I never would have thought that six lectures and six tutorials would have such an effect.
Before Uni was a staunch believer that Rupert Murdoch was all powerful and had influenced Australia’s last federal election to the point of automatic victory for the Liberal-National Coalition.
But then, we were taught about the Media Effects model – And asked to think about whether the media was being blamed for something and whether it was justified. Easy, I’ll talk about the media’s control of elections and blame NewsCorp for it.
Somehow my views were changed by that lecture, and I managed to deflect blame away from Murdoch. I actually came to the conclusion that he just recognized a swing in the electorate, and ran with it. I couldn’t believe that one lecture could open my eyes to such a possibility, but it did. Sometimes, the media aren’t to blame for EVERYTHING! *SHOCK HORROR*
Week Two. Semiotics. What the hell are semiotics? Connotations? Denotations? Well, I can tell you now. Just read this!
You know the chorus of that brilliant Hunters and Collectors song, Do You See What I See? (LiberationMusicAus 2010) – Never has it been more relevant!
Asking somebody to look at text and take something from it, before comparing it to your own ideas. People will always see things differently. The Antonio Federici campaign piece I discussed in that blog post was controversial, and the comments proved the theory correct.
Everyone had their immaculate connotations and looked at the text differently. The way the point was made was striking, and it illustrated a power in the way we present images. A power the media holds. But I question this – If the media has a lot of control, but people take its messages in a different way – does that mean it’s power is diluted?
Speaking of dilution. . .
Undiluted Cordial. This week’s topic threw us headlong into Australia’s media ownership web. After untangling myself, I decided to press into the issue. What is wrong with undiluted ownership? I settled on the idea that too much of one thing is bad – And drew a line from drinking undiluted cordial to consuming slightly unhealthy news and opinion made by the undiluted ownership of Australian media.
I learnt through writing this that Australia’s media ownership web left it weaker as a democracy – In a true democracy the thoughts and opinions of a small group of people wouldn’t influence the thoughts and opinion of others so heavily.
The negatives of concentrated media ownership lead nicely into the next section of the BCM110 program – The Mediated Public Sphere. The place where we all come together to discuss issues within our society – Mediated by somebody so that things don’t get out of control. Right? Maybe not.
A gatekeeper’s job is to withhold information from a piece so that it is ready for publication. Editing. We were asked to look for texts which generate debate, and I decided to go with the Letters to the Editor section of a typical Newspaper as that text – A debate provoking mediated public sphere.
Two birds, one stone.
I thought about this medium, and it became clear to me that despite this being one of the most pure forms of collective expression in our society, it couldn’t be the best. It still had a gatekeeper.
And then we got to Moral Panic.
Everyone was in stitches. But don’t let that fool you, this is a very serious issue. Moral Panic. The idea that society is freaked out by something if it’s talked about as a problem for long enough.
Surely if something was worth panicking about, the entire public would have discussed it through a Mediated Public Sphere and decided on a course of action together through elected representatives?
No, sorry, I confused my concepts. That’s democracy.
This lecture taught us the true power of mass media – It can send us into panic. Coverage is the most important ingredient. Reach. If people can hear you, they’ll inevitably listen to you, eventually.
The media are to blame. But at the same time, they aren’t.