This post was inspired by a conversation with the lovely author of applekaur.wordpress.com
In biology it’s called a signal transduction cascade. One molecule attaches to a receptor. The receptor undergoes some change triggering a large response inside the cell Whole pathways of genes can be turned on or off. I don’t want to go into G proteins and Ca2+ ion influx and the ramification on kinases or phosphatases. What I want to stress is that it all starts out with one small molecule, one signal which gets amplified.
During the course of the day many significant events happen around the world. Depending on a few criteria certain stories are chosen. I talked about this briefly in my post from a week and change ago: What Looking for an Angles means for Social Discussion. To recap, I brought up the “propaganda model”. The propaganda model views the private media as businesses interested in the sale of a product (readers and audiences) to other businesses (advertisers) rather than that of quality news to the public.
The size and profit-seeking imperative of dominant media corporations create a bias. Since media outlets are large corporations or part of conglomerates the information presented to the public will be biased with respect to these interests.
Funding generated through advertising. There is fierce competition throughout the media to attract advertisers; a newspaper which gets less advertising than its competitors is at a serious disadvantage. The news is “filler” to get privileged readers to see the advertisements. Stories that conflict with their “buying mood”, along with information that presents a picture of the world that collides with advertisers’ interests are not given much attention.
The mass media are drawn into a symbiotic relationship with powerful sources of information by economic necessity and reciprocity of interest. Business corporations and trade organizations are also trusted sources of stories considered newsworthy. Editors and journalists who offend these powerful news sources, perhaps by questioning the veracity or bias of the furnished material, can be threatened with the denial of access to their media life-blood – fresh news.
Bloggers have an interesting role to play in the transduction of information. Sometimes we are, whether consciously or unconsciously part of the problem. By the way, when I talk of blogger I include myself as well. The media turns our attention towards a certain depiction of the truth. We (bloggers) go on to talk about it quite often in a reactionary way. We can polarize a lot of public reactions. We are an important stop in the signal transduction cascade. I feel the picture to the left summarizes a lot of what I mean to say.
I would like to give you an example from my observations and you can tell me what you think.
Example 1: Objectification
Objectification is big in the news. There are so many articles printed on sexual objectification. One common feature they each share is that while they may acknowledge the complexity of the issue they cannot and do not delve into the social, political, biological and economic realities involved in such a large issue. Furthermore, it’s never mentions that sexual objectification is just one of many forms of objectification. No one mentions how we objectify the innocent victims of drone strikes, or the prisoners that make the large prisoner industrial complex run, or minorities, or people of certain classes, etc. We are only “allowed” to talk about sexual objectification, and when we do so we have to talk about it in such a way as to not account for the diversity of people culture and other factors. In effect, our collective cultural cherry-picking is never mentioned.
Let’s Continue this conversation
I thought that now that I have introduced the outlines of my thinking. I can come back and further elaborate and give you more examples and the fruits of my musings. Meanwhile please leave your thoughts and comments.