Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I paper i wrote for class...

A Reason to Get Up in the Morning

Media is a way of life. Media gives you your life. Much has been said about media. Whether you like it or not the truth is that media everywhere. Through technology, media has created a world where your opinion can be heard. Where you can hear the truth and be connected with what is going on. We are more informed; and therefore, we can make better decision. Where options become infinite and possibilities become endless. Where, with better information and more option, the world has become a better place. Our decisions as an individual, as a country, and as a species have become more beneficial. The world is in a better place financially, socially, and peacefully. Life is good and a hundred times better than life was for our grandparents, when media and technology had not open up choices and knowledge for the world. The only thing that has changed in the last sixty years has been media and technology. Therefore they together have given us this brave new world. Yes, media has given us this brave new world. And what a mess it is. Our world is not better. More information and more options have not brought us peace or joy. In fact, we are more indecisive, selfish, and discontent then any other generation before us.

The Plan for World Domination

Robbie is an intelligent and thoughtful young man. He is newly married and is enrolled in a masters program for public administration. He understands what is happening in the world. In interviewing him I discovered that he is regularly engaged with media. He watches CNN. He listens to NPR. He reads political blogs and watches, among others shows, Lost, Numbers and The Daily Show. His habits are not unlike most people his age. The only difference is that Robbie understands why he watches and listens to this media. He agree with and understand that media is bias. He knows that every media source has an agenda that they are trying to push. Robbie understands this more than most. This is why he watches what he watches and listens to what he listens to.
The Telecommunication Act of 1996 opened the world of media bias wide open. In effect companies could now own multiple companies across many different media outlets. You could watch CNN, read Time magazine, and listen to a wide range of music and learn the same thing from each. That’s because the same company owns all three, Time Warner. There has become a cartel of very powerful companies controlling what you see and what you learn (Miller, 2001). News and politics have become just other form of entertainment. And like all entertainment, they want to appeal to the largest audience that they can. So they cut and edit things so you will keep watching. You think how they want you to think. You lose your freedom of thought. Or maybe we just don’t use it. But one thing is for sure, with the revolution of blogs and message broads everyone has something to say. The sad thing is that we just repeat what we heard from the media. It’s just like what the philosopher Soren Kiekegaard wrote, “How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.” We have lost our thoughts and have adopted theirs. Yet, we are still talking. We are just mindless people. The sad thing is the media doesn’t care what we know as long as we learned it from them. There is more going on is this world then what CNN, or MTV, Fox News is telling us. So the questions becomes how do we stop the media take over of the world?
The Center for International Media Action (CIMA) is an organization that is trying to come up with a solution to the media take over. As stated on the CIMA (2003) website:
We need criticism and education, we need to hold media companies accountable and build strong alternatives. Locally, nationally and internationally we can use policy to make this happen. Activists working on a wide range of issues have realized that changing the media system is key to achieving authentic democracy, social justice and sustainable, healthy communities worldwide. This is the work that CIMA was created to support.
They believe that through criticism and education we can start to think for ourselves. Our ideas will be our ideas and not the corporate media’s ideas. With questioning things we will begin to find truth, form our own opinion and become comfortable with disagreeing with others. Media has become the king and it has abused its power and it is now time for the king to be over thrown. CIMA encourages the unity of activists at all levels to change the world. To make “media companies accountable and build strong alternatives (CIMA, 2003)” to the way we get our news and entertainment. We must demand truth.

The World as I see it

Talking is easy but action is a bit more difficult. The truth is that we are controlled by what we see and hear. We only know what we have learned. My independence is dependent on me and I am not dependable. I don’t think, as humans, we are able to do what is needs to be done to become independent thinkers. Throughout history someone has ruled us. Telling us how to think and where to go, whether it’s a king or a leader, a parent or a god. We understand when we are being ruled, yet we have no desire to change. We, as humans, are lazy and will be ruled by the one who stands up to be that ruler. This should not surprise us. We give up freedom of thought for freedom from choice. We are long for someone to take care of us, chose for us and control us. So mega corporations stepped in. They showed us right and wrong, who to hate and who to love. They chose what was important and what was not. They did what we, as a society didn’t want to do. So we can blame the media for controlling us. We can blame the government for helping this happen. But if we look at it and if we are honest with ourselves then we have to blame ourselves. It was a lack of responsible that got us here in the first place and it will be a lack of responsible that will keep us here. But that’s what we really want, right?


Paul said...

I agree the blame falls upon every individuals lap. Someone can point fingers all they want but if they don't change their habits then its just a person complaining about something they do not wish to change themselves.

wonder twin powers activate

Robbie said...

First off, I like the general ideas behind this argument. Unfortunately you make too man wide ranging assumptions for me to address them all in a comment. I few interesting points I would like to make:

1. "we only know what we learn," I would point out that due to the nature of your school, this assignment, and their bias your view of distrust for the media are inherently biased itself. You have not come to these conclusions of your own free will and individual thought, so how can you criticize those who do the same about other issues?

2. Just because we take in certain media views does not mean we blindly follow and regurgitate. We can and do challenge views presented to us in the media; even from sources we like. Also you make the point that things are happening in the world not presented by the "media," but unless we can observe them first hand we have to have the media to inform us. Since it is not feasible to witness all events we have no choice but to rely on the media for this information. The only way to combat this is to try and get as many perspectives (different media sources) as possible. Perfect non-biased information is an impossible standard, so we use our judgment to decipher what we think is really happening. This process of deciphering is inherently thought center meaning we use our freedom of thought in absorbing the media. So the very act of interacting with the media requires freedom of thought, not lack of thought.

Thank you for posting this, it is interesting, but I would rethink your stance that the media completely controls our thoughts and perspectives. While they have a role, we are not devoid of freedom of thought.

jared davidavich said... other things has changed. our government has lost it's balls. we haven't won a war since wwII; we are too afraid of other countries to follow through with any foreign assignments (like iraq...either pull out (which i support) or blow them up (at least it's a plan) but i'm tired of our gov't hopping from one foot to the other, while our troops mimic the action, except they are trying to dodge land mines); and politicians can't decide what to do in washington because they are all worried about getting re-elected, not fighting for their electors. blah.

interacting with the media...thought, or lack of thought. does it matter? thought seems to be, for most, a non-discriminate stepping stone between a biased view and a biased response. interacting with the media is a biased interpretation. true, robbie, no thought is completely free of bias, but if you watch a show you believe to be biased, good or bad, you are only further restricting your thought's freedom.

interacting with the media is a carefully calculated, often predictable reaction. people devote their lives to puting on television something that will elicit a certain feeling, thought, behavior--reaction--to a tailored audience. want to be free? don't react...act; see if they can predict that.