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S.D.
05-01-2011, 02:51 AM
This idea arose in the Royal Wedding topic, and I think it warrants greater discussion outside of that event. So discuss it as a two-way concept; what responsibilities do you think media companies and we as a worldwide audience should have, and do you feel there should be restrictions on what is necessary to show/report?

To what degree is media coverage immoral - where is the line drawn - and do you as an individual actively negate the influence of mass-media? It's all very easy to sit and decry something because it's on all the TV screens close to hand, but will you say that and then tune in to America's Next Top Model (or insert bullshit vehicle that warps the concept of social acceptability here) with the defence that it's "fun" or "not serious"? It's all the same to me, if you're going to be indignant about a news company screening minute-by-minute footage of warzones, you should be equally offended by Tyra Banks degrading women in front of millions.

So yes, have it out and play nice, this should be an interesting discussion...

ThreeEyedGod
05-01-2011, 03:08 AM
At this point I just have a quick point that has occurred to me regarding this subject. I think you have missed an important aspect of this discussion: the cultural aspect. For example, in Mexico the media is so much more lurid and hold no punches in the media when it comes to showing violent images of death and crime scenes in both newspapers and television. In Mexico hardly anybody bats an eye, but here in the U.S, it would totally be unacceptable. I am not sure how it is in Europe, but I also imagine such imagery to be heavily censored. Is Mexican media less immoral and disrespectful by showing such gritty coverage? Have they crossed the line....what line and who drew it?

The Empirical Guy
05-01-2011, 06:35 AM
This idea arose in the Royal Wedding topic

An interesting fact when you consider that the man who's wedding was being discussed lost his mother while she was pursued by the hungry media.

In that topic, you spoke about footballers and their place in the media. Here in Aus it's the same, but what they call 'football' is actual rugby: a ridiculous concept as the ball is in contact with your hands for the majority of the game. Anyway, if I had a dollar for every time I turned on the news to see the leading news story be about a sportsman's drunken night out or extramarital affair, I would be a rich man... yet still only half as rich as these sportsmen, I'm sure. Hands up all the Australians here who, over the previous month, got sick to death of the name "Wayne Bennett"? You couldn't escape it. It was the story of the month, because a coach was signing a new contract... or was it Michael Clarke's drunken stumble down the street? Often major news stories from around the world go unnoticed here, but the slightest thing happens in sport, and it's all over the media. I'm pretty sick of it. That's what sports reports and THE DAMNED SPORTS CHANNEL is for.

As far as the whole X Factor etc thing goes, I am in agreement in my hate for these types of shows. Big Brother is a pile of steaming shit, while contests like X Factor/ Idol piss me off something terrible. I admit that I have watched from time to time, if there's nothing better to do, but I don't care for it beyond the hour it's on. I also spend that hour getting extremely annoyed at the way these people are judged and picked apart based on a set of standards that shouldn't really apply to who does and doesn't get recognition as an artist. However good these people are (and don't get me wrong, some have great voices), the majority have no artistic ability, they are just tape recorders for their favourite songs. When the time comes they often don't have the ability to compose material of any great worth. Plus, they are often young kids picked up to be raped by the industry for 12 months before being dumped and left with massive debt. That's pretty annoying when there's really talented artists out there who struggle through all the shitty bars and clubs, scraping together money to make a demo who won't get noticed because they don't fit in to the media's ideals. But I guess that's more about the industry itself and the show's concept than the media and it's role.


Is Mexican media less immoral and disrespectful by showing such gritty coverage? Have they crossed the line....what line and who drew it?

Mexicans like to cross lines as often as they can, especially border ones.

Shangri-LIE
05-01-2011, 01:59 PM
To be honest, S.D., I do believe in free press. But it needs to be reformed. Strike that, it needs a new built in moral compass. I believe that the baseline of thier precepts, and ethics, that are questionable at times, should be relegated to less invasive forms of persuing a story. For instance showing up at a restruant, or home, or gas station should be punishable under stalking laws. Other examples of misconduct include chasing someone to their death, or dropping in like storm troopers at a wake. Covering an event, a tragedy, or conducting a pre-arranged interview, that's all fine.

VIDe
05-01-2011, 03:35 PM
I think it's become much easier to insulate oneself from some of the more undesirable aspects of mass-media, what with the abundance of alternative news websites and the like out there. Things that I have no interest in, such as the Royal Wedding, tend to only peripherally show up on my radar in the form of a Facebook status update or an overheard conversation. Not enough people take advantage of the new-found opportunity we have to create our own, personalized media environment, probably because it requires a bit more effort than plonking down in front of the TV and passively absorbing information delivered in the most condensed and sensationalistic way possible so that you'll stick around for the cellphone commercials later. And yes, that's an individualistic solution which ignores a larger social problem, but outside of imposing strict regulations on what should be broadcast, there's nothing to be done, really.

On the subject of celebrity news, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with it unless it overshadows more important stories, which tends to happen quite often, unfortunately. I may scoff at people who invest a lot of time tracking the activities of Prince William or... Jennifer Aniston or whomever, but in the end, I'm posting on a website that has a four page thread devoted to Marilyn Manson's affinity for “pasties”. If it were his marriage the media made such a hoopla about, I'm sure most of you would be happy to tune in.


Mexicans like to cross lines as often as they can, especially border ones.

Oh snap!

ThreeEyedGod
05-01-2011, 04:33 PM
Mexicans like to cross lines as often as they can, especially border ones.
I....Oh, yeah well you.....I don't even....

winning.

Golden Eel
05-03-2011, 01:13 AM
what responsibilities do you think media companies and we as a worldwide audience should have, and do you feel there should be restrictions on what is necessary to show/report?

I think news shouldn't be so profit-driven. I have no idea how this could be accomplished, but I think money corrupts everything. If a news station has to have celebrities and Twitter all over the place every fucking day, they'll do it - otherwise they'd be losing ratings aka money. The news isn't about whatever shiny thing will keep the public's attention that week. It isn't about stealing whatever every other news station is showing at the time. It's sickening to flip through the news channel and see the same thing on over and over. Sure, there are small media networks that aren't huge corporations and one can find legitimate news online, but that doesn't matter if all the public gets is mainstream media. The media has a massive responsibility to the public, it basically controls the zeitgeist of the entire nation. The media wants to start making politics dirty and lose all sense of civility? They will push their agenda to do just that, next thing you know people are screaming like apes at town hall meetings. I think it's a tricky situation, because it's imposing on free speech, but with the power the mainstream media has, I think there should be some sort of regulations.

Hm, looking back that was kind of a tangent, but don't mind me.

I think the audience's responsibility is to watch and consume anything they're presented. The rest of us can just boycott lamestream media.

Dysmorphia
05-03-2011, 03:48 AM
I think news shouldn't be so profit-driven. I have no idea how this could be accomplished, but I think money corrupts everything.

I completely agree with this. In Australia we have two television channels that are not commercial and are therefore more impartial sources. However, in saying that, both channels have their own agendas and it is important to take this in account when approaching their programs. I would like to think that the media was free from any corruption but unfortunately we live in a corrupt world.


The media has a massive responsibility to the public, it basically controls the zeitgeist of the entire nation. The media wants to start making politics dirty and lose all sense of civility? They will push their agenda to do just that, next thing you know people are screaming like apes at town hall meetings. I think it's a tricky situation, because it's imposing on free speech, but with the power the mainstream media has, I think there should be some sort of regulations.

The Media does have a responsibility to the public, but the public also has a responsibility to what is in the media. Audiences should not mindlessly consume whatever twisted, biased story is put in front of them. People should question, investigate and reflect on what is presented.

People often complain about how celebrities are treated by the paparazzi. The way to stop this is quite simple, end the demand for these images and videos, stop buying trashy magazines and visiting gossip websites. If this goes on the media will simply continue to fulfill the demand and nothing will change.
It is the same for reality shows that present audiences with a warped and depraved picture of reality. If you disagree with what is being shown on TV, for example a size eight girl bullied and being told that she is too fat on America's Next Top Model, switch it off or change the channel.
Until people reject what is being shown, the media will continue to churn out the same bullshit.

Golden Eel
05-03-2011, 08:01 AM
The Media does have a responsibility to the public, but the public also has a responsibility to what is in the media. Audiences should not mindlessly consume whatever twisted, biased story is put in front of them. People should question, investigate and reflect on what is presented.

People often complain about how celebrities are treated by the paparazzi. The way to stop this is quite simple, end the demand for these images and videos, stop buying trashy magazines and visiting gossip websites. If this goes on the media will simply continue to fulfill the demand and nothing will change.
It is the same for reality shows that present audiences with a warped and depraved picture of reality. If you disagree with what is being shown on TV, for example a size eight girl bullied and being told that she is too fat on America's Next Top Model, switch it off or change the channel.
Until people reject what is being shown, the media will continue to churn out the same bullshit.

We're talking about the same public here, right? I don't think it's possible to get the majority of people to stop being mechanical animals, at least in my lifetime. People will continue to devour anything the media shows them, because most people create their opinions based on what is on the TV - not the other way around. I agree that everything you said is true, I just think it's delusional to think the public will ever get hip to the lies.

Dysmorphia
05-03-2011, 03:44 PM
We're talking about the same public here, right? I don't think it's possible to get the majority of people to stop being mechanical animals, at least in my lifetime. People will continue to devour anything the media shows them, because most people create their opinions based on what is on the TV - not the other way around. I agree that everything you said is true, I just think it's delusional to think the public will ever get hip to the lies.

I don't think the media will change until people do. Unfortunately, the general public is complacent with their stupidity so I don't see any changes to the media, society, etc. happening any time soon.

ThreeEyedGod
05-03-2011, 05:49 PM
can someone drop the word, 'sheeple' already....

I know y'all yearn to..

Emma
05-04-2011, 07:43 AM
I think news shouldn't be so profit-driven. I have no idea how this could be accomplished, but I think money corrupts everything. If a news station has to have celebrities and Twitter all over the place every fucking day, they'll do it - otherwise they'd be losing ratings aka money. The news isn't about whatever shiny thing will keep the public's attention that week. It isn't about stealing whatever every other news station is showing at the time. It's sickening to flip through the news channel and see the same thing on over and over. Sure, there are small media networks that aren't huge corporations and one can find legitimate news online, but that doesn't matter if all the public gets is mainstream media. The media has a massive responsibility to the public, it basically controls the zeitgeist of the entire nation. The media wants to start making politics dirty and lose all sense of civility? They will push their agenda to do just that, next thing you know people are screaming like apes at town hall meetings. I think it's a tricky situation, because it's imposing on free speech, but with the power the mainstream media has, I think there should be some sort of regulations.
.




People often complain about how celebrities are treated by the paparazzi. The way to stop this is quite simple, end the demand for these images and videos, stop buying trashy magazines and visiting gossip websites. If this goes on the media will simply continue to fulfill the demand and nothing will change.
It is the same for reality shows that present audiences with a warped and depraved picture of reality. If you disagree with what is being shown on TV, for example a size eight girl bullied and being told that she is too fat on America's Next Top Model, switch it off or change the channel.
Until people reject what is being shown, the media will continue to churn out the same bullshit.

I agree with you both here.

MixMashTree, I think a lot can be said about media when it not only becomes agenda driven but it's CEO's are bankrolling political parties. And when a news agency spends more time giving air time to pundits then actual journalists, you know their motive is not to deliever news but an agenda.

And Dysmorphia I agree, part of the celebrity watch would be stopped if people just stopped clicking on the stories and buying the magazines - one hand shakes the other - the media give it and the public lap it up so the media give more.

As for regulations, I am all for that - media should be accountable, not hiding behind the First Amendment. I actually wrote a blog piece about reinstalling the Fairness Doctrine or a modern equivalent of.

As I said in it, one of the things that disturbed me about a trip to NBC:


"My first trip to America, my husband and I took a tour of NBC studios in New York. The tour guides were very pleasant and as they told us, did tours to supplement their studies to become journalists and they both hoped to be working at the NBC empire once they had finished their studies. One of the things that the tour guide said that amazed both myself and my husband, (he is still an active journalist at the BBC and I have moved from journalism as a full time venture) was that their lead anchor edited his own news. He was the person who wrote the news and edited it for accuracy. No one checked his work so what he wrote, what he said, went out without a second look – no one verified his work.

Now we all know, as writers, that it’s often good to get someone to go over your work – especially if you are trying to present an argument which supports all facts. As a journalist my husband has to make sure all work is submitted to an editor before his work is made live to make sure all sides are represented in the story, to make sure any legal arguments have been dealt with and that ethics are adhered to. All BBC journalists go on courses throughout their career to make sure they are up-to-date with libel laws etc."


Thing is some believe that journalisitc rules would stop free speech - to me they will stop the kind of "news" that sees anchors being able to perpetuate myths about death panels etc without anyone calling them out on it.

BTW the rest of the blog post is here: In defense of the Fairness Doctrine – defending a more equal media (http://viewsacrossthepond.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/in-defense-of-the-fairness-doctrine-defending-a-more-equal-media/)

S.D.
05-07-2011, 03:54 AM
Is Mexican media less immoral and disrespectful by showing such gritty coverage? Have they crossed the line....what line and who drew it?
This is one of the more astute and probing questions in this topic, and I like it. Without knowing or having experienced an abundance of Mexican media, but having seen enough genuinely grim or undesirable visual content to know how I feel about it, I would say that the responsibility in that instance lies with the audience - if content is genuinely news-worthy and educates. I had a similar conversation about extreme pornography and entertainment with a friend recently, because there was a radio broadcast about whether such content affects the audience and influences them to lower their boundaries on rape/crime/immorality, etc.
I don't believe it does... if you think for yourself, and that's as simple as it gets. I'm not saying media companies should show whatever they like, and that can be addressed later, but if the individual chooses to see something they know to be explicit (so long as it is legal of course) then it should be their responsibility to approach it with trepidation or enough moral fibre not to let it lower their thresholds. Such content doesn't necessarily 'bother' me, neither does it affect my views on the more pleasant aspects of human interaction. Just because I've seen someone brutally murdered in a film doesn't desensitise me to the concept of murder, or make beauty any less prevalent. If anything it emphasises, rather than devalues. That's why I think Schindler's List (or if you really wanted to create an impact, Night & Fog) should be screened in schools as part of social studies. I watched both of those films between the ages of 13 and 17 at shcool or college, and they informed me pretty darn well about the dangers of intolerance, and I was glad to see something so extreme to receive that information.
Furthermore, it's always personal choice whether people view certain things, no one's forcing you to, but if you do, then you have to take responsibility for the effect it has on you.

Briefly going back to Mexican news, I would say that I don't think this coverage sounds heinous, so long as it is shown for the purposes of actual information, rather than voyeurism. I didn't need to see the Twin Towers falling down a hundred times the day they fell, I knew it happened. News is 'new' events that may or may not infringe upon my life or that of others around me, wall-to-wall media coverage of death and/or events that someone else says is 'popular' is perversion.


An interesting fact when you consider that the man who's wedding was being discussed lost his mother while she was pursued by the hungry media.
Indeed, that aspect of things wasn't lost on me at all. I did also find it a little odd that the majority of people in our generation will have been familiarised with Prince William making public appearances for the first time when he walked through London following her funeral procession. A long time ago, but a hell of a way to start finding out about who someone is.

Your points about pop stars and sports figures are spot on as well, and get to the heart of this matter. It's like a Cause & Effect model, the more that media companies force-feed us shit, and the more feckless idiots consume it, the greater demand there is for it. Let's take that as a given.
The thing that annoys me is that countless people who know this still remain apathetic. You don't have to be some politicised media-anarcho to resist this stuff and promote more worthwhile consumption, but at the same time it's not difficult. To use an example close to home, it's like when people complain this message board is quiet, but that's the only thing they're saying... If you want something to change you can't just moan about it, you have to speak up and offer something. Will that always change the greater nature of things? No, because by-and-large the masses are not finitely cultured, but they're not all fucking idiots either. If you seek change, or you're offended by useless media vehicles, then resist them, find something better, talk about that instead, you'd be surprised how many people will start listening. That's a general point also Empirical, you know I don't mean you specifically.


Mexicans like to cross lines as often as they can, especially border ones.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X_Ot0k4XJc


Showing up at a restruant, or home, or gas station should be punishable under stalking laws. Other examples of misconduct include chasing someone to their death, or dropping in like storm troopers at a wake. Covering an event, a tragedy, or conducting a pre-arranged interview, that's all fine.
This is a great point, because you're right, if some "event" is covered in the news, we don't have to care about it or even tune in, but it happened, and they will tell us about it. However, invasive, leech-cunt paparrazzos are the worst sort of people, akin to vivisectionists, the Phelps family and White Power groups. They do not report news, or anything we need to know about concerning art and entertainment. They invade people's personal space (and I do not just mean the ultra-famous) and are an affront to law and dignity.


Sure, there are small media networks that aren't huge corporations and one can find legitimate news online, but that doesn't matter if all the public gets is mainstream media.
I think the audience's responsibility is to watch and consume anything they're presented. The rest of us can just boycott lamestream media.
Um, well I don't want to group "us" as some elite that is better than everyone else, but it is difficult to get some people out of their apathy.
Every week I say to friends of mine "shall we watch some films tonight, I have a big collection", and very often even if the answer is "yes" the choice of viewing reverts back to something they're familiar with, or any suggestions I make outside their cultural comfort zones are steered clear of. Despite being close friends that pisses me off no end, it's apathetic and there's no excuse. I'm not saying people should get into things they genuinely don't like, but you never know until you try, and there wouldn't have to be these close distinctions between mainstream and independent if more people were disciplined or conversely, open-minded about what they choose to buy into.


The Media does have a responsibility to the public, but the public also has a responsibility to what is in the media. Audiences should not mindlessly consume whatever twisted, biased story is put in front of them. People should question, investigate and reflect on what is presented.
Zing, we have a winner.

Great responses from everyone also, this is exactly the sort of topic I was hoping to generate, I look forward to reading more.

Norsefire
05-07-2011, 10:16 AM
At this point I just have a quick point that has occurred to me regarding this subject. I think you have missed an important aspect of this discussion: the cultural aspect. For example, in Mexico the media is so much more lurid and hold no punches in the media when it comes to showing violent images of death and crime scenes in both newspapers and television. In Mexico hardly anybody bats an eye, but here in the U.S, it would totally be unacceptable. I am not sure how it is in Europe, but I also imagine such imagery to be heavily censored. Is Mexican media less immoral and disrespectful by showing such gritty coverage? Have they crossed the line....what line and who drew it?

I'm watching a TV show right now, An Idiot Abroad it's pretty funny, but he is in Mexico and just picked up a news paper and flicked through it and showed use the sort of images they print. Crazy!

Golden Eel
08-10-2012, 04:55 AM
Warning: US-centric post incoming.

I had a short comment thread on Facebook a few days ago, involving Sans Agendum, ThreeEyedGod, and 21faces, in which I posited that Fox News and all the other far-right (which I think might be considered center-right, these days) commentators were directly responsible for the recent Sikh temple shooting, due to their rampant, impressively heavy-handed Islamophobic racist rhetoric. (I know that Sikhs and Muslims are two entirely different groups, but the average American does not, let alone the average Fox News viewer.)

I argued that they should be held accountable for perpetuating this type of fear and xenophobic hatred in such a mainstream manner. Perhaps not a legal punishment, but a moral one at the very least. I don't think the far-right commentators 'create' white supremacist mass-murderers, but I do think they're directly responsible for making it their purpose to foster this school of thought. All you have to do is go to their website and search for the words 'Islam' or 'Muslim' and you'll find endless numbers of stories about extremist Islam is creeping through America, and how America will soon be completely under Sharia law if something isn't done soon.

In most cases, I tend to blame the audience for misinterpreting information and being crazy, but in this case it's an entirely different story. This isn't a case of a psycho being a psycho, this is a case of a psycho living in a country where he's constantly being told that we're under attack by Islam and that they won't stop their invasion until the entire nation is under their control. This is a case of a psycho's thoughts being constantly reinforced by not only mainstream media, but politicians, on the far-right. This type of commentary does nothing but fan the flames of people like this.

So I'm not sure what the point of this post was, other than the fact that I saw this thread and figured I should bump it. Maybe some conversation will come out of it. Shoot, shoot, shoot, motherfucker.