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Mc Kinon (98)

Mapping 38

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Mc Kinon

Mapping # 38 - Media Magic: Making Class Invisible - Mass media arguably most influential in modeling public consciousness - Unlike other socializing institution - ownership & control of mass media are highly concentrated o E.g. t 23 cooperation owns more than ½ daily newspaper, magniz, movie studio, radio & TV in US o # of media companies shrinking while control of industry is expanding - Media key role in defining our cultural taste, helping locate ourselves in history, establishing national identity, ascertain range of national & social possibilities - US most stratified in industrialized world - Class distinction operates every aspect of our lives  determine nature of our work, quality of schooling, health & safety of our loved ones o But have illusion of living in egalitarian society by media hiding gross inequities from public view  When exposed come up w/ excuses by blaming the victims for their own plight About the Poor - News media meager coverage of poor people & poverty  coverage they provide is distorted & misleading The Poor Do Not Exist - Most part – media ignores poor - Rate of poverty is increasing 2 as fast as population growth in US - When media does turn its attention to poor often a series of contradictory messages & portrayals The Poor Are Faceless - Each year Census report news on poverty & its results duly reported in media  this coverage emphasizes annual fluctuations ( showing how the numbers differ from previous years) & ongoing about the validity of the numbers ( some argue number should be lower, most thought number should be higher) - This desensitizes us to poor by reducing poverty to a number & ignores human tragedy of poverty o Poor becomes stats than people The Poor Are Undeserving - Media provide us w/ sensational stories about welfare cheats, drug addicts, greedy panhandlers ( almost always urban & black) o Compares these images & emotions evoked by them w/ media’s treatment of middle class ( usually white) “tax evaders”, celebrities who have a chemical dependency or wealthy business people who use unscrupulous means to make profit o While these are consider deviations from norm & impropriety  poor’s behavior is considered repugnant indicative of the poor in general & worthy of our indignation & resentment The Poor Are an Eyesore - Media does cover poor – often presented via the eyes of the middle class  focusing of middle class opposition to the poor than plight of the poor o E.g. poor are an inconveniences & an irritation The Poor have only themselves to Blame - Media tell us that poor live in personal & cultural cycle of poverty that hopelessly imprisons them - Center on black urban population & focus on the perceived personality & cultural traits of doom the poor o E.g. women have attitude leads to promiscuity which leads to single motherhood & men posses immediate gratification that leads to drug abuse, unquenchable greed that leads pursuit of fast money - These images are sexist, racist & classist  Census revel most poor are white not black or Hispanic , that they live in rural or suburban areas not urban center , holding jobs at least part of the year - BUT in understanding & sympathetic tone were told that the poor have inflicted poverty on themselves The Poor are down on their Luck - Christmas season – news media sometimes provide us w. accounts of poor individuals or families (usually white) who are down on their luck o Linked to stories about soup kitchen, or other charitable activities & sometimes call for charitable contribution o “Yule time” stories are much about the Affluent as they are about the poor  represent affluent in our society as kind, understanding, giving people  we NOT - These are temporary situation that will improve w/ time & luck - w/ each variation media inform us about what poverty is not ( i.e. systematic & American US) by informing us what it is - media tell us poverty is either: o aberration of American way of life (e.g. temporary situation or number -it doesn’t exist) o end product of poor themselves (are nuisance, don’t deserve better, have bought predicaments upon themselves)  William Rayan called “blaming the victims”  blunt hostile or cloaked sympathy the message is that there is something fundamentally wrong w/ victims – hormones, psychological makeup, family environment, community, race or some combination of these that accounts for the plight for their failure to lift themselves out of poverty - BUT poverty in US is systematic & direct result economical & political policies that deprive people from jobs w/ adequate wages, or legitimate support  neither natural or inevitable o Enough wealth just need redistribute - Poverty also have impact on the non-poor  e.g. dampening the effects on wages in general ( by maintaining high unemployment rate), breeds crime & violence ( by maintain conditions that invite private gains by illegal means) About everyone else - Media strive to develop strong sense “we-ness” in their audience  speak to affluent & like- minded audience (middle & upper class) - Benjamin DeMott points out the New York time understanding of affluences to be intelligent, tast
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