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Showing posts from September 21, 2008

Big Media & Bad Criticism

by Ken Sanes

One of the more interesting publications on the Internet right now is Slate magazine, which has shown itself willing to take on the journalistic establishment, including the New York Times and the dominant television news networks. But last month, Slate took a wrong turn when its deputy editor, Jack Shafer, offered a column that reads like a work of propaganda for the giant companies that now dominate the media.
As the headline -- "Big is Beautiful" -- suggests, Shafer's purpose in the column is to convince us that the big media so many love to hate is actually good for America. In fact, he suggests, big media has helped make this a golden age of journalism because only it "possesses the means to consistently hold big business and big government accountable". Shafer also acknowledges that there are media abuses, but he believes the system is self-correcting because news organizations and other providers of information are exposing the wrongdoing in t…

The Principles of Media Criticism

This was written some time around 1997. For a more recent (and more detailed) treatment of the current state of the media, see Big Media & Bad Criticism.
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Media criticism is in an undeveloped state, today, largely because the mainstream media allows virtually no open discussion of the subject. Some criticism that does get to the public, of course, but most of it is corrupted by the same forces that have turned the rest of the media into a source of manipulation.
The selections below attempt to correct this conspiracy of silence by offering readers an introduction to the field that will allow them to see the larger trends that define much of the media. The selections focus on the following characteristics of contemporary culture and society:
* The fact that all centers of power today rely on media and that all use sensory manipulations and simulations, along with story lines, rhetoric, and performances to sell audiences products,…

Media Massa dan Genre Iklan Politik

Iklan politik semakin banyak menghiasi media massa kita. Perang iklan pun sudah dan sedang terjadi. Umumnya iklan dimaksud diisi oleh partai-partai politik, kandidat bakal calon presiden, dan para calon legislatif. Model dan modusnya pun bervariasi. Tetapi kebanyakan bermuatan sebatas pencitraan diri agar dipilih dan didukung rakyat pada saat pemilu nanti.
Hal itu terlihat dari isi iklan. Partai pemerintah dengan gagah menyodorkan keberhasilan pemerintah sebagai wajah dari iklan politiknya. Sementara partai-partai oposisi tampil dengan cemohan atas serangkaian kebijakan pemerintah yang dinilai kurang pro rakyat. Di lain pihak, ada juga model iklan yang juga menampilkan sosok pahlawan yang kadar kepahlawanannya masih diperdebatkan oleh publik. Materi iklan pun menjadi pergunjingan politik. Iklan yang pada dasarnya ditujukan untuk menambahkan rasa simpatik dari masyarakat pemilih, justru menabur sinisme.
Memang iklan punya cara pandang dan pendekatan tersendiri. Dan cara pandang itu hanya…