Post#7 Network – A Movie about News and Television

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Howard Beale.. a middle aged man facing termination decides he is tired of the media act and wants to get to the real truth. This central idea drives the rest of the movie. So let’s dive in.

I chose to answer question 8 and question 3.

8. Arthur Jensen the corporate CEO, tells Howard that, “The world is a business … It has been since man crawled out of the slime.” What are your opinions and impressions of that speech, delivered near the end of the film by Jensen, played by Ned Beatty?

Arthur Jensen paints a picture of society and the world as one gigantic business or collection of businesses all fighting to have the most chips in their hand when push comes to shove. In all honesty, although this is a very dramatic example, therein lies quite a lot of truth. The big businesses of the world hold the power no matter how much the government attempts to regulate them. The government itself acts as big business just so it can participate in the collection of money.

Furthermore, money is the driving force behind all of the global trade that happens. Whoever is at the top is not the one with the most people, it is always the one with the most money. Because in the equation of the world, money=power. Along that line of thinking, if the average joe makes close to nothing in comparison to these superpowers, then how are we able to have a voice? Howard Beale took the TV set and made his voice louder because he could broadcast to millions of people rather than the small circle of influence a regular person might have. This begs to question how one person might be able to have a louder voice if they are not broadcast to millions or if he or she doesn’t have a million dollars sitting in his or her pockets.

Using this picture of who has money and who doesn’t as the picture of who has the right to speak and who doesn’t draws a very fine parallel. There are the few anomalies who were so different, they created a voice for themselves through action rather than possession. Aside from these outliers, the world does seem to follow a flow of money rather than the flow of human thought. I’ve seen in it my everyday life. Making web designs for big business owners while I watch their philanthropy allow them to talk to people I would never have an opportunity to speak to without having my pockets full. Which forces us to be different. Howard Beale was different. How can we be different?

3. In one of the first scenes, Howard and Max joke about programming a “Death Hour” on television. Giving specific details and examples, discuss the various ways this could be seen as prophetic given today’s movies and television programming.

Using the term “Death Hour” to describe the news may seem a little harsh, until you consider the contents of the news at 5 o’clock. Statistically speaking, the news usually reports more on poor happenings rather than uplifting and encouraging things happening in local areas. It’s hard to completely blame the news for reporting like this though. The market of average viewers shows that negative news is far more popular than mostly positive or neutral information.

The most popular movies in today’s society seem to be the ones with the shock and awe factor. “Did you see how many guys he killed?”, or “I never knew the war was that bad!” and so on. Violence makes it’s way into most movies and TV shows almost to the point where it becomes expected and we become desensitized to it. So then the producers have to make it more gruesome and more shocking or it won’t get played. For example, Break Bad just had it’s finale–this is a show about people who cook meth and kill or stop anyone who gets in their way and they are glorified for it all in the name of “the wrong place at the wrong time.” Viewers took a hold of these characters and became far more accepting of the lifestyle that was portrayed.

As I have sat there watching the show, I realize that after I’m done, I have a sense of morality that died a little and I notice it. This happens to everyone over and over until it becomes old hat. So maybe “Death Hour” isn’t as harsh as it initially seems. After you compare what you see to what it used to be, this description doesn’t seem so inaccurate. So next time you watch the news or settle down to enjoy your favorite show, take a moment to think about what it represents.

Scotty

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Post #6 Chapter 3 CASE 3-B

CASE 3-B Tailgate Approved? The Rise and Fall of the Fan Can

The case came about when Anheuser-Busch created the “Fan Can” which sported the school colors from 27 different colleges. This wouldn’t be so bad, except it seemed to partially target the underage crowd. Accounting for almost 11 million of the total drinkers.

Te book questions whether it is the college student’s responsibility to abstain from underage. I, personally, think this question is a joke. There is no one else that this responsibility should fall to other than the student them self. End of story. One cannot simply claim that because of a marketing technique, they should not be held responsible for their choices.

These Fan Cans do resemble product placement, however. What better way to market to one of their top crowds than to create a can that supports something that hits close to home? This does raise ethical concern though. For over half of a student’s time spent in college, he or she is underage. Therefore, the college market should not be as large as it is.

As of right now, personal responsibility to drinking does not seem to be a concern for the alcohol corporations. They always add “Please drink responsibly” to their messages, but it doesn’t seem to be out of a moral obligation, but merely a way to appear concerned with how and in what way their market uses their product.

Be responsible. Wait to drink. You gain nothing by drinking underage.

Post #5 TARES Test FAILED!!!

According to the book, the TARES test is used to determine whether a commercial(or other form of media) is ethically persuasive. I will examine a Skittles Commercial.

Not looking good.

T – Truthful? There is no clear message in the video, however, the impression is not accurate at all.

A – Authentic? Obviously not an authentic claim. Claiming that Skittles is related to sexual interactions? I think not.

R – Respect? The ad seems uninterested in the receiver all together. No need to reference respect.

E – Equity? In a sense, yes, there remains an equality presented by a common activity being portrayed in the video.

S – Socially Responsible? Absolutely not. There is no reason to show what is going on in such an explicit way. There is a complete disregard for privacy and propriety.

This commercial is a blatantly shock value oriented ad. It serves a basic purpose of feigning for a laugh from the audience because of the shockingly explicit material. In no way was this helpful to promote the product other than pushing the name out there and making it memorable. It does not establish a better name for the brand, or show respect to their consumers.

Big fat F for FAIL.

Post #2 Two Photos to Consider

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The media is all about uncovering secrets and telling stories the way they see them. Oftentimes they seem to get around the proverbial censor that society implies, but does not live by.

In 1975, Stanley Forman took a picture of a baby and mother falling from a fire escape just out of reach of the firefighter trying to save them.

Fire Escape - Stanley Forman, 1975

This particular picture was a point of controversy because of the depiction of “death in action.” The only person to die was the mother, the child lived because she landed on the mother. Some say showing this happening was unfeeling and grotesque. Others say that is shows a heroic action taking place.

During 9/11, Richard Drew snapped a photo while the Twin Towers were tragically burning to the ground. This photo, however, was not like many others, for it showed people plunging to their deaths because they jumped out of the building.

Although this picture is very simple, it invokes a deep emotional response in most people. Why is this? Because it depicts what some interpret as death. There are some interesting things to note about the picture. This man is alone, he did not jump with anyone. He looks relaxed–at peace with what is about to happen.

How do we compare these photos? Are the ethically wrong to be put into the media and shown to many people? Maybe. However, they are very emotionally engaging photos. They tell a story that would be very hard for words on a page to match.

Personally, I believe photos such as this are very important for people to see. It helps someone feel for the situation much better. The impact these photos had after being shown changed people and communities. ALL of the fire escapes in Boston were inspected and adjusted to new speculations simply because this photo changed the way people think. “Falling Man” caught the attention of so many people and brought a realism and attachment to the situation.

I would never be opposed to showing people these photos, however I would certainly consult with the families of these individuals before ever even considering showing them to a mass of people.

Ethical? Sure. Moral? It’s up to you.

Post #4 Ethical Journalism — Oxymoron?

Listed in the textbook on page 35, there are Ethical values that are considered in traditional news gathering and journalism. Located here are the “Seven News Values”

Rather than write out these news values, I will summarize the likes of them.

Essentially, the text deals with issues that are much more important to the reader. Information that has to do with the accuracy and ethical value of the content rather than the impact it has on society. The news values in the link I provided are hardly focused on the overall quality, rather interested in the ability it has to be created well and distributed in a quick fashion.

It seems to me that the old values were created by the journalists who were reporting with more freedom. These days, the content of articles seem to be more based on what the publisher or editor wants more than anything else. Whatever brings in the cash and the audience.

Unbiased? Not if you want money!

Post #3 Who is my moral compass?

Morality. Hm.

My perspective on morals are shaped by my religious beliefs which were primarily passed on to me by my parents. After I had developed my own ability to rationally think, I made the decision to be of the same mind as they are with slight changes to my theological thought.

As a moral compass, I would say that the Bible is where I draw my morality and decisions from. It is my go-to for whatever issue arises.

Simply put.

Christian.

Post #1 Media Ethics and Morals

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A question was brought to attention in our previous class:

What is the difference between morals and ethics?

This question has been a hot topic of discussion since the very beginnings of philosophy and critical thinking. Some may reference the dictionary definition of these words. This will give us a basis for thought.

mor·al [mawr-uhl, mor-]
adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.

eth·ics [eth-iks]
plural noun
1. ( used with a singular or plural verb ) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.

Now you must be completely confused. The words “moral” and “ethical” seem to be used interchangeably with one another in these definitions. In reality, these are just building blocks into the bigger picture of society. It starts with morals. Morals are widely accepted as a human being’s personal vision of what right and wrong are, lending itself to the argument of truth and absolutes.

What is “right” and what is “wrong”?

Suppose a man is on the brink of death from starvation. His life will not continue to exist if he does not drink a medical concoction that another man possesses. The one who possesses the drink refuses to offer it to the dying man, forcing the dying man to steal it from the other in order to live. Because he was dying, that allowed him to justify stealing from the other man. Is this right? Can we properly label right?

No, we simply cannot. What is right is relative to the culture or situation, however, relativity in and of itself is a fallacy. The Theory of Relativism states that there are no absolutes, which in and of itself is an absolute, thus rendering this theory null and void. On that same construct, we can extract the knowledge that there will never be a universally accepted “right.” (This is the part where all the math majors raise their hands) Ask anyone, “What is 2+2?” Most people will reply with an off-handed joke due to the repetitious nature of the question, but will inherently reply, “4.” Math is considered to be absolute, however, once you progress far past basic math, you will find that math become theoretical based on the variables established in more simpler forms. Off the assumption that 2+2=4 is absolutely true, many more ideologies dealing with a greater understanding of the physical world are developed.

What I’m trying to say is that what we believe to be true about math is only because men long ago decided to say that’s what math is–relative to how they felt. If other men were to develop it, it would have taken on a very different form. But what we know to be true is that no matter what form it comes in, we would still come out with a similar outcome.

So then, as it stands, truths about right and wrong are pretty widely accepted. (Or at least we will go with that understanding) These rights and wrongs are how people develop their morals and they use these morals together with one another to create an ethical code.

So what is the answer? Too may variables to determine. However, my theory on it goes like this: Morals = A human’s perception of right and wrong. Ethics = A society of human’s perception of right and wrong.

Hum.