The Power of Media Ownership: Why We Should Care

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http://www.greenberg-art.com/.Toons/.Toons,%20Media/qqxsgMediaOwnership.gif

Ted Turner. Steve Forbes. Gina Rinehart. Mark Zuckerberg. These are just a few of the most powerful figures in media ownership today. But the question which is constantly being argued is this: Do media moguls have too much power?

Australia has a well-renowned reputation for its absorption towards media ownership (Pusey and McCutcheon, 2011). We need only to look at the Rupert Murdoch and his influence on the media, through his media empire Newscorp, to acknowledge this. He is undeniably one of the most powerful figures in the world today. However, Murdoch has been involved in his fair share of controversies including the notorious phone hacking scandal in 2011. According to Michael Pusey (2011), the phone hacking scandal is proof of the vice of power that media moguls are capable of.

Another topic which is under constant scrutiny is the role of the media itself. Is its purpose to truthfully inform the general public? Or is it to manipulate people into sharing similar ideologies as the moguls themselves? Interestingly, the video posted below shows Rupert Murdoch actually ADMITTING to manipulating the news for his personal agenda.

Unfortunately, this seems to occur more and more frequently, particularly when it comes to politics. An ABC report provides details on the way Murdoch first took advantage of his media power and utilized it for his own political resolves. This led to an inquiry known as “The Finkelstein Report” which attempted to link contact between newspapers and politicians.

So, why should WE care? Well, I think it is fair to say that we all want to hear or read the news as IT IS, not how THEY want it to be. However, the manipulation of ideologies is still happening today, which is why it is so important that people start to get their news from more independently-financed companies (e.g. SBS, ABC etc.)

As the controversial rapper Kanye West said: “No one man should have all that power”

REFERENCES:

  1. ABC. “News of the World shuts amid hacking scandal.” ABC News. ABC, 8 July 2011. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-08/news-of-the-world-shuts-amid-hacking-scandal/2786546>.
  2. Pusey, Michael . “Media ownership matters: why politicians need to take on proprietors.” The Conversation. N.p., 19 Sept. 2011. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. <http://theconversation.com/media-ownership-matters-why-politicians-need-to-take-on-proprietors-3425>.
  3. Holmes, Jonathan. “Media’s old master playing politics in Australia?.” The Drum. ABC, 27 Apr. 2012. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.                   <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-26/holmes-medias-old-master/3974240word…>.

 

More than Meets the Eye

It often said that a “picture is worth a thousand words” because of its ability to convey a complex or sophisticated idea through a visual medium. However, much like words written by a particular individual, images can be interpreted differently by each individual, based on their ideologies and the connotations and denotations created in an image.

Blog Post 3

http://adsoftheworld.com/media/print/humans_for_animals_seal

The image featured above is part of WWF’s advertising campaign against animal cruelty. This image was highly controversial, for the shocking portrayal of a seal having seemingly pulped a baby to death. The signifies are found through the placement of a pulp in the seal’s mouth and the graphic depiction of the baby’s bloodied corpse. At first glance, it is obvious that the artists’ intention is to shock society by challenging their shared ideology that babies or young children should never be harmed. Yet, the cold and grim background connotes that the artist also shares the fore mentioned ideology and has only created this image to encourage society to reflect on the negative impacts of animal cruelty. This is in fact signified through the text at the bottom which says “Don’t treat others the way don’t want to be treated”.

Despite the undeniably graphic nature of the image, I believe that this  is a clever and necessary advertisement which forces us to challenge our own ideologies and encourages us to reflect on the negative ideology of animal cruelty.

Don’t Blame it on the Media

The representation of violence in media is an issue which has been under constant dispute and has seen the mediums of film, television and video games come under very heavy scrutiny for the ‘effect’ it has on certain individuals (both children and adults) in society. But are the media really to blame?

Image

 Source: http://www.cdn.buzznet.com/assets/imgx/1/2/0/9/8/2/2/1/orig-12098221.jpg/

There has been considerable research undertaken, over the years, which has attempted to link the portrayal of violence in media to the behaviour of consumers in society. Yet, the question we must ask ourselves is, as Gauntlett (1998) states “why are there no clear answers on media effects?” In response to this question, Gauntlett (1998) goes on to suggest “that the media effects research has quite consistently taken the wrong approach to the mass media, its audiences, and society in general.” I, myself, own violent video games and films and I have watched my 13 year old brother interact and watch these games and movies. Sure, he thinks it’s ‘cool’ when two characters engage in a violent gunfight, but does this make him anymore violent then the next 13 year old? I don’t believe so.

Christopher J. Ferguson (2010, pg.40) believes that one of the problems in the studies of violent crime is the fact that studying violent crimes experimentally would clearly be unethical which rules out the ability to “examine the measure of aggression in the laboratory”. Another factor, which I found fascinating in the reading of David Gauntlett’s “Ten things wrong with the ‘effects model’, is that “the effects model is selective in its criticisms of media depictions of violence”. This refers to the fact that researchers have focused merely on violence depicted in fictitious media as opposed to non-fictitious media (e.g. news). This, I believe is another good point which I believe is important in considering whether the media really is to blame for violent crimes.

In the end, we must consider the media as only a possible factor in the cause of violent crimes. I believe that essentially it is how an individual perceives what they see that is to blame, rather than the media itself.

REFERENCES

Gauntlett, David. ‘Ten Things Wrong with the ‘effects model’, in Approaches to Audiences – A Reader, Roger Dickinson, Ramaswami Harindranath and Olga Linne (eds) Arnold: London, 1998 http://www.theory.org.uk/effects.htm

Ferguson, J. Christopher. 2009. Violent Crime: Clinical and Social Implications. Sage Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks. CA

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Introducing… Myself :)

Hi everyone,

In case you guys don’t know me (which you probably don’t), my name is Maxime Clement (but please call me Max) and I am 18 years old and was born in a little-known city called Paris in France. My father and brother are also French and my mother was born in Canada and raised in New Zealand, so I guess you could say that my family is culturally varied. Prior to living in Australia, I lived in England for 8 years  and France for 2 years. In Australia, I spent year 4,5 and 6 at Burraneer Bay Primary School and spent all my high school years at Cronulla High School. I am currently doing a double degree of media and communications/international studies at UOW.

Those who know me will tell you that I am a film and soccer enthusiast and they’re not wrong. When I was young, my dream was to someday become involved in the film industry. Some of my other interests include music , photography and video games. I work, on a casual basis, at Toys R Us, which is really cool.

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After graduating from my degree, I hope to either become part of the advertising industry or work in a PR department. But, to be honest, those are just vague ideas of what I want to do. In truth, I have no idea yet of what I want to do, but at this age, who does?

So that pretty much sums me up, if you have any questions or just want to chat, you can find me on both Twitter and Facebook (just search my name)

Au revoir, mes amis

Max

Forgettable Remake of an Unforgettable Film- Oldboy (2013)

In 2003, South-Korean filmmaker Chan-wook Park released a brilliant film adaptation of the cult graphic novel “Oldboy” (Oldeuboi). The film was an exceptional, yet disturbing tale of vengeance and tragic love. Since its release, the film has gone on to become a cult classic and is often considered to be one of the greatest modern film-noirs of the last decade and one of the best Asian films of all time. Inevitably, Hollywood commissioned a remake, with renowned indie director Spike Lee at the helm…

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story of Oldboy, the plot revolves around a man who is inexplicably kidnapped and retained in a mysterious hotel room for 20 years with no contact with the outside world, other than through television. The name of the fore mentioned man in this remake is Joe Doucette (Josh Brolin) an unsympathetic and alcoholic advertising executive who lives a miserable and meaningless life. We first encounter Joe in 1993 as he drunkenly stumbles around town after  he fails to secure a major deal for the company he represents. It is clear from the opening 10 minutes that Joe doesn’t make many friends and this made evident when we then find him wake up in a solitary room in which he spends the next 20 years in. Following a montage which explores Joe’s psychological state caused by isolation, Joe is then released and he sets outs to avenge those responsible, not only for his kidnapping, but the rape and murder of his estranged wife.

There are positives to find within Spike Lee’s remake:  The 20 year montage is cleverly intercut with clips of important events from each yeah; Josh Brolin is solid as Doucette, a lost and angry man looking for redemption through vengeance. However, the biggest problem with Spike Lee’s film is one which is common with most Hollywood remakes:  It lacks its own original style. Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed” expertly demonstrated how an American remake can justify its purpose of being made by incorporating a different style and different elements whilst still maintaining the core story of the original.

Verdict

Whilst not being a complete disaster of a film, Spike Lee’s “Oldboy” still suffers from a dull screenplay and a genuine lack of style and substance.

2/5

A misunderstood masterpiece on life, death and everything in between- (Cloud Atlas, 2012)

Actor Sean Penn once said that “When everything gets answered, it’s fake.” This idea is applicable to most films produced in Hollywood in the last decades. However, every so often, a rare film like Cloud Atlas comes along and dares to challenge your intellect whilst providing you with a dream-like experience.

Based on David Mitchell’s 2004 best-selling novel, Cloud Atlas directed by The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer is a transcending and philosophical tale which primarily revolves around six different lives from different periods in time and how they are all connected through each individual action. Sound complicated? It is. However if you seriously invest yourself and concentrate in the film, you are guaranteed one hell of an experience.

The all-star cast including Tom Hanks, Jim Broadbent, Halle Berry, Ben Whishaw, Jim Sturgess, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving are all on the top of their game as they each take on multiple roles, some heroic, some villainous.  Hanks, Whishaw and Grant are particular standouts with Grant being cast against type as a leader of cannibals in the post-apocalyptic period and as an unsympathetic slave owner in the 19th Century. The film also features stunning cinematography and a triumphant musical score, which help enhance the experience. However, the film’s greatest strength lies in the editing by Alexander Berner and Claus Wehlish, who successfully manage to cut between different periods and stories whilst still maintaining an emotional connection to the different characters.

However, the film does feature one minor flaw through the controversial “yellow-face” make-up , which at times can be a bit of a distraction. However, it is most likely that you will find yourself so immersed in the story and the themes, that you may not even notice.

Verdict

Cloud Atlas is an extraordinary and highly ambitious piece of cinema which uses a strong visual style, as well as wonderful performances from the all-star cast, to create a metaphorical, philosophical and moving cinematic experience.

5/5