Category: Media


Let us fake a war for distracting others and not to let the electors be influenced by my sex scandal. Is it impossible? It is not. Wag the Dog, a black comedy film by Barry Levinson from 1997 whose content sticks to Larry Beinhart’s novel American Hero, makes the spectators conscient about what media manipulation may lead to.

– “We cannot afford war.”(Winifred Ames alias Anne Heche )

– “But we can have the appearance of war.”( Stanley Motss alias Dustin Hoffman )

This excerpt of a dialogue between Ames (Anne Heche ) and Motss (Dustin Hoffman) shows the ruthless means being used in order to reach the purpose. In America, the presidential election is to hold in eleven days and a sexual allusion endangers the current’s canditature. Therefore, the Hollywood producer Conrad Brean ( Robert de Niro ) is hired and the ” War ” with Albania takes place. Significant efforts are made for the Americans to believe what is not really going on which succeeds, suprisingly. Manipulation on national level happens.

Benefiting from Dustin Hoffman’s and Robert de Niro’s and Anne Heche’s skills which are conveying/emphasizing absolutely well the partly total opposite characters, an identification with the previous is obvious. Apart from that, the camera mouvements and the music play also roles of importance since they are means of underlining certain attitudes and atmospheres. Within the film, the credibility is assured on the one hand by the actors, the technical elements and on the other hand the increase of tension, the use of (astroturfing- ) propaganda and the progress of the plot.

What is more, it is particulately apparent, that parts of the hoax are exaggerated and full of suspicion for instance the immediate songs that followed the information. Others like the plane-crush-scene are not shown in detail or more unrealistic decreasing the tension and the credibility.

Concluding from those positive and negative aspects, Wag the Dog is reccommendable and worth to see as it  is highlighting media manipulation, its causes and consequences in a great extent.

Alien Contact

Alien Contact

Micheal Crichton

The extract ” Alien Contact ” from Micheal Crichton’s novel ” Sphere ” deals with the psychologist Norman Johnson, having a conference with the US government in order to conscript a report  about how to handle a possible contact with extraterrestrial life.

1. Describe the attitude of members of the US government towards the possibility of alien contact.

3. a) According to the text, what role would the media play in the event of alien contact ?

b) Explain the importance of ” media moments ” ( ll. 15-16 ) for politicians in democratic countries.

1. The attitude of the members of the US government towards the possibility of alien contact is gloomy and serious.  The quote ” Norman was continually surprised at the level of the officials he was told to meet with. One Senior Undersecretary of State… ” ( ll. 1-2 ) shows the seriousness of that topic of alien contact. They attempt to calm themselves with speculations about a ” multimeg nuclear device ” which would kill the aliens. Those assumptions are based on ” Law of physics” but it still leaves space for sceptism. The questions, Norman is asked cannot be answered surely, what means there is a certain degree of not only insecurity but also doubt. At least, the members of the US government worry about the reactions of the public. As seen in Orson Welles’ ” War of the Worlds ” in 1938, “People had been terrified. ” (l.45) and it is unreasonable to expose the public to that mass panic. That is the reason why one is supposed to relieve them when it is said that ” We don’t want to start a panic ” (l.33). though that proposition cannot be absolutely confirmed.

3. a) In the event of the alien contact, the media plays a role of importance. The media represents the device of conveying information to a wide audience. Much power and responsibility is awarded to it. Therefore, it needs much time and consideration which allows the people to seek for a proper amount and kind of information for the target group and which causes neither trouble nor panic. In order to achieve this purpose, this is done in the present extract.

3. b ) The ” media moments ” are of enormous significance for politicians in democratic countries. As said before, information can be spread fast, in the political fraction reforms, proposals or advertisements for parties are likely. This makes a transparent policy in democratic countries possible. Apart from that the citizen has the right to vote and due to this, even more significance is distributed to media and its role for politicians in democratic countries.

Hoaxes

On the 12 November 2008 the Yes Men published a fake edition of the ” New York Times ” and supported by thousands of volunteers, the Yes Men were able to distribute 1,2 million of those faked newspapers for free.

On the header, there were several significant features indicating that the given information were not true :

  • On the one hand, this release was for free.
  • On the other hand, in the upper corners one could see that this was a ” Special Edition “and that those information were ” All the News We Hope to Print”.
  • Another point to mention were the obviously edited pictures .
  • At least the date should have aroused the people’s doubt.

The reactions were ambivalent. While some people instantly recognized the hoax, others hardly comprehended what was going on. They were overheaped with pleasant changes and were not capable of expressing their happiness.

It has to be faced that the Yes Men intended to make the people aware of the miserable political situation, they are in. By means of showing them the ” better world “, the Yes Men attempted to appeal to the people’s will for a change. Therefore the people should have been encouraged to think and to improve their political position.

  • An argument to put this action in favour is that like everyone, the Yes Men have the right to express their way of thinking.
  • In addition, the purpose of this operation is a good one because they wanted to encourage people to escape their miserable political situation.
  • Apart from that, the people’s interest might be attracted and due to the large target group, they probably partly achieved their purpose.

  • A Negative aspect was that the Yes Men obviously harmed the New York Times’ reputation and their  seriousness.
  • There is also no doubt that according to the ignorant readers, not realizing the hoax ,the given information might have caused subsequent operations based on those articles.
  • Above all, it was certainly not right before the law.

The habitual New York Times reader and the average American should have been aware of the wishful thinking. Therefore, I’m convinced that the release of the faked New York Times had positive intentions but even though all actions have not only positive consequences  but also negative ones, in this case the advantages dominate.

Cartoon

Comment

This cartoon shows critically the conflict in reference to the freedom of speech.

As one can see, the four men are arrested because of statements/actions which contradict the law. While the three men on the left were imprisoned due to the danger for the state, the fourth was put under arrest because of a bad weather report which can be taken from the bubbles above.

The artist claims with the aid of this cartoon that is barely to get a solution when seeking a restriction of the freedom of expression. If not, it is even impossible to distinguish the right from the wrong  according to law. It usually depends on each case and therefore it possesses each different causes and consequences.

I agree entirely with the creator of this cartoon that in reference to the freedom of speech and thinking the right and the wrong stay close to each other. The exeggeration underlines that eventually, the law controls everything and hence, it has to undertake a huge responsibility.

This ability of free speaking and thinking is part of freedom and therefore an inevitable basis for development in any kind of way.

Biofuel Ban Act Signed Into Law, Seeks to Ease Food Shortage


Examining William Petty’s newspaper article  ” Biofuel Ban Act Signed Into Law, Seeks to Ease Food Shortage”, one obviously gets the impression of a quality newspaper.

The informative-text takes in relation to the picture and the headline most of the space. The central proposition can be taken from the headline, as it should be.

The content is clearly and logically structured. Another point to mention is the structure of the inverted pyramid. As the most important and significant information is provided in the beginning, the subsequent are additional information, so of less importance and therefore not conditionally necessary.

Apart from that, the educative information is given from an objective perspective via interviews and facts.

The reader is exposed to certain background information and some specific terms. Due to many subordinate clauses, this article consists of complex syntax and is expressed in a formal and precise way.

All in all, there are several significant factors indicating that this newspaper article is taken from a quality newspaper.

Biofuel Ban Act Signed Into Law, Seeks to Ease Food Shortage

The newspaper article ” Biofuel Ban Act Signed Into Law, Seeks to Ease Food Shortage “, written by William Petty deals with the law’s causes and consequences.

Backed by the average ignorant American refering to that specific topic, environmental activists and international organizations, the Biofuel Ban Act wins much supprt and attention via media. The media just provides a certain spectrum of information and that is the reason why the people stay disinformed.

In order to cease the conflict because of the lack of food which contemporary mostly is invested in the subsidized biofuel, the people emphasize the need for renewable energy.This statement also establishes in the economic strength. These neither should cause food shortage nor destroy native rainforests nor lead to exploitation.

National (Die Zeit)

Regional (Nordwest-Zeitung)

Local (OZ)

Tabloid (Daily Mirror)

Boradsheet (The Times)

Criteria

Criteria

  • Vocabulary ( easy to understand, according to the target group , parataxis, ‘not usual’ – easy to remember)
  • Clear message ( conveyed immediately, no ambivalent meanings of slogans, pictures etc. )
  • contrast, focus ( focus on product or message )
  • no distraction ( not too much information/ pictures )
  • ‘unusual features’ ( easy to remember )

When Information Rules

The excerpt from the modern book ” Media and Audiences “, written by Karen Ross and Virginia NIghtingale deals with the development of being the audience and the Information Society.

In the past there were only two kind of media which were seen as group activities whereas nowadays one consumes the information from several media types individually and simultaneously. More and more technical achievements  permit the audience to access information out of a variety of new oppurtunities. The people are exposed to a large band of information and so, they frequently and inevitably consume that range of information : An Information Society occured.

In addition to that, the barrier of just consuming information and actively taking part in media disappeared by introducing reality TV.