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Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2100F/G
Jonathan Burston

MIT 2100 FINAL EXAM REVIEW MIT 2100 Final Exam Review Midterm Review 1) What is political economy? - neo-liberal economic theory - historical context, post-war settlement, ideology political economy vs. regular economics -> laissez faire -> Media is not a regular commodity, it is a CULTURAL CONTRIBUTOR sphere vs. public sector -> abstract notion -> institutionalized (gov, police, etc) after WWII welfare state where public broadcasting was born from the idea that citizens need basic needs met to participate in the economic system. This was called Keynesianism and it is not of good nature, it is so people had purchasing power and contributed to the economy. 1) Why a political economy of media? A holistic approach that traditional economics overlooks; it considers social factors of economics that must be considered. Keynesian economics is an example of political economy. 1) Media regulation and Deregulation 1980s - the birth of Neo-Liberalism - a rebirth of liberal notions towards lucrative business ventures - favored government deregulation of business in the favor of corporate interest - Scolded Keynesian “nanny state” and decided that business could govern themselves Applied to media -> 1996 Telecommunications Act - drastic change that dramatically altered the media landscape with deregulation - Ironically, in the name of deregulating corporations vied for more competition and a healthier market but instead big companies merged, giant conglomerates were formed with a concentration of ownership that resulted in LESS competition Monopolies, oligopolies Rise Disney/ABC, CBS-Viacom a great example of this concept Regulation in the Public Interest (Fairness Doctrine) Deregulation in the favor of corporate interest (1996 Telecommunications Act) Structural Trends (vertical and horizontal integration) Media industry strategies: 1) synergy 2) reducing risk by reducing competition 3) homogenization 4) trivialization 5) sensationalism Impact on content: 1) self censorship 2) advertiser influence of content Antitrust Law: What a company can and can’t own (monopoly) Capitalism is based on competition in the market yet the ultimate goal of the players in the market is to eliminate their competitors. Star Trek is horizontally integrated and synergized Cross promotion - Joint venture Convergence - container of the media itself -9/11 Murdoch/golding converging systems Black Tuesday - newspaper monopoly in Canada Economies of Scale, you may not be hit so hard with losses Fourth Estate October 28: How The Media Business Influences Society Readings: Chapter 6, “War and the Media” Today’s reading focues precisely how media infleunces society. OUTFOXED: Rupert Murdoch’s war on Journalism Commercial News media characteristics Drama -> better profit margins 24/7 News cycle lends to cultivation of drama (conjecture, heated argument) Negativity: emphasize shocking, disturbing, depressing result in pessimisting about possibilies of positive change BENEFITS advertisers who deliver the cure to generated unhappiness Events instead of issues Personalities instead of policies Fragmentation and superficiality episodic approach to making news citizens are encouraged to be passive and avoid participation Lack of relevance Strategy over substance Does little to give citizens right to participate WHO SAID WHAT is emphasized more than WHAT WHO SAID Outfoxed: - Fundamentally undermining democracy - 4.7 Billion audience under Rupert Murdoch - Murdoch perpetuated Republican, Neo-liberal consumerist Agenda - Orders outlets to carry out propaganda--Cover Raegan birthday party - Ordered to undermine Kennedies - CEO of FOX NEws COrp Media Strategist for Reagen, Bush - “sharpshooters” as snipers Fox News Techniques: - No traditional journalism - odd polling, graphics -> delicate, “Fair & balanced” - flag pioneered as icon of the news network -> opinion of FOX becomes naturalized as the opinion of AMERICA and thus if you do not agree with fox you do not agree with america. This is NATURALIZED and there is NO ESCAPE. - News becomes inseparable from commentary - Lack of integrity - “Some people say” technique -> clever to mask one’s own opinion - Argument doesn’t need to be won, other’s just cant win - and this is justified as a win - On the most superficial level conservative reporters embody american beauty ideals of femininity, manliness, strength, activeness while liberal reporters are ostracized and wimpy - Faux Liberals are brought on stage - Republican correspondent 83% LIberal correspondents 17% - Consumers fraud of a slogan like “fair and balanced” - Ignore important issue -> Raise the unimportant issue - Push the notion of GOD -> Fox is an active advicate of Christian Fundamentalism - Pander to FEAR to convince audience of their ethos November 4: Media Political Economy in the age of Globalization Readings: “Understanding Global Media” Cultural Imperialism Thesis: - The world is far too full thanks to American popular culture of homogenization of culture Media corporations globalize because:- Domestic markets are saturated - Media giants poised to dominate local media in other countries - Who competes with hollywood? - International sales maximize economies of scale, increasing profit margins - Globalizing distribution spreads out risk of loss - Dumping already paid-for programming and cutting costs Social implications of American Media dominance Cut throat competition sells Make buying of American programming that the growth of domestic program is limited Anything that doesn’t kill capitalism makes it stronger new International Cultural Division of Labor - How did major corporations engineer a new international distribution of labour and production tasks? - to attract new talent - reduce costs and “discipline” US cultural labor by demonstrating their capacity to shift large scale media production around the globe Does this Amount to cultural imperialism? 1) The problem of homology: CI theory someitmes links health of local programming too strictly, too automatically to the health of local political institutions (for example, the critique that Canada is becoming the US--not really, say globalization theorists) 2) CI Theory makes such assumptions in part becuase it has often (though not lately) assumed a hypodemic model of programming to influence viewers 1) In other words, what abotu active audiences? 2) Audiences, say globalization theorists, make their own meaning 1) Cultural forms like popular songs/ TV shows are homogenous or homoegenizing. Rather, there are many hybrids. 2) The re-balancing of audio and visual flows. Audio-visual flows used to be largely one- way from US + Britain to every where else. Now, however, cultural flows are more even and equitable. America and Britain don’t dominate the way they used to. Cultural Imperialism Theory Responds 1) Problem of homolgoy. Canada isbeing more like the US. SUN TV function for the tories as FOx news will for the Republicans. 1) Influence we have t worry about isn’t “American” necessarily. Rather, the influence we must worry about it ne-liberal. US Commercial media spread the message of unfettered consumerism and laissez faire capitalism. THey are our times missionaries of global capialism. 2) Active audience - how active in the face of ubiquity. How useful is an analysis. Messages that promote hyper consumerism are not of our concern b/c people will always resist them. 3) Hybridity of cultural forms 1) Popular songs are limited in their formats by commercial radio stations all over the world 2) May incorporate table drums but still 2.5 minutes long 3) TV shows often hybrid, limited extent/licensed formats 4) Thoguh more pormisimg forms begin and reflect different tastes 4) Re-balancing of audio-visual flows 1) Cultural flows maybe more even and more equitable ins ome places. But hwo often to American, Canadian, British audiences watch TV programs and films or listen to music from other places? Dangers of imperialism Globalization is about more than cultural flows though cultural flows pay a bigger part in globalization. - THe internationalization of production, trade, finance - international movements of people (as immigrants, refugees, workers) - Establishment of international regimes is intellectual property and trade - The development of regional trading blocks like EU, NAFTA - The emergence of local resistance to neo-liberal globalization for domestic political + cultural objectives path from right + left. - Incrasingly signifcant role played by NGOs - Growing significance of int’l law and policies - Globalization of war Globalization is NOT new - Despite the hype, capitalist word economy is centuries old - Globalization has intensified since the late 1940s - Globalization has intensified since the 1980s and the acceleration of digital technolgoies Globalization feels “new” now, its because of the power of new communications technologies and the global media Media are central to warp globalization - Media corporations have htemselves been globalizing - Media organizations play key roles in developing global communcations infrastructure “Global media are the principle means--through which we make sense of events in distant places” Global commercial media are central to promotion of capitalism due to sale of services via advertisrs Early phases of globalization were capitalist too. But in this phase, global media in their business practices promote neo-liberal, deregulated laissez-fair capitalism. November 11: Alternatives to the Media Status Quo I: Grassroots Journalism Readings: Chapter 7, We the Media, Democracy and filtering Film: Jehane Noujaim’s Control Room March 2003 - Iraqis wait for Al-Jazeers to annoucne Americ awill wage war You cannot wage a war without media propaganda Bush claims war in the name of peace Al Jazeera launched in 1996 to much criticism cirticized Arab regime called by US the mouthpiece of Bin Laden Central Commands media cneter US Invents a purpose as they go alone American Media hijacked to use as leverage to infuce fuse in American public -> THREAT (orange/yellow) emboided by Iraq, projected on to Saddam in which an enemy is created The US Can only stop the United states America pooutns out the wrongs in Al-Jazeers that it itself embodies Al-Jazeers condemned for showing dead americans Play news geared to respective nationalism becuase that is their audience, they are following the rules of the MARKET MODEL Man will still, nevertheless, take job with Fox news and send his kids there for school-> the American dream, ironically, still persists Some people brought into Saddam Statue takedown brought in / same men/ same age NOT iraqies had flag in pocket before 1991 WHole coverage like a formulaci american Movie history is wirten by the victorious - human memory is short Life will go on You can only meausre objectivity in relativity to others Quick review thus far: Fox: - focuses on drama, negativity - 24/7 news cycle - fragmentation, superficiality - “some people say” masks opinionated news Globalization and Media - cultural imperialism -> not necessarily Americanism, but neo-liberalism - Why meida corporations globaliz - Implications of that globalization The Control Room - Al-Jazeers - Objectivity - War propaganda, embedded journalists Nov 18. Alternatives to the Media Status Quo II: Media Unions and Worker Activism Presentation covers: Media ownership Vertical integrationRole of Public Broadcasters Union in the Media Challenges and what unions are doint on the ground Media ownership is in constant change Updates our own charts 3 Times in the past 2 years virtually all media companies in CAnada are family owned WHy does it matter? - the media crisis itself - biggest single downsizing in our industry ever Who’s telling us this? - No one in the regular media has done much reporting abotu the
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