Tag Archives: media

MediaMyopic Collaborates With CTT

Since the start of the semester typically signals a less prolific blog here at MediaMyopic, I want to alert you to a new collaboration with Georgetown University’s gnovis Journal. The peer-reviewed blog through the University’s Communication, Culture & Technology program will feature bi-weekly posts from MediaMyopic. The site is a commendable platform and offers a solid mix of diverse, academic viewpoints concerning today’s culture and media environment. While MediaMyopic will continue to serve its mission, I encourage everyone to support the gnovis blog and tune in to its salient discussions. Below is an exceprt from my first post:

Remember the days when we elected politicians who didn’t know how to e-mail? While some candidates think they can still get by with rhetoric from the Stone Age (McCain, anyone?), those days of the not-so-technologically-savvy president are gone, thanks to Barack Obama’s administration. The Blackberry-toting Obama marks the country’s first president to adopt e-mail, despite the technology going mainstream some two decades ago. As a result of Obama’s Web 2.0 White House, we have a president eager to communicate through mediums neglected by past presidents and — for the first time in my generation — Americans have lent their ears to our new leader..Read On

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With a Plunger and a Pen

Armed with a plunger and pen, Joe the Plumber is now an official ‘journalist,’ according to today’s definition, which includes anybody and everybody. Samuel Wurzelbacher, a conservative, uninformed American turned pop culture icon during the charades of the ’08 election, will now be penning articles covering conflict on the Gaza Strip, as an Israel-based war ‘correspondent’ for right-leaning website PajamasTV — a news outlet spouting the tired argument of liberal media bias. A propaganda pawn for McCain, Joe was not in fact a plumber but a tax-owning business owner. Now he’s asking the public to take him seriously as a professional journalist. Here’s the shorthand: ignorant everyman who publically suggests Obama is anti-Israel socialist tries to command the attention of the masses through his ‘reporting’ of one of the most complex current events, an event that even the most seasoned and ethical correspondents have failed to convey with complete accuracy. Joe, can I call ya’ Joe? We’re sorry to hear you’re unwilling to relinquish your 15 minutes of fame but go back to pitching your book deals and spare yourself from the embarassment. And spare the integrity of journalism from going down the drain.

Gupta’s Influence Trumps Inexperience

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Few would dispute that the Obama campaign represented the ultimate confluence of media and politics. The announcement that CNN chief health correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the leading contender to be the next Surgeon General has furthered Obama’s mastery of media in promoting his message. Many of my colleagues in the medical field have derided this choice, pointing to the fact that Gupta’s training as a neurosurgeon, coupled with his relative youth, makes him unqualified to be the leading spokesperson on public health issues like diabetes, obesity, and coronary artery disease. However, I believe that Gupta’s potential appointment actually has the potential to be a brilliant choice. Gupta’s background makes him uniquely suited to the position of Surgeon General. Over the last few decades, the Surgeon General’s role has morphed into the chief communicator of public health matters. Other than the tenure of C. Everett Koop, the surgeon general, in recent times, has become a largely invisible position. Koop stood out because he had the charisma to attract an audience, and the ability to explain complex issues to Americans in terms they could understand. In short, he was a transformative figure who millions of Americans could identify by sight alone. I suspect most Americans would be hard-pressed to identify the current Surgeon General. In contrast, millions of Americans invite Gupta into their home on a nightly basis; he has proven he can communicate in laymen’s terms. And while most public health issues wouldn’t ordinarily be handled by a neurosurgeon, Gupta would serve as a spokesperson for these matters, not the clinician – a key difference. The choice clearly demonstrates Obama’s continued mastery of not just the roles media and communication currently play, but their potential in shaping our lives. – Matt Buchalter

Third Time’s a Harm

Out of all the news in the world to report right now (the Bill Richardson investigation, conflict in Palestine, the economy etc.), the two biggest stories to break over the weekend was the death of John Travolta’s son and George H.W.’s pitch for another Bush White House. We ask the public this: What’s more alarming? The fact an ineffective one-term president and father of a son with approval ratings spriraling to historic lows has the audacity to suggest the family deserves a third try in getting it right. Or the mindless media, which feels that it is within their perview to report such a mundane, trivial and outrageous suggestion. From the family who brought you the failed policies of trickle-down economics, Desert Storm, ‘compassionate’ conservatism, Homeland Security, No Child Left Behind, deregulation, the Iraq War, voter tampering in Florida and a bevy of mispronounced words, we unenthusiastically present to the American people our 45th President: Jeb Bush. George, READ OUR LIPS: “No New Bush.”

The Sad ‘Reality’ of NBC

Jeff Zucker

NBC's Jeff Zucker

Washed up celebs around the world should be on standby for their return to the limelight. Yes, that means you Dave Coulier. Speaking at the 36th annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference last week, NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker was anything but jovial about the network’s future. With few hit shows, declining ad revenue, and a desperate Jay Leno move, NBC seems to have taken a bare minimum approach to programming. No longer the network powerhouse of yesterday, Zucker offered a negative outlook on the future of network television. According to Zucker, NBC now relies on its portfolio of cable companies – Oxygen, MSNBC, USA, Bravo, etc. – to bring home the bucks. But do Zucker’s comments signal the beginning of the end for network television, or are they simply a stunt to exonerate himself from allowing CBS, ABC and Fox to out muscle the mighty Peacock? Let’s be honest: viewership is up; network television isn’t going anywhere. This talk signals nothing more than an indifference to program investment which will ultimately result in one thing: reality television – morning, noon and night.

The Death Of The Fourth Estate

For those of you, like myself, who have been skeptical of the soft Iraq war coverage of the last few years have had their worst fears confirmed. This week The New York Times revealed an extensive covert plot from the Pentagon that involved deploying close to 100 pseudo political ‘pundits’ with scripted pro-war propaganda aimed at controlling public opinion. And we’re not just talking about Fox News. The Times reports that these ‘pundits,’ or as the White House calls them, “message force multipliers,” infiltrated Fox, CBS, NBC, CNN, ABC and MSNBC news programs. These pundits were recruited by the Bush Administration to disseminate misleading war information and false praises of the U.S. war effort. The result is Bush’s most duplicitous breach of public trust since taking office. Gone is the watchdog role of the media, the Fourth Estate designed to safeguard our democratic virtues and keep public officials honest. If this violation of federal law, which prohibits government sanctioned covert propaganda, doesn’t warrant impeachment, then clearly the system is broken. If you care about safeguarding the integrity of information flow, act now and tell Congress that this is unacceptable.

Wait, What War?

Remember when the War in Iraq used to be a hot topic in the media? Yeah, me neither. Five years after invading Iraq under the guise of ‘terrorism,’ the military is no closer to an exit strategy or to winning the war, for that matter. And mainstream media can’t be bothered. More U.S. soldiers succumbed to roadside bombs last week, bringing the total troop fatality close to 4,000; meanwhile a suicide bomber took the lives of 40 plus civilians and injured 60 others. According to Newsweek, Republican presidential nominee John McCain has vowed to stay in Iraq another 100 years, if that’s what it takes to ensure victory. The hubris isn’t much better on the Democratic side; during her victory speech after the Ohio and Texas primaries, Hillary Clinton promised to ‘win’ the war. First, somebody needs to define ‘win.’ Secondly, Clinton began her campaign with the false promise of implementing an exit strategy within 60 days of taking office. But my frustration with the lack of Iraq dialogue subsided, momentarily, when I caught this sketch (below) on MADtv. At least the comedians got it right.