching my younger siblings act like the people they see on the television is what has made me so interested in media effects. The media has been affecting our society for years. One model of media has been around as early as the World Wars. They hypodermic or “silver bullet” model was very efficient because it allowed the media to inject “a message directly into the bloodstream of the public.”(231). Unlike the other techniques, this one uses coercion, making the public agree with the messages they see and hear.
Media Economics is the influence of a few media companies on everything the public hears and sees. It embodies financial, speculative, as well as realistic questions specific to media of all types. Economic policies and practices of media companies are particularly concerning to media economics. In particular, “one of the clearest trends in media ownership is its increasing concentration in fewer and fewer hands.” (32). It’s troubling to me that what we watch on the television, hear on the radio, and read in the news is entirely controlled by five large corporations: Time Warner, Walt Disney Company, Viacom, News Corporation, and Bertelsmann AG. Media economics is important to understand because in an attempt to make a profit, large corporations have a great effect on our society.
Free Press is a national organization that works to reform the media. They do not favor any political party or operate with the objective of making a profit. Free Press strives for: autonomous media ownership to avoid a monopoly on media, a sturdy and solid media for the public to engage as well as inform audiences, excelling journalism to sustain democracy, and access to open communications to ensure that all viewpoints are heard. Their purpose is to educate the public about the current failing media system in hopes of promoting media reform.
The government used to protect against monopolies of technology by not allowing companies to merge media forms. For example, telephone companies could not enter the cable business. Today, companies such as Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon provide telephone, cable, and internet. “Many critics were concerned about the specter of a “single-wire” monopoly…” (88The FCC has promoted legislation to “ensure net neutrality, preserving open access to the internet and a level playing field for all websites, whereby all content would be treated equally.”(89). Telephone regulations require equal treatment but Cable does not which affects access to the internet. Some internet content can receive preferential treatment, while other content is slowed or blocked. Net neutrality would ensure that there would be no preferential treatment. Free Press supports net neutrality because they want an open Internet; one that is affordable and accessible to appropriate users. Free Press “promotes universal access and encourages competition in the broadband marketplace.”
Free Press has supported net neutrality but in late September Free Press filed a law suit against the FCC arguing with a proposed rule about mobile providers. Can you explain what Free Press did not like about the rule?
After World War II ended many Americans sought out “The American Dream”. Families started settling down, living a traditional life with white picket fences. The play, “Death of a Salesman”, (turned into a movie) appealed to many Americans because they could relate to it. “Death of a Salesman” is a great study of the American Dream ideology. The main character, Willy Loman is a product of the growing capitalist society which has caused him to become obsessed with being successful. However, to him, success is measured by popularity and material wealth, similar to Americans during this time. Because of this, Willy Loman wasn’t as successful as he wanted to be. He ends up living in a world of reflection, afraid to face the present problems he has created for himself and his family.
Those that were worried about being successful could relate with Willy Loman’s ideology. For some, not having any success in the work-field meant turning to the social hierarchy. For Willy Loman, being well-liked was the definitive criterion of life success. The American dream of affluence became Willy’s dream. In his sixties, Willy realized he never achieved any of his aspirations. Not everyone was as successful as they lead on. The story “Death of a Salesman” taught those that could relate to Willy not to lose sight of what they need to do to receive the perks of “The American Dream”.
Willy’s story was easily relatable to those in the 1940’s that weren’t as successful as other people. Although it is a tragedy, it puts many things into perspective. The movie “Death of a Salesman” reminded people that it took more than popularity to achieve the ideology of the American Dream. In the end at Willy’s funeral, when only Willy’s sons, wife, and two neighbors show up, Willy’s wife asks where all of his friends are? Thus proving that where you stand in the social hierarchy does not dictate your success in life. In the movie “Death of a Salesman”, those that were struggling to be successful in the 1940’s can relate to Willy Loman and his failure at an attempt to live the American Dream.