News, trust, and “truthiness”

After reading several blogs posted by my fellow classmates, I can definitely see a trend where most believe that satirical news reportage is not the most reliable news source out there, but they do not think it is completely false either.

People in the younger age demographic must be aware of what is going on around them, but as we all know, traditional news programs are unbelievably boring and dull, especially for teenagers, this is where satirical news programs come into play. As Brandon stated in his blog, “For me, personally, I see these shows as a reliable and more entertaining way of acquiring important information that I would not otherwise find out about due to the news’ aforementioned dull and depressing nature. While they are not always, of course, the most reliably accurate and honest source of information they take steps further than their serious counterparts by adding the element of humour and entertainment.” (http://bkennedy94.blogspot.ca/2013/11/is-fake-news-real-news.html) Satirical news reportage has become an important part of the media industry. If it was not for such shows, teenagers and other people in different age demographics would have no idea what is going on in the world, and they certainly cannot be blamed because traditional news programs have become boring, depressing, and very repetitive.

 Furthermore, these days, reporters, and news presenters are so focused on the news and facts, causing them to forget the importance of the presentation.  As Jamie argues, “Although it may not be the best way to report news for everyone, I do believe it is a good source for news. When the reporters are more focussed on the delivery it tends to be easier to follow.” (http://comedressedtoimpress.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/cpcf-1f25-is-the-fake-news-the-real-news/) Again, these satirical shows are very effective at delivering news to the public. While some might think of it as a comedy show, I believe it is much more than just that, there are many underlying important messages being delivered to the public. Unlike traditional news programs that tend to use long, complex and confusing words and sentence structures, these satirical news programs’ messages are being delivered to us in a simple, indirect and satirical manner, to ensure that we keep watching and not get bored or confused by what they are trying to say or prove.

However, some might argue that satirical news reportage should not be taken seriously, and that it is nothing but a comedy show. As Berna stated in her blog, “News coming from these shows are not an effective way to obtain news because it does not go into detail about the news story, it focuses on one part and joke about it.” (http://bernacayabyab.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/is-the-fake-news-the-real-news/) There seems to be a general idea between people that although these satirical news shows are not completely false, they are not the full story either. These shows are intended to make money, and the only way they are going to effectively do that is by advertising which needs people’s views. Therefore, if they start focusing on all the details, they will become just like any other traditional news program and eventually start losing viewers and money. Hence, they tend to give us the brief summary of what is going on with humor added to it, and if people are interested in the full detailed story, they can refer to other sources.

 To sum up, it seems like there is a general idea of the satirical news reportage being less reliable that traditional news reportage. However, most people are aware of that, hence they do not fully trust such sources, and therefore I do not think it causes any negative implications to our contemporary public sphere. 

Is the fake news the real news?!

Who has time to watch the daily news nowadays? I know I do not, and I am sure that most of the people in my age demographic would agree. However, who has time for Jimmy Kimmel or The Daily Show? We all do, which is why these shows have become much more popular. People don’t want to spend the little free time they get watching depressing news stories, instead they would want to watch something that would make them laugh, feel better and at the same time inform them about what is going on around them, which is where culture jamming comes in.

On one hand, culture jamming can add a lot to the public sphere. As O’Shaughnessy and Stadler wrote, “Often they actively try to denaturalise the media images that we see every day by making us notice and question their underlying messages” (214). The reason why shows like The Rick Mercer Report or the Daily Show are very popular is because they keep people entertained and stops people from getting bored while basically deliver the same messages as normal news programs, expect that they do it indirectly and add comedy to it. These shows are great at grabbing teenager’s attention, bringing up a point to them, informing them about what is going on around them, and maybe change their attitudes and beliefs towards a specific idea.

On the other hand, culture jamming can be very harmful if people do not know their limits. As noted in the text, “In some cases culture jamming could also attract charges of defamation if untrue allegations are made or implied and if an individual or corporation’s reputation and livelihood are damaged by the jam” (223). Insulting an individual or a group, making fun of starving children in Africa or the homeless around the world just for the sake of ‘comedy’ is unacceptable, sad and disgusting to see people laughing at other people just because they don’t feel the way those people do or because they don’t face the same problems. This can go beyond hurting people’s feelings, it can result with major lawsuits or further complications.

While satirical news reporting contributes to culture jamming which in turn contributes to the public sphere, people must be aware that there is a limit to everything. Coming up with fake news or being disrespectful just to grab attention should not be tolerated. However, conveying an important message to people with a little bit of humor is what people love and is a great addition to the public sphere.

Works Cited

O’Shaughnessy, Michael, and Jane Stadler. Media and Society. 5th ed. Australia: Oxford University Press, 2012. 213-227. Print.

Demonstrable demographics

After reading several of my classmates’ posts regarding advertising and interpellation, I realized a trend that is a majority of us relate to two demographics, which are age and gender. Therefore, companies tend to use these demographics to hail us to their products.

Kara (http://karabalsdon.wordpress.com) talked about an advertisement for a skin product used to eliminate acne, called ‘Proactiv’. She talked about how the advertisement was directed at the younger audience since it said “Got Acne? Just ask your boyfriend what to do. Oh, that’s right, you don’t have a boyfriend.” I completely agree with Kara over the fact that it is offensive and very degrading. However, what I disagree over is, “This ad specifically is evidently unsuccessful in its marketing attempts and should not even exist in my opinion.” While it may not seem very friendly or funny to the people who suffer from acne, they are aware that it is targeted at them and it makes them believe that buying the product will make them more attractive. Moreover, the company does not really care if their product hurts the targeted audience’s feelings, but they do know very well that the product will sell to them and that is all that matters.

In my previous post, I talked about how society has a fixed set of norms that women are expected to follow, this is exactly what the Gucci advertisement that Meagan talks about is trying to promote. “As females, from a young age we are told to cross your legs, don’t curse, wear dresses, have perfect hair, talk, walk and act a certain way. Gucci in knowing this, promotes ‘perfect’ feminism throughout this ad.” (http://mm13sa.wordpress.com) This advertisement obviously focuses on the gender demographic. While many companies try to promote products that make females feel that they are rebellious and free, Gucci knows that most females would rather follow the social norms, rather than being rebellious, which might make them socially unacceptable. Hence, they promote “perfect feminism” because they are sure that it will sell to the public.

Lastly, Ronny’s post really grabbed my attention since I have experienced the situation he described. Video games are one of the biggest industries, and it is mainly associated with male teenagers. As Ronny talks about the new Battlefield 4 advertisement, he argues, “It is as if the viewer is being taught that they should buy the game if they want to stay true to their identity, which is in this case being a male teenager or young adult.” (http://cpcf1f25blog.wordpress.com) Unfortunately, this is very true, the media has changed the idea of what it is to be a man. Nowadays, being a man is all about playing video games, smoking a cigarette, being disrespectful to women, and having pants hanging below the knees. This advertisement relates being a man to playing a certain video game, and while it may not appeal to older men, younger men would do anything to prove themselves as being gown up men and hence would end up purchasing the video game.

To conclude, I believe that companies are aware of people’s insecurities, especially with the younger demographic. Their advertisements continuously remind us of our defects, which is apparently a very effective way of marketing their products.

What the Hail?

As a petrol-head, I am always up to date with everything related to the automotive world. A while ago, I saw the new 2013 Ford Mustang commercial, and it caught my attention. The commercial is a Mustang driving down the road, and each pedestrian (different ages and genders) sees it in a different way, the way they would like their Mustang to be.

Never in my life have I been interested in advertisements, however after learning about the techniques and strategies used by advertisers in their campaigns, I started to realize a lot of new things. Consider the Mustang’s advertisement, as the Mustang moves down the road, a young girl dressed as a ballet dancer sees the car in pink, and in its least powerful configuration, however when the car passes by, it turns black and loud. Moreover, the girl sees her reflection in the car where she appears to be dressed in black instead of pink. As argued in the text, “Gender is central to identity, and gender socialisation is one of the earliest processes of interpellation” (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler. Media and Society. 5th ed. Australia: Oxford, 2012 : 185. Print.) For centuries, the interpellation of females has been “girly” (colours), weak, etc. Most females grow up thinking that they are expected to have these attributes and that it is the norm. They are made to follow a certain path, and do what society expects them to do. However, this advertisement conveys the message that one does not have to follow ideologies made by society, instead make their own norms as to “Who am I? What could I be? Who do I want to be?” (Woodward 1997, p. 14), whether it is putting on black makeup, or driving a mean looking, powerful and loud Mustang.

Furthermore, the advertisement also seems to refer to national identities, specifically the American identity since the car is seen to be moving down the famous roads of New York City, and all the pedestrians involved seem to be American citizens. As mentioned by the authors, “The media work as a hailing, interpellating system. The way they address us (their modes of address), constantly interpellates us – as family, as citizens, as children, and so on” (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler. Media and Society. 5th ed. Australia: Oxford, 2012 : 186. Print.) The advertisement is directly addressed to the American citizen! The mode of address interpellates Americans into thinking that they are not true citizens unless they own a Mustang, which is considered an American legend. While this might hail to an American, it does not hail to others. I felt that since I am not American, I should have nothing to do with a Mustang, so it certainly pushed me away, even though I truly love Mustangs!

In conclusion, there are many techniques used by advertisers to hail people in its messaging, however there is no common way to hail all types of people, since there will always be a difference in beliefs, morals, ethnicities and cultures. 

Wanted: the media that we need

After going through a few of my classmate’s blog posts, and going through all the different thoughts and ideas, my views about the media have not changed, in fact I am more convinced about it.

Reading through Alexandra’s blog, I came across a great example that supported my initial point of the media giving us what we want, “would you turn on the television and watch the news of a cat being stuck in a tree? Or, would you turn on the television to see that a commercial airplane crashed into the Pacific Ocean and killed 7 people?” (http://alexandradeyman.wordpress.com/) Although this might make us, humans seem like cruel and heartless people, it is sadly very much true! This proves the point that the media shows us what benefits them, they show us the bad, attention grabbing news from all around the world that wins them big audiences which in turn wins them big money! Therefore, although the media does inform us about the “major” news, it is hard to find the smaller, less important news, such as a cat being stuck in a tree.

Another great point was made by Ryan in his post, which shows that the media might be forced to give us the media we want. “The media have to give us what we want because if people do not like the “product” they will look elsewhere for it.” (http://ryanmallat.wordpress.com/) The problem with today’s society is that we do not think of the media as we think of any other institution. Most of us think that media companies are like charities, that they are there just to inform us about what is going on around the world. While in reality, they too, like any other company, want to make money off their products. Which leads us to the main point, the media provides us with product that they think will be a major hit, because if they do not, the consumers would turn to someone else to get the products that they really want.

Furthermore, media is not just news and politics. A huge part of media is entertainment; television shows, music, movies, etc. are a huge multi-billion market, and it is constantly growing. This fast growth is largely due to the reactions of the consumers, and them wanting more of whatever media they enjoy. As Chris pointed out in his blog, “This caused media to focus more on the entertainment side of television to please and give the audience what they demanded and to increase their ratings.” (http://chrisgarofalo.wordpress.com/) The consumer has caused the entertainment business to change dramatically in the past few decades, due to increasing interest in certain programs such as reality TV shows, and certain types of movies, etc. This shows how the media does not give us what might benefit society; instead, they give us what we like to watch, and what will benefit them the most!

In conclusion, there is no way to change the way the media functions, unless they are run by non-profitable organizations. However, for the time being, I believe that we will continue getting the media we want because we seem to enjoy and demand more of it!

The media we want?

Whether we like it or not, we are all subjected to the media in many different ways. The only way to escape all sorts or media is by hiding in a cave, or moving to an island where nobody has been to before, but since we cannot really do that, let us look at the media and what it is giving us, as consumers. Do we get the media we want, or want the media we get? In my opinion, it is the latter.

Firstly, advances in technology has made media much more attractive to us, it also has made the “not so good” things seem better. For instance, the sex and violence that is very common in the media nowadays. As M. O’Shaughnessy says, “Explicit sex and violence have become commonplace in fictional media, helped by improved technology and special effects that have made graphic portrayals, particularly of violence, ever more realistic and detailed” (M. O’Shaughnessy & J. Stadler, Media and Society, pages 49-50). Take movies for example, the most successful movies nowadays are action and horror movies, now while we do not like seeing real violence, we do surely enjoy fictional violence and movie producers are well aware of that. Therefore, in order to satisfy the consumer, a lot of money has been spent on improving technologies such as cameras and coming up with new softwares just so they include many violent scenes in the movies, which attracts the audience. This shows that our reaction to the media we get reflects on what the media starts pumping out to us.

Secondly, we are unconsciously attracted to some sorts of media, violence for instance. As argued, “If people want to watch a lot of violence or anger in the media it may be because there is a lot of violence or anger felt in the real world (thus the media are reflecting these feelings)” (M. O’Shaughnessy & J. Stadler, Media and Society, pg 50). As we all know, today’s world is a cruel world, we all encounter different types of violence in our daily lives. Moreover, we all have anger within us, perhaps its anger towards your boss at work, your teachers at school, or your annoying siblings. People need a way to release all this negative energy from their bodies and minds, and most turn to the media since for some reason, watching someone else getting hurt makes us feel better about our lives. While many people are aware that this is not good and have tried to censor things, it did not really work because even though we know that it is bad for us, we want it because it makes us feel better, and hence the media keeps supplying it to us.

In the perfect world, the media provides us with beneficial things that help us learn new things. However, our world is not perfect, which is why we have the media that we have, simply because we want the media we get!

1f25 blog response 1: Media Impact on Others

After going through and reading some of my classmate’s blogs in which they talked about the mass media and its impact, some had the same opinion as mine, which is that the media sometimes just publishes whatever is of interest to them. However, a few blogs caught my interest, which discussed a couple of aspects regarding the topic that I would have never thought of!

To begin with, while I mainly focused on the financial/political side of media, I never thought about the other negative things that media has introduced to our society. Shawn Poulin in his post (http://shawnpoulin.blogspot.ca/) pointed out how the media convinced him that in order to look attractive, he needed to have blonde hair, which he did not. I completely agree with Shawn because even at this time, in order to look attractive, the media makes us believe that we need have tattoos and piercings covering our bodies, and we also need to start smoking. This is a huge problem in today’s society because people, especially youngsters tend to believe everything being said by the media and most will eventually develop habits such as smoking just to look “attractive” by the media’s standards.

Speaking of looking attractive, I noticed a trend amongst many posts which was that the media lower’s one’s self-esteem. One of them was Ellen McArthur’s post (http://em12jk.blogspot.ca/) where she said, “Looking back on it now, this kid friendly channel was actually one of my worst enemies because of how it made me portray myself as someone I wasn’t.  It affected my self-esteem, I would always try to act just like the actors shown on TV because that’s how I thought one was supposed to look or act. And of course the images that were being shown were depictions of a perfect human being.” Again, the image of “The Perfect Girl” is and has always been ignited by the media.  Most girls nowadays believe that in order to be acceptable, they need to be tall, skinny, etc. which causes them to lose their self-esteem since not everybody is the perfect person that the media thinks we should be. The bigger problem is when the media pushes it too far at some points, causing some people to have breakdowns, or even attempt suicide.

Last but not least, the post that really grabbed my attention was Kaitlin Anderson’s post (http://kaitlinsanderson.wordpress.com/) where she talked about how the news makes the headlines so fast, that it is usually not the complete story, or not even true at all! I completely agree with this point. As everyone knows, news channels run on the traffic (views) they get, and by being the first to get some news, they will be attracting lots of attention. So nowadays, it is not a matter of how accurate the news is, instead it is all about who gets it first. This is why we should always question what we hear on the news.

The mass media has helped us in many ways, but I believe it damaged the society much more. In addition, it seems like I am not the only one who believes in that since many of my fellow classmates share ideas similar to mine. Call me a pessimist but I am still going to look at the glass half empty, as I have never been a huge fan of the mass media.