Philosophy 2730F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Pretty Smart, Joseph Schumpeter, Manufacturing Consent

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Mayer and Anderson 10/2/2012 3:08:00 PM
Lecture 4
McLuhan Review
Argued that we need to pay more attention to the way technological
innovations change the conditions of human life, we need to
understand the significance of those innovations and the ways in
which they could be dangerous
Chomsky Review
Two possible ways to understand the manner in which the modern
mass media has changed human nature
o Classical/mainstream view mass journalism allows for the
possibility of democracy by informing citizens about the
actions of their government and with enough information,
citizens can fulfill the participatory role required in a
democratic state
o Propaganda model meant to reveal the extent to which
mass journalism provides a new mechanism for social control,
the media helps to manufacture consent of the governed, who
accept the status quo as inevitable
Pick one of the 5 filters, and identify whether or not it does what
Chomsky thinks it does
Mayer
Most people seem to believe that the mass media is biased to the
left of the political spectrum
Amongst scholars, the media is biased right
The goal of Mayer’s piece is to show neither work provides sufficient
evidence to support either Gans’ or Bagdikian’s articles
Gans
o Book was a participant-observer study where he was able to
go into the news rooms of CBS, NBC, Newsweek and Time
o 8 enduring values (pg 57)
Ethnocentrism
The significance of the enduring values is that they are
not subject to challenge, the media emphasizes stories
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that support those ideas and ignore ones that challenge
them
o Problems with Gans’ enduring values:
A wide variety of obviously corrupt corporate actions
could still be perceived as “responsible capitalism”,
Gans did a poor job at describing what “responsible
capitalism” is, to broad of a definition
They are not supported by empirical (testable) data,
Gans admits that his identification of these values is
“impressionistic”, he assumed all journalists shared
these views but he only visited four news rooms
Most problematic is the existence of empirical data that
contradicts Gans’ view
o Journalists were actually seen to lean to the left side of the
spectrum
Gans said that most journalists were right leaning and
the values of journalists will influence what they will
write if they were left leaning, their writing would
reflect those ideas, but most of the writing was right
leaning
This conflicts with the ideas of Chomsky (manufacturing
consent) and that journalists are right leaning; he has
contradicted himself
Bagdikian
o Argues that the claim that there are positive values and
images of corporations and the corporate elite is not justified
Anderson
Says that media is undermining democracy and dumbing everyone
down (mainly during elections)
o The problem he finds is that we expect too much from citizens
o The more media we consume, the less intelligent we become
o Could be seen as him speaking from an elitist view
His arguments are saying that the media hurts democracy because:
o Democracy requires deliberation
o Deliberation requires information
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