Media ownership = bad journalism ??

Former CBS Anchorman Dan Rather, addresses over 15,000 journalists at the National Democratic Convention of how media conglomerates have sacrificed  journalism for “big bucks.”

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Add a comment November 19, 2008
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The media doesn’t know when to draw the line

US Weekly Magazine has demonized Governer Sarah Palin, by using her family to deliver degrading messages that she is not fit to run for vice president.

On September 2, 2008, the magazine showed a picture of Palin with the headline, “Babies, Lies & Scandal” — a marked contrast from its gushing review of Barack and Michelle Obama . Rumors about Palin’s personal life and public record have been swirling since John McCain named her to be his running mate.

 First, it was that Palin’s Down syndrome child Trig was not Palin’s child at all, and that he in fact was born to Palin’s 17-year-old daughter.  US Weekly dredged up a story about Palin’s husband having a DUI some 20 years ago. In addition, The National Enquirer printed a story alleging marital infidelity, which the McCain campaign threatened to sue.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee states that “the reporting of the past few days has proved tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert.” The media doesn’t know when to draw the line and will try to destroy people’s families just for a story.

 

  According to Palin, “There is a little bit of disappointment in my heart about the world of journalism today.”

 

 NBC News President, Steve Capus said,”These terms get thrown around in an awfully cavalier way, and they’re incredibly damaging. We’re in the business where words matter, and those are awfully, awfully strong accusations.”

This whole Sarah Palin firing scandal is just beyond ridiculous.The hysterical attacks on Sarah Palin have increased to the point where even Barack Obama declared that attacks on someone’s children are out of bounds.

 On MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, said he was “stunned” by the focus on Bristol Palin “when there’s been an unwritten code that kids are off-limits.” What initially amounted to tabloid rumors began to hit the news wires such as MSNBC and CNN.

 Whether consciously or unconsciously the media according to Fox News writer Jana Winter “repeats or raises false concern over an issue and it is likely to be planted in the conscious/subconscious of many voters.” 

Regardless of the validity of the criticism, somethings should be off limits in broadcast media. Seeing Palin being attacked so aggressively in public, strips her of who she is as a mother, a wife and a human being.

Add a comment November 12, 2008
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Is OK Magazine Promoting Teen Pregnancy?

 

OK magazine used the pregnancy of Jamie Lynn Spears  to glamorize teenage pregnancy.This celebrity allure excludes the harsh reality and consequences of teen motherhood.

When OK! Magazine announced 16-year-old Nickelodeon star Jamie Lynn Spears’ pregnancy in December 2007, “it was the best-selling issue since the magazine’s American debut in 2005,” says Rob Shuter, OK!’s executive editor.  In an OK Magazine interview in July 2008, Jamie Lynn wants everyone to know that “being a mom is the best feeling in the world,” she’s “happy all the time.” However,Candi Johnson a 19 year old pregnant teen mother disagrees with Spears and was in no way desensitized by  Spears OK interview.

While OK had a frenzy over the teen star’s  shocking ordeal,did the magazine help teen mothers by destigmatizing the issue, or did it recklessly spread the message that being a pregnant teen is, well, OK?Though it is wonderful, for her sake and the baby’s, that Jamie Lynn is adapting to motherhood so well, the interview creates a fairy tale notion of early motherhood. Spears comes from a financially stable family, and seem to be on track to have an array of future opportunities that a more typical teen mom might lack. However this is not the case for an everyday teen mother. According to Monica Drinane of the Legal Aid Society, teen mothers are “typically from our poorest neighborhoods, they are less likely to complete high school, go to college or get married.” Former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin disclosed that her 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, was pregnant, would have the baby and would marry the boyfriend.

“Teen births do have substantial, widespread negative effects, especially for the children of teen mothers,” said University of Delaware economist Saul Hoffman. Given the statistics that 750,000 young women will become pregnant this year, (according to CBS news) one must ask, why are so many young girls getting pregnant?

Spears tale is a familiar terrain in the media landscape. Teen pregnancy has become a hot plot device lately, showing up in two new television shows–ABC Family’s “Secret Life” and NBC’s “Baby Borrowers.” These shows do not portray the negative connotations that are simultaneous to teen motherhood. They rarely address the importance of abstinence and contraception worse the stress and responsibilities that a “non-celebrity” teenage mother encounters.

 Undoubtedly television and magazines are very influential to young girls and should serve to reinforce the real issues behind teenage motherhood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add a comment November 6, 2008
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How the press rolled over Bush

 

Lapdogs,written by Eric Boehlert, demonstrates that for the entire George W. Bush presidency,the news media have utterly failed in their duty as watchdog for the public.

Eric Boehlert reveals how, time after time, the press chose a soft approach to covering the government, and as a result reported and analyzed crucial events incompletely and even inaccurately. Mainstream media houses such as The New York Times, CBS, Fox News and Time Magazine too often ignored the administration’s missteps and misleading words, and did not call out the public officials who betrayed the country’s trust.

Throughout both presidential campaigns and the entire Iraq war to date, the press acted as a virtual mouthpiece for the White House, giving watered-down coverage of major policy decisions, wartime abuses of power, and sometimes these events never made it into the news at all. As Walter Lipmann posits, “if we assume that the news and truth are two words for the same thing we shall arrive nowhere.”

The press serves under the Bush administration as another special interest group that needed to be either appeased or held at bay or, in some cases, squashed. The administration actively undermined the basic tenets of accurate and fair journalism. Despite failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite a spending spree putting the nation on the precipice of bankruptcy, despite an administration that has put us at the brink of WW III, Fox News treats Bush with credibility.

According to Amann and Breur in Fair and Balanced My Ass, “FOX isn’t broadcasting news; it’s broadcasting, GOP talking points. Its purpose is not to convey the truth about events, but to distort information to achieve political goals of the Republican Party.” More Americans need to understand that the news media is just as responsible as the politicians for stealing national treasure and wasting it in Iraq. Basically, the entire purpose and pursuit of journalism today, according to Michael Parent, “is sacrificed for economic and political interests.” “ Media houses such as MSNBC have now come out with the ‘truth’ about Bush and the Iraq war, but the damage has already been done.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHmUkawhAko 

Boehlert, as much as I am, is aghast at how the news media has propped a failed administration, guilty of illegalities, deception, fraud, negligence and gross failure. Laying this out he writes, “makes the conclusion that the press rolled over bush -inescapable.” It is disturbing that reporters delivering the nightly news are helping to “fix the facts” for the Bush Administration. We should never forget that the first thing Adolph Hitler changed when he began his horrid journey of murder and control was the media. He used them to further his cause. I’m not saying that Bush is Hitler, but history shows us how this important medium can be misused. Maybe we didn’t get a chance to stop Bush (considering the presidential election is in 7 days), but it’s never too late for the news media to provide balanced coverage owed to the public.

Add a comment October 28, 2008
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The illusion of beauty

 

The illusion of beauty

Gossip Girl’s, Blair Waldorf is “beautiful, thin and happy.” The show has created a false ideology of the word ‘beauty’ in the ‘real world.’

Blair Waldorf is described by her mother and other characters in the show as “slender, with brilliant blue eyes, long brunette hair, fashionable and having a fox-like face.” The term “fashion” can be positive, as a synonym for glamour, beauty and style which is sometimes depicted as such in fashion magazines such as essence, vogue and cosmopolitan. However according to Catherine Luther, associate professor at the University of Tennesee, television and magazines depict fashion in a negative sense, as a synonym for fads,trends, and materialism. 

The bandwagon effect, which is the observation that people often do and believe things because many other people do and believe the same things can be related to the media’s influence on ‘beauty’. Women often times tend to follow the crowd without examining the merits of why they want to do something. She further adds that females “think  they have to look that way” because it is on television.

Yeidy Rivero writes in The Performance and Reception of Televisual Ugliness, that “television, magazines and media in general construct idealized female bodies that do not correspond to their real life counterparts.” People feel social and psychological pressures to comply with the media’s idealized parameters of female ‘beauty’. These portrayed ‘Beauty’ standards are too high for the average woman, as the images of beauty displayed on television and in magazines are far from reality. Therefore people get obsessed thinking that they are “ugly” but in the ‘real world’ they represent a different kind of ‘beauty’ that may not be publicized on television, but matches with  the cashier at the mall or the other person on the bus.

Television standards of beauty are not a true reflection of society. This female idealized beauty portrayed on television pressures women to conform to these mythic standards. We aspire to be women such as Janet Jackson and Paris Hilton who have been airbrushed and face-lifted. Susan Bordo writes in Unbearable Weight that “women are trapped in the beauty system and cannot surpass their domination.”  

This is one of the reasons women resort to cosmetic surgery because when they look in the mirror, they don’t see the kind of beauty that is portrayed on television by these celebrities.

 

http://www.surgery.org/press/news-release.php?iid=491

 

There’s nothing more beautiful than a natural-looking woman – whatever her age, weight, height or skin color who appreciates who she is, despite the negative stereotypes on television.

 

 

Add a comment October 8, 2008
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What is Diversity in the media?

 The selection of Isis a” transgender contestant” for America’s Next Top Model is a “commitment to diversity” for the CW11 ‘hit show’ but a ‘sell out’ for viewers.

A network spokesman said in a statement “The CW is committed to diversity in all of our programming.” Is America’s Next Top Model really “diverse” or is it just another circus for ratings in the competitive world of television? “Competition in America defies equality, and diversity defies both unity and equality.” Therefore more diversity equals less diversity if only a few find it fascinating. 

In addition according to Ted Lang political analyst and freelance writer, “many observers would tend to agree that more competition in the media market does not result in more media diversity but also in more of the same.” VH1 recently launched “I Want to Work for Diddy” in which one of its contestants, Laverne, is identified as being transgender. Last year, Candis Cayne became the first transgender actress to have a recurring role on ABC’s “Dirty Sexy Money.”

This stifles creativity in television shows if content is only reflective of other television trends. Consumers get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. It is repetition not diversity.

Consequently, television becomes non-functional without boundaries. This is seen on Top Model when Isis (a man) parades as ‘cover girl’ and it is called diversification. I agree that everyone wants to be a top model but “there is a time and place for everything.”

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_Hu_Viyi4k

 Jan van Cuilenburg professor at the University of Amsterdam agrees that, “gauging and benchmarking should be based on the existing social diversity that the media projects.” If the network is so cutthroat and destructive then we need regulatory action to stabilize the industry before it self destructs. 

Isis, it seems, is part of a trend in reality shows to match up with their competitors. I am disgusted by Top Model with producing garbage to keep up with its competitors and calling it diversity.

Ithiel Pool in Technologies of Freedom writes, “In western democracies media and communications is seen as technologies of freedom.”  If this is what ‘media democracy’ is, it sure does not have my vote.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Add a comment October 1, 2008
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When to draw the line

On September 2, 2008, the magazine shows a picture of Palin with the headline, “Babies, Lies & Scandal” — a marked contrast from its gushing review of Barack and Michelle Obama that ran two months ago.

Rumors about Palin’s personal life and public record have been swirling since John McCain named her to be his running mate last week. The hysterical attacks on Sarah Palin have increased to the point where even Barack Obama declared that attacks on someone’s children are out of bounds.

On MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, said he was “stunned” by the focus on Bristol Palin “when there’s been an unwritten code that kids are off-limits.” What initially amounted to tabloid rumors began to hit the news wires such as MSNBC and CNN. First, it was that Palin’s Down syndrome child Trig was not Palin’s child at all, and that he in fact was born to Palin’s 17-year-old daughter.

US weekly dredged up a story about Palin’s husband having a DUI some 20 years ago. In addition, The National Enquirer printed a story alleging marital infidelity, which the McCain campaign threatened to sue.

Whether consciously or unconsciously the media according to Fox News writer Jana Winter “repeats or raises false concern over an issue and it is likely to be planted in the conscious/subconscious of many voters.” This whole Sarah Palin firing scandal is just beyond ridiculous.Acc to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee “the reporting of the past few days has proved tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert.”The media doesn’t know when to draw the line and will try to destroy people’s families just for a story.

“There is a little bit of disappointment in my heart about the world of journalism today,” Palin said.
NBC News President Steve Capus said. “These terms get thrown around in an awfully cavalier way, and they’re incredibly damaging. We’re in the business where words matter, and those are awfully, awfully strong accusations.”
Regardless of the validity of the criticism, seeing Palin being attacked so aggressively in public strips her of her who she is as a human being, a mother and a wife.

Add a comment October 28, 2010
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About Me

I am a first year graduate student at Brooklyn College pursuing a major in Television and Radio. I blog about the media as it relates to politics, women and general issues in our society. I have a deep interest in the media and would love to host and produce my own television show.

Add a comment November 7, 2008

Newspapers fall big time

Newspaper companies are in a continued state of dilemma due to the challenges of a plummeting economy. This is expected to revolutionize newsgathering and most importantly, news content.

 

http://www.slideshare.net/jeffjarvis/intj0808pdf-presentation

 

According to an AP report “the newspaper industry’s downward spiral is accelerating as the weak U.S. economy depresses.” In addition “the rise of the Internet has produced sharp declines in traditional advertising revenues in the printed press” according to Neil Henry of the San Francisco Chronicle.

 

Consequently, newspaper companies are forced to overhaul the way they conduct business as a means of survival. USA Today, The La Times, The New York Times and other companies have been forced to lay off or cut staff in many areas around the country because of economic constraints.

 

What does this mean for the future of newspapers? No one knows for sure what the outcome will be. However this could be the beginning of a new development or a total demolition . David Willey president of the American Association of Magazine Editors says, “I don’t think print is dead or even dying.” 

 

News organizations are finding creative alternatives such as “forging content-sharing alliances.”  This will also lesson competition, as more media houses are becoming comfortable linking to its competitors as well as merging with other companies. News companies are now forced to do what ever possible to stay in the game, even if it aids their rivals.

 

Jeff Jarvis American journalist said that the new culture of linking was creating “a new architecture of news.” It may be for economic purposes, but “the news may run in one direction and may not be entirely free to roam as it chooses” according to Michael Parenti in The Politics of News Media. The conglomeration of newspapers will deter independence and critical examination of news content produced within the industry.

 

Therefore society will be less informed by facts and more susceptible to political and marketing propaganda that is far from the truth. So while newspaper organizations search for an economic solution, their existence to serve the publics interest is rapidly diminishing.

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

Add a comment October 15, 2008
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Women for Sale

Women portrayed in the media, as a ‘sex symbol’ is undeniably profound. This constant distortion of women is for the sole benefit of profit making.

Women are depicted in ads, film, music videos, and magazines as merely sexually attractive, unintelligent, vulnerable, and passive. Shari Graydon, former president of Canada’s Media Watch, argues “women’s bodies are sexualized in ads in order to grab the viewer’s attention. Women become sexual objects when their bodies and their sexuality are linked to products that are bought and sold.”

http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/146/PP0375~30-Reasons-Why-a-Beer-is-Better-Than-a-Woman-Posters.jpg

If we examine the economic interests behind the objectification and eroticization of females we will see that television, film, and advertising are moneymaking ventures as any other business in the world. What takes precedence on television is what consumers want. This is the trend for most reality TV shows, and music videos, which depict women as ‘gold diggers’, promiscuous and superficial. Provocative images of women partly clothed or naked bodies are prevalent especially in advertising. In addition movies featuring sex and violence are big international sellers because viewers all over the world embrace these stereotypes.

However, media executives argue that “the economics of the industry make it impossible to avoid stereotypes of women.” Movie studios use the same economic arguments to explain the abundance of female stereotypes on the big screen. According to the American Motion Picture Association, “Hollywood films alone pulled in $9 billion in 2001,” and that doesn’t include the renting and selling of videos and DVDs. Since the movie and television industry profit from this kind of perversion they continue to proliferate the same uncouth stereotypes.

http://www.dmwmedia.com/news/2008/05/02/viacom-reports-higher-expected-q1-profits

Women are therefore up against a conspiracy of the money hungry, whose job is to pull in the big bucks at any cost. Females are a product and are been marketed in the most undignified ways as long as there is a market for it; regardless of the fact that it is demeaning. Moreover, this sexist representation of women may never change if what we see on television continues to be dominated by greed and power.

Add a comment October 1, 2008
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