Critical Media – An Intro!

For me, I am far less concerned with political ideology of left vs. right, as I am with the corporatization of culture, which includes (to give a few of many examples):

  • The shrinking nature of public space. Corporate expression in the form of advertisements has permeated every inch of our streets, parks and even  schools. When malls start to look like towns, and libraries are nestled in a shopping center, that to me, implies that we are losing the notion of the public and we are seeing ourselves as consumers, not citizens. And while advertisers bombard us in the public space with their consumerist propaganda, graffiti and street artists are arrested for making art that often expresses social concerns!
  • How this corporate culture has affected our notion of ‘free expression’ when those who are able to have a voice and frame the dialogue are usually the elites (those that have the money, political influence and power) who control our government, schools, and airwaves. Of course, these elites are a tiny percentage of the population, and are usually white, and male. Anyone who has been following the “war on women” in Congress probably would agree with me that these hateful conversations wouldn’t be happening if we had a more diverse political body.
  • Along those lines, the merging of media organizations into just five corporations that own the vast majority of the media outlets we get our information from has further excluded diverse voices that are so desperately needed in a democracy. This corporate influence has resulted in excessive advertising during programming, the rise of ‘infotainment,’ (where Britney’s shaved head is the main headline on CNN) at the expense of important foreign coverage so that these corporations can make more money by catering to the basest ‘bread and circuses’ mentality, which also saves on the cost of operating expensive foreign bureaus that could cover foreign policy stories. It has allowed powerful political and military lobbyists from both the Republican and Democratic parties to give ‘objective’ views on pressing  issues like the Iraq War and the Health Care debate without revealing their corporate ties and thus, conflict of interest.

If this sounds ridiculously depressing, don’t worry! I will also be covering movements that are trying to take back the public sphere from the corporations and politicians. These include independent media outlets and social media bloggers, to street artists and culture jammers. This is an issue that blurs partisan lines and I can’t wait to work on this project with everyone!

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