Monday, October 31, 2005

CLASS NOTES: McChesney's "Problem of the Media", Pages 1-139


KEY CONCLUSION (PG. 97): .The solution to the problem of the media is to
change the nature of the system so that it is no longer rational to
produce what passes for journalism today.. OK, but how to do?

Pg. 11: Core problems: hypercommercialism and inadequate journalism.

Pg. 7: How do you get public involved in media policymaking? Do you think
media have little or no social effect? .. Pg 8 . modern policy of
maximizing profit not what Founding Fathers supported. .. Pg 9 . What
about .left wing. bias. Do you see it? .. Pg 17: Is the media system a
democractic force? (parse all those words). . pg 17: profit vs. news .
does media contribute to democratic society? . ppgs. 24-25, media not
profit driven.

What did Jefferson mean (read page 29)? . . . the AP and .objective
journalism. (bottom of pg. 25) . . . media.s power to shape ownership
debate . pg. 48 . is his rhetoric defensible here? . . . and also the
media hides behind the First Amendment (pg. 50). He claims this shrinks
democracy but does not explain why. . . . pg. 52, only 30% of Americans
understand the Communications Act of 1933 (explain concept) . . . FCC.s
Kennard and a propsal for free airtime for political candidates, backed by
Walter Cronkite . . . pg 55 /

MANUFACTURING NEWS: Pg. 69: .Journalists who raise issues no official
source is talking about area accused of unprofessional conduct and of
attempting to introduce bias into the news.. DISCUSS.

PRESS-RELEEASE NEWS 40% TO 60% OF STORIES. Pg. 71 discuss providing
context and background. Social issues such as racism and environment
disappear from headlines . no squeaky wheel.

Pg. 72 . quote about journalism becoming unprofessional . read and

Pg. 74 . most wars the result of journalistic lies.

Pg 88: 33 million Americans below poverty line . most thought 1-5

Aug 26, 1:10 PM (ET)
By Andrea Hopkins
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some 1.3 million Americans slid into poverty in
2003 as the ranks of the poor rose 4 percent to 35.9 million, with
children and blacks worse off than most, the U.S. government said on
Thursday in a report sure to fuel Democratic criticism of President Bush.
Despite the economic recovery, the percentage of the U.S. population
living in poverty rose for the third straight year to 12.5 percent -- the
highest since 1998 -- from 12.1 percent in 2002, the Census Bureau said in
its annual poverty report. The widely cited scorecard on the nation's
economy showed one-third of those in poverty were children.
The number of U.S. residents without health care coverage also rose by 1.4
million last year to 45 million, the highest level since 1999, and incomes
were essentially stagnant, the Census Bureau said.
The poverty line is set at an annual income of $9,573 or less for an
individual, or $18,660 for a family of four with two children. Under that
measure, a family would spend about a third of its income on food.
Pg. 93 . corporate media is part of the corporate world . does it matter?

Pg. 103: Noam Chomsky ignored.

Pg. 126-129 . Discussion of paucity of election coverage. What do you
think about guaranteeing free airtime for politicians. Walter Cronkite
supports this.

Major McChesney points/rhetoric

1. Media system not .natural.

2. Subsidies maintained by .corrupt special interests.
-- FCC regulation of airwaves . what else
-- Behind closed doors
-- Get seat at the table and .throw out bums.
-- .Corruptly behind closed doors.
-- One newsroom serving a city

3. More competitive local media and more diverse, vibrant non-profit

4. Social justice and equity in addition to changing media; need
viable democracy

5. DISCUSSION: Why does McChesney talk this way? Is it effective?


After reading the first few chapters I have come to a few conclusions
regarding the media, and where it is headed in the next few months. Media
is rapidly growing in the vast economy that we are in the middle of right
now. Daily there are new, and improving ideas of what should/should not
be shown on the news. This book, along with the talk by Dan Harris gave
me a great idea of what I should be looking for through the media. Over
the past few years we have seen something change in media [and the news] -
the news has become less focused on historical accurasies, and more
focused on the people that are involved in the news. The presidential
election of 2000 has shown us a vast amount of what television can show
you through the eyes of the people. We, the people watching the election
saw a completely different view of what was happening at the polls. Has
America become so "jaded" that they can no longer fathom a world without
the mess of drama in the news, must we always see a problem facing us to
be able to tune into what is being shown on the daily news.

The news is something that I have an occasion to turn on, this book has
began to show me exactly what I will be seeing as I grow older. I read
things in this book that I know is happening; however, before reading this
book I was so blinded that I did not realize it was happening.


In McChesney.s first three chapters he covers a great deal of ground. He
explains that there are many different problems facing media today. He
explains that the public perception of the .problems., fall into the
category of content, and how this content might effect our culture
negatively. He then explains that this is not the main problem with
media. McChesney explains that the first big problem with the media stems
from who is controlling it. He goes on to explain that as the years have
progressed more and more limitations have been restricting media, in all
aspects, and this has created a media that is not democratic. He explains
that if the media is controlled by a few extremely rich members of
society, the news that will filter down to the common man will be only
what the people in charge want these people to receive, and that is not
In the second chapter McChesney delves into journalism. He
that journalism and all other types of media have 3 duties: .To act as a
watchdog, to ferret out truth from lies and to present a wide range of
informed positions on key issues.. He goes on in the chapter to explain
that where owners are more concerned with making a profit, the news that
is broadcasted will suffer. He goes on to give many examples on how
certain stories where not covered properly and in some cases not at all.
The third chapter goes over much of the same ideas. It is a
chapter that
shows how a democratic media system is necessary, but is not fuctioning
as it should be today. I like the quote at the end of the chapter that
says, .the reform of journalism will only occur when news organizations
are disengaged from the global entertainment and information industries
that increasingly contain them..

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