As part of the Humphrey Seminar we, Humphrey Fellows, received the visit of Aaron Brown, a very well known broadcast journalist who talked to us about his personal experiences as a journalist. One of the ideas that got my attention was that news were born as a stepchild of the entertainment business. I believe this thought is accurate in a certain context: most of the news media that is provided to us and that we consume, has become a spectacle.
This is definitely not new, paradoxically. the french author Guy Debord, for example, was very aware of how media plays a significant role in modeling societies thru news or entertainment in his book La Société Du Spectacle (The Society of the Spectacle). Another author we can rely on is the american Noam Chomsky, considered by many as the “father of modern linguistics”. The bewildered herd, term Chomsky uses to exemplify the premise that many people are in need of being told what to do and what where to go, is a concept that comes from his analysis of the societies around the world based on how mass communication works.
What we have is certain groups of power persuading the majority to act or live in a certain way. Some people are in “need” of certain expectations or believe in something, to have a feeling that they belong to whatever they believe in. This is truly legitimate, but we must analyze where these thoughts come from, and how is it that they think the way they think.
News and entertainment media have a certain degree of influence in our societies. Obviously there are degrees of pesuation, but it is true that the entertainment industry is what prevails, rather than investigative work that sometimes is supressed by authorities. Our task is to provide perspectives about what happens and these perspectives are enriched (or sometimes biased) by our experiences, thoughts, feelings and, ultimately, our own vision of life.
By Fernando Aguilar @fjaguilarr