When my children do not need attention, I am almost always with one ear to the television, writing a blog entry, reading internet news, watching YouTube, listening to music, completing schoolwork over the internet and/or working in a virtual world. I am a media multi-tasker, hands down.
I am intentionally involved in a media activity for over fourteen hours per day with five to fifteen tabs open in my web browser. Abstaining from media exposure would be impossible for me; it is a critical part of my educational and professional careers. Needless to say, my dependence on media is quite strong.
In reference to the incredibility of our concurrent media usage, author Vivian (2011, pp. 4) writes, “Perhaps we need the rest.”
Yes, I say, “Absolutely.”
The chapter containing this excerpt, entitled ‘Mass Media Literacy,’ is about advancing knowledge in the subject of mass media and its significance in our lives, both individually and collectively. In order to fully understand what is ‘fed’ to us through radio, television, movies, books, newspapers and magazines, it’s important to understand the intentions behind the businesses that provide them to us.
Most media companies have a heavy reliance on those funding them, albeit government funding or advertising revenue. This leaves room for conflicts of interest where advertiser or financier pressure is used to sway editorial content. This influence is seen in the cases of Sam Zell and Rupert Murdoch — Zell with influence from a prospective government financier and Murdoch influencing media from parts of his global empire for higher revenue.
Increased knowledge of this information does not deter me from appreciating different media content, however it does make one think twice about biases in media presentations and reading in between the lines. What is kept from us? For what purpose is some content shown repeatedly and some not at all? How do the commercials, paid programming and even public programming affect our children?
Recorded music and books will always be my most peaceful remedies after a long day. Not-surprising is the fact that they are both the least reliant on advertiser dollars. Sometimes we all need a little rest (from all the ‘nonsense and mumbo-jumbo’ of commercialism).
Vivian, J. (2011). The Media of Mass Communication (pp. 4, 10th ed.).