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Media controls

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Media controls

"Man was born free,and everywhere he is in chains."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Laswell's Model suggests that communication serves three major purposes. First it must survey the environment and alert the community to change. Second it must interpret the data so the community can respond. Finally communication serves as our history; it transfers down through time our values and ideals. To complete it's mission, modern media must get and evaluate the information and provide the general people with a clear, full, and unbiased view of the changes in the world, upon which citizens can act. Unfortunately, all too often current-day media fall short.

Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky have defined the reasons that media fall short in their mission to inform. The model they created has four major filters: (1) the size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of the dominant mass-media firms; (2) advertising as the primary income source of the mass media; (3) the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and "experts" funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power; and (4) "Flak" as a means of disciplining the media.1 Each of these filters takes a bit of the true reality out of the information and eventually leads to a misinformed public.

A recent incident at The San Francisco Examiner illustrated filter two. Nike and the Examiner were co-sponsoring the Bay to Breakers race. At the same time Stephanie Salter, a columnist at the paper, wrote an article about Nike's inhumane practices in Asian. The story was not published because the paper didn't want to upset Nike so close to the race. It's clear that the money Nike has effects the news reported about the company.

Media has turned from informing to entertaining. Entertaining sells and media has become profit oriented. This furthers the dilapidation of the information. If the media show us only what is tantalizing then we miss important issues that are hard to face. The Anchors provides a vivid picture of the media as an entertainment business. Donya Archer is chronicled through acting school, speaking lessons, and has a agent. There is much more emphasis on the reading of the news than on the gathering of it.

Ratings are the key. The more money the networks spend on entertaining and ratings the less they can spend on reporting, but the more they can charge for advertising. The higher the ratings a station receives the higher it can raise it's advertising rates. It's a business decision that's caused stations nationwide to use tricks during sweeps month. Stations have increased sex and violence, aired greater quality entertainment programming, and even given away cash during breaks.

The hiring of "celebrities" is only part of the entertainment problem. Television has turn to "action news" to ...

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