Thinking about what Travis was telling us about how the medium is the message pretty much makes sense. When you think about how you already have preconceived ideas about the validity and relevance of messages based on what medium is used to present them.
But the question is really why is the medium the message?
Is it because we add our on biases to each medium of presentation based on our past experiences with that medium? In this case the message that is being contributed by the medium is different for every person.
Does that make sense or do we all naturally ‘know’ through some unwritten laws what each medium is supposed to tell us as part of the message it is portraying?
Basically where i am left is acceptance that the medium is the message but unsure about what exactly that can mean.
In Australia we have one of the most highly concentrated media ownerships of the world! Don’t just believe me have a look at this visual display of the 10 people who own the major media companies within Australia:
That’s interesting, but what affect do these people really have?
Lets start with the most notorious and well known example in this circle, Rupert Murdoch. Most people recognise him as the owner of the British paper ‘News of the world’ and the phone hacking scandal that was involved with that. But what most people don’t realise he controls 70% of Australia’s newspaper reading (in a percentage of total readership) shown here. This combined with his sons presence in most of the remaining newspapers along the east coast, shown here.
This means that the Murdoch father and son effectively own the opinions of the newspapers along the east cost. This endeavour is obviously not based on monetary gains for at least Rupert Murdoch as he loses upwards of $20million on his newspapers in Australia yearly (discussed here). This clearly shows us that he owns and continues to operate these newspapers to have an influence and help steer Australia’s political conversations. He is even on record saying that his favourite part of his business empire is “trying to influence people” (here).
So what does this actually mean for you ? And How is this relevant in the age of the internet?
Clearly These people all have opinions and those opinions carry weight in the way their news organisations present current events.
For me I especially as someone who lives on the east coast in the Illawarra where all reputable newspapers are owned by the Murdoch’s. I need to be aware of the bias towards the right wing/conservative perspective the news papers will take. But clearly it hasn’t affect to much the voting habits of Wollongong as both state and federal election results lean heavily towards the left (the labour party)
In a more general sense we need to all be aware of who owns the media that we consume and what political or other biases may be presented by it. I would highly recommend everyone take a look at who owns the media they consume and if they think they cross reference with multiple different sources whether they are actually controlled by different people or not.
Especially in the wake of phone hacking scandals and many occurrences of ‘fake news’ which i discuss here, I think main stream media is not completely trustworthy and should be cross examined with 3rd party or news outlets of the opposite bias to find the reality of a situation.
That is earth. Earth captured by NASA’s probe voyager 1 just over 27 years ago (taken on the 14th of February 1990) from just past neptune. This image in an of itself is not very spectacular and if you showed it to someone without context they probably would think you are joking if you said it was anything more that a mistake. But while the signifier in this complex image is not much more then a white spec in a few beams of light. But it signifies much more and can put into perspective how big we as humans really are.
For me this image’s signifiers is just a pixelated old photo that looks like it was trying to capture a rainbow in a dark space when a spec of dust was captured in-between the camera and one of the beams of light.
In this image it is the signified that make it complex image. The knowledge that this photo was taken from over 4 Billion miles (multiple by ~1.6 to get Km) away from us. This combined with the fact that this is a real image displaying what can be seen when looking back at earth from that distance, not a computer generated approximation. In contrast to the milk way (the galaxy where our solar system is located) images we have all been shown which are our best guess at what it looks like.
With this knowledge Carl Sagan in his book “Pale Blue Dot” interpreted the image as follows: “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of … There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.”
The fact that this image is still taken from within our solar system, within our neighbourhood of solar systems, within our galaxy and so on.
If this image is to hard to see the previous step look at the full size version here, the red text is a good marker of what your looking for.
So then in what ways can this complex image mean with all this context?
One way to look at is is that we are just tiny and insignificant with only vast empty space within reach.
While another might look at it and see the potential to explore new undiscovered places on the horizon. Then be motivate to find ways to look and explore this new ‘space’.
But the real question is what does it mean for you?
With social media being ever more linked into every facet of our lives, the question arises what is ‘the media’? Is it still large organisations presenting news stories to us through news broadcasts and bulletins, or is it something much larger that encompasses every post and perspective on Twitter or Facebook?
First of all to answer this question we need to establish what the media is. Dictionary.com tells us that the media is anything “that [reaches] or [influences] people widely”.Secondly, does social media fit this criteria? According to mediaplussea.com social media is reaching and influencing everyone in an every increase capacity. Therefore since social media is reaching and influencing people it is a part of ‘the media’.
So in this new concept of ‘the media’ what changes? Social media allows for a democratised approach to media publishing, that is anyone can post anything and it can be accessed widely. This leads to massive amounts of media with varying opinions publicly accessible. Unfortunately one downside to this quantity of media is publishers can be focused on getting clicks on their articles rather than creating quality content.
This lack of focus on quality can cause publishers to not properly research facts about an article before publishing. This normally is with hopes to be the first to publish about a topic and trying maximise the potential readership.
For example in January this year footage emerged that implied their was animal abuse taking place on the set of the movie ‘A Dog’s purpose’. TMZ then titles an article “Terrified German Shepard forced into turbulent water” with toeclip embedded into the article.
When the clip was investigated it was found to an amalgamation of clips from seperate occasions, which created a false narrative that was disproven and the movie was shown to be in ethical and legal compliance. This shows that lack of journalistic diligence to check sources can be a huge issue in the current media climate. The entire ordeal is detailed at the start of the youtube video below:
This new issue of ‘fake news’ in the media is mostly new to our current media climate. But as previous media research has suggested the media audience is an active participant in the media, this is even more so amplified in the age of social media where we as ‘the audience’ become citizen journalists as we share and create media with our own perspectives attached. Due to this as ‘the audience’ with our much more active role in media it puts some of the onus on us to ensure we are not contributing to this new issue of ‘fake news’ in the media.