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Archive for the ‘Mass Corporations’ Category

In 9 out of the 10 blogs I’ve written for my school project in my New Media communications class, I’ve found and discussed many negative effects about different areas of the media. And now in my 10th and final blog I feel it appropriate to discuss what the media provides for human civilization and how much we depend on the media to function in our day to day lives.

The media has made its mark in our lives, and allows us to access information all over the world from the comfort of our cozy homes. From the moment we wake up in the morning we depend on local television programs to inform us about the weather forecast and traffic reports so we can make it to work or school on time. We also depend on the media to enlighten ourselves about events and news all around the world. Throughout everyday of our human lives we are exposed to the media, whether it be television programs, movies, music, billboards, advertisements etc. And as easy as it is to bash the media because of the negative affects it may bring about, humans rely on the media in order to survive in this day and age.

Manali Oak writer of the internet article titled Positive Effects of the Media discuss how research reveals that the media is very influential on people today. He states, “research has revealed that media is responsible for influencing a major part of our daily life. Media contribute to a transformation in the cultural and social values of the masses. Media can bring about a change in the attitudes and beliefs of the common man. The persuasive nature of the content presented over media influences the thoughts and behavior of the general public. Media has a direct impact over the lifestyle of society.” (Oak) As Oak discusses the media has over taken the lives of humans it affects us in our thoughts, beliefs and behaviours and we wholeheartedly depend on the media to exist in our society today.

The media teaches humans about a variety of different things and brings people together, and although there has proven to be a number of negative aspects involved in the media, the media truly does in rich and fulfill the lives of people everyday.

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“Ad”ding Up!

Advertisements are the media’s way to influence people to buy their products. Advertisemnts can be found in all branches of the media including television commercial, newspaper ads, billboards, coupons, flyers etc. Humans are exposed to advertisements everyday and many of us have the belief that the reason we buy commercial products is because we have decided to do so, and not because an advertisement persuaded us to do so.

Although all people are influenced by advertisements children and young adults are at a greater risk of being affected. Karl Sutana writer of the internet article, The Effects Of Advertising On People explains why children and young adults are at a greater risk of being effect by advertisements as opposed to adults. He defines, “for children and young people there are particular problems associated with the effects of advertising. They are the one who are often vulnerable to messages which are put forward in the advertisements. They like to measure up to their peer group and feel pressurized by the images that they see on screen. This leads to eating disorders, for example, associated with advertisements featuring idealized thinness.” (Sutana) It is unfortunate that teenage health problems may occur because of the negative views on body image that are displayed in advertisements.

Advertisements are something that humans have become partially desensitized to, although they truly are effecting use we still choose to believe that we chose to buy the product because it is a personal need. This is probably due to the fact that we have to much pride to admit.

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Scandals, we find them every day in our papers. However, in order to be critical thinkers we must reflect on the fact that what is excluded from the papers is equally as important as what is.

Trafigura is a Swiss company who “handle[s] every element involved in the sourcing and trading of crude oil, petroleum products, renewable energies, metals, metal ores and concentrates for industrial consumers” (Trafigura Corporate Brochure, 2009). During 2005 and 2006 e-mails were sent internally describing “plans to clean and re-sell contaminated oil from Mexico and deposit the wastes in Africa, since they were too toxic for regulators in Europe or the U.S” (Cook, 2010, p.19). Four-hundred to five-hundred tons of toxic waste would finally get dumped in Abidjan, on the Ivory Coast (p.19). After this, tens of thousands of people from the Ivory Coast were reporting to doctors’ offices for illnesses related to being exposed to toxic waste (p.19). The UN even claims that there are 12 deaths directly related to this purposeful dumping (p.19).

On September 11th, 2009, Trafigura went to the British High Court to ban a scientific report to be public information (p.19). This document held all information regarding health and safety issues concerning this toxic waste. They also were granted an order so that the report could not be mentioned in British Parliament (p.20). Nonetheless, a Member of Parliament mentioned the incident in Parliament and subsequently a journalist at The Guardian got wind of the story. Trafigura ordered the stories be deleted off the website; however, the British newspaper did not (p.20). While Trafigura wanted the articles down to save their reputation and keep the public blind to the atrocities that they had committed, it all backfired. Thanks to Twitter, the story generated much more attention than this company wanted considering they sought legal action to prohibit this from happening. On October 16th, just over a month after they had gone to court, Trafigura removed their injunction (p.20).

“What the media have called a cover-up was simply a routine injunction to protect a document that was “confidential, legally privileged, and which had been obtained unlawfully,” said Adam Tudor, Trafigura’s head lawyer.

As we can see, large corporations as always looking for a way to cover their backs and make sure that the public is oblivious to their actions and in this case, the willingness to put human life at risk in order to save a multi-billion dollar company money. Without the leaking of internal e-mails and Twitter updates this all would have transpired without any public knowledge, which is completely ludicrous.

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Blogging is in a way the freest form of online speech. It is an outlet expressing personal feelings, sharing news or other information. In China, where the internet is patrolled by the government bloggers must be careful not to express oppositional political views. The Chinese according to a survey done by Chinese researcher Guo, use the internet primarily for “general browsing… reading national and local news, downloading or listening to music, and sending or receiving instant messages” (2007).They also use blogging as a means of “news and information gathering, entertainment, and interpersonal relationships” (Hong & Wong, 2010)

Also in Guo’s survey,

more than 80% of the respondents considered the control of online information very or somewhat necessary and believed government (84.8%) and Internet companies (78.8%) should play the most important role on it. In terms of specific forms of content that should be controlled, about 44% of the respondents said politics” (2007).

According to Guo’s survey we can infer that the government in this case could be considered like a mass corporation in the Western countries. They will do whatever it takes to cover their own necks and will try to control the population to conform to their beliefs. If they do not or have not conformed, the public will keep their mouth shut in fear of serious repercussions. I find it interesting that the public says that the government should play the most important role on the internet. Perhaps it is because they were concerned that the information they gave the researchers would be sent to government officials or perhaps that is their true belief. However, either way it is evident the mark that the Chinese government has had on its population. In a sense this is a form of cultural branding. If you are from here you must behave THIS way and not THAT way. Through some of these stats, I see the correlation between the two.

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Reality Kick

Reality television is increasingly growing in the 21st century, and people just can’t seem to get enough of it. Almost every hour of the day, you can find some sort of reality show on your television screen, either a “Baby Story” on TLC, “Survivor” on Global or “The Real World” on MTV, its nonstop. These somewhat new forms of TV series have captured many people’s attention and the viewer’s seem to be tuning into these shows more than anything else. In the year 2000, “Survivor” aired to 27 million viewers, and in the United States, a report indicates girls between the age of 12 and 17, there were 3 out of 4 that claimed reality TV shows were their favourite type of television.  Reality television isn’t only having an impact on the Americans, it is a worldwide phenomenon. In the year 2000, in the UK, 70% of the population between the ages of 4 and 65 have claimed to watch reality television occasionally or on a regular basis. Even shows like American Idol are now offered in Canada and other countries. The audience craves these shows so much because they can relate to some of these reality stars one way or another and it is a non-scripted show. This means that these people staring on the shows do not have many boundaries and are permitted to speak their mind as they please, even when some people believe it should be censored. For example, the television reality show “Jersey Shore” airs on the station MTV and is about a handful of Italian’s that share a house for the summer. On one of the episodes, one of the girls is punched in the face by a man. It is to some surprise that there weren’t any abuse organizations or victims that made complaints so that the show wouldn’t be aired. So why would violence against women be allowed to air on a reality television show but lyrics to song reflecting the artists reality may be censored? Reality television pushing the lines of boundaries and maybe this is the reason that people are so intrigued. These shows help understand, coop, or prepare themselves for a scary, painful or happy event that the viewer may get.  

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Sing Me a Song

“In October 2005, a panel discussion at Ball State University entitled ‘Exploring Freedom of Expression through Music’ looked at the issue of American censorship of controversial lyrics in popular music”(freemuse). As a debate remains between having full access to freedom of speech with no consequences versus having restrictions, it doesn’t only touch on blogs, but also, small and even largely known artists too, that must fight for their rights to push towards the creation of lyrics. It is hard to judge what should be censored and what should be allowed, but one criterion that has affected an artist is an act of terrorism. After this even in New York City on September 11, 2001, Wal-Mart made a decision to stop selling songs they thought were non-patriotic. “Clear Channel Media Company also issued a list of songs they considered offensive, such as AC/DC’s song, ‘Safe in New York’.” (freemuse)  Although Wal-Mart and Clear Channel Media Company were entitled to make whatever decision they felt was right, these artists also have a right to their freedom of speech and could not have predicted anything that would have prevented their songs from being played, especially when the situation was out of their control. Another artist, singer John Kay, sparked controversy in South Carolina because his song “The Pusher” was related to drugs and included a swear word against God. According to freemuse.org, “When he met a local police chief and mayor at the airport on the way to his concert, they forbade him to sing the controversial song.”(freemuse) So could we say that the police officer and mayor were going against the First Amendment of the United States of America and taking away his freedom to speech? There has been many other songs considered worse and discriminatory compared to John’s “The Pusher”, so why does these restrictions only apply to certain people?

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