Media Multi-Corporations, Modern Media and State of the Nation: Media Literacy/Activism: Technique & Autonomy-Lies

From Infancy To Old Age-Techne Rules...

Technological Determinsm as espoused byMcLuhan...
Technological Determinsm as espoused byMcLuhan...
Media Activists make their views and feelings known in regards to the media
Media Activists make their views and feelings known in regards to the media
The Corporation Baby: Multicorporations have a long term investment on our children from when they are born, become small kids, teenagers, adults, old men/women till they pass- the corporation has them hooked up to the hilt in their life.
The Corporation Baby: Multicorporations have a long term investment on our children from when they are born, become small kids, teenagers, adults, old men/women till they pass- the corporation has them hooked up to the hilt in their life.
Social Media and Internet Trends for 2010 and beyond
Social Media and Internet Trends for 2010 and beyond
Above is the mother of all outdoor Coke Ads, A giant neon lit coca-Cola bottle in Red China's Shanghai. A very Multicultural picture indeed. This is 'the convergence' of capitalism and Marxism. It's like the merging of Dickens Hard times with Orwell'
Above is the mother of all outdoor Coke Ads, A giant neon lit coca-Cola bottle in Red China's Shanghai. A very Multicultural picture indeed. This is 'the convergence' of capitalism and Marxism. It's like the merging of Dickens Hard times with Orwell'
There's a major cultural schism developing in America. The new divide centers on free enterprise, the principle at the core of American culture. the real culture war is over capitalism
There's a major cultural schism developing in America. The new divide centers on free enterprise, the principle at the core of American culture. the real culture war is over capitalism
Cultural Diversity at the level of Muppets,isis another way to each children that multicultural diversity is part of human nature and culture- and there's nothing wrong in the differences of race and color of all earth's children and people
Cultural Diversity at the level of Muppets,isis another way to each children that multicultural diversity is part of human nature and culture- and there's nothing wrong in the differences of race and color of all earth's children and people
Children are better taught that differences of race, color and culture are not differences at all, but multiculturalism, which is a human reality and existence
Children are better taught that differences of race, color and culture are not differences at all, but multiculturalism, which is a human reality and existence
Multiculturalism and human diversity
Multiculturalism and human diversity
Fairness and Accuracy in Different media
Fairness and Accuracy in Different media
The cry for the ordinary and poor working class people against Big Media
The cry for the ordinary and poor working class people against Big Media
Fairness and Accuracy in the Media and their Radio Program, Counterspin Logos
Fairness and Accuracy in the Media and their Radio Program, Counterspin Logos
Twitterverse: New and emerging interconnected Social networking media, which is like the extension of ourselves like our nervous system
Twitterverse: New and emerging interconnected Social networking media, which is like the extension of ourselves like our nervous system
Media Literacy: Teaching that the Open and Fair Exchange of Information is vital for Civil Society
Media Literacy: Teaching that the Open and Fair Exchange of Information is vital for Civil Society
Protest at Land rover dealership in Nottingham by Greenpeace activists
Protest at Land rover dealership in Nottingham by Greenpeace activists
Cultural Jammers Hijacking Commercial Culture, logos and armed with DIy anti-ad stickers, custom neon, aiming to subvert and reclaim corporate media space
Cultural Jammers Hijacking Commercial Culture, logos and armed with DIy anti-ad stickers, custom neon, aiming to subvert and reclaim corporate media space
Cultural Jammers are a new breed of waging war on logos and symbols, and aim to cause a bit of brand damage to corporate mindshare
Cultural Jammers are a new breed of waging war on logos and symbols, and aim to cause a bit of brand damage to corporate mindshare
The Media Literacy Project cultivates critical thinking and activism to build a healthy world through media justice
The Media Literacy Project cultivates critical thinking and activism to build a healthy world through media justice
Media Activist and the raising of the power of the media and corporations
Media Activist and the raising of the power of the media and corporations
Social Media has proven over time that it is able to bring benefits to both giant corporations and small businesses. Online backlashes and productivity losses highlight the ugly side of social media
Social Media has proven over time that it is able to bring benefits to both giant corporations and small businesses. Online backlashes and productivity losses highlight the ugly side of social media
In 1992 there were a fewer than two dozen companies who owned and operated 90% of the mass media.. By they year 200, the number had fallen to six; since then mergers have expanded to include the Internet market
In 1992 there were a fewer than two dozen companies who owned and operated 90% of the mass media.. By they year 200, the number had fallen to six; since then mergers have expanded to include the Internet market

Technopolic Action And Environment

Inferior and Superior Cultures

Fu-Kiau says: "... I believe a people are engaged in such death-bringing activities because of fundamental deviations from basic ethical, moral and spiritual principles of life and tradition. These fundamental deviations weaken the body's functioning and individual self-healing power, the best healer of any individual and, therefore, society. It is mortally dangerous to deviate from certain traditions. ... It hurts to lose certain traditions, these are practical principles of life. The loss can lead to self destruction of the individual, society,the world, and its civilization."

In these days of culture wars splurged on out TV screens and chatted and swooned over the Internet, one would imagine that writing such an article would get a response form many people who are seeing and facing the same tense and destabilized atmosphere that we see. At this time and age we are so wired and held in trance by the Internet and TV that we become numb to their deliveries of issues that they inform us as threatening our social stability, and that the existing media culture creates reaction as if some 'traditions' and those 'practical principles of life' are going to be lost to some new social order and under a leader who is covertly creating those conditions.

There was a time when color prejudice was not the norm. There are many reasons why that color became an issue throughout the years, and why today we have customized clashes that are with us continually. Whenever a people came across each other, there were different reactions they relayed to each other. People of antiquity had treated strangers in their lands as guests; strangers in the new land ended up interfering on the internal affairs of the people they have just met, and continued to subdue them because they felt culturally and militarily superior.

The superiority and inferiority complexes became established pattern and ways of knowing and interacting with one another. The present 'culture wars' as seen on TV have a long and sordid history dating to the founding of this country. Articles like the one I am onto do not get a lot of reading because at times its due to the set patterns of how different cultures communicate and accept each other as legit or not. One culture is legit and is respected for that, and other cultures are not and are treated as nothing.

This way of relating to each has caused and is causing a lot of ignorance and arrogance in one culture having the right to deny the authenticity of one culture and respecting some other culture. This may sound simplistic an analysis, but it's not. For example, according to Asa Hilliard, "The lasting challenge that we face is the absence of information understanding African and other cultures. This has been by design. The enforcers of an oppressive system work to create cultural disorder among the oppressed. In particular, they suppress the value of other cultures, while glorifying and fabricating the history of themselves. They understand that the resulting disorder will make it impossible for the oppressed to be truly independent."

The creation of the deliberate misunderstanding of other and between cultures is what we see playing itself out on TV and Internet. The vilification of other peoples looks, food, clothes, cultures, behaviors, accent or not has given the anti-cultural warriors and operatives the most important role people in these times of recession, depression, health coverage and politics to be promote negativism. This negativism is a historical progression form the days of old(when Indians and Africans were seen as savages) to today where white supremacy flexes itself as the definer of all cultures since it is considered a superior and the greatest culture ever.

The translation of an old cultural way of seeing and perception today has become the dominant view and top and high culture. Frantz Fanon makes these observations: "The unilaterally decreed normative value of certain cultures deserves our careful attention.... The enterprise of deculturation turns out to be the negative of a more gigantic work of economic, and even biological enslavement.... The doctrine of cultural hierarchy is thus but one aspect of a systematized hierarchization implacably pursued.... For its systems of reference have to be Broken.

Expropriation, spoliation, raids,objective murder, are matched by the sacking of cultural patterns, or at least condition such sacking. The social panorama is destructed; values are flaunted, crushed and emptied. ... The lines of force, having crumbled, no longer give directions. In their stead, a new system of values is imposed, not proposed but affirmed, but the very heavy weight of cannons and sabers. This culture, once living and open to the future, becomes closed, fixed in the colonial status, caught in the yoke of oppression, both present and mummified, it testifies against its members.

It defines them in fact without appeal. The cultural mummification leads to a mummification of individual thinking. The apathy so universally noted among colonial peoples, is but the logical consequence of this operation. Their approach of inertia constantly directed at the natives is utterly dishonest. As though it were possible for a man to evolve otherwise than within the framework of a culture that recognizes him that he decides to assume....

Thus, we witness the setting up of archaic, inert institutions, functioning under the oppressors supervision and patterned like a caricature of formerly fertile institutions. What we see today as culture wars as projected on TV, have their antecedents in the formulation and beginnings of this country and are still continuing today.

Cultural Dependency and Media Propaganda

People who are culturally depended end up being culturally deprived, and they tend to internalize and utilize everything that they are socialized to believe is right. By having a grip and hold on media monopoly the Westerners were able to shape their own image and that of Africans and other minorities. The media owners have reflected their agenda on Old and new and emerging media like newspapers, magazines, television, cable, radio, Internet, cell phones, twittering, face books, Youtube, posters, T-Shirts and so forth, clearly.

Africans and other minorities around the world are made invisible until they are needed to be exploited. The use of the media in this case is to wet, shape and create consumers, making profit, meanwhile projecting the image of the poor and oppressed majorities of people of color as being backward, incompetent and immoral. This was put into some perspective by Cecil Rhodes who said: "The native is to be treated as a child and denied franchise. We must adopt the system of despotism such as works well in India and in our relations with the barbarians of South Africa... These are my politics and these are the politics of South Africa."

This was not limited only to the countries mentioned by Rhodes, but this was a global phenomena through which the war on people of different countries and cultures were assailed, and in some cases, wiped-off the face of the earth

In a different case, we see that the criticism of an African writing and novels, a number of these writers were writing for audiences with European sensibilities and culture. The African novel was read and perceived through European style of writing. Even though these authors are aware that African culture is clearly under European domination, they continue to think that it ought to remains .

Chinweizu furthers this point thus: "Most of them would be ashamed to admit it, but these Africans and [some minorities-my addition] view their literature as an overseas department of European literatures, as a literature with no traditions of its own to build upon, no models of its own, no audience or constituency separate and apart form the European, and above all, no norms of its own.

As a result, these critics charge that Third-world writing with various technical, thematic, and ideological inadequacies. Cultural wars are not only intellectual, and physical but literal and practical. The wars on the cultures of other nations means there was control of their mind set and thinking processes and writing processes. Although these cultures' own literatures have their own traditions, models and norms, these remain constrained and deliberately ignored because they have to follow the European model of writing.

No more than thirty corporations control the media, and through this are able to influence the attitudes and behavior of every person in America and many countries around the world. The same companies own or have some interests in several newspapers, television, book publishing, music recording, tele-communications, radio talk shows, and Internet services. Because they are using endless resources of these powerful conglomerations, this has enabled them to shape the publics view of reality.

The world media, therefore, in essence reinforces white supremacy. Any major issue arising that affects the poor and culturally disempowered people of the world, like Healthcare, AIDS, Fair Housing, Criminal Justice, Affirmative Action, Education, and so on, the media consciously reinforces these positions that are in opposition to their(media) interest. This can be seen in radio talk shows hosted by Nazi-like conservatives( i.e. Rush Limbaugh and his many talk show clones].

Knuckle-heads like Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs [and many other talking heads] who spend hours ranting and in bellicose and reactionary vitriolic and vicious hateful rhetoric. This can also be seen in Movies like the Monster's Ball (2002) which suggests that black men are boys and a person who can help her materially and sexually is a racist white man. When given a chance, some Black film makers present the images of black women and men no less exploitatively than the degrading ones typically presented by whites.

The Black Media Experience

Chuck D.. Founder of Public Enemy put it this way: "We don't control our economies or education, our enforcement of our environment. Then there's the tendency of not having control over the realities, and that means the fantasy world can be dealt and sold to us very easily. So people become what they see, and when people become what they see, a reflection or a limited reflection can end up as a direct interpretation. For anyone interested in the state of Black-owned media in the US, the joke was painfully on target.

It expressed community disappointment with Black Entertainment (BET), which was the largest Black owned media company in America until 2000 and reaches 98 percent of the nation's Black cable subscribers. BET is now a subsidiary of the white media conglomerate Viacom. And it might be argued that this "prank" laments the decline of local and national Black public affairs programming, especially in light of BET's shortcomings. It clearly illustrates the danger of trusting black ownership or influence automatically guarantees fair and varied representation of the African American Community.(Sallie Hoffmeister, 2000; Adam Zagorin, 1997)

Over the last four centuries, Blacks have created newspapers, journals, magazines, radio and television programs, and World Wide Wb sites, yet such attempts have met with varying levels of success, particularly in the realm of Broadcasting. Although representations of Black on television made notable in the 17970s, 1980s and mid-1990s with a handful of dramatic series and situation comedies that featured African Americas, the medium seemed to usher in the millennium in retrogressive style, as aptly noted by Chuck D.

Nevertheless, the dream of Black television network ownership, although battered, still survives Two new "mini networks" are attempting to snip at BET's heels - New Urban Entertainment Television (NUE-TV) and the Major Broadcasting Corporation(MBC). Blacks are the primary partners in both enterprises. MBC - whose principal partners include singer Marlon Jackson and boxer Evander Holyfield - has made the most progress, with its signal now being carried on several major cable networks, including Comcast.

MBC carries contemporary gospel videos, church services, classic 1970s made-for-television movies such as "The Autobiography f Miss Jane Pittman," and Black College Sports. The good news is that national Black syndication efforts, such as Frank Mercado-Valdez's' Heritage Network, are thriving because they require sales to individual stations, not an entire channel.

There are some "stars" in radio and TV such as the Tom Joyner Morning show and a TV Show targeting African Americans directly. The shows feature political commentary and interviews with Black Newsmakers. Joyner's show is syndicated by ABC Radio Networks, and led to the creation of BlackAmericaWeb.com, an online newspaper. Tavis Smiley - the founding host of BET Tonight who appears in the Joyner's show — is a nationally syndicated commentator on ABC Radio, and hosts a syndicated National Public Radio/TV programs for African American audiences. In fact, by the 1970s, most major markets could boast one, if not several of these programs.

The best known of that time might be New York City's Like It Is , hosted by Gil Noble on WABC-TV. But these shows,and other contemporary one today, with their wide reach, are the exceptions. The membership of the National Association of Black-owned Broadcasting, the organizations of Black-owned radio owners, totals less than 300 members in 29002(it might have changed by now). This is in stark contrast to the conglomerates that own hundreds of radio stations around the nation.

Multiculturalism as Novocaine

The most demonized people in the media are Africans, Hispanics and other minorities, and from these groups, those who are consciously African or Hispanic or otherwise who provide the truth are either dismissed and or ignored, and their books, blogs and articles not read because they provide truthful and are unrelenting critiques of European hegemonic institutions; white supremacy.

One of the few reason why Africans/Hispanic, etc., are represented in the media is for the purposes of demonizing certain sectors of these communities.(In this case we can also recall the Sotomayor saga and other such stories and incidents) The only Africans/Hispanic, etc., who escape criticism are the self-professed "colorless" good Africans/Hispanics, etc., so long as they do not step out of line.

To that end, these divisive entities have reached inside our communities, co-opted and chose our leadership, thus directing their culture war against us through these co-opted leaders. These corporations, though their media and operatives, have sent 'trained' quislings onto these poor communities and their paltry institutions to attempt to lead the families and communities into a blind allegiance, to the alien agenda that does not serve the interests of these communities.

Today, the divide and conquer strategy is employed and deployed by the right wing and the left wing. Cultural terrorists have always used the domination agenda to divide the poor/Third world peoples from each other, by many and any means at their disposal in order to bond them to their being dominated. The case of Brazil offers us a peak into how cultural terrorism by Europeans has been effective. Hilliard states: "In 1914, Theodore Roosevelt wrote an article in a popular magazine describing what he had seen and heard in Brazil.

He was told the following by one observer in Brazil"

"Of course the presence of the Negro the problem, and a very serious problem, both in your country, and mine, Brazil. Slavery wan an intolerable method of solving the problem, and had to be abolished. But the problem itself remained, in the presence of the negro. ..With us the question tends to disappear, because the blacks themselves tend to disappear and become absorbed. ...

"In Brazil, the Idea looked forward to is the disappearance of the Negro question through his disappearance of the Negro himself. ...That is through his gradual absorption into the white race." The de-Africanization of Afro-Brazilians was the result of a deliberate government of "whitening" Brazil, and they adopted propaganda that asserted and suggested that Brazil is a "racial democracy".

Dr Asa Hilliard makes this point: "Restricting one's identity to physical characteristics is equal to acquiescing to the European domination strategy of ethnic cleansing and cultural genocide. People often confuse "race" with ethnic and cultural identity. When we see people who look like us, we assume that they all regard themselves as members of the african ethnic family; in addition to being black. Many Africans believe that our only real struggle is to join the mythical "mainstream" as individuals.

'While we, as Africans, may have individual distinctions connected to religion, class, nationality, etc., we must be carful not to be deluded by these imposed distinctions.' Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize poet from Chile, spoke of a Latin American experience as not essentially dissimilar form the African Experience today. With a single sentence from one poem, he made the sense of imperialism concrete and visible effect; he wrote: "If New York glitters like gold and has buildings with 500 bars, let me leave it written that they were built from the sweat of the cane fields: the banana plantation is a green inferno, so that in New York they may drink and dance."

To have a genuine multicultural society today, we need to revisit the uncomfortable truths of cultural terrorism visited upon the defenseless and colonized/Imperialized people all over the world. It is not going to be easy because there are people who still believe and hold on to the notions that it is no more relevant to discuss these issues. Yet their historical and contemporary effects affect us in our day to day activities and interaction with each other within the cultural minefield we have seen thus far spewed forth by Corporate controlled media.

The corporations are not only interested in spinning the images or regurgitating negative propaganda, but they are guarding their other interest of the natural resources and cheap human labor in these countries. In the process of carrying out these attacks on the indigenous for their natural resources, the Imperialist went for the heart and minds of these simple folk as characterized in a way by Ali Mazrui: "... Their collective names became "Negroes"(or even 'Niggers'),-a name based on the color of their skin. In short, the whole history of slavery and racism in the United States had one persistent refrain addressed to the captives.

The rule is: forget where you came from, remember what you look like. Forget your ancestry, remember your skin color; Forget you are African, remember you are black. Don't look at the map, look at the mirror! So successful was this policy that the Collective name of the captives remained imprisoned within the pigmentation paradigm until 1998. The African American youngsters today in New York and other cities and throughout Africa call each other "my Nigger" contending that these are terms of endearment they use amongst each other.

Their ignorance of history has made them see the name in a friendlier terms than in negative terms, nor are they aware of or have conscious knowledge of their history in this country . Their ignorance of the origin and usage of that term has all but disappeared on the radar of their consciousness and how this word was used against their ancestors; their ignorance of history, their peoples history, has made them think that there is nothing wrong in calling themselves with that debasing name. These are some of the after effects on a cultural war against their ilk

There is a tendency to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to matters of culture and race and how these have really affected us in the past and now in the present. These topics need to be addressed fully and honestly. The more we learn from, rather than deny, our historical reality and its genesis in time and space, the better off we will be in a position to treat each other with understanding, equality and tolerance.

So long as we prefer not to listen or learn about other cultures and respect them, we are like someone who suffers when having his teeth pulled out, and hopes that the painful novocaine injection will ease the pain and stress. The fact remains we still have to take that tooth out, novocaine or not. We cannot suspend disbelief with the hope that our reality, as we see it, is but a movie, nothing more.

Today we see an all out war on a culture of a people through posters, vitriol and hard denunciations and clearly racist attack on other peoples cultures and skin color, and in this case, directed at the President's ancestry.

Because racial minorities historically have not been well reported in the news media, these symbols are often used at a time when the surveillance and correlation functions of the media are called up to describe a change in the environment posed by minorities or define how and where minorities fit into the society.

A study of the national magazine coverage of Mexicans in the United States from 1890 to 1970 revealed a near absence of coverage except when elements of the Mexican population were seen as a threat to society and subject to discriminatory acts by the public or law enforcement officials. In these periods symbols, such as "Zoot-suiters," "Wetbacks," and "Chicanos" in the militant sense, dominated the headlines of national magazines.

Most recently the term "Illegal Alien" has been used to symbolize a person who enters the country illegally and is said to constitute a burden on public resources. A survey of 114 randomly selected articles from California newspapers on undocumented immigration from January 1977 through March 1978 found that nearly half of the articles used the symbols "Alien" or "Illegal Alien" in the headlines. In April and May 2010, the Immigration Law in Arizona has reared its ugly head and now it is in the front pages and tops TV news coverage, Radio Talk Shows and the Internet

Democratic, Non-Corporate Media Activism

The ranting and raving that is still being witnessed on different media forums is not new, but a reality that has historical antecedents. What has been clear is that the multiculturalists have abandoned the ideal that all persons should be judged by the content of their character, not color of their skin. Some see multiculturalism, as in the case of America, as many different races come from many different countries, that to them, this makes America a multicultural country.

One Huber answered this question as to whether America is a melting pot, and he said multiculturalism has been put into practice in Canada, although there is some stability, other ethnic groups in Canada tend to be aggressive and are colliding with others more often. Ethnic groups have not disappeared and still retain some form of attachment to ethic roots and loyalties in the US.

Nowadays each group, whether it has been here long ago, or new in America, it finds that it should preserve its separate identity and space. But if you look at it closely, this is what has been historically the case, race, group,skin color and culture, have always been the distinguishing characteristic of the American culture's ability to create a new whole from many parts.

The problem is having a policy which enables the society to meld these disparate cultures. These ideas lull people into complacency and false certitude that we are multiculturalist society. Given what is happening today in the media outlets and forums and the ideas that are being promulgated, media shrill seems to have reached fever pitch and this has left a lot of people and media pundits wondering what is coming up next...

As Fu-Kiau testified above: "It's mortally dangerous to deviate from certain traditions... it hurts to lose certain traditions, these are the principles of life. The loss can lead to self-destruction of the individuals, society,the world and its civilization..." In short, any effort to reform the balance of class power in the United States, or any other effort for that matter, has to deal directly with corporate media power. Nor is this a merely an ideological issue, as my have been the case in generations past.

Today the largest communication firms rank among the most important firms in global capitalist economy; media, advertising, and communication increasingly are at the very center of capitalist accumulation process and the global market economy. To leave the communication sector untouched, wile elsewhere labor and the left challenge the prerogatives of capital — as any left or labor movement invariably must do — is absurd. Another area of interest is the Media Literacy, and the idea here is to educate people to be skeptical and knowledgeable users of the media.

Media literacy has considerable potential so long as it involves explaining how the media actually works, and does not posit that the existing system is by definition good, democratic and immutable. But the media literacy movement has a highly visible wing that accepts money from corporate media and advertisers, This version of the media literacy implicitly buys into the corporate line that commercial media give the people what they want"(Justin Lewis and Sut Jhally)

So the media literacy crowd's job is to train people to demand better fare from willing and obedient corporate media servant. But unless media literacy takes a more structural approach to analysis and solutions, it may simply help to prop up the existing system(Cynthia Peters)There are some new elements of media activism that are promising like the Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting(FAIR), a media watchdog group launched in the 1980s, provides outstanding analysis of media trends through published reports and it magazines Extra(FAIR also has a program on 99.5 WBAI called Counterspin) FAIR's work helps both those who wish to improve the quality of existing journalism and those who seek structural change.

The Cultural Environmental Movement(CEM), founded in the middle of the 1990s, attempt to draw all sorts of nonprofit and public-interest groups into the campaign of media Reform. Like FAIR, it works for improvement within the status quo as well a for the broader structural reform. Local media alliances have been established in numerous North American cities in the middle and late 1990s, to set up alternative media and to watchdog the local commercial media.

These local groups have shown some potential to draw ordinary citizens into media politics by targeting issues like violence-obsessed local TV news, he newspaper "redlining" of poor neighborhoods, the proliferation of alcohol and cigarettes billboards in poor working-class neighborhood, and the commercialization of education. Even culture "jamming" has aught on, as activists deface, with pointed and often hilarious messages, the advertising billboards that mushroom across the urban landscape.

This new breed of activists stands poised along our information highways waging war on logos and symbols. They are Culture Jammers and their mission is to artfully reclaim our mental environment and cause a bit of brand damage to corporate mindshare. Ultimately Culture Jammers wage a war of meaning. The verdict of public perception lies in a battle between billion dollar PR campaigns and guerrilla tactics of rebel activists.

Through their interventions, culture jammers make a spectacle of ad-culture. (Andrew Keachie) In the 1990s, unlicensed low-powered non-commercial broadcasting conducted on open slots in the radio spectrum have become notable enterprises nationally. It offers the poor, dispossessed and marginalized voices and unprecedented opportunity to be heard.

That all of this activity has blossomed in the current political environment suggests there may be a wellspring for further media organizing. One thing it lacks to succeed are the resources to fully exploit this opportunity. This is the province of organized labor and philanthropic community. It also lacks an overarching vision of where media reform fits into a broader movement for social justice and democracy. Without such a contextualization, the prospects for exacting fundamental media reform in the United States are next to nil. Maybe with the emergence of new technology and techniques wherein the users create their own reality and content, some social reform(through Media technology/technique and free-flow of information and connectivity), some changes in social elations, business social relations will be ameliorated.

Contextualized Media technology And Techniques Free-Flow Of Information And Connectivity

The media landscape has changed, along with what means to be a literate participant in it. It's no longer enough to understand the media we read and watch. We must learn how to read and watch the media through which we understand the world. Our best hope of engaging consciously ad purposefully as media literacy educators is to engage consciously, purposefully, and in person with one another. (Rushkoff)

Media literacy Defined

Within North America, media literacy is seen to consist of communication competencies, including the ability to Access, Analyze, Evaluate, and Communicate information in a variety of forms, including print and non-print messages. Media literacy empowers people to be both critical thinkers and creative producers of an increasingly wide range of messages using image, language and sound, It is the skillful application of literacy skills to media and technology messages.

The term "media literacy" is often used interchangeably with other terms related to media and media technologies. So that, in essence:

  • Media refer to all electronic or digital means and print or artistic visuals used to transmit messages.
  • Literacy is the ability to encode and decode symbols and to synthesize and analyze messages.
  • Media literacy os the ability to encode and decode the symbols transmitted via media and the ability to synthesize, analyze and produce mediated message.
  • Media education is the study of media, including "hands on" experiences and media production
  • Media literacy education is the educational field dedicated to teaching the skills associated with media literacy.


The ability to Access, Analyze,Evaluate,and Communicate information in a variety of forms-is interdisciplinary by nature. Media literacy represents a necessary, inevitable, and realistic response to the complex, ever-changing electronic environment and communication cornucopia tat surrounds us. To become a successful student, responsible citizen, productive worker, or competent and conscientious consumer, individuals need to develop expertise with the increasingly sophisticated information and entertainment media that address us on a multi-sensory level, affecting the way we think, feel and behave. Today's information and entertainment technologies communicate to us through a powerful combination of words,images, and sounds.

As such, we need to develop a wider set of literacy skills helping us to both comprehend the messages we receive and effectively utilize these tools to design and distribute our own messages. Being literate in a media age requires critical thinking skills that empower us as we make decisions, whether in the classroom, the living room,the workplace, the boardroom, or the voting booth.

Finally, while media literacy does raise critical questions about the impact of media and , it is not an anti-media movement. Rather,it represents a coalition of concerned individuals and organizations, including educators, faith-based groups, health-care providers, and citizen and consumer groups, who seek a more enlightened way of understanding our media environmental technology and technique.

Are We Determining The Media Or Is It Controlling Us

Technological Digital Bias and Limits

The debate over whether the Net is good or bad for us fills the airwaves ad the blogosphere. But for all the heat of claim and counter-claim, the argument is essentially beside the point: It's here; it's everywhere. The real question is, do we direct technology, or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it "Choose the former," writes Rushkoff, "and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the last real choice you get to make."

Rushkoff provides cyber-enthusiasts and technophobes alike with the guidelines to navigate this new universe. In this spirited, accessible poetics of new media, Rushkoff picks up where Marshall McLuhan left off, helping users to come to recognize programming as the new literacy of the digital age-and as a template through which to see beyond social conventions and power structures that have vexed us for centuries.

In the digital realm, everything is made into a choice. The medium is biased toward the discrete. This often leaves out things we have not chosen to notice or record, and forces choices when none need to be made. The digital realm is biased toward choice, because everything must be expressed in terms of a discrete, yes-or-no, symbolic language. This, in turn, often forces choices on humans operating within the digital sphere. We must come to recognize the increased number of choices in our lives as largely a side effect of the digital; we always have the choice of making no choice at all.(Rushkoff)

Social institutions are the primary means by which a society defines itself, its views of and relationship to its world. This is the case whether we refer to a society's religious, family, education, scientific, economic, health care, political, or other social institutions. Social institutions structure and give meaning to a society's social thoughts, practices and interactions. They regulate and socialize its members and provide the instrumental means by which the society instructs and polices itself, propagates and reinforces its dominant interests, generates social power, and structures its internal and external power relations.

Institutions in an oppressive society function to maintain its structural status quo. As Michael Parenti contends, "Most America institutions, be they hospitals, museums, universities, businesses, banks, scientific laboratories, or mass media, are ...owned...by a relatively small number of corporate rich. When trying to understand the context and purposes of the media, this pattern of ownership of the media, this pattern of ownership takes on special significance."

We're in an age of information overload, and too much of what we watch, hear, and read is mistaken, deceitful or even dangerous. Yet one can take control and make media serve us-all of us-by being active consumers and participants. This is a hypermediated world where everyone and anyone can represent his/her own reality. We have to attack the problem of representation head-on, and this demands that we become media-active users of our emerging media, instead of passive consumers

Technological Media's Hegemony

The limits of the digital divide upon the collective users, and also the efforts the opportunity for the business types to merely exploit the digital technology's pre-existing bias for yes and no are explained below. After all, the very architecture of the digital is number; every file, picture, song, movie, program, and operating system is just a number. (Open a video or picture of a loved one in your text editor to see it, if you're interested.) And to the computer,that number is actually represented as a series of 1's and0's. There's nothing in between that 1 and 0, since a computer or switch is either on or off. All the messy stuff in between 'yes' and 'no,' 'on' and 'off',' just doesn't travel down wires, through chips, or in packets. For something to be digital, it has to be expressed in digits (Rushkoff) The digitalization of the computer has facilitated for the use and rule and control of the media through and by technique.

We need to look a little bit more into the role played by technique in homogenizing and creating of hegemony is all media in existence. So Jacques Ellul informs us that, "technique is autonomous with respect to economics and politics. So that, at present, neither economic nor political evolution conditions technical progress.. Its progress is likewise independent of the social situation.

"The converse is actually the case: technique elicits and conditions social, political, and economic change. It is the prime mover of all the rest, in spite of any appearance to the contrary and in spite of human pride, which pretends that man's philosophical theories are still determining influences and man's political regimes decisive factors in technical evolution. External necessities no longer determine technique. Technique's own internal necessities are determinative. Technique has become a reality in itself, self-sufficient, with its special laws and its own determinations."

Ellul further adds that, "Technique tolerates no judgement from without and accepts no limitation. It is by virtue of technique rather than science that the great principle has become established: chacun chez soi. Morality judges oral problems; as far as technical problems are concerned, it has nothing to say. ... Thus, technique theoretically and systematically assures to itself that liberty which it has been able to win practically. Since it has put itself beyond good and evil, it need not fear limitation whatever. It was long claimed that technique was neutral. Today this is no longer a useful distinction.

"The power and autonomy of technique are so well secured that it, in its turn, has become the judge of what is moral, the creator of a new morality. Thus, it plays the role of creator of a new civilization as well. This morality-internal to technique-is assured of not having to suffer from technique. In any case, in respect to traditional morality, technique affirms itself as an independent power.

Man alone is subject,it would seem, to moral judgement. We no longer live in that primitive epoch in which things were good or bad in themselves. Technique in itself is neither, and ca therefore do what it will. It is truly autonomous. However, technique cannot assert its autonomy in respect to physical or biological laws. Instead,it put them to work; it seeks to dominate them."

So that, in away, technique determines our choices and in the process narrows our world, as the infinity of possibility is lost in the translation to the binary code, referred to above. Ellul states: "Whenever technique collides with a natural obstacles, it tens to get around it either by replacing the living organism by a machine,or by modifying the organism so that it no longer presents any specifically organic reaction. ... The same phenomenon is evident in yet another area in which technical autonomy asserts itself: the relations between techniques and man.

"We have already seen, in connection with technical self augmentation, that technique pursues its own course more and more independently of man. This means that man participates less and less actively in technical creation, which, by the automatic combination of prior elements, becomes a kind of fate. Man is reduced to the level of a catalyst. Better still, he resembles a slug inserted into a slot machine: he starts the operation without participating in it."

Although they allowed us to work with certain kinds of complexity in the first place, our digital tools often oversimplify nuanced problems. Biased against contradiction and compromise, our digital media tend to polarize us into opposing camps, incapable of recognizing shared values of dealing with paradox. On the Net, we cast out for answers through simple search terms rather than diving into an inquiry and following extended lines of logic.

We lose sight of the fact that our digital tools are modeling reality, not substituting for it, and mistake its oversimplified contours for the way things should be. By acknowledging the bias of the digital toward a reduction of complexity, we regain the ability to treat its simulations as models occurring in a vacuum rather than accurate depictions of our world (Rushkoff).

This was happening because big media corporations are running the media and medium and digital tools, which tilts the power and business outcomes in their favor. We learn from McChesney that:

"The clear trajectory of our media and communication tends toward ever-greater corporate concentration, media conglomeration, and hypercommercialism. The notion of public service — that there should be some motive for media other than profit — is in rapid retreat if not total collapse. The public is regarded not as a democratic polity but simply as a mass of consumers. Public debate over the future of media communication has been effectively eliminated by powerful and arrogant corporate media, which metaphorically floss their teeth with politicians' underpants.

"It is, in short, a system set up to serve the needs of a handful investors, corporate managers, and corporate advertisers. It most important customers are affluent consumers hailing from upper and upper-middle classes. The system serves the general public to the extent that it strengthens and dos not undermine these primary relationships. Needless to say, the implications for democracy of this concentrated, conglomerated, hypercommercialized media are entirely negative. By the logic of this argument, the solution to the current problem of US media demands political debate and structural reform."

If we think that the media is only making us "biased against contradiction and compromise, digital media tend to polarize us into opposing camps, incapable of recognizing shared values of dealing with the paradox", as stated by Rushkoff. So then, what is [a] Paradox?

According to Dictionary.com, a "Paradox" is "a statement or proposition that seems self contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth; or, a self-contradictory and false proposition; either, an opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion; and, lastly, Reference.com defines Paradox as "a contradiction; it goes against what we accept to be true."

So, what we need to understand is the power and manipulative shenanigans of corporate media and creating a paradox for us, that, although we know whatever it is they presenting and proposing to us is incredible and 'goes against what we accept to be true, what is it that is being done to the users and agents to be 'incapable of recognizing shared values dealing with paradox?'. McChesney informs us:

"Today one must first grasp the nature and logic of the global commercial media system and then determine how local and national media deviate from the overall system. The rise of a global commercial media system is closely linked to the rise of a significantly more integrated "neoliberal" global capitalist economic system To some extent, the rise of global media market is encouraged by new digital and satellite technologies that make global markets both cost-effective and lucrative. ...

"The rise to dominance of the global commercial media system is more than an economic matter; it also has clear implications for media content, politics, and culture. In many ways the emerging global media system is an extension of the US Media Systems.This makes sense, as the firms that dominate US media also dominate the global system and the system operates on the same profit maximizing logic. But there are also some important distinctions.

On the one hand, a number of new firms enter the picture as one turn to the global system On the other hand, and more important, a number of new political and social factors enter the discussion. There are scores of governments, and regional and international organizations that have a say in the regulation of media and communication.

"There are also a myriad of languages and cultures, which makes establishing a global version of the "US/System" quite difficult. But even if the U.S media system and culture will not be punch-pressed onto the globe, the trajectory is toward vastly greater integration, based on commercial terms and dominated by a handful of transnational media conglomerates."

It is these transnational multi-corporations that fully and consistently utilize Technique and autonomy to make profit and control all intellectual property and at times make a profit from such ownership; they also are responsible for shaping and changing perceptions of what they call mass consumers to be more responsive to their wares, than they are in serious media literacy-although on a charitable, thy keep up the front of giving, yet the fleece the consumer through manipulating hyper media and mediums and the message or images.

In spite of its many dehumanizing tendencies, digital media is still biased toward the social. In the ongoing coevolution between people and technologies, tools that connect us thrive-and tools that don't connect us soon learn to. We must remember that the bias of digital media is toward contact with other people, not with their content or, worse, their cash. If we don't, we risk robbing ourselves of the main gift digital technology has to offer us in return for our having created it. We have to learn more about it, in order to be able to determine it as it will still determine us through its techniques, any way.

Cyberdemocracy

Some critics of the idea of Cyberdemocracy. the online practice of self-governance,point to the amount of information available to contemporary citizens and the speed with which it comes as potentially troublesome. Add to these the difficulty in assessing the veracity of much online information, and they argue that the 'cyberworld' may not be the best place to practice democracy.

Advocates of cyberdemocracy see the Internet as a way to let citizens have more direct, quicker access to politicians. Elected officials should hear what the people have to say. But does democracy necessarily benefit when its leaders respond directly, maybe even impulsively, to public sentiment? Until there is no more technology gap, certain voices-the poor, the uneducated, the elderly-will have less access to their leaders than those who are connected. Moreover, claim cyberdemocracy critics, ours is a representative, deliberative democracy.

It was intentionally designed to allow the public's representatives to talk to one another, to debate ideas and issues, to forge solutions that benefit not just their own but others' constituents as well. They claim that the political alienation that is felt by many citizens today is the product of politicians "listening too much" to the loudest voices (that is, special interests) and being "too responsive" to the polls. People often criticize politicians for "flip-flopping" or "having no personal conviction[This is akin to Romney] How can having elected officials responding daily to the voices in the electronic town has improve this situation? Journalist Robert Wright (1995) wrote in Time:

"The Founders explicitly took lawmaking power out of the people's hands, opting for a representative democracy and not a direct democracy. What concerned them, especially James Madison, was the specter of popular "passions" unleashed. Their ideal was cool deliberation by elected representative, buffered from the often shifting winds of opinion. ... Madison insisted in the federalist Papers on the need to "refine and enlarge the public the public views by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens whose wisdom may beat discern the true interest of their country and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial consideration"

Critics also argue that cyberdemocracy, in and of itself, is antidemocratic. Not only is there now an additional medium to further fragment the audience, but by its nature the Internet solidifies people into smaller, more homogenous, more narrowly interested groups. This cannot be good for democracy. The Internet and the Web encourage people to splinter into virtual communities based on a shared interest in some given information.

This renders real world communities irrelevant. No longer "required" to coexist with other people in the day-to-day, cybercitizens have little need to examine their own biases. They need not question their own assumptions about the world and how it works. There is little benefit to seeking out and attempting to understand the biases and assumptions of others outside the self-chosen virtual community.

Media critic and scholar Robert McChesney (1977) writes that among the criteria that must be met if democracy is to serve the needs of its people are "a sense of community and a notion that an individual's well-being is determined to no small extent by the community's well-being" and "an effective system of political communication, broadly construed, that informs and engages the citizenry, drawing people meaningfully into the polity."

Where advocates of the new online communication technologies see them doing just this, many others, often likening, the Net and the Web to "talk radio writ large, fear the opposite, that the Internet has already become a stunning advance in the shoring up of biases, both benign (one's own views) and noxious (other views)".

The Present And Now Effects Of Present-Day Technologies

In his new book, PRESENT SHOCK: When Everything Happens Now (Current; March 15, 2013), Rushkoff introduces the phenomenon of presentism, or — since most of us are finding it hard to adapt — present-shock.

Alvin Toffler’s radical 1970 book, Future Shock, theorized that things were changing so fast we would soon lose the ability to cope. Rushkoff argues that the future is now and we’re contending with a fundamentally new challenge. Whereas Toffler said we were disoriented by a future that was careening toward us, Rushkoff argues that we no longer have a sense of a future, of goals, of direction at all. We have a completely new relationship to time; we live in an always-on “now,” where the priorities of this moment seem to be everything.

Wall Street traders no longer invest in a future; they expect profits off their algorithmic trades themselves, in the ultra-fast moment. Voters want immediate results from their politicians, having lost all sense of the historic timescale on which government functions. Kids txt during parties to find out if there’s something better happening in the moment, somewhere else.

Rushkoff identifies the five main ways we’re struggling, as well as how the best of us are thriving in the now:

  1. Narrative collapse — the loss of linear stories and their replacement with both crass reality programming and highly intelligent post-narrative shows like The Simpsons. With no goals to justify journeys, we get the impatient impulsiveness of the Tea Party, as well as the unbearably patient presentism of the Occupy movement. The new path to sense-making is more like an open game than a story.
  2. Digiphrenia – how technology lets us be in more than one place — and self — at the same time. Drone pilots suffer more burnout than real-world pilots, as they attempt to live in two worlds — home and battlefield — simultaneously. We all become overwhelmed until we learn to distinguish between data flows (like Twitter) that can only be dipped into, and data storage (like books and emails) that can be fully consumed.
  3. Overwinding – trying to squish huge timescales into much smaller ones, like attempting to experience the catharsis of a well-crafted, five-act play in the random flash of a reality show; packing a year’s worth of retail sales expectations into a single Black Friday event — which only results in a fatal stampede; or — like the Real Housewives - freezing one’s age with Botox only to lose the ability to make facial expressions in the moment. Instead, we can “springload” time into things, like the “pop-up” hospital Israel sent to Tsunami-wrecked Japan.
  4. Fractalnoia – making sense of our world entirely in the present tense, by drawing connections between things — sometimes inappropriately. The conspiracy theories of the web, the use of Big Data to predict the direction of entire populations, and the frantic effort of government to function with no “grand narrative.” But also the emerging skill of “pattern recognition” and the efforts of people to map the world as a set of relationships called TheBrain – a grandchild of McLuhan’s “global village”.
  5. Apocalypto – the intolerance for presentism leads us to fantasize a grand finale. “Preppers” stock their underground shelters while the mainstream ponders a zombie apocalypse, all yearning for a simpler life devoid of pings, by any means necessary. Leading scientists — even outspoken atheists — prove they are not immune to the same apocalyptic religiosity in their depictions of “the singularity” and “emergence," through which human evolution will surrender to that of pure information.

"This is a wondrously thought-provoking book. Unlike other social theorists who either mindlessly decry or celebrate the digital age, Rushkoff explores how it has caused a focus on the immediate moment that can be both disorienting or energizing. In an era that seems intent on deleting the art of narrative. Rushkoff creates a compelling narrative of the way we now live. “Rushkoff is damn smart. As someone who understood the digital revolution faster and better than almost anyone, he shows how the internet is a social transformer that should change the way your business culture operates."
– Walter Isaacson

We’re not, Rushkoff argues, just overburdened with the infinite inputs of the digital age, but we’ve become unmoored from our traditional relationship with time. While, in the past, we looked toward the future, now we are all about the now; we are “defined by presentism.”

The debate over whether the Net is good or bad for us fills the airwaves and the blogosphere. But for all the heat of claim and counter-claim, the argument is essentially beside the point: it’s here; it’s everywhere. The real question is, do we direct technology, or do we let ourselves be directed by it and those who have mastered it? “Choose the former,” writes Rushkoff, “and you gain access to the control panel of civilization. Choose the latter, and it could be the last real choice you get to make.” In ten chapters, composed of ten “commands” accompanied by original illustrations from comic artist Leland Purvis, Rushkoff provides cyberenthusiasts and technophobes alike with the guidelines to navigate this new universe.

In this spirited, accessible poetics of new media, Rushkoff picks up where Marshall McLuhan left off, helping readers come to recognize programming as the new literacy of the digital age––and as a template through which to see beyond social conventions and power structures that have vexed us for centuries. This is a friendly little book with a big and actionable message.

World-renowned media theorist and counterculture figure Douglas Rushkoff is the originator of ideas such as “viral media,” “social currency” and “screenagers.” He has been at the forefront of digital society from its beginning, correctly predicting the rise of the net, the dotcom boom and bust, as well as the current financial crisis.

This Is The New "Now": From "Futurism" To "Presentism"

Douglass Rushkoff writes:

"Our society has orientated itself to the present moment. Everything is live, real time, and always-on. It's not a mere speeding up, however much our lifestyles and technologies have accelerated the rate at which we attempt todo things. It's more a diminishment of anything that isn't happening right now-and the onslaught of everything that supposedly is.

"It's why the world's leading search engine is evolving into a live, customized, and predictive flow of data branded 'Google Now,' why e-mail is giving way to texting, and why blogs are superseded by Twitter feeds. It is why kids in school can no longer follow linear arguments; why narrative structure collapsed into reality TV; and why we can't engage in meaningful dialogue about last month's books and music, much less long-term global issues. It is why an economy once based on long-term investment and interest-bearing currency can no longer provide capital to those who plan to put it to work for future rewards. It's why so many long for a "singularity" or a 2012 apocalypse to end linear time altogether and throw us into a post-historic eternal present-no matter the cost to human agency or civilization itself.

"But it's also how we find out what;s happening on the streets of Iran before CNN can assemble a camera crew. It's what enable an unsatisfied but upwardly mobile executive to quit his job and move with his family to Vermont to make Kayaks-which he thought he'd get to do only once he retired. It's how millions of young people can choose to embody a new "activism" based in patient consensus instead of contentious debate. It's what enables companies like H&M or Zara to fabricate clothes in real time, based on the instantaneous data incoming from scanned tags at checkout counters five thousand miles away. It's how a president can run fro office and win by breaking from the seeming tyranny of the past and its false hope, and tell voters that "we are the ones we have been waiting for."

"Well, the waiting is over. Here we are ...

"If the end of the twentieth century can be characterized by 'Futurism,' the twenty-first century can be defined by 'Presentism'.

"The looking forward so prevalent in the late 1990s was bound to end once the new millennium began. Like some others of that era, I predicted a new focus on the moment, the real experience, and on what things are actually worth right now. Then 9/11 magnified this sensibility, forcing America as a nation to contend with its own impermanence. People had babies in droves, and even filed for divorces, in what was at least an unconscious awareness that none of us lives forever and an accompanying reluctance to postpone things indefinitely.

"Add real-time technologies, from the iPhone to Twitter; a disposable consumer economy where 1-Click ordering is more important than the actual product being purchased; a multitasking brain actually incapable of storage or sustained argument; and an economy based on spending now that one may or may not earn in a lifetime, and you can't help but become temporally disorientated. It's akin to the onslaught of changing rules and circumstances that 1970s 'futurist Alvin Toffler dubbed "future Shock."

"Only, in our era it's more of a 'Present Shock.' And this is clearly "of the moment," it's not quite as in the moment as we may have expected.

"For While many of us were correct about the way all this 'Presentism' would affect investment and finance, even technology and media, we were utterly wrong about living in the 'Now' would end up impacting us as people. Our focus o the "Present" may have liberated us from the twentieth century's dangerously compelling ideological narratives. No none-well, hardly anyone-can still be convinced that brutal means are justified by mythological ends.

"And people are less likely to believe employers' and corporations' false promises of future rewards for years of loyalty now. But it has not actually brought us into greater awareness of that is going on around us. We are not approaching some Zen State of an infinite moment, completely at one with our surroundings, connected to others, and aware of ourselves on any fundamental level.

"Rather, we tend to exist in a distracted 'present'. Where forces on the periphery are magnified and those immediately before us are ignored. Our ability to create a plan-much less follow through on it-is undermined by our need to be able to improvise our way through any number of external impacts that stand to derail us at any moment. Instead of finding a stable foothold in the "here-and-now," we end up reacting to the ever-present assault of simultaneous impulses and commands.

"In some sense, this was the goal of those who developed the computers and networks on which we depend today. Mid-twentieth-century computing visionaries Vannevar Bush and J.C.R. Licklider dreamed of developing machines that could do our remembering for us. Computers would free us from the tyranny of the past-as well as the horrors of World War II-allowing us to forget everything and devote our minds to solving the problems of today. The information would still be there; it would simply be stored out of body, in a machine.

"It's a tribute to both their designs on the future and their devotion to the past that they succeeded in their quest to free up the 'present' of the burden of memory. We have, in a sense,been allowed to dedicate much more of our cognitive resources to active RAM than to maintaining our cerebral-storage hard drives. But we are also in danger of squandering this cognitive surplus on the trivial pursuit of the immediately relevant over any continuance of the innovation that got us to this point.

"Neuroscientists, mostly at the service of corporations looking to develop more compliant employees and consumers, are homing in on the way people make choices. But no matter how many subjects they put in the MRI machines, the focus of this research is decision-making in the 'moment,' the impulsive choices made in the blink of an eye, rather than those made by the lobes responsible for rational thought or consideration. By implementing their wares solely on the impulsive-while diminishing or altogether disregarding the considered-they push us toward acting in what is thought of as an instinctual, reptilian fashion.

"And this mode of behavior is then justified as somehow more connected to the organic, emotional, and immediately relevant moment in which human beings actually live. Of course, this depiction of consciousness may help sell the services of neurotechnicians to advertisers, but it does not accurately represent how the human brain relates to the m'moment' in which the organism exists.

"No matter how invasive the technologies at their disposal, marketers and pollsters never come to terms with the living process through which people choose products or candidates; they are looking at what people just bought or thought, and making calculations based on that after-the-fact data. The "Now" they seek to understand tells the nothing about desire, reasons, or context. It is simply an effort to key-off what we have just done in order to manipulate our decisions in the future. Their campaigns encourage the kinds of impulsive behavior that fool us into thinking we are living in the "Now", while actually just making us better targets for their "techniques"

"That is because there is 'No Now"-not the one they have been talking about, anyway. It is necessarily and essentially trivial. The minute the "Now" is apprehended, it has already passed. Like they used to say about getting one's picture on a Time magazine cover: the moment something is realized, it is over. And like the diminishing beauty returns for a facially paralyzed Botox addict, the more forcefully we attempt to stop the passage of time, the less available we are to the very moment we seek to preserve.

"As a result, our culture becomes 'entropic,' static hum of everybody trying to capture the slipping moment. Narrativity and goals are surrendered to a skewed notion of the real and immediate; The Tweet; the status update. What we are doing at any given moment becomes all-important-which is behavioristically doomed. For this desperate approach to time is at once flawed and narcissistic. Which "Now" is important: the "Now" I just lived or the "Now" I'm in right "Now"."

As the "Present Shock" manifests itself in a variety of ways, on a myriad levels, we see how it changes the way we experience culture, run our businesses, invest our money, conduct our politics, understand science, and make sense of our world. The modern techniques and the activism in news dissemination and ways of knowing the media today, are premised upon the instant, the here and now which is an illusive reality which can never be captured as it relates and affects or affected by human thought and being.

It is why this Hub was written, to keep on updating how we are affected and are affecting the modern new techniques and technology that we are now sorely depended on. As we affect these new technologies, medium, data and techniques, they too in turn affect us and it is how they affect and effect us that we shall have to pay closer attention to.

Technological Politics: Technique and Autonomy


Winner writes and informs us thus:

"In one disguise or another, technology has been a central theme in political thought for the past two hundred years. Although the definition of the issue of concern has again and again shifted, it has been clear that during this time that there is something in the nature of modern technology thinkers can ill ill-afford to ignore. A partial catalog of the topics that have been associated with various aspects of modern 'technics' would include the following: the industrial revolution and the rise of industrial society, the ascendancy of the middle class, the possibility of utopia, the misery of the working class and the necessity of revolution, the rise of new elites, the social and psychological turmoil involved in rapid change, alienation,nationalism, imperialism, leisure, and the possibility of ecological disaster.

Despite it's widely acknowledged importance, however, technology itself has seldom been a primary subject matter for political or social inquiries. While technological developments are commonly cited as among the most important causes of the shape of modern society, the tendency has been to see the matter solely in terms of economics and economic history, perspectives that due to their special mode of abstraction and selectivity give us a very limited vision of the role of 'technicss(techniques) have played in modern history.

"Writers who have suggested the elevation of technology-related questions to a more central position-William F. Ogburn, Lewis Mumford, Leslie White, and others-have for the most part been politely ignored. The prevalent opinion has remained that the true problems of modernity could be best understood in ways that excluded all direct reference to the 'technical' sphere. Technology could be left to the 'technicians'.

"In recent years, however, the prevailing winds of neglect have begun to shift. Technology and its various manifestations have become 'virtual' obsessions in discussions about politics and society on a wide variety of fronts. Social scientists, politicians, bureaucrats, corporate managers, radical students, as well as natural scientists and engineers, are now united in the conclusion that something we call "technology" lies at the core of what is most troublesome int the condition of our world.

"In the eyes of scientists and technicians, the issue takes the form of a moral dilemma that hovers menacingly over their work. ... With neutrality of their professions and products now in question, they have begun intensive inquiries into the political and ethical context in which their activities exist. From the point of view of social scientists and managers, the crucial issues are those of the increasing complexity and rate of change in modern society. Developments in the 'technical' sphere continually outpace the capacity of individuals and social systems to adapt.

"As the state of technological innovation quickens, it becomes increasingly important and increasingly difficult to predict the range of effects that a given innovation have. When compounded by the increasing complexity of sociotechnical systems, these changes make it more and more difficult to carry out some of the most basic activities of contemporary social life: planning, design, and functional coordination. For this reason, complexity and change are increasingly studied as "independent variables",said to have objectively knowable correlations to certain kinds of social and political phenomena.

"In other modes of interpretation, however, the concerns of the natural and social scientists are held to be trivial, self-serving, and beside the point. Radical critics of the "The Technological Society" in both Europe and America have insisted that what deserves our attention is not the rate of technological innovation and its effects, but rather the very existence of advanced technology in the life of man. Technology is, according to this view, a source of domination that effectively rules all forms of modern thought and activity. Whether by an inherent property of by an incidental set of circumstances, technology looms as an oppressive force that poses a direct threat to human freedom.


"Technology is a word whose time has come[this brings to mind above Rushkoofs piece cited above]. Its rise as a conscious problem in a wide variety of social and political theories requires some explanation. We are now faced with an odd situation in which one observer after another "discovers" technology and announces it to the world as something new. One can argue that medieval Europe was a highly sophisticated technological society of a certain sort,involved in a fairly rapid, continuing process of sociotechnical change.

One does not have to wit for the industrial revolution or the so-called postindustrial period of the twentieth century to see political societies remolded in response to technical innovation. ... Lewis Mumford holds much the same view that a 'humane tradition of science and technology based on 'an earth-centered, organic, and human model' to which Western civilization must return if ti is to avoid the disastrous course of the "megamachine".

"The remarkable impact of Marshall McLuhan and Jacques Ellul rests on their ability to sensitize modern audiences to something they had overlooked: we are surrounded on all sides [possibly even the inner side, by a myriad techniques and technologies. Apparently these influences had become so much a part of everyday life that they had become virtually invisible."


The changes and disruptions that an evolving technology repeatedly caused in modern life were accepted as given or inevitable, simply because no one bothered to ask whether there were other possibilities, It is for this reason that the discussion about the place of technology in human existence requires much more than facile talk about how well or how poorly technology accords with "human values." One can paraphrase Campanella in saying that if the observations of Ellul, McLuhan, Mumford, Sypher, Galbraith, Postman and others are correct, we shall have to do at least some of the work of social and political theory in a new way.

We also learn form Daniel Chandler who writes about"

Technological or Media Determinism in this way:

Technological Autonomy

Closely associated with reification is another feature of technological determinism whereby technology is presented as autonomous (or sometimes 'semi-autonomous'): it is seen as a largely external — 'outside' of society, 'supra-social' or 'exogenous' (as opposed to 'endogenous'). Rather than as a product of society and an integral part of it, technology is presented as an independent, self-controlling, self-determining, self-generating, self-propelling, self-perpetuating and self-expanding force.

It is seen as out of human control, changing under its own momentum and 'blindly' shaping society. This perspective may owe something to the apparent autonomy of mechanisms such as clockwork. But even texts are autonomous of their authors once they leave their hands: as published works they are subject to interpretation by readers, and beyond the direct control of their authors.

Isaac Asimov suggested that

      • The whole trend in technology has been to devise machines that are less and less under direct control and more and more seem to have the beginning of a will of their own. A chipped pebble is almost part of the hand it never leaves. A thrown spear declares a sort of independence the moment it is released.

The clear progression away from direct and immediate control made it possible for human beings, even in primitive times, to slide forward into extrapolation, and to picture devices still less controllable, still more independent than anything of which they had direct experience.

(Asimov 1981, p. 130)

    • The sense that technology may be out of control is also influenced by the way in which technical developments can lead to unforeseen 'side-effects'.

The most famous theorist adopting this perspective was the sociologist Jacques Ellul in his bookThe Technological Society. Ellul declared that, 'Technique has become autonomous; it has fashioned an omnivorous world which obeys its own laws and which has renounced all tradition' (Ellul 1964 p. 14). He presented complex interdependent technological systems as being shaped by technology itself rather than by society.

Other adherents to the doctrine of technological autonomy have included Thomas Carlyle, Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Thoreau, Mark Twain, Henry Adams, John Ruskin, William Morris, George Orwell and Kurt Vonnegut (Winner 1977, p. 19). Significantly, 'autonomy' is a key concept in Western liberalism: autonomous individuals are capable of directing and governing their own behavior. But even in the context of this political ideal for the individual, autonomy is always limited by social conditions and circumstances. Indeed, the notion of an individual as 'a law unto himself' is a nightmare.

Ellul declared that, 'There can be no human autonomy in the face of technical autonomy' (Ellul 1964, p. 138). He insisted that technological autonomy reduces the human being to 'a slug inserted into a slot machine' (p. 135). Critics of the notion of technological autonomy argue that technology is itself shaped by society and is subject to human control.

Neil Postman links the notion of technological autonomy closely with the notion that, 'a method for doing something becomes the reason for doing it' (Postman 1979, p. 91). Referring to standardized human behavior and to what he calls the 'invisible technology' of language as well as to machines, Postman argues that, 'Technique, like any other technology, tends to function independently of the system it serves. It becomes autonomous, in the manner of a robot that no longer obeys its master' (Postman 1993, p. 142).

Elsewhere he defines 'The Frankenstein Syndrome: One creates a machine for a particular and limited purpose. But once the machine is built, we discover, always to our surprise — that it has ideas of its own; that it is quite capable not only of changing our habits but... of changing our habits of mind' (Postman 1983, p. 23). Although Postman denies that the effects of technology are always inevitable, he insists that they are 'always unpredictable' (Postman 1983, p. 24).

Technology which no-one seems to control seems to have 'a will of its own'. This stance involves anthropomorphism or technological animism in its crediting of an inanimate entity with the consciousness and will of living beings. Technologies are seen as having 'purposes' of their own rather than purely technical functions. Sometimes the implication is that purposiveness arises in a device from the whole being greater than the sum of the parts which were humanly designed: unplanned, a 'ghost in the machine' emerges.

The notion that technological developments arise to 'fill needs' is reflected in the myth that 'necessity is the mother of invention'. It presents technology as a benevolent servant of the human species. But as Carroll Purcell puts it, 'many modern "needs" are themselves inventions, the product of an economy that stimulates consumption so that it can make and market things for a profit' (Purcell 1994, p. 40).

The notion of technology having its own purposes is widespread. Ralph Waldo Emerson (d. 1882) declared that: 'Things are in the saddle, And ride mankind' ('Ode, inscribed to W. H. Channing'). Marshall McLuhan asserted that, 'in... any social action, the means employed discover their own goals', adding that, 'new goals [are] contained in... new means' (McLuhan & Watson 1970, p. 202).

Animistic accounts are particularly applied to the complex technologies, and to reifications of technology as an interdependent 'system'. Some authors may indulge in deliberate ambiguity about animism as an evasion of commitment. But people commonly refer to particular machines or tools in their daily lives as having 'personalities'.

Technological animism was the basis for a philosophy called 'resistentialism'. Its leading figure, Pierre-Marie Ventre, declared that 'Les choses sont contre nous': Things are against us. One resistentialist commentator summarizes the Clark-Trimble experiments of 1935:

      • Clark-Trimble was not primarily a physicist, and his great discovery of the Graduated Hostility of Things was made almost accidentally. During some research into the relation between periods of the day and human bad temper, Clark-Trimble, a leading Cambridge psychologist, came to the conclusion that low human dynamics in the early morning could not sufficiently explain the apparent hostility of Things at the breakfast table — the way honey gets between the fingers, the unfoldability of newspapers, etc. In the experiments which finally confirmed him in this view, and which he demonstrated before the Royal Society in London, Clark-Trimble arranged four hundred pieces of carpet in ascending degrees of quality, from coarse matting to priceless Chinese silk. Pieces of toast and marmalade, graded, weighed and measured, were then dropped on each piece of carpet, and the marmalade-downwards incidence was statistically analyzed. The toast fell right-side-up every time on the cheap carpet, except when the cheap carpet was screened from the rest (in which case the toast didn't know that Clark-Trimble had other and better carpets), and it fell marmalade-downwards every time on the Chinese silk. Most remarkable of all, the marmalade-downwards incidence for the intermediate grades was found to vary

exactly

      • With the quality of carpet. The success of these experiments naturally switched Clark- Trimble's attention to further research on

resistentia,

      • A fact which was directly responsible for the tragic and sudden end to his career when he trod on a garden rake at the Cambridge School of Agronomy.

(Jennings 1960, p. 396)

Resistentialism was actually dreamt up by the humorist Paul Jennings in 1948, but it is one of those schools of thought which ought to exist, and which in our most technologically frustrating moments we devoutly believe to be true. For some light relief, I recommend the whole of Paul Jennings' account of this fake European philosophy, which can be found in Dwight Macdonald's book, Parodies.

It is such a philosophy which advises us not to let the photocopier know how urgent your task is, because this is a sure recipe for breakdown. Here is an anonymous but official-looking notice I once saw displayed above a photocopier:

      • WARNING! This machine is subject to breakdowns during periods of critical need. A special circuit in the machine called a 'critical detector' senses the operator's emotional state, in terms of how desperate he or she is to use the machine. The 'critical detector' then creates a malfunction proportional to the desperation of the operator. Threatening the machine with violence only aggravates the situation. Likewise, attempts to use another machine may cause it also to malfunction. They belong to the same union. Keep cool and say nice things to the machine. Nothing else seems to work. Never let any machine know you are in a hurry.

For many of us, despite its satirical dimension, that notion expresses an experiential truth: emotionally, we are all capable of technological animism.

For some more serious theorists technology (or technique) is presented as an autonomous force but not as a conscious being with 'a will of its own'. For such theorists technological autonomy may refer primarily to the ways in which a technology apparently under control for the purpose for which it is used can have unpredictable and cumulative knock-on influences on the use of and 'need' for other technologies. Such 'repercussions' are not direct and immediate consequences.

One commentator, W. E. Moore, has suggested that, 'a more tenable formulation' than the complete autonomy of technology may be that technology is 'a segment of culture more subject to change than other aspects of culture, and therefore possibly of causal significance in social change', adding that 'under certain conditions this is likely to be correct' (in Potter & Sarre 1974, p. 484).

The idea of Technology as itself autonomous is sometimes criticized as 'mystification' (e.g., Benthall 1976, p. 159, re. Ellul). The assumption of technological autonomy can disempower us politically by suggesting that technology is mysterious and inexplicable. The computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum notes that, 'today even the most highly placed managers represent themselves as innocent victims of a technology for which they accept no responsibility and which they do not even pretend to understand' (1976, p. 241).

A serious concern of the critics of technological determinism is that a belief in the autonomy of technology may deter those who feel helpless from intervening in technological development. The stance of technological autonomy could then be seen as something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Seymour Melman argues that, 'the machine mystics — if taken seriously — leave us feeling helpless, deficient in understanding, and without a guide to how to get anything done. This is the main social function of this literature. Therein lies its thrust as a status-quo conserving body of thought' (1972, p. 60).

We are also encouraged to trust the supposedly neutral judgement of technical specialists and 'experts'. Our role as responsible forward-looking citizens is to accept, adjust and adapt without protest to the new technology as a fact of life. As Raymond Williams puts it, 'if technology is a cause, we can at best modify or seek to control its effects' (1990, p. 10). We are not free to accept or reject technological developments.

Futurologists such as Alvin Toffler declare that 'rather than lashing out, Luddite fashion, against the machine, those who genuinely wish to break the prison hold of the past could do well to hasten the... arrival of tomorrow's technologies [because] it is precisely the super-industrial society, the most advanced technological society ever, that extends the range of freedom' (Toffler 1980, cited in Robins & Webster 1989, p. 14-15). Margaret Thatcher insisted in 1982 that, 'Information Technology is friendly: it offers a helping hand; it should be embraced. We should think of it more like E.T. than I. T.' (Robins & Webster 1989, p. 25). It is hardly surprising that the stance of technological autonomy is sometimes associated with fascism.

It has been suggested that, 'the major issue at stake is the degree of relative autonomy of particular phenomena, whereby autonomy is confined within certain limits or structures' (O'Sullivan et al. 1983, p. 17).

On the other hand, it is only essential and important that we revisit Jacques Ellul's take on Technique or ideas on technology below…

"So, what are Ellul’s ideas on technology? His most central point was that technology has to be seen systemically, as a unified entity, rather than as a disconnected series of individual machines. He also argued that technology is as much a state of mind as a material phenomenon, in part because human beings have been absorbed into the technological complex he called “technique.”

Ellul defined technique as “the totality of methods rationally arrived at and having absolute efficiency [for a given stage of development] in every field of human activity.” While technique isn’t limited to machines, machines are “deeply symptomatic” of technique. They represent “the ideal toward which technique strives.”

These quotes hint at Ellul’s conviction that technique has become almost a living entity, a form of being that drives inexorably to overtake everything that isn’t technique, humans included. The belief that humans can no longer control the technologies they’ve unleashed — that technique has become autonomous — is also central to his thought. “Wherever a technical factor exists,” he said, “it results, almost inevitably, in mechanization: technique transforms everything it touches into a machine.”

Along the way technique’s drive toward completion does provide certain comforts, Ellul acknowledged, but overall its devastation of what really matters — the human spirit — is complete. “Technique demands for its development malleable human ensembles,” he said. “…The machine tends not only to create a new human environment, but also to modify man’s very essence. The milieu in which he lives is no longer his. He must adapt himself, as though the world were new, to a universe for which he was not created.”

Ellul’s reputation among scholars is mixed. He has his admirers, but many philosophers of technology consider him a nut. The principle objection is that he reifies technology, imputing to it a life and will of its own. It’s true that Ellul’s language often gives that impression, but again, his definition of technique includes human beings. Without their assent and participation its vitality would collapse.

Ellul’s unrestrained literary style also won him no friends in the academy. He had no interest in scholarly convention. His books include few citations of other works and even fewer qualifications – Ellul never doubted his own argument. His writing is filled with colorful description, irony and righteous anger. He’s more direct than the stereotypical French intellectual, and thus more fun to read. Nonetheless, his erudition is extraordinary, his insight incomparable.

A third reason Ellul is considered something of an oddball in academic circles is his faith. Throughout his prolific career he divided his time between books on technology and books on religion. (That he could follow Jesus and still appreciate Marx will perhaps be more surprising in America than it would be in France.) He was a theologian of subtlety and depth, but one suspects that for many his religious beliefs undermine rather than enhance his credibility.

The Characterology of Technique

It is important at this juncture to cull a bit from the actual writings of Ellul on the subject of autonomy. I have already cited some-some above, but in order to understand the nature and form of technique, it is better to learn from the Master Teacher of Media Ecology, Jacques Ellul who informs us that:

"There are tow essential characteristics of today's technical phenomenon which I shall not belabor because of their obviousness. These two, incidentally, are the only ones which, in general, are emphasized by the "best authors."

The first of these obvious characteristics is 'rationality'. In technique, whatever its aspect or the domain in which it is applied. A 'rational' process is present which tends to bring mechanics to bear on all that is spontaneous or irrational. This rationality, best exemplified in systematization, division of labor, creation of standards, production norms, and the like, involves two distinct phases: first, the use of "discourse" in every operation; this excludes spontaneity and personal creativity. Second, there is the reduction of method to its logical dimension alone. Every intervention of technique is, in effect, a reduction of facts, forces, phenomena, means, and instruments to the schema of logic.

"The second obvious characteristic os the technical phenomenon is 'artificiality.' Technique is opposed to nature. Art, artifice, artificialL technique as art is the creation of an artificial system. This is not a matter of opinion. The means man has at his disposal as a function of technique are artificial means. For this reason, the comparison proposed by Emmanuel Mounier between the machine and the human body is valueless. The world that is being created by the accumulation of technical means is an artificial world and hence radically different from the natural world.

"It destroys,eliminates, or subordinates the natural world, and does not allow this world to restore itself or even to enter into a symbiotic relation with it. The two worlds obey different imperatives, different directives, and different laws which have nothing in common. Just as hydroelectric installations take waterfalls and lead them into conduits, so the technical milieu absorbs the natural. We are rapidly approaching the time when there will be no longer be any natural environment at all.When we succeed in producing artificial aurorae boreleas, wight will disappear and perpetual day will reign over the planet.

"Technical autonomy explains the 'specific weight' with which technique is endowed. It is not a kind of neutral matter, with no direction, quality, or structure. It is a power endowed with its own peculiar force. It refracts in its own specific sense the will which make use o it and the ends proposed for it. Once again we are faced with a choice of "all or nothing." If we make sense of technique, we must accept the specificity and autonomy of its ends, and the totality of its rules. Our own desires and aspirations can change nothing."

Once we understand and begin to apply what Ellul is saying about Technique and autonomy above, the better suited we will be able to deal with the contemporary and emerging technologies and their effects and affects.

Information Disinformation

Ill-Health(Obesity in Children): Information Warfare - Misinformation/Disinformation How To Spot It
Ill-Health(Obesity in Children): Information Warfare - Misinformation/Disinformation How To Spot It

Media Disinformation: The Role of Powerful Political Lobbies and Moneyed Interests in America

Renowned American intellectual and cultural critic believes that the United States, is exercising double standards with regards to Iran’s nuclear program and treating Iranians in a discriminatory way through imposing unilateral and unjust sanctions.

“Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which gives it the right to develop enriched uranium for peaceful use of nuclear power. The USA and Israel are not signatories of the treaty. Both of them have enormous arsenals of nuclear missiles arsenals. Thus they stand in violation of the international law on nuclear proliferation,” said Michael Parenti in an exclusive interview with the Fars News Agency.

Michael Parenti is a leading American author, political scientist, historian and anti-war activist. His writings are very popular in the progressive circles as he staunchly opposes the U.S. foreign policy and its war adventures around the world, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. Parenti is considered a prominent anti-imperialist thinker in the United States and around the world. His latest book “The Face of Imperialism” was published by the Paradigm Publications in 2011. Among his other books are “Make-Believe Media: the Politics of Entertainment” and “Inventing Reality: the Politics of News Media.” Parenti has received his Ph.D. in political science from the Yale University.

What follows is the text of FNA’s interview with Michael Parenti with whom we’ve discussed a number of issues including the Occupy Wall Street movement, racism in the United States, Zionism and its influence on the U.S. media and governmental institutions and controversy over Iran’s nuclear program.

Q: In one of your articles, you had pointed at the mainstream media’s disappointing performance in giving coverage to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Why are the corporate media usually silent on the progressive movements? Are they afraid of losing their audience or their benefactors and sponsors? They even didn’t report the death of the renowned progressive journalist Alexander Cockburn who passed last year. What’s your take on that?

A: The mainstream media in the United States is owned and controlled by a few corporate conglomerates. This pattern of ownership and its resulting control leaves very little room for critical and challenging journalism of the kind that exposes the hypocrisies and duplicities of the ruling moneyed interests. These moneyed interests claim to bring us prosperity when in fact they bring us poverty. They claim a dedication to democracy when in fact they propagate oligarchic dominance in this country and in many others. They profess a dedication to peace while bombing and invading various countries that dare to step out of line.

They talk about a “family of nations” while pursuing a policy of global imperialism. This constant disparity between what reality at home and abroad is like and what the corporate media claim it to be is one of the great propaganda achievements of modern history.

Concerning your question about Alexander Cockburn, the New York Times and a few other mainstream newspapers did carry obituaries about him. They mentioned his views but never spelled them out. The broadcast media had very little to say about him. He was too radical for them to give respectful and extensive notice.

Q: The issues of racism and racial discrimination have always been widely and also controversially discussed in the intellectual circles of the United States. Could we trace footsteps of protest against racism in the insurrections of the Occupy Wall Street?

A: I don’t believe that issues relating to racism “have always been widely” discussed in U.S. intellectual circles. It often took years of struggle to get intellectuals to acknowledge and inform themselves about the urgent and terrible crimes of lynch-mob rule in this country. It took years of conflict to mobilize democratic forces against Jim Crow and the racial discrimination that permeated all dimensions of White society in the United States. It continues to be a struggle to confront the racism of white police forces in communities throughout the country.

The Occupy Wall Street movement certainly opposes racial discrimination in all its forms but it primarily focuses on the great class divide, the conflict between the 1% and the 99%. The class struggle and the struggle for racial equality are not mutually exclusive. They are connected. Class oppression battens on racism. One way to move closer to racial equality is to struggle also for economic justice.

Q: Is it a realistic view to say that certain political lobbies, including AIPAC and its affiliates are behind the mainstream media and dictate to them what to publish and cover and what to withhold from the public? In a broader term, let me ask you: Who is really running such multinational, money-spinning media as CNN, NPR, Fox News, CBS and Washington Post?

A: Powerful political lobbies and moneyed interests can exercise direct pressure on the handling of specific news stories. AIPAC, a pro-Zionist interest group, exercises an exceptional influence in Congress, the White House, and public and private agencies —and in planting stories in the conservative media. Most of these corporate media are already sympathetic toward the U.S.-Israel imperium in the Middle East even before they are pressured by lobbyists.

I already answered your other question which repeats what was raised in your first question above: the news is shaped by corporate media that are run by the corporate financial interests that own most of America and much of the world.

Q: You seem to be quite dissatisfied and unhappy with the U.S. government’s health care programs and the way the patients, the nurses, the physicians and other medical staff are treated. What deficiencies does the U.S. medical sector suffer from? Is it really the case that many impoverished Americans die of different illnesses because they cannot afford the medical treatment expenses?

A: The medical industry in the USA is not [made of] government programs. They consist of private hospitals, private insurance companies, private health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and private pharmaceutical companies—all of which are madly profit-driven. Their concern is not to save lives and care for people’s health but to make as much money as possible. Yes, people in poverty often cannot afford the costly tests and services that are needed for health care. So many of them do without and end up dying. The government Medicaid program that is intended to serve the poor is grossly insufficient in its provisions.

Q: The 16th summit of the heads of state of the Non-Aligned Movement was held in Tehran in August 2012. What’s your assessment of the influence of non-aligned countries and regional powers in creating a new world order? Can they outperform the superpowers and global hegemons?

A: Nonaligned countries could do very well among themselves if allowed to function. Libya under Qaddafi was attempting to organize African countries for development programs and a common currency region. Iraq was turning to the Euro and discarding the dollar. Venezuela and several other Latin American countries have been trying to get out from under the U.S. dominated global imperium. But the imperialists have an unanswerable military force that makes these efforts difficult to sustain.

Q: How much do you know about Iran, its people, culture and ancient civilization? Of course the mainstream media in the West don’t speak about Iran unless they give references to the 1979 hostage crisis, Iranian President’s alleged mentioning that Israel should be wiped off the world map and controversy over Iran’s nuclear program. Beyond these stereotypes, have you had the opportunity to study Iran and its culture and its contemporary civilization?

A: I know a fair amount about Iran and its people, along with Persian culture and history. Why do you ask? Knowing about Iran does not guarantee an enlightened policy. It depends on what your political goals are. There are Middle East specialists who work for the CIA and the U.S. State Department who speak Persian and who know far more about Iran than I do. But they work to undermine Iran and advance U.S. power and influence in the Middle East.

Q: So many people in Iran complain of the United States’ double standards in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. They say that the U.S. allows Israel to circumvent the international law and build atomic bombs, which the Federation of American Scientists has confirmed, while it impedes Iran’s way to developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. What do you think in this regard?

MP: Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which gives it the right to develop enriched uranium for peaceful use of nuclear power. The USA and Israel are not signatories of the treaty. Both of them have enormous arsenals of nuclear missiles arsenals. Thus they stand in violation of the international law on nuclear proliferation while presuming—with outrageous audacity–that they have the right to police Iran’s peaceful use of nuclear power. It is the kind of arrogance that imperialists always manifest.

Q: The United States and its European allies have imposed several rounds of biting economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. The sanctions include travel restrictions for Iranians, limitations on the enrollment of Iranian students in foreign universities, a ban on medicine and medical equipment and foodstuff, agricultural goods, industrial accouterments and even scientific papers accessed by the universities. What are these sanctions aimed to achieve? What’s your viewpoint?

A: Sanctions cause considerable suffering mostly among the common population, increasing unemployment, depleting public resources, lowering the living standards and health conditions of the people. Sanctions are an act of aggression against [another] nation to undermine its entire polity and society. When performed against the apartheid regime in South Africa, sanctions brought worthwhile results. When performed on behalf of imperialist interests, as against Iran, they achieve destructive goals.

Q: There are the Iranian people who read this interview. Iran is one of few nations in the world which has steadfastly kept up with its anti-imperialist approaches in both foreign and domestic policies. What’s your message to them, as someone who has had Iranian students and has surely heard about controversies and hullabaloos surrounding Iran?

A: I would urge the Iranian people to do their utmost in getting their side of the picture before the world, speaking not to the U.S. government but to U.S. student groups, anti-war groups, and others, along with people around the world, telling them about the human costs and injustices of U.S. policy.

Can The Indpendent & Citizens Media Overcome The Corporate Media?

The myth-making, disinformation and outright falsehoods of the mass corporate media often astounds us.  Polls show that the corporate media is no longer trusted by three-quarters of Americans.  We see that as very good news.  In addition, the indepen
The myth-making, disinformation and outright falsehoods of the mass corporate media often astounds us. Polls show that the corporate media is no longer trusted by three-quarters of Americans. We see that as very good news. In addition, the indepen | Source

Information Warfare - Misinformation/Disinformation How To Spot It

Charles Frith wrote the following article:

A very good post on the subject from over here. The example of lie big, apologise quietly is the tactic most used over Syria. All those massacres were largely NATO sponsored and a little bit of digging means you can prove that to yourself. Naturally if you rely on television to inform you than not only are you poisoning your data streat (without doubt) but also framing a reality that is going to punch you in the metaphorical nuts in the future. Quiet when I don't know but there's no money in the truth and that's a precarious position to be in.
So of the most hypnotised people are those who take the obviously fake left and right political divide seriously. There's little hope for these people and it's best to move on and wipe their keyboards of the spittle from time to time.
Some of the main tactics used by the mainstream media to mislead the masses are as follows:

Lie Big, Retract Quietly: Mainstream media sources (especially newspapers) are notorious for reporting flagrantly dishonest and unsupported news stories on the front page, then quietly retracting those stories on the very back page when they are caught. In this case, the point is to railroad the lie into the collective consciousness. Once the lie is finally exposed, it is already too late, and a large portion of the population will not notice or care when the truth comes out.

Unconfirmed Or Controlled Sources As Fact: Cable news venues often cite information from "unnamed" sources, government sources that have an obvious bias or agenda, or "expert" sources without providing an alternative "expert" view. The information provided by these sources is usually backed by nothing more than blind faith.

Calculated Omission:
Otherwise known as "cherry picking" data. One simple piece of information or root item of truth can derail an entire disinfo news story, so instead of trying to gloss over it, they simply pretend as if it doesn't exist. When the fact is omitted, the lie can appear entirely rational. This tactic is also used extensively when disinformation agents and crooked journalists engage in open debate.

Distraction, And The Manufacture Of Relevance: Sometimes the truth wells up into the public awareness regardless of what the media does to bury it. When this occurs their only recourse is to attempt to change the public's focus and thereby distract them from the truth they were so close to grasping. The media accomplishes this by "over-reporting" on a subject that has nothing to do with the more important issues at hand. Ironically, the media can take an unimportant story, and by reporting on it ad nauseum, cause many Americans to assume that because the media won't shut-up about it, it must be important!

Dishonest Debate Tactics: Sometimes, men who actually are concerned with the average American's pursuit of honesty and legitimate fact-driven information break through and appear on T.V. However, rarely are they allowed to share their views or insights without having to fight through a wall of carefully crafted deceit and propaganda. Because the media know they will lose credibility if they do not allow guests with opposing viewpoints every once in a while, they set up and choreograph specialized T.V. debates in highly restrictive environments which put the guest on the defensive, and make it difficult for them to clearly convey their ideas or facts.

TV pundits are often trained in what are commonly called "Alinsky Tactics." Saul Alinsky was a moral relativist, and champion of the lie as a tool for the "greater good"; essentially, a modern day Machiavelli. His "Rules for Radicals" were supposedly meant for grassroots activists who opposed the establishment and emphasized the use of any means necessary to defeat one's political opposition. But is it truly possible to defeat an establishment built on lies, by use of even more elaborate lies, and by sacrificing one's ethics? In reality, his strategies are the perfect format for corrupt institutions and governments to dissuade dissent from the masses. Today, Alinsky's rules are used more often by the establishment than by its opposition.

Alinsky's Strategy: Win At Any Cost, Even If You Have To Lie

Alinsky's tactics have been adopted by governments and disinformation specialists across the world, but they are most visible in TV debate. While Alinsky sermonized about the need for confrontation in society, his debate tactics are actually designed to circumvent real and honest confrontation of opposing ideas with slippery tricks and diversions. Alinsky's tactics, and their modern usage, can be summarized as follows:

1) Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.

We see this tactic in many forms. For example, projecting your own movement as mainstream, and your opponent's as fringe. Convincing your opponent that his fight is a futile one. Your opposition may act differently, or even hesitate to act at all, based on their perception of your power. How often have we heard this line: "The government has predator drones. There is nothing the people can do now..." This is a projection of exaggerated invincibility designed to elicit apathy from the masses.

2) Never go outside the experience of your people, and whenever possible, go outside of the experience of the enemy.

Don't get drawn into a debate about a subject you do not know as well as or better than your opposition. If possible, draw them into such a situation instead. Go off on tangents. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty in your opposition. This is commonly used against unwitting interviewees on cable news shows whose positions are set up to be skewered. The target is blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address. In television and radio, this also serves to waste broadcast time to prevent the target from expressing his own position.

3) Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

The objective is to target the opponent's credibility and reputation by accusations of hypocrisy. If the tactician can catch his opponent in even the smallest misstep, it creates an opening for further attacks, and distracts away from the broader moral question.

4) Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.

"Ron Paul is a crackpot." "Gold bugs are crazy." "Constitutionalists are fringe extremists." Baseless ridicule is almost impossible to counter because it is meant to be irrational. It infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage. It also works as a pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

5) A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

The popularization of the term "Teabaggers" is a classic example; it caught on by itself because people seem to think it's clever, and enjoy saying it. Keeping your talking points simple and fun helps your side stay motivated, and helps your tactics spread autonomously, without instruction or encouragement.

6) A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

See rule No. 5. Don't become old news. If you keep your tactics fresh, it's easier to keep your people active. Not all disinformation agents are paid. The "useful idiots" have to be motivated by other means. Mainstream disinformation often changes gear from one method to the next and then back again.

7) Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.

Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. Never give the target a chance to rest, regroup, recover or re-strategize. Take advantage of current events and twist their implications to support your position. Never let a good crisis go to waste.

8) The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.


This goes hand in hand with Rule No. 1. Perception is reality. Allow your opposition to expend all of its energy in expectation of an insurmountable scenario. The dire possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.

9) The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

The objective of this pressure is to force the opposition to react and make the mistakes that are necessary for the ultimate success of the campaign.

10) If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside.

As grassroots activism tools, Alinsky tactics have historically been used (for example, by labor movements or covert operations specialists) to force the opposition to react with violence against activists, which leads to popular sympathy for the activists' cause. Today, false (or co-opted) grassroots movements and revolutions use this technique in debate as well as in planned street actions and rebellions (look at Syria for a recent example).

11) The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.


Never let the enemy score points because you're caught without a solution to the problem. Today, this is often used offensively against legitimate activists, such as the opponents of the Federal Reserve. Complain that your opponent is merely "pointing out the problems." Demand that they offer not just "a solution", but THE solution. Obviously, no one person has "the" solution. When he fails to produce the miracle you requested, dismiss his entire argument and all the facts he has presented as pointless.

12) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.

Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. The target's supporters will expose themselves. Go after individual people, not organizations or institutions. People hurt faster than institutions.

The next time you view an MSM debate, watch the pundits carefully, you will likely see many if not all of the strategies above used on some unsuspecting individual attempting to tell the truth.

Internet Disinformation Methods

Internet trolls, also known as "paid posters" or "paid bloggers," are increasingly and openly being employed by private corporations as well governments, often for marketing purposes and for "public relations" (Obama is notorious for this practice). Internet "trolling" is indeed a fast growing industry.

Trolls use a wide variety of strategies, some of which are unique to the internet, here are just a few:

1. Make outrageous comments designed to distract or frustrate: An Alinsky tactic used to make people emotional, although less effective because of the impersonal nature of the Web.

2. Pose as a supporter of the truth, then make comments that discredit the movement: We have seen this even on our own forums - trolls pose as supporters of the Liberty Movement, then post long, incoherent diatribes so as to appear either racist or insane. The key to this tactic is to make references to common Liberty Movement arguments while at the same time babbling nonsense, so as to make those otherwise valid arguments seem ludicrous by association. In extreme cases, these "Trojan Horse Trolls" have been known to make posts which incite violence - a technique obviously intended to solidify the false assertions of the think tank propagandists like the SPLC, which purports that Constitutionalists should be feared as potential domestic terrorists.

3. Dominate Discussions: Trolls often interject themselves into productive Web discussions in order to throw them off course and frustrate the people involved.

4. Prewritten Responses: Many trolls are supplied with a list or database with pre-planned talking points designed as generalized and deceptive responses to honest arguments. When they post, their words feel strangely plastic and well rehearsed.

5.
False Association: This works hand in hand with item No. 2, by invoking the stereotypes established by the "Trojan Horse Troll." For example: calling those against the Federal Reserve "conspiracy theorists" or "lunatics"; deliberately associating anti-globalist movements with racists and homegrown terrorists, because of the inherent negative connotations; and using false associations to provoke biases and dissuade people from examining the evidence objectively.

6.
False Moderation: Pretending to be the "voice of reason" in an argument with obvious and defined sides in an attempt to move people away from what is clearly true into a "grey area" where the truth becomes "relative."

7. Straw Man Arguments: A very common technique. The troll will accuse his opposition of subscribing to a certain point of view, even if he does not, and then attacks that point of view. Or, the troll will put words in the mouth of his opposition, and then rebut those specific words.

Sometimes, these strategies are used by average people with serious personality issues. However, if you see someone using these tactics often, or using many of them at the same time, you may be dealing with a paid internet troll.

Stopping Disinformation

The best way to disarm disinformation agents is to know their methods inside and out. This gives us the ability to point out exactly what they are doing in detail the moment they try to do it. Immediately exposing a disinformation tactic as it is being used is highly destructive to the person utilizing it. It makes them look foolish, dishonest and weak for even making the attempt. Internet trolls most especially do not know how to handle their methods being deconstructed right in front of their eyes and usually fold and run from debate when it occurs.

The truth is precious. It is sad that there are so many in our society who have lost respect for it; people who have traded in their conscience and their soul for temporary financial comfort while sacrificing the stability and balance of the rest of the country in the process.

The human psyche breathes on the air of truth. Without it, humanity cannot survive. Without it, the species will collapse, starving from lack of intellectual and emotional sustenance.

Disinformation does not only threaten our insight into the workings of our world; it makes us vulnerable to fear, misunderstanding, and doubt: all things that lead to destruction. It can drive good people to commit terrible atrocities against others, or even against themselves. Without a concerted and organized effort to diffuse mass-produced lies, the future will look bleak indeed.

Propaganda and Lies, Disinformation and Obfuscation

 Media Disinformation Methods
Media Disinformation Methods | Source

Disinformation: The "Magic" of the Lie, Propaganda, Governments, Elites and How It Works

We learn from Brandon Smith that:

There was a time, not too long ago (relatively speaking), that governments and the groups of elites that controlled them did not find it necessary to conscript themselves into wars of disinformation.

Propaganda was relatively straightforward. The lies were much simpler. The control of information flow was easily directed. Rules were enforced with the threat of property confiscation and execution for anyone who strayed from the rigid socio-political structure. Those who had theological, metaphysical or scientific information outside of the conventional and scripted collective world view were tortured and slaughtered. The elites kept the information to themselves, and removed its remnants from mainstream recognition, sometimes for centuries before it was rediscovered.

With the advent of anti-feudalism, and most importantly the success of the American Revolution, elitists were no longer able to dominate information with the edge of a blade or the barrel of a gun. The establishment of Republics, with their philosophy of open government and rule by the people, compelled Aristocratic minorities to plot more subtle ways of obstructing the truth and thus maintaining their hold over the world without exposing themselves to retribution from the masses. Thus, the complex art of disinformation was born.

The technique, the "magic" of the lie, was refined and perfected. The mechanics of the human mind and the human soul became an endless obsession for the establishment.

The goal was malicious, but socially radical; instead of expending the impossible energy needed to dictate the very form and existence of the truth, they would allow it to drift, obscured in a fog of contrived data. They would wrap the truth in a Gordian Knot of misdirection and fabrication so elaborate that they felt certain the majority of people would surrender, giving up long before they ever finished unraveling the deceit. The goal was not to destroy the truth, but to hide it in plain sight.

In modern times, and with carefully engineered methods, this goal has for the most part been accomplished. However, these methods also have inherent weaknesses. Lies are fragile. They require constant attentiveness to keep them alive. The exposure of a single truth can rip through an ocean of lies, evaporating it instantly.

In this article, we will examine the methods used to fertilize and promote the growth of disinformation, as well as how to identify the roots of disinformation and effectively cut them, starving out the entire system of fallacies once and for all.

Media Disinformation Methods

The mainstream media, once tasked with the job of investigating government corruption and keeping elitists in line, has now become nothing more than a public relations firm for corrupt officials and their Globalist handlers. The days of the legitimate "investigative reporter" are long gone (if they ever existed at all), and journalism itself has deteriorated into a rancid pool of so called "TV Editorialists" who treat their own baseless opinions as supported fact.

The elitist co-opting of news has been going on in one form or another since the invention of the printing press. However, the first methods of media disinformation truly came to fruition under the supervision of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who believed the truth was "subjective" and open to his personal interpretation.

Some of the main tactics used by the mainstream media to mislead the masses are as follows:

Lie Big, Retract Quietly: Mainstream media sources (especially newspapers) are notorious for reporting flagrantly dishonest and unsupported news stories on the front page, then quietly retracting those stories on the very back page when they are caught. In this case, the point is to railroad the lie into the collective consciousness. Once the lie is finally exposed, it is already too late, and a large portion of the population will not notice or care when the truth comes out.

Unconfirmed Or Controlled Sources As Fact: Cable news venues often cite information from "unnamed" sources, government sources that have an obvious bias or agenda, or "expert" sources without providing an alternative "expert" view. The information provided by these sources is usually backed by nothing more than blind faith.

Calculated Omission:
Otherwise known as "cherry picking" data. One simple piece of information or root item of truth can derail an entire disinfo news story, so instead of trying to gloss over it, they simply pretend as if it doesn't exist. When the fact is omitted, the lie can appear entirely rational. This tactic is also used extensively when disinformation agents and crooked journalists engage in open debate.

Distraction, And The Manufacture Of Relevance: Sometimes the truth wells up into the public awareness regardless of what the media does to bury it. When this occurs their only recourse is to attempt to change the public's focus and thereby distract them from the truth they were so close to grasping. The media accomplishes this by "over-reporting" on a subject that has nothing to do with the more important issues at hand. Ironically, the media can take an unimportant story, and by reporting on it ad nauseum, cause many Americans to assume that because the media won't shut-up about it, it must be important!

Dishonest Debate Tactics: Sometimes, men who actually are concerned with the average American's pursuit of honesty and legitimate fact-driven information break through and appear on T.V. However, rarely are they allowed to share their views or insights without having to fight through a wall of carefully crafted deceit and propaganda. Because the media know they will lose credibility if they do not allow guests with opposing viewpoints every once in a while, they set up and choreograph specialized T.V. debates in highly restrictive environments which put the guest on the defensive, and make it difficult for them to clearly convey their ideas or facts.

TV pundits are often trained in what are commonly called "Alinsky Tactics." Saul Alinsky was a moral relativist, and champion of the lie as a tool for the "greater good"; essentially, a modern day Machiavelli. His "Rules for Radicals" were supposedly meant for grassroots activists who opposed the establishment and emphasized the use of any means necessary to defeat one's political opposition. But is it truly possible to defeat an establishment built on lies, by use of even more elaborate lies, and by sacrificing one's ethics? In reality, his strategies are the perfect format for corrupt institutions and governments to dissuade dissent from the masses. Today, Alinsky's rules are used more often by the establishment than by its opposition.

Alinsky's Strategy: Win At Any Cost, Even If You Have To Lie

Alinsky's tactics have been adopted by governments and disinformation specialists across the world, but they are most visible in TV debate. While Alinsky sermonized about the need for confrontation in society, his debate tactics are actually designed to circumvent real and honest confrontation of opposing ideas with slippery tricks and diversions. Alinsky's tactics, and their modern usage, can be summarized as follows:

1) Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.

We see this tactic in many forms. For example, projecting your own movement as mainstream, and your opponent's as fringe. Convincing your opponent that his fight is a futile one. Your opposition may act differently, or even hesitate to act at all, based on their perception of your power. How often have we heard this line: "The government has predator drones. There is nothing the people can do now..." This is a projection of exaggerated invincibility designed to elicit apathy from the masses.

2) Never go outside the experience of your people, and whenever possible, go outside of the experience of the enemy.

Don't get drawn into a debate about a subject you do not know as well as or better than your opposition. If possible, draw them into such a situation instead. Go off on tangents. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty in your opposition. This is commonly used against unwitting interviewees on cable news shows whose positions are set up to be skewered. The target is blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address. In television and radio, this also serves to waste broadcast time to prevent the target from expressing his own position.

3) Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

The objective is to target the opponent's credibility and reputation by accusations of hypocrisy. If the tactician can catch his opponent in even the smallest misstep, it creates an opening for further attacks, and distracts away from the broader moral question.

4) Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.

"Ron Paul is a crackpot." "Gold bugs are crazy." "Constitutionalists are fringe extremists." Baseless ridicule is almost impossible to counter because it is meant to be irrational. It infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage. It also works as a pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

5) A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

The popularization of the term "Teabaggers" is a classic example; it caught on by itself because people seem to think it's clever, and enjoy saying it. Keeping your talking points simple and fun helps your side stay motivated, and helps your tactics spread autonomously, without instruction or encouragement.

6) A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

See rule No. 5. Don't become old news. If you keep your tactics fresh, it's easier to keep your people active. Not all disinformation agents are paid. The "useful idiots" have to be motivated by other means. Mainstream disinformation often changes gear from one method to the next and then back again.

7) Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.

Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. Never give the target a chance to rest, regroup, recover or re-strategize. Take advantage of current events and twist their implications to support your position. Never let a good crisis go to waste.

8) The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.


This goes hand in hand with Rule No. 1. Perception is reality. Allow your opposition to expend all of its energy in expectation of an insurmountable scenario. The dire possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.

9) The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

The objective of this pressure is to force the opposition to react and make the mistakes that are necessary for the ultimate success of the campaign.

10) If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside.

As grassroots activism tools, Alinsky tactics have historically been used (for example, by labor movements or covert operations specialists) to force the opposition to react with violence against activists, which leads to popular sympathy for the activists' cause. Today, false (or co-opted) grassroots movements and revolutions use this technique in debate as well as in planned street actions and rebellions (look at Syria for a recent example).

11) The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.


Never let the enemy score points because you're caught without a solution to the problem. Today, this is often used offensively against legitimate activists, such as the opponents of the Federal Reserve. Complain that your opponent is merely "pointing out the problems." Demand that they offer not just "a solution", but THE solution. Obviously, no one person has "the" solution. When he fails to produce the miracle you requested, dismiss his entire argument and all the facts he has presented as pointless.

12) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.

Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. The target's supporters will expose themselves. Go after individual people, not organizations or institutions. People hurt faster than institutions.

The next time you view an MSM debate, watch the pundits carefully, you will likely see many if not all of the strategies above used on some unsuspecting individual attempting to tell the truth.

Internet Disinformation Methods

Internet trolls, also known as "paid posters" or "paid bloggers," are increasingly and openly being employed by private corporations as well governments, often for marketing purposes and for "public relations" (Obama is notorious for this practice). Internet "trolling" is indeed a fast growing industry.

Trolls use a wide variety of strategies, some of which are unique to the internet, here are just a few:

1. Make outrageous comments designed to distract or frustrate: An Alinsky tactic used to make people emotional, although less effective because of the impersonal nature of the Web.

2. Pose as a supporter of the truth, then make comments that discredit the movement: We have seen this even on our own forums - trolls pose as supporters of the Liberty Movement, then post long, incoherent diatribes so as to appear either racist or insane. The key to this tactic is to make references to common Liberty Movement arguments while at the same time babbling nonsense, so as to make those otherwise valid arguments seem ludicrous by association. In extreme cases, these "Trojan Horse Trolls" have been known to make posts which incite violence - a technique obviously intended to solidify the false assertions of the think tank propagandists like the SPLC, which purports that Constitutionalists should be feared as potential domestic terrorists.

3. Dominate Discussions: Trolls often interject themselves into productive Web discussions in order to throw them off course and frustrate the people involved.

4. Prewritten Responses: Many trolls are supplied with a list or database with pre-planned talking points designed as generalized and deceptive responses to honest arguments. When they post, their words feel strangely plastic and well rehearsed.

5.
False Association: This works hand in hand with item No. 2, by invoking the stereotypes established by the "Trojan Horse Troll." For example: calling those against the Federal Reserve "conspiracy theorists" or "lunatics"; deliberately associating anti-globalist movements with racists and homegrown terrorists, because of the inherent negative connotations; and using false associations to provoke biases and dissuade people from examining the evidence objectively.

6.
False Moderation: Pretending to be the "voice of reason" in an argument with obvious and defined sides in an attempt to move people away from what is clearly true into a "grey area" where the truth becomes "relative."

7. Straw Man Arguments: A very common technique. The troll will accuse his opposition of subscribing to a certain point of view, even if he does not, and then attacks that point of view. Or, the troll will put words in the mouth of his opposition, and then rebut those specific words.

Sometimes, these strategies are used by average people with serious personality issues. However, if you see someone using these tactics often, or using many of them at the same time, you may be dealing with a paid internet troll.

Stopping Disinformation

The best way to disarm disinformation agents is to know their methods inside and out. This gives us the ability to point out exactly what they are doing in detail the moment they try to do it. Immediately exposing a disinformation tactic as it is being used is highly destructive to the person utilizing it. It makes them look foolish, dishonest and weak for even making the attempt. Internet trolls most especially do not know how to handle their methods being deconstructed right in front of their eyes and usually fold and run from debate when it occurs.

The truth is precious. It is sad that there are so many in our society who have lost respect for it; people who have traded in their conscience and their soul for temporary financial comfort while sacrificing the stability and balance of the rest of the country in the process.

The human psyche breathes on the air of truth. Without it, humanity cannot survive. Without it, the species will collapse, starving from lack of intellectual and emotional sustenance.

Disinformation does not only threaten our insight into the workings of our world; it makes us vulnerable to fear, misunderstanding, and doubt: all things that lead to destruction. It can drive good people to commit terrible atrocities against others, or even against themselves. Without a concerted and organized effort to diffuse mass-produced lies, the future will look bleak indeed.

Social Media And Internet Stats

The Spread Of Social Media Statistics Presented and can be Accessed On Smart Phones
The Spread Of Social Media Statistics Presented and can be Accessed On Smart Phones | Source

Global Internet, Mobile and Social Media Engagement and Usage Stats and Facts

Did you know that there are 7.1 billion people on the planet and 6.6 billion mobile subscribers? 85 percent people in the world have internet access and the rate of growth for mobile is 530+ Million (5% year over year). Moreover, the number of social media users around the globe has risen 18% in 2013. Nearly 25 percent of people in the world now use social media. Africa (with 129%) and Asia (76%) show the largest percentage increase in internet usage. At the end of 2013 there will be more social network users in Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Africa. Check out this infographic by wearesquare called "You are looking in the wrong place - the most engaged populations aren't where you think they are" - for more on the latest global internet, mobile and social media statistics.
These facts and figures will help you as internet marketer to gain a better insight into the future of internet, Social Media and mobile engagement.

Social Media Stats-Wise

Stats Graphics
Stats Graphics | Source

Social Media Marketing

What to expect in 2014?

In 2014, marketing teams will spend $135 billion on new digital marketing collateral.
78% CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing.
25% Internet advertising will make up nearly 25% of the entire ad market by 2015.
Marketers will use dynamic content to deliver highly personalized experiences to the right audience at the right time.

Trends in the marketing mix

Emails with social sharing buttons increase click through rates by 158%.
Social media marketing budgets will double over the next 5 years.
Nearly 50% of companies have content marketing strategies.
67% of B2B content marketers consider event marketing the most effective strategy.
33% of traffic from Google's organic search results go to the 1st items listed.
73% of reporters think press releases should contain images.
72% of PPC marketers plan to increase PPC budget in 2014.

What to consider for your digital audience

The percentage of internet marketers who have found a customer via Facebook in 2013, is 52%.
B2B companies who regularly publish content, generate 67% more sales/leads than those that don't.
43% of all marketers found a customer via LinkedIn.
In 2013, 55% of marketers worldwide increase digital marketing budgets.
Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%.
Videos on landing pages increase conversations by 86%.
65% of your audience are visual learners.
Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing.
Our brand processed Visual data 60,000 times faster than text.

Digital Marketing Statistics

The team at WebDAM Solutions has designed the below infographic tilted "20 Captivating Marketing Statistics that will Drive 2014" this visual reveals the latest marketing facts and predictions you should know to direct your future's online marketing
The team at WebDAM Solutions has designed the below infographic tilted "20 Captivating Marketing Statistics that will Drive 2014" this visual reveals the latest marketing facts and predictions you should know to direct your future's online marketing | Source

Truncated History Of Media Today

!958:

United States Defense Advanced Research Project...

President Eisenhower requests to create the United States Defense Advanced Research Project (ARPA).

1961:

Packet Switching...

Len Kleinrock, Professor of Computer Science at UCLA, writes the first paper on the concept of "Packet Switching". Packet Switching will be the fundamental ideal behind Internet technology.

1965:

Packet Switching Technology

Larry Roberts at MIT sets up an experiment in which two computers communicate to each other using using 'packet-switching' technology. This experiment is a major move forward in the creation of a network of interacting computers.

1966:

ARPANET

ARPANET project begins in Cambridge Massachusetts with Larry Roberts in Charge. The goal is to create a p'packet-switching' interconnected network of computers that can continue operating even when one part of the network is disabled by war.

1969:

ARPANET Connects

ARPANET connects computers at four U.S. Universities. the aim is to connect scientists at universities around the U.S. using a computer network. 1969 marks the first successful venture in this direction and paves the way for more and more computers to be joined into the network.

1972:

First E-Mail Program

Ray Tomlinson creates the first e-mail program, and establishes the convention of using the @ sign to signify "at." This is the start of specific "applications" on the network.

1973:

The UK and Norway Connect

ARAPNET establishes connection to two universities in the UK and Norway. The linkage between computers become International.

1976:

Apple Computers

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak found Apple Computers. The Company will become a major force in spreading the Internet and its uses and redefining the home computer

1981

The Personal Computer And DOS:

IBM announces its first personal computer(PC). Microsoft creates the PC's disc operating system(DOS). This marks the beginning of Microsoft's race to become a powerful company in computing, the Internet, and Video Games.

1983:

Domain Name System

The Domani Name system for the Internet is created. These included the suffixes of .edu, .gov, .com., .mil., .org., .net, and .int. (Previously people used a series of numbers such as 131.156.99.3.) In 19b5. Symbolic.com becomes the first registered "domain" on ARPANET/Internet. Domain names serve as words that refer to places of Internet participation on the Intern Internet that are fundamentally defined in terms of numerical addresses. It is a key step in organizing the Internet for widespread use.

1987:

Cisco Routers

25 million PC's are sold in the U.S. and the first Cisco routers are shipped.

These developments reflect the popular growth in personal-computer use and the beginnings of connections of these computers to the internet.

Routers are devices that forward data packets between computer networks. Reading the internet address information in the packet, routers perform the “traffic directing” functions of the internet.

1990:

The World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee creates the World Wide Web. This system of interlinked hypertext documents changes the way people access information.

1993:

Mosaic Web Browser. Marc Andreesen invents the Mosaic Browser at the University of Illinois. Urbana-Champaign. It quickly becomes a popular way to access pictures and text on the World Wide Web. It becomes the model for the popular Netscape browser and others that came afterwards. This browser development marked the beginning of the Web as a popular and commercial destination.

1993:

Early Wi-Fi

Carnegie Mellon University offers the firs campus-wide wireless access to the Internet, which they called "Wireless Andrew."

It reflects the increasing importance of the internet in campus life and the beginning of wi-fi technology that allows computers to connect to the internet via radio waves.

1995:

Microsoft releases Windows 95.

Borrowing the idea from Apple, this PC operating system used a graphical user interface, start menu, and task bar. It quickly became the most popular desktop operating system.

1996:

The New York Times Online

The New York Times establishes a website. It reflects the beginnings of the movement of offline journalism.

1998:

Google

Sergey Brin and Larry Page incorporate the search engine Google. It becomes the preeminent search engine and powerful internet advertising force.

Children's Online Privacy Protection act (COPPA). U.S. Congress passes the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

COPPA reflects concerns in U.S. society about the ways marketers and other agencies track people, including young people, online and use their information without permission. This law singled children out for special concern.

Effective in 2000, the act specified what a website operator must include in a privacy policy, when and how to seek verifiable consent from a parent or guardian, and what responsibilities an operator has to protect children's privacy and safety online including restrictions on the marketing to those under 13.

2001:

Internet Crime

The European Council adopts the first treaty addressing criminal offenses committed over the Internet. Countries are beginning to grapple with how to think of law as it relates to the internet necessitating new specializations within law such as internet law, media law, and information technology law.

2001:

Apple introduces iTunes media player and library applications. It is the beginning of what will become Apple’s wildly successful venture into selling music tracks, videos, books, and other digital products for its desktop and mobile devices when they launch the iTunes store in 2003.

2003:

Peer-To-Peer Distribution

The RIAA sues 261 individuals for allegedly distributing copyrighted music files over per-to-peer networks. Piracy becomes an enduring issue regarding the internet for the music, television, and film industries.

2004:

Mark Zuckerberg and fellow Harvard students create the Facebook social networking site. Its popularity, first in colleges and then more broadly, reflects and encourages the importance of social media. Facebook quickly takes over as the most popular social media site, quickly displacing earlier sites such as MySpace.com. In 2013, it was estimated that MySpace.com has 36 million users whereas Facebook had 1.11 billion users.

2006:

YouTube

Google Inc. acquires YouTube for $1.65 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction

Though YouTube is not profitable, Google executives express confidence that the growth of broadband use among Americans will increase their desire to use, and search, videos—and see ads around and in them.

2006:

Twitter

Jack Dorsey creates twitter

The social networking and microblogging service gamed enormous popularity on desktop and in mobile formats. In 2010, the Pew Internet and American Life Project determined that 8% of Americans on the internet also used Twitter. Among these 8%, it was found that women, minorities, and people living in urban locations were more likely to use Twitter than other demographic groups. It’s estimated that in 2013 there were 500 million Twitter users.

2007:

Search engine giant Google surpasses software giant Microsoft in having the most visited website.

Evidence of the importance of search functionality and accurate results solidify Google’s power in that realm.

2011:

Smartphones

Nearly half (44%) of U.S. mobile subscribers own a smartphone. The growing population with access to data streams means that location-based web and app activities are likely to grow.

Understanding The Present Day Technologies, The Gadgets And Viral Data Transmissions

As one can see,above, the evolution of technology gadgets and the merging and submerging techniques are upon us. We are going to have to know and understand these morphing and evolving machines, the embedded techniques and transmission as to how they effect and affect us today. We take some ques from Rushkoff who writes:

"In some senses, this was the goal of those who developed computers and networks on which we depend today. Mid-twentieth century computing visionaries Vannevar Bush and J.C.R. Licklider dreamed of developing machines that could do our remembering for us. Computers would free us from the tyranny of the past - as week as the horrors of World War II-allowing us to fogey everything and devote our minds to solving the problems of today it is tribute to both their design a

"If You're Not The Customer, You Are The Product"...

When we use technologies in a passive, unthinking way, we risk changing our world and behaving in ways driven by our technologies’ built-in biases. For example, think of the difference between the websites Amazon and Facebook. What does Amazon want you to do? Buy stuff. So every button, every paragraph, every pop-up window you see when you visit Amazon is designed to get you to buy stuff. Facebook, on the other hand, wants you to share information about yourself — because that information is valuable to the marketing companies and research firms who pay Facebook for access to it. That’s why Facebook encourages you to list the bands and brands you like, and to “friend” and “like” everything in your universe. You aren’t Facebook’s customer; those businesses are. Your information is Facebook’s product.

The people who program websites and TV shows and other technology and media — I mean the people who decide what these media should do, and for whom — do so on behalf of their real customers. For example, who is the customer of American Idol? Not you, the viewer, but Ford, Coca-Cola, and AT&T, who advertise through the show and want viewers to buy their stuff. That’s why the Idol contestants call home with AT&T phones and drive Ford cars, and it’s why the judges drink from big plastic Coke cups.

Apple’s App Store encourages you to think of all your online purchasing as something that has to be orchestrated by Apple. The online stock trading platforms your grownups use are configured to make them want to trade more frequently, earning the companies behind them more commissions. By figuring out the way your digital world is really put together, you gain the ability to see what your media and technology want from you. Only then will you be able to consciously choose which of these websites, entertainments, and gadgets are worth your time and energy.


Douglas Rushkoff on Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

Godfather of Propaganda Edward Bernays (full Length) 2013

In order for us to have a much deeper and broader appreciation of Media Literacy, I will keep on utilizing the researches of the contemporary Media and communications theorists and experts to further expand and bring to the fore the importance of have a media savvy public, in today's concept of democracy, is key to human liberation.

I have seceded to use the whole article as written by McChesney in explaining to us the 'consumer' choices, if there are any, we make, or made to make, that behind all this is a 'commercial logic'. McChesney Writes:

"To the casual observer, it seems like there's a tremendous increase in consumer choice, especially for kids? Why isn't that a great thing

If you define it simply as "consumer choice," it's the plenitude that you can select from that could or could not be a great. That'd be an interesting discussion, but I don't think that's really the dominant thing that's taking place with children having a range of choice. It's the nature of the choice, and how the choices are laid out there, that is really the most striking feature of it. I think there that the issue isn't really the amount of choice; it's the amount of sort of commercialism that permeates all the choices. So, on one hand, while it seems like you have a massive range of choice, they're really underneath it girded by the same commercial logic. There's very little diversity in a certain way. It's the appearance of diversity, but without it.

What Commercial Logic?

"On my MTV it's all commercial. sometimes it's an advertisement paid for by a company to sell a product. sometimes a video for a music company to sell music ... Sometimes a set filled with trendy clothes to sell a look that include products on that set.

The commercial logic is the idea that everything is dedicated to the idea of selling something. The whole point of the relationship with the teen is to turn them upside-down and shake all the money out of their pockets. That's the sole purpose of it--the artistic, the creative. There's traditionally been a distinction between the editorial or creative side and the commercial side. It was a common theme in our media for much of the twentieth century.

"It has always been a nebulous relationship. Commercial factors have invariably weighed in and influenced the creative and editorial side. But that relationship has really collapsed in the past ten years. The barrier between them, the notion that there should be an integrity . . . to the creative product or to the editorial product--distinct from the needs of commercial interests to make as much money as possible to just stand on its own--is corroded. It has come under sustained pressure, because the people who actually make the decisions are commercial people. And those values ultimately are permeating the creative side. This affects children's and teens' cultures, as much as all other cultures, maybe even more so, due to the importance of that market to marketers for a lifetime of consumption.

"The Marketers we've talked to seem to feel that there's almost an ethic in the fact that they do focus groups and consumer testing, and they find out what these kids really want. So, in a sense ... the teens' power is on the rise.

Marshal McLuhan, And The Discussion Of The Implications Of Modern Day Media

The Young -Cool': Products And Subject Of The Entertainment Industry(Music, etc)

It's quite the opposite, actually. The purpose of the focus group is never to find out what teens want per se. It's to find out what teens want so they can make the most money off it as possible. What they're looking for is simply within the range of what they can make the most money off of. It's not a legitimate search for anything that teens might possibly want. It's not an open-ended hunt. If they were to find out that most teens aren't interested in something, but still this company can make money off selling it to them, they're still going to sell it to them. It's a self-serving argument to say that this research is done to basically serve teens. It's done to better manipulate teens.

"what is left out of a consumer research project with teens that doesn't fall into the category of something to make money on?

". . . What if the focus groups asked, "Do you really want your musicians connected to products?" In teens, if they found out, "No. We don't really want the musicians whose music we listen to connected to underpants and deodorant and buttons and wear." The response to that would not be, "Okay. We won't do that." The response would be, "Well, how can we do that without pissing them off?" That's how you would take that focus group information if you were a marketer. How can you still make money off that but not antagonize them? And if it's a legitimate focus group, they say, "Okay. That's a legitimate concern. They want their musicians to just do music." But that's not something they can do, because there's no money in that.

"Do you see other values being sucked out of teen culture as a result?

Absolutely. The whole name of integrity . . . sounds corny or banal, because we live in cynical times. The whole notion that there's some reason to do something outside of just making money off it is lost in a culture in which the sole point is to make money off you. You're told that's the whole reason for this being in existence. In popular music, there's a huge difference if you ultimately think the reason you're listening to this music is because these musicians basically were hired because of some marketing thing--and it's all a scam just to make money--rather than these are musicians who are artists and having something to say to you, it's a relationship with you, they really believe in something. . . .I don't know if we'll really know the effects, ultimately, for a while. So I'm speculating. But I can't see anything good about it. Nothing good that comes out of it, only bad.

Douglas Rushkoff, "Present Shock"

Can You Describe The Way the copycat syndrome works

The music industry's probably the most interesting one to study culturally, for a number of reasons. But the primary reason, in an economic sense, is that music is the least capital-intensive of all our modern commercial media. To make a good movie, even a low-budget one, costs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not the low millions. But if you have a pretty expensive tape recorder and equipment, instruments, you can make great music in a garage. Music is fairly inexpensive. So music's always had a very interesting relationship between the companies--the musicians and the users. Because the costs are so low, anyone can really do it.

Commercial music has had a very contradictory relationship with artists in the last 50 years, say, since the rise of the electric guitar and the rise of popular music in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the modern notion of popular music with the small combos. And what we see is that people who are students of music, or even fans, would say that the great trends in music have invariably come outside of sort of the commercial networks. They've come from ghettos or barrios. They've come from college towns, but they're people who play music because they love it and it means something in their lives.

And if you go through the history of popular music since the post-war years--starting with rock 'n roll, which grew out of rhythm and blues, going on to soul, to 1960s rock, to the punk movement, reggae, hip-hop--none of them started in the research and development department of EMI Records. All of them started in a barrio or in Kingston, Jamaica, or in the South Bronx.

And then it's a very interesting process in which they're sort of appropriated, or, to use an academic term, "colonized"--I think "colonized" is a better term, in which they're taken in and then they try to figure out the way to make the most money out of it, if you're the company. "Yes, boy, this hip-hop is really good. What can we do with it?" "Well, we'll have Colonel Sanders do hip-hop in a commercial," or something like that. Or "We'll have Rod Stewart add some hip-hop licks to his next CD." And then you say, "Well, now we need someone who can do more of this hip-hop stuff. Let's find some people that fit that demographic model who look like they'd be really right-on hip-hop artists." It's the same thing for punk or grunge.

And in the process, the sort of commercial value is putting the cart in front of the horse. The commercial values start determining the content, rather than the content bringing the commercialism behind it to sort of pay the bills and sell the product. And it loses . . . authenticity. It loses its connection to the audience. Its creativity becomes a joke, ultimately. It becomes farce.

Our schlocky culture has been filled with sort of these artists that we make fun of, and they're almost humorous in a way, but ultimately they're tragic. And I think the real irony of our commercial media system is that it can't really help this in music. They do what's rational. They're trying to locate the thing, the real thing, the next real thing. But soon as they find it, they almost snuff it out, because they put the commercial logic on top of it, which wipes it out.

What's happened in popular music in the last 25 years is that window of opportunity for new musical art forms to develop and have some integrity before they get grabbed by the big companies has been narrowed, because these companies are searching out anything. They want to be the first one in to get the band that's going to be the next big hit, the next grunge, the next hip-hop. So there's not that incubation period anymore. Now they hear about some guy in the South Bronx who's doing something different, and man, they're up there in the next cab. Two days later, the guy's got a contract.

Before, reggae or hip-hop or punk had years to develop before they became big commercial entities. You really had a whole body of work by a number of great artists that was out there. Or the British invasion in rock 'n roll in the early 1960s. Well, those days are over. So you have the ironic thing, that the effort to get more of this music out kills it off. It leaves us in the. . . current popular situation--the sort of hyper-commercialized sewer.

Douglas Rushkoff - Retaking the now (Tegenlicht)

Hyper-Commercialized Sewer

McChesney Continues:

"Before that, the Great Music came from elites prior to World War II.

If you study a history of popular music, we have extraordinarily rich creations of folk music in almost every country, especially in the Anglo-Irish tradition that played such a large role here and really influenced all our popular music in the South. What makes American music so exciting is this fusion of African and Anglo-Irish traditions here in Appalachia and in the South that fuels our country music, that fuels our rock 'n roll and popular music and the whole jazz tradition. These traditions were not elite traditions at all, and they've existed for hundreds of years. Especially before the Second World War, they were huge in the country.

So in my view, a better way to look at it would be to say we've had these great popular traditions that didn't start in 1945. That was just a new phase of them, because there is a fundamental change that we're in the midst of. It's not like there was a firm break. This commercial pressure has always been there, but it's sort of a quantitative change, as the mathematical law goes, and in a certain way, it seem to be a qualitative change. The influence of marketing and commercial pressures at some point becomes so great that the pond becomes the lake. You really shift the relationship.

Commercial value is now permeated such that you have major artists like Britney Spears and 'N Sync, who are basically marketing creations. They're basically, "This is what kids want. We're going to locate the demographics, write the music, use a computer to write the music. Just plug in a few chords." It's quite different from some people playing in their garage who love music and do it for years and have something to say to an audience of people they live with and relate to.

"We Talked to these people who did research with kids in actual bedrooms. ... There's this feedback loop where the audience seems to sort of suck in everything that put before them...

"I know. And I think we're in a really interesting phase, culturally. The notion that there's something distinct from commercial culture comes into question when everything's commercialized. There's the traditional notion that there was this musical thing that could start outside of commercial values. And it's a troubling notion--the idea that our references are so commercialized now that all our dissidents, all our autonomous voices, are getting their cues from MTV on how to revolt.

I think that's a real tension that's going on among young people today. For really the first time, in a decade or two, from my experience, we've seen young people, not just college students, having a real concern that their entire culture is this commercial laboratory and that being cool is buying the commercially sanctioned cool clothes. It's a real tension that's going on right now. It'll be very interesting to see how it plays itself out, because I think there's a sense that the sort of MTV-VH1 infomercial view of life--where everything is part of the sales process and being cool is something you buy and an act you sort of pose in-- ultimately that's not a very satisfying or nourishing way to live or to look at the world. And trying to create an alternative is imperative for a lot of young people. But it's very hard to do when all the markers around you are commercial.

Are Teenagers willing to make their life choices from the offerings that are before them?

"It's hard to generalize, obviously. It's a lot of human beings, and it comes from a wide variety of backgrounds in the United States. But I think that what I am seeing that's noticeable is that today there's more dissidence among young people. It's more vocal, more clear, than it was five, ten, fifteen years ago, certainly in a long time. I'm 47, and it's certainly since my generation came up that it's the most noticeable.

I'm a college professor. I've been seeing students pretty regularly for 17 years, and I don't want to make it sound like we're in the midst of some enormous revolution. But you can see sort of below the surface, slightly below the radar of the media, some bubbling going on that wasn't there five or ten years ago. A lot of it is the sort of political activism among young people that is absolutely unprecedented for 20 or 25 years--these demonstrations in Seattle last year, the demonstrations in Washington at the conventions, the Nader campaign-- in which literally you had hundreds of thousands of people, 18 to 25, doing stuff that I haven't seen that generation do since the 1970s.

All of the media companies are commercial, but the other ones tend to have a higher percentage of money that comes from amusement parks, film sales, books--things that don't rely directly on advertising. Viacom is directly an advertising-related company. They've taken American radio and almost single-handed turned it into a 24-hour infomercial on every station. And that's their genius. The head of Viacom and Sumner Redstone are all about maximizing commercial return. They make that quite clear. And if you look at MTV in that context, you get a sense of what they're all about.

We talk about how there's been a separation between creative and commercials eroding in this conglomerate culture. Well, Viacom is the lead army. They're the Napoleons of the war on that separation. They lead the fight in turning every nanosecond of time on their stations into something that's selling something. And so you look at MTV or VH1, this sister channel or brother channel, and it's really a 24-hour infomercial. Every second on the air is selling something. It's either directly selling a product, or it's going to be a program hyping a new movie that's paid for by the studio. It's really an infomercial for the studio. Or it's going to be a video, which is an infomercial for a record label. And everything that's worn on the set, the clothes that are worn by the people there, is consciously planned to sell some product somewhere. So it's really taken this whole process to the very limit.

They're quite candid about this. If you don't talk to the PR people, but you talk to their ad department call them up and disguise your voice saying, "I'm thinking of buying an ad on MTV, but I'm concerned it's not commercial enough." And they'll tell you how commercial it is, what a tremendous thing it is.

If you look around the world, it's a global phenomenon. And bluntly, it's all about commercializing the whole teen experience, making youth culture a commercial entity that's packaged and sold to people. So by watching MTV and buying the products there, looking like the people there, buying the music there, you become cool. It's a commercial relationship to coolness, of being acceptable. And if you don't do it, you're a loser.

And Yet, they make this great point of being all about kids..

That's the genius of it. Absolutely. It's a genius marketing procedure that works. And, as you've pointed out, it's a self-referential, almost circular thing, where that both sides interact. It's all about commercialism. That's the whole point of it. . . . If there was truth in advertising, you would have Sumner Redstone and the Viacom head be the VJs, these 60-year-old fat guys in suits, who are just counting the money--the guys who own the company and run it.

Or they should make Sumner Redstone play a song on the guitar once every hour, the guy who's the owner of Viacom. Because they're the people who run it. That's what the station's all about. This station is really ultimately there to serve Sumner Redstone and the owners of that company. It has nothing to do with kids. They couldn't care less about teenagers. Teenagers are just people to turn upside-down and shake the money out of their pants and then you let go.

But the kids buy it...

Yes. You're absolutely right. And it's a tension . . . there are some dissidents within it, but you're absolutely right. It's a marketing genius. There's no question about it, but it's marketing genius. That's the only type of genius it is. There's nothing else to it, but it is pure marketing genius.

Why do they make more money off that than they would off of good stuff?

Well, it's cheaper to produce, on the one hand. One of the genius moves of Sumner Redstone and Viacom also, in additional to commercializing everything, is they slash costs. They're really famous for going into the entertainment industry and reducing the cost dramatically from what the traditional pattern has been for primetime television shows or for movies. They've kept the cost really low. And when you're hyper-commercializing everything, you can get your cost low. If you're making deals with kid clothes manufacturers to let them help you outfit the people and they're going to pay you for it, that gets the cost low. When you're basically just running music videos, which are paid for by the music companies, that keeps your cost really low.

So it's all about keeping the cost as low as possible, commercializing it in much as possible, and using market research to sort of make it look as cool as possible. And it has worked.

Now it's the A&R guy who's trying to come in and find the next Nirvana or Pearl Jam. They go in to college campuses in college towns, in Chapel Hill or Madison or Urbana-Champaign or whatever it might be in the country. They want to find the kids who are sort of smoking a lot of weed and playing music and hope they stumble across someone who's going to sell 25 million records. And you can build a whole sort of cult thing around them in the community like they had in Seattle in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Once again, it's the logic of whatever it takes to find someone you can sell and package.

In order for us to begin talking about literacy in the mdi a for the users, we also need to read up on what this media is affecting and effecting in our lives, communities and societies. The cited piece above by McChesney, was but one other way I tend to use to further the idea of learning much more closely about the the media we are immersed within today.

Godfather of Propaganda Edward Bernays (full length) 2013

Making Media Work..

Making Media Democratic: DIre Need For Existnce of Commercial-Free Public Broadcasting

I will take the liberty of using the whole citation by Robert McChesney to prop-up my discourses within the whole Hub...

The American media system is spinning out of control in a hyper-commercialized frenzy. Fewer than ten transnational media conglomerates dominate much of our media; fewer than two dozen account for the overwhelming majority of our newspapers, magazines, films, television, radio, and books. With every aspect of our media culture now fair game for commercial exploitation, we can look forward to the full-scale commercialization of sports, arts, and education, the disappearance of notions of public service from public discourse, and the degeneration of journalism, political coverage, and children's programming under commercial pressure.

For democrats, this concentration of media power and attendant commercialization of public discourse are a disaster. An informed, participating citizenry depends on media that play a public service function. As James Madison once put it, "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both." But these democratic functions lie beyond the reach of the current American media system. If we are serious about democracy, then, we need to work aggressively for reform.

What kind of reform? In broad terms, we need to reduce the current degree of media concentration, and, more immediately, blunt its effects on democracy. More specifically, we need special incentives for nonprofits, broadcast regulation, public broadcasting, and antitrust. I present these proposals as the start of a debate about media reform, not as ultimate solutions. I am sure that spirited discussion will improve these ideas: my immediate concern is to get that discussion started. I will not dwell here on the weaknesses of the current US media system, beyond summarizing arguments that I (and many others) have made elsewhere. The point here is to begin answering the natural follow-up to such criticisms: "If the status quo is so bad, what do you propose that would be better?"

Media and Democracy

The case for media reform is based on two propositions. First,media perform essential political, social, economic, and cultural functions in modern democracies. In such societies, media are the principal source of political information and access to public debate, and the key to an informed, participating, self-governing citizenry. Democracy requires a media system that provides people with a wide range of opinion and analysis and debate on important issues, reflects the diversity of citizens, and promotes public accountability of the powers-that-be and the powers-that-want-to-be. In short, the media in a democracy must foster deliberation and diversity, and ensure accountability.

Second, media organization-patterns of ownership, management, regulation, and subsidy-- is a central determinant of media content. This proposition is familiar from discussions of media in China and the former Soviet Union. For those countries, the idea that the media could promote deliberation, diversity, and accountability, while being effectively owned and controlled by the Communist Party, was not even worth refuting. Similarly, we are not surprised to hear that when cronies of the Mexican government owned the country's only TV station, television news coverage was especially favorable to the ruling party.

In the United States, in contrast, analysis of the implications of private ownership and advertising support for media content has been limited. For much of the second half of the twentieth century, Americans have heard that we have no reason to be concerned about corporate ownership of media or dependence on commercial advertising because market competition forces commercial media to "give the people what they want," and journalistic professionalism protects the news from the biases of owners and advertisers as well as journalists themselves.

Such views now seem very dubious. Consider first the alleged benefits of competition. The main media markets-- film, TV, magazines, music, books, cable, newspapers-- are all oligopolies or semi-monopolies with severe barriers to new entrants. Moreover, media economics make it virtually impossible for a firm to be dominant in just one sector. Because of opportunities that come with having properties in different media markets, the largest media firms all have rushed to establish conglomerates over the past decade.

Time Warner, for example, is one of the top five US or global leaders in film production, TV show production, cable TV channels, cable TV systems, movie theater ownership, book publishing, music, and magazine publishing. It also has amusement parks, retail stores, and professional sport teams. Disney, too, seems to have mastered the logic of conglomeration: its animated films Pocahantas and Hunchback of Notre Damewere only marginal successes at the box office, with roughly $100 million in gross US revenues, but both films will generate close to $500 million in profit for Disney, once it has exploited all other venues: TV shows on its ABC network and cable channels, amusement park rides, comic books, CD-ROMs, CDs, and merchandising (through 600 Disney retail stores). Firms without these options simply cannot compete in this market, which is why animation is the province of only the largest media giants. This example is extreme, but it sharply underscores the fundamental principle.

These observations about conglomeration, however, barely begin to explain just how noncompetitive the media market is-if we take "competitive" in the economics textbook sense. Firms in specific markets do directly compete, at times ferociously. But these firms are also each other's best customers, as when a film studio sells its product for presentation to a broadcast network's cable channel.

Moreover, to reduce risk and competition, the largest media firms have turned to "equity joint ventures" in the 1990s. Under such arrangements, media giants share the ownership of a specific media project: Fox Sports Net is jointly owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and John Malone's TCI; the Comedy Central cable channel is co-owned by Time Warner and Viacom.

Murdoch explains the logic behind joint ventures as only he can: "We can join forces now, or we can kill each other and then join forces." The nine largest American media firms have, on average, joint ventures with nearly six of the other eight giants. Murdoch's News Corp., has at least one joint venture with every single one of them.

In such noncompetitive markets, the claim that media firms "give the people what they want" is unconvincing. The firms have enough market power to dictate the content that is most profitable for them. And the easy route to profit comes from increasing commercialism-larger numbers of ads, greater say for advertisers over non-advertising content, programming that lends itself to merchandising, and all sorts of cross promotions with non-media firms.

Consumers may not want such hyper-commercialism, but they have little say in the matter. So we have a 50 percent increase in the number of commercials on network TV in the past decade; the development of commercially-saturated kids' programming as arguably the fastest-growing and most profitable branch of the TV industry in the 1990s; becoming standard in motion pictures. The flip side of this commercialism is the decline of public service-of the notion that there is any purpose to our media except to make money for shareholders.

Under such conditions, journalistic norms can hardly be expected to stem the commercial tide. Contemporary commercial journalism is essentially a mix of crime stories, celebrity profiles, consumer news pitched at the upper middle class, and warmed over press releases. Bookstores are filled with dispirited reports by former editors and journalists bemoaning the brave new world of corporate journalism. Journalist unions are very important in this regard, by protecting journalistic norms from the commercial interests of the owners. But without other measures to weaken corporate media power, unions are not likely to be able to resist pressures from the current media system.

For democrats, then, media competition and journalistic norms do not suffice for deliberation, diversity, and accountability. If media are central to the formation of a participating and informed citizenry, and if media organization influences media performance, then issues about ownership, regulation, and subsidy need to be matters of public debate. But such debate has been almost non-existent in the United States. Even in broadcasting, where the publicly owned airwaves are licensed to private users, the public has never had any meaningful participation in the formation of policy.

Consider the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The law it replaced, the Communications Act of 1934, regulated telephony, radio, and television. The 1996 Act provides the basis for determining the course of radio, television, telephony, the Internet-indeed virtually all aspects of communication as we shift over to digital technologies. Its guiding premise is that the market should rule communication, with government assistance. The politics of the Act consisted largely of powerful corporate communication firms and lobbies fighting behind the scenes to get the most favorable wording.

That the corporate sector would control all communication was a given; the only fight was over which sectors and which firms would get the best deals. The public was for the most part unaware of these debates. The drafting and struggles over the Telecommunications Act of 1996 were hardly discussed in the news media, except in the business and trade press, where the legislation was covered as a story of importance to investors and managers, not citizens, or even consumers.

The results of the Telecommunications Act, with its relaxation of ownership restrictions to promote competition across sectors, have been little short of disastrous. Rather then produce competition, a far-fetched notion in view of the concentrated nature of these markets, the law has paved the way for the greatest period of corporate concentration in US media and communication history. The seven Baby Bells are now four-if the SBC Communications purchase of Ameritech goes through-with more deals on the way. In radio, where ownership restrictions were relaxed the most, the entire industry has been in upheaval, with 4,000 of the 11,000 commercial stations being sold since 1996. In the 50 largest markets, three firms now control access to over half the radio audience. In 23 of those 50 markets, the three largest firms control 80 percent of the radio audience. The irony is that radio, which is relatively inexpensive and thus ideally suited to local independent control, has become perhaps the most concentrated and centralized medium in the United States.

No doubt the United States needed a new communications law. Digital technologies are undermining the traditional distinctions between media and communication sectors that formed the basis for earlier communication regulation. But the legislation we ended up with reflects the failed process that produced it.

False Starts

Because corporate control and the role of advertising are effectively off-limits to public discussion, reformers have faced limited options. Hence they have tended to press for mild reforms that do not threaten corporate and advertiser hegemony. And because these mild reforms generate little enthusiasm from the broad public, media activists have put little effort into organizing popular support for their efforts.

The result is an "inside-the-beltway," low-political-stakes style of public interest lobbying. For example, in 1997 some media activists claimed victory when the Federal Communications Commission began requiring broadcasters to do three hours a week of educational programming for kids. The problem with this "victory" was that these educational programs would all remain commercially sponsored with ultimate control in the hands of business interests.

Other reformers have turned to "civic" or "public" journalism, a well- intentioned attempt to reduce the sensationalism and blatant political manipulation of mainstream journalism. Unfortunately, the movement completely ignores the structural factors of ownership and advertising that have led to the attack on journalism. Public journalism, not surprisingly, is averse to "ideological" approaches to the news, and therefore encourages a boringly "balanced" and soporific newsfare. Claiming to give readers news they think is important to their lives, advocates of public journalism may in fact be assisting in the process of converting journalism into the type of consumer news and information that delights the advertising community.

Still others have joined the media literacy movement. The idea here is to educate people to be skeptical and knowledgeable users of the media. Media literacy has considerable potential so long as it involves explaining how the media system actually works, and leads people to work for a better system. But a more conventional wing of the movement implicitly accepts that commercial media "give the people what they want." So the media literacy crowd's job is to train people to demand better fare. The resulting strategy may simply help to prop up the existing system. "Hey, don't blame us for the lousy stuff we provide," the corporate media giants will say. "We even bankrolled media literacy to train people to demand higher quality fare. The morons simply demanded more of what we are already doing."

While media literacy has an important role to play in media reform, civic journalism has been at best a mixed blessing. Some observers credit civic journalism, which is widespread in North Carolina, with helping in Jesse Helms's 1996 re-election. Why? Because civic journalism was ill-equipped to generate tough questions, or press politicians to answer them. So Helms got a cakewalk from the press, barely having to defend his record.

The evidence is clear: if we want a media system that produces fundamentally different results, we need solutions that address the causes of the problems; have to address issues of media ownership, management, regulation, and subsidy. Our goal should be to craft a media system that reduces the power of a handful of enormous corporations and advertisers to dominate the media culture. But no one will press for reform until we have some ideas worth debating. The ultimate trump card of the status quo is the claim that any change in our media system will invariably lead to darkness at noon. The purpose of the balance of this article is to establish that there are indeed several workable proposals for media reform that will expand, not contract, freedom and will energize our culture and democracy.


Public Waves And Broadcasting Need To Be Protected

Public Media/Communication Waves/Digitalia Should Be Protected

Media Reform Proposals

Building nonprofit and noncommercial media. The starting point for media reform is to build up a viable nonprofit, noncommercial media sector. Such a sector currently exists in the United States, and produces much of value, but it is woefully small and underfunded. It can be developed independent of changes in laws and regulations. For example, foundations and organized labor could and should contribute far more to the develop of nonprofit and noncommercial media. Labor, in particular, has to be willing to subsidize radio, television, Internet, and print media. Moreover, labor cannot seek to micromanage these media and have them serve as its PR agents. For independent media to flourish, they must have editorial integrity.

Sympathetic government policies could also help foster a nonprofit media sector, and media reform must work to this end. Government subsidies and policies have played a key role in establishing lucrative commercial media. Since the 19th century, for example, the United States has permitted publications to have quality, high speed mailing at relatively low rates. We could extend this principle to lower mailing costs for a wider range of nonprofit media, and/or for media that have little or no advertising.

Likewise we could permit all sorts of tax deductions or write-offs for contributions to nonprofit media. Dean Baker of the Economic Policy Institute has developed a plan for permitting taxpayers to take up to $150 off their federal tax bill, if they donate the money to a nonprofit news medium. This would permit almost all Americans to contribute to nonprofit media-not just those with significant disposable incomes-and help create an alternative to the dominant Wall Street/Madison Avenue system.

Public Broadcasting. Establishing a strong nonprofit sector to complement the commercial giants is not enough. The costs of creating a more democratic media system simply are too high. Therefore, it is important to establish and maintain a noncommercial, nonprofit, public radio and television system. The system should include national networks, local stations, public access television, and independent community radio stations. Every community should also have a stratum of low-power television and micropower radio stations.

The United States has never experienced public broadcasting in the manner of Japan, Canada, and Western Europe. In contrast to the US, public broadcasting there has been well funded and commissioned to serve the entire population. In the United States, public broadcasting has always been underfunded, and effectively required to provide only programming that is not commercially viable. As a result, public broadcasters typically provide relatively unattractive programming to fringe audiences, hardly a strategy for institutional success.

Moreover, Congress has been a watchdog to see that public broadcasting did not expand the range of ideological discourse beyond that provided by the commercial broadcasters. In sum, public broadcasting in the United States has been handcuffed since its inception. Still, it has developed a devoted following. This following has provided enough vocal political support to keep US public broadcasting from being effectively privatized, but most of this toothpaste is now out of the tube.

Public radio and television are increasingly dependent upon corporate grants and "enhanced underwriting," a euphemism for advertising. The federal subsidy only accounts for some 15 percent of public broadcasting revenues. Indeed, public broadcasting, by the standard international definition, no longer exists in the United States. Instead, we have nonprofit commercial broadcasting, closely linked to the corporate sector, with the constant threat of right-wing political harassment if public stations step out of line.

We need a system of real public broadcasting, with no advertising, that accepts no grants from corporations or private bodies, and that serves the entire population, not merely those who are disaffected from the dominant commercial system and have to contribute during pledge drives. Two hurdles stand in the way of such a system. The first is organizational: How can public broadcasting be structured to make the system accountable and prevent a bureaucracy impervious to popular tastes and wishes, but to give the public broadcasters enough institutional strength to prevent implicit and explicit attempts at censorship by political authorities?

The second is fiscal: Where will the funds come from to pay for a viable public broadcasting service? At present, the federal government provides $260 million annually. The public system I envision-which would put per capita US spending in a league with, for example, Britain and Japan-may well cost $5-10 billion annually.

There is no one way to resolve the organizational problem, and perhaps an ideal solution can never be found. But there are better ways, as any comparative survey indicates. One key element in preventing bureaucratic ossification or government meddling will be to establish a pluralistic system, with national networks, local stations, community and public access stations, all controlled independently. In some cases direct election of officers by the public and also by public broadcasting employees may be appropriate, whereas in other cases appointment by elected political bodies may be preferable.

As for funding, I have no qualms about drawing the funds for fully public radio and television from general revenues. There is an almost absurd obsession with generating funds for public broadcasting from everywhere but the general budget, on the bogus premise that public broadcasting cannot be justified as a public expense.

In view of radio and television's importance in our lives, it clearly deserves a smidgen of the money we use to build entirely unnecessary weapons systems. We subsidize education, but the government now subsidizes media only on behalf of owners. We should seek to have a stable source of funding, one that cannot be subject to manipulation by politicians with little direct interest in the integrity of the system.

A powerful public radio and television system could have a profound effect on our entire media culture. It could lead the way in providing the type of public service journalism that commercialism is now killing off. This might in turn give commercial journalists the impetus they need to pursue the hard stories they now avoid. It could have a similar effect upon our entertainment culture.

A viable public TV system could support a legion of small independent filmmakers. It could do wonders for reducing the reliance of our political campaigns upon expensive commercial advertising. It is essential to ensuring the diversity and deliberation that lie at the heart of a democratic public sphere.

Regulation. A third main plank is to increase regulation of commercial broadcasting in the public interest. Media reformers have long been active in this arena, if only because the public ownership of the airwaves gives the public, through the FCC, a clear legal right to negotiate terms with the chosen few who get broadcast licenses. Still, even this form of media activism has been negligible, and broadcast regulation has been largely toothless, with the desires of powerful corporations and advertisers rarely challenged.

Experience in the United States and abroad indicates that if commercial broadcasters are not held to high public service standards, they will generate the easiest profits by resorting to the crassest commercialism, and will overwhelm the balance of the media culture. Moreover, standard-setting will not work if commercial broadcasters are permitted to "buy" their way out of public service obligations; the record shows that they will eventually find a way to reduce or eliminate these payments.

Hence the most successful mixed system of commercial and public broadcasting in the world was found in Britain from the 1950s to the 1980s. It was successful because the commercial broadcasters were held to public service standards comparable to those employed by the BBC; some scholars even argue that the commercial system sometimes outperformed the BBC as a public service broadcaster.

The British scheme worked because commercial broadcasters were threatened with loss of their licenses if they did not meet public service standards. (Regrettably, Thatcherism, with its mantra that the market can do no wrong, has undermined the integrity of the British broadcasting system.)

In three particular areas, broadcast regulation can be of great importance. First, advertising should be strictly regulated or even removed from all children's programming (as in Sweden). We must stop the commercial carpetbombing of our children. Commercial broadcasters should be required to provide several hours per week of ad-free kids' programming, to be produced by artists and educators, not Madison Avenue hotshots.

Second, television news should be taken away from the corporate chiefs and the advertisers and turned over to journalists. Exactly how to organize independent ad-free children's and news programming on commercial television so that it is under the control of educators, artists, and journalists will require study and debate. But we should be able to set up something that is effective.

As for funding this public service programming, I subscribe to the principle that it should be subsidized by the beneficiaries of commercialized communication. This principle might be applied in several ways. We could charge commercial broadcasters rent on the electromagnetic spectrum they use to broadcast. Or we could charge them a tax whenever they sell the stations for a profit. In combination these mechanisms could generate well over a billion dollars annually. Or we could tax advertising.

Some $200 billion will be spent to advertise in the United States in 1998, $120 billion of which will be in the media. A very small sales tax on this or even only on that portion that goes to radio and television could generate several billion dollars. It might also have the salutary effect of slowing down the commercial onslaught on American social life. And it does not seem like too much to ask of advertisers who are permitted otherwise to marinate most of the publicly owned spectrum in commercialism.

Third, political candidates should receive considerable free airtime on television during electoral campaigns. In addition, paid TV advertising by candidates should either be strictly regulated or banned outright, as the exorbitant cost of these ads (not to mention their lame content) has virtually destroyed the integrity of electoral democracy here. If they cannot be banned, or even reduced by regulation, then perhaps a provision should be made that if a candidate purchases a TV ad, his or her opponents will all be entitled to free ads of the same length on the same station immediately following the paid ad. This would prevent rich candidates from buying elections. I suspect it would pretty much eliminate the practice altogether.

Even in these pro-market times, the corporate media have been unable to rid the public of its notion that commercial broadcasters should be required to serve the public as well as shareholders and advertisers. Hence, when commercial broadcasters were able to force the FCC in 1997 to give them (at no cost) massive amounts of new spectrum so they could begin digital TV broadcasting.

the Clinton administration established the Gore Commission to recommend public service requirements to be met by broadcasters in return for this gift. Following the contours of US media politics, the Gore Commission has been little short of a farce, with several industry members stonewalling all but the lamest proposals. But we can hope that the Gore Commission will generate some more serious public service proposals, and provide the basis for a public education campaign and subsequent legislation to give them the force of law.

Antitrust.. The fourth strategy for creating a more democratic media system is to break up the largest firms and establish more competitive markets, thus shifting some control from corporate suppliers to citizen consumers. By all accounts, the current antitrust statutes are not satisfactory, and if antitrust is ever to be applied to media it will require a new statute, similar in tone to the seminal Clayton and Sherman Acts, that lays out the general values to be enforced by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

The objective should be to break up such media conglomerates as Time Warner, News Corporation, and Disney, so that their book publishing, magazine publishing, TV show production, movie production, TV stations, TV networks, amusement parks, retail store chains, cable TV channels, cable TV systems, etc. all become independent firms. With reduced barriers-to-entry in these specific markets, new firms could enter.

The media giants claim that their market power and conglomeration make them more efficient and therefore able to provide a better product at lower prices to the consumer. There is not much evidence for these claims, though it is clear that market power and conglomeration make these firms vastly more profitable. Moreover, even if one accepts that antitrust would lead to a less efficient economic model, perhaps we should pay that price to establish a more open and competitive marketplace. In view of media's importance for democratic politics and culture, they should not be judged by purely commercial criteria.

Antitrust is the wild card in the media reform platform. It has tremendous appeal across the population and is usually the first idea citizens suggest when they are confronted with the current media scene. But it is unclear whether antitrust legislation could be effectively implemented. And even if it does prove effective, the system would remain commercial, albeit more competitive. It would not, in other words, reduce the need for the first three proposals.

Not to Worry?

The fundamental flaws in our corporate-dominated, commercial media system are widely appreciated. Unfortunately, there is also a rush to assert that the Internet should silence our fears. Because the Internet is open to all at relatively low prices, the hegemony of media giants and advertisers will soon end, to be replaced by a wide-open, decentralized, diverse, fast-changing, and competitive media culture.

Best of all, this result is implicit in the Internet's digital network technology, and will not require government regulation. Indeed, the mainstream consensus-strongly endorsed by the Clinton administration's Internet policy-is that government regulation alone could prevent the Internet from working its magic.

Though the Internet and digital communication in general are certainly creating a radical change in our media and communication systems, the results may not be a more competitive market or more democratic media. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that as the Internet becomes a commercial medium, the largest media firms are most likely to succeed. The media giants can plug digital programming from their other ventures into the Web at little extra cost. To generate an audience, they can promote their Web sites incessantly on their traditional media holdings.

The leading media "brands" have been the first to charge subscription fees for their Web offerings; indeed, they may be the only firms for which this is even an alternative. The media giants can (and do) arrange to have their advertisers agree to advertise on their Web sites. The media giants can also use their market power and brand names to get premier position in Web browser software. The new Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 offers 250 highlighted channels, and the "plum positions" belong to Disney and Time Warner. Netscape and Pointcast are making similar arrangements.

Moreover, approximately half the venture capital for Internet content start-up companies comes from established media firms; they want to be able to capitalize on profitable new applications as they emerge. In addition, the evidence suggests that in the commercialized Web, advertisers will have increased leverage over content because of the number of choices before them.

When these market considerations are taken together, it is difficult to imagine the growth of a competitive digital media marketplace in which small suppliers overwhelm corporate giants. Digital communication will cause considerable dislocation, but not a revolution. And in the end, the content of the digital communication world will appear quite similar to the content of the pre-digital world.

Ironically, the most striking feature of digital communication may well be not that it opened up competition in communication markets, but that it has promoted consolidation by undermining traditional distinctions between radio, television, telecommunication, and computer software. In the 1990s, almost all the media giants have entered into joint ventures or strategic alliances with the largest telecom and software firms.

Time Warner is connected to several of the US regional (Bell) telephone giants, as well as to AT&T and Oracle. It has a major joint venture with US West. Disney, likewise, is connected to several major US telecommunication companies, as well as to America Online. News Corp. is partially owned by WorldCom (MCI) and has a joint venture with British Telecom. Microsoft, as one analyst noted, seems to be in bed with everyone. In due course the global media cartel may become something of a global communication cartel.

So how does the rise of the Internet alter my proposals for structural media reform? Very little. There are, of course, some specific policy reforms we should seek for the Internet: for example, guaranteeing universal public access at low rates, perhaps for free, and assuring links for nonprofit Web sites on the dominant browsers and commercial sites. But in general terms, we might do better to regard the Internet as the corporate media giants regard it: as part of the emerging media landscape, not its entirety.

So when we create more and smaller media firms, when we create public and community radio and television networks and stations, when we create a strong public service component to commercial news and children's programming, when we use government policies to spawn a nonprofit media sector, all these efforts will have a tremendous effect on the Internet's development as a mass medium.

Why? Because Web sites will not be worth much if they do not have the resources to provide a quality product. And all the new media that result from media reform will have Web sites as a mandatory aspect of their operations, much like the commercial media. By creating a vibrant and more democratic "traditional" media culture, we will go a long way toward doing the same with the Web.

Conclusion

Imagine a world in which scores, even hundreds, of media firms operate in markets competitive enough to permit new entrants. Imagine a world with large numbers of public, community, and public access radio and television stations and networks, with enough funding to produce high quality products. Imagine a world where the public airwaves provide compelling journalism, children's programming, and political candidate information, with control vested in people dedicated to public service. Imagine a world where creative government fiscal policies enable small nonprofit and noncommercial media to sprout and prosper, providing some semblance of a democratic public sphere.

Though imaginable, this world seems wholly implausible-and not only because of the political muscle of the corporate media and communications lobbies. Over the past generation, "free market" neoliberals have understood the importance of media as an instrument of social control far better than anyone else. The leading conservative foundations have devoted considerable resources to reducing journalistic autonomy and ideological diversity and pushing media in a more explicitly pro-business direction.

The pro-market political right understood that if big business dominated the main fora for political education and debate, then public scrutiny of business would be markedly reduced. These same "free market" foundations fight any public interest component to media laws and regulations, oppose any form of noncommercial and nonprofit media, and lead the battle to ensure that public broadcasting stays within narrow ideological boundaries. In short, we had a major political battle over media for the past generation, but only one side showed up. The results are clear, and appalling.

But now there are signs that the battle for the control of our media is about to be joined. Organizations such as Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), the media watch group, have boomed in the 1990s, and local media watch/media activism groups have blossomed in Denver, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and elsewhere since 1995. In 1998 the Rainbow/PUSH coalition made media reform one of its two major organizing drives, holding regional conferences on the subject across the nation.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus have agreed to draft and sponsor legislation in each of the areas mentioned earlier. Organized labor, especially media unions, have shown increased interest in and support for the issue. All of this would have been unthinkable only five years ago. It follows the trend around the world in the late 1990s, where media reform has become an indispensable part of democratic political movements.

But we still have a long way to go. Large sectors of the population that are disadvantaged by the media status quo and who should be among media reform's strongest advocates-educators, librarians, parents, journalists, small businesses, laborers, artists, kids, political dissidents, progressive religious people, minorities, feminists, environmentalists-are scarcely aware that the issue even exists to be debated. The corporate media lobby is so strong that victory seems farfetched in the current environment, especially when the corporate news media show little interest in publicizing the issue.

Winning major media reform, then, will require the sort of political strength that comes with a broader social movement to democratize our society. We need to see that media reform is a staple of all progressive politics, not just a special interest cause. And media reform may have broad political appeal. Some "cultural conservatives" may be open to calls to reduce the hyper-commercialism of our media culture. And strongly pro-market democrats may recognize that media is an area where the crude application of market principles has produced disastrous "externalities." In sum, the train of media reform is leaving the station. If we value democracy we have no choice but to climb aboard.

NCMR 2011 - Public Media Under Attack

Clear Channel - the Mega-Media-Communications Company

The Billboards Hoisted Onto These Buildings Are All Posted By Clear Channel
The Billboards Hoisted Onto These Buildings Are All Posted By Clear Channel

YThe Negative Ying And Yeng Of The Media Corpocracy

The hypercommercialization band institutionalization of these structure of running these conglomerates, is what suffocates Public Broadcasting. Only a few companies own the rest of the world media. Includinded in this melange of media potentates is the one called Clear Chanel. Later on this corporation. these corporations suck the air out of ownership of media and its contents.

Teaching media and its ownership's shenanigans, many in the gerneral media consuming public are not alwyays privy to this undercurrent maneuvers. It is Hubs like this one wherein one culls from the best in the research field toclose the artificially created 'ignorance gap' between the users and the owneder and those who propagate the content of the media. McChesney above show how these are ultimately in cahoots with the owners and spnsorsorers of these media enclaves.

As McChesey ponts out above, the interests of the wonders is nothing else but maximization of profits. I had hear on one TVbroadcast it being said that some companies who bought spots on the TV, were paying upwards of $550,000 per broadcast of their respective commercials. What this shows, then is the amount of money that the station-owners are tantilzed to kow-tow to t he demands and wishes of their Sponsors. The lobbying in the US government by these companies is about billions of dollars in renumeration for the Lawmakers in the US Government.

I concur fully with the piece by McChesney above, but there's an article I will be citing which deals in-depth with such other compar Mida Mega Corporation. My point is that, when we are carrying out media literacy as this Hub is attmepting to do, I am of the opinion that the best and full researches out there should fit the theme of the Hub. As a media activists, who uses the Pen/Typing Pad to assail those crude but dangerously effective and creates discordant cognition and illiteracy.: Ignorance of the affects and effects of Media Communications and their gizmos.

The control of the whole media systems its context and content is the most troubling of this whole effort. What it means that, even if the information is getting to the larger audiences, it is tailored to explicitly make profit for the investor class. Profit margins have to have a top prriority above all else. social interest and needs take a back seat. It's all about the maxmum returns of the invesotrs, and eisened profit margins. So that, when some of us look at the media as if it's entertainment, harmless and something to imbibe to kill time, it is about time people begin reading and learning about the nature and forms of the new media(Understanding The Media, by McLuhan), in particular-digital vrial straming soup, specifically, that this will enable people to deal much more effectively and with much control over it, much better.

For if we are to believe the media what it has to say about itself, and we end there, we will alwys be suckered into its tentacle which are far reach and as wide/broad as is the Web and everything in it. It is so becasuse they are the ones who determine the content and how it should be fed to its users, all in the name of making extra profit(sounds like an oxymoronish saying, but it's true). Corporate Media, around the world holds total sway in how it is disseminated and received. They not only deliver, but the determine the feedback in order to help them maximize their profits and control.

In order for the reader to fully apprciate what I am talking about, it would be best if one were to read the following posted citation by Jeff Perlstein, what he has to say about one such company: Clear Channel

Clear Channel Mind Feed...

Clear Channel: the Media Mammoth that Stole the Airwaves

This is what Jeff Perlstein has written about Clear Channel"

Can you name a Texas-based multinational company that is facing a Department of Justice investigation, lawsuits for inappropriate business practices, a flurry of criticism in the mainstream press, and a bill in congress to curb its impact on the industry?

Did you say Enron? Try again.

This 800 lb. Texas gorilla has spent $30 billion since 1996 to become the world’s largest radio broadcaster, concert promoter, and billboard advertising firm. It’s a major player in American television and Spanish-language broadcasting.

Clear Channel Communications of San Antonio may not be a household name yet, but in less than six years it has rocketed to a place alongside NBC and Gannett as one of the largest media companies in the United States. The mega-company has gained a reputation for its ugly hardball tactics. Clear Channel has played a leading role in destroying media diversity in the United States. And yes, it is the same media company that allegedly “blacklisted” certain songs following September 11, including Cat Stevens’ Peace Train and John Lennon’s Imagine.

“It’s not just how big and powerful they are but how they do business, the arm twisting,” Mike Jacobs, former independent label owner and manager of Blink 182, told Eric Boehlert who has been covering Clear Channel’s shady business practices for Salon.com.

Media Mobster
Before passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, a company could not own more than 40 radio stations in the entire country. With the Act’s sweeping relaxation of ownership limits, Clear Channel now owns approximately 1225 radio stations in 300 cities and dominates the audience share in 100 of 112 major markets. Its closest competitors — CBS and ABC, media giants in their own right — own only one-fifth as many stations.

Accusations abound that Clear Channel illegally uses its dominance in radio to help secure control of the nation’s live entertainment business. Several cities, including Denver and Cincinnati, have charged radio station managers with threatening to withdraw certain music from rotation if the artists do not perform at a Clear Channel venue. This tactic, known as “negative synergy,” has allegedly been used to pressure record companies into buying radio-advertising spots in cities where they want to book concert venues.

With this anti-competitive tactic of leveraging airplay against concert performances, Clear Channel has firmly solidified its hold in both areas. As a result, Clear Channel now owns, operates, or exclusively books the vast majority of amphitheaters, arenas, and clubs in the country. It also controls the most powerful promoters, who last year sold 27 million concert tickets. That is 23 million more than the closest competitor.

While this may be good for Clear Channel owners and investors, a lot more is at stake here than the buying and selling of stocks.

“Profit maximization has never been the sole point of U.S. communications policy,” writes Douglas Gomery in a March 2002 white paper for the Economic Policy Institute.

“Under the Communications Act of 1934, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is charged with allocating spectrum space to maximize ‘the public interest’…and to encourage a diversity of voices so as to promote a vibrant democracy.”

Far from fostering a diversity of voices, Clear Channel’s monopolistic practices are accelerating the homogenization of our airwaves. The company syndicates both Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura to hundreds of stations nationwide, shuts out independent artists who can’t afford to go through high-priced middlemen, and is responsible for taking the practice of voice tracking to new heights (or depths, depending on your perspective).

Voice tracking is the practice of creating brief, computer-assisted voice segments that attempt to fool the listener into thinking that a program is locally produced, when in fact the same content is being broadcast to upwards of 75 stations nationwide from a central site. So you have one overworked ‘radio personality’ recording the phrases, “Hello Topeka!” “Hi Springfield!” “How you feeling Oakland?” all day long.

This consolidation is clearly counter to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) mandate to encourage media diversity. Now, however, the long-standing concerns of media activists are being echoed by the mainstream press, the courts regulatory agencies, and even by members of Congress.

Mega-Monopoly
Clear Channel is currently facing antitrust lawsuits from plaintiffs around the country, ranging from an Illinois concert goer concerned with soaring ticket prices to the nation’s largest Latino-owned radio company.

Alleging monopolistic behavior, however, is not the same as convincing a judge to move towards a trial. But last summer a small Denver-area concert promoter, called Nobody in Particular Presents, sued the media behemoth for antitrust violations, claiming that it “has used its size and clout to coerce artists… to use Clear Channel to promote their concerts or else risk losing airplay.” The judge agreed to hear the case, and ruled that the evidence is “sufficient to make a case of monopolization and attempted monopolization under Section 2 of the Sherman Act.”

As a result, the halo of silence surrounding the company’s anti-competitive practices may finally be shattered. Plaintiff’s lawyers will be able to compel music industry insiders to testify regarding the often-repeated, off-the-record allegations that Clear Channel’s radio stations have illegally rewarded or punished artists based on their dealings with the company’s concert division.

“The political terrain is really shifting,” says Robert McChesney, author and professor of communications at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “There’s an opportunity for discussion about radio that would have been unthinkable six months or a year ago,” he told Randy Dotinga in Wirednews.com.

Irregular Regulators
Despite a clear history of promoting consolidation, the Department of Justice and the FCC, the federal regulatory agencies charged with safeguarding the public interest in business and media respectively, are finally showing a spark of interest in holding Clear Channel accountable. While the Justice Department is spearheading its own “top secret” investigation of Clear Channel, the FCC has been mostly dragging its heels, with three notable exceptions:

After receiving numerous complaints from across the country, the FCC has announced it is investigating the claims by an advertiser in Chillicothe, Ohio, that Clear Channel is circumventing existing ownership limits by operating stations through shell companies in a practice known as “parking” or “warehousing” stations. Clear Channel has sold off stations to alleged front companies, which allow Clear Channel to continue operating the properties while also providing an easy way to buy back the stations, should the FCC slacken ownership limits in the future.

In Charlottesville, Virginia, the FCC has preliminarily denied a station transfer to Clear Channel and has scheduled a formal hearing to examine the situation. Big deal? Yes, because the FCC has not taken such an action since 1969 — which, more than anything else, speaks to the FCC’s lack of policy enforcement over the last thirty years and is one of the reasons why we have arrived at the current situation.

In Monterey, California the FCC has held up another Clear Channel transfer request at the urging of Congressman Sam Farr (D-Calif.).

Congress Catches on to “Shady Practices”
Fortunately, Farr is not alone in expressing concern over Clear Channel’s shady business practices. He is joined by a handful of other vocal members of Congress, including Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who has proposed a bill to deal with the issue. Known for his work on campaign finance reform, Feingold launched the Competition in Radio and Concert Industries Act last June, saying: “We need to repair the damage that has been done through this anti-competitive behavior…”

Without naming names, the Act takes direct aim at some of Clear Channel’s business practices, such as the warehousing of stations for future purchase, “negative synergy” with concert promotions, and pay-to-play schemes between station owners and record companies. Consumer groups, minority-owned radio companies, labor unions, and independent artists have all thrown their support behind the Feingold bill.

And not a moment too soon. The growing momentum to hold Clear Channel accountable for its excesses comes as the FCC — chaired by Michael Powell, son of Secretary of State Colin Powell — announced that it will review the last remaining protections on media diversity.

If Powell’s FCC follows his previous positions, this ruling could sweep away the very last remaining protections related to media ownership. Powell has publicly stated that he has “no idea what is meant by the public interest” and prefers to let the market resolve such thorny questions.

FCC’s Proposed Rules on Ownership
On September 12 the FCC announced a proposed Rulemaking on Ownership. Dubbed the Omnibus Ownership Ruling by consumer advocates, it could be the final nail in the coffin of media diversity and the public interest. Under Powell’s direction, and with a huge push from mega-media’s deep-pocketed lobbyists, the Omnibus Ruling lumps together a number of disparate proposals bound by the same core principle of eliminating the last public interest protections in media ownership.

Proposals include a call to end the ban on newspaper-TV cross-ownership in the same city, eliminate the rule limiting companies to eight radio stations in one listening area, and end the limit on national television broadcast ownership of 35% of the potential national audience.

The Omnibus Ruling has newspaper moguls salivating at the possibility of amplifying reach through radio and TV without seriously investing in increased or better reporting — they will broadcast their print stories. Radio giants are poised to swallow up the last remaining independent stations and smaller holdings. Cable companies and the networks are eager to merge so they can further downsize staff, increase audience, and maximize their already huge profits.

The Campaign
Clear Channel epitomizes the disastrous consequences of hyper-consolidation that resulted from the 1996 Telecom Act; a disaster that activists say would further accelerate if the FCC implements the Omnibus ruling. They also see the Ruling as an opportunity to spot light the need for democratizing the media.

The current rumblings in Washington, D.C. regarding Clear Channel are the direct result of many years of citizen agitation and organizing from the grassroots that continue to grow.

Unionists and their allies have rallied in Seattle, Cleveland, and other cities. Community coalitions that hold Clear Channel accountable for the negative effects of over consolidation have emerged in Detroit and San Francisco. Letter writing campaigns have urged elected officials to reign in the company and make policy changes to protect the public interest.

Several websites and hundreds of listserves have been providing information about Clear Channel’s excesses and communities’ resistance — most notably clearchannelsucks.org and stopclearchannel.com

What’s been sorely lacking is strategic coordination of these efforts to amplify their impact and link up with broader media-policy initiatives. A dynamic national coalition launched just such a campaign at the recent Reclaim the Media Conference, in Seattle during the weekend of September 12-15, 2002. Nationally recognized organizations such as FAIR, the Democratic Media Legal Project, Media Alliance, and Prometheus Radio Project began mapping out steps to mobilize public pressure around Clear Channel, the Feingold bill, the Omnibus Ruling, and beyond.

The Present Is The Past Future... Electricity Drive Technology

The Future Is Our Presentism..

In the case of South Africa, Clear Channel has carte blanche control on all forms of media. Their bevy of Billboards dot the landscape alongside the highways, by-ways, poor African neighborhoods(the US too) and in the rural areas. They are not only responsible for the Billboards, but during the voting, they were the ones pushing the ANC by giving them more than enough space on their Billpoards and radio time.

The diet of programming in radio on South Afirca is a real mess,. American-style music dominates, and the DJ's are given directives as to what kind of music to play or not play. Commericials a mixtute oEnglish, and the local languages; the commercials, prior to the coming in of the Americans, ran every 30 minutes(When the Boers were in power-more specifically on TV). Now, the commercials have become part and parcel of life and existence of the target audiences-the hapless poor and many who still listen to radio, and watch TV-American styled, and the Web-which too is American controlled, and the same companies that McChesney mentions above, are in the loop. Clear channel, according to the article above by Jeff, shows and explains the nuts-and-bolts of the modus operandi of the individual corporations, and modus vivendi, between and betwixt these business alliances of the Media corporations, media moguls and western and other countries.

There is no media diversity in South African Radio and other types of mediums and media. The mediariztion of the whole Landscape of South Africa, meant the destruction of African culture, traditions, music, dances, languages, and customs, etc. Many local and indigenous music has been blacklisted and prime focus is on Ameircan pop, rap and local Kwaito music-and only a few programs offer the alternative music, The musical playlist and the new programming diet is completely dictated and controlled by Clear Channel in South Africa/America too.

From the article above, one can the overarching and overreaching tentacles of Clear Channel in the US, one can imagine as to what countries like South Africa stand in the face of such a megamaloniac supra-powerful media entity such as Clear Channel. The are a government ruling by proxy in matters of communications and media in South Africa. Clear Channel has a complete media monopoly in South Africa.

The article above, by Jeff, puts the into perspective the power and reach of the mega-monopolistic communication oligarchy into its correct and proper perspective. What it does, the article above, informs the reader as to how and why Clear Channel operates as it does. It is not only about money, but curbing excess where their interests are negated or curtailed. for instance, shortglass75 wrote this piece:

Clear Channel wants the FCC to force XM / Sirius to obey indecency laws

Apparently Clear Channel's new motto is "if you can't beat 'em, make life suck on the other side of the merger." The broadcast giant has dropped a whole big list of requests on the FCC to impose as conditions upon XM / Sirius for a merger, not the least of which is asking for broadcast decency rules be applied to satellite radio. Clear Channel feels the competitive threat of satellite radio could be mitigated a bit if the "edgy" content (Howard Stern) ceased to make terrestrial radio's edgy stuff look weak by comparison.

"Of course, the big difference is that XM and Sirius are paid subscription services, and we're guessing they're going to pound the "but HBO can do it" argument for all they've got, but it seems like these days no request is out of reach for terrestrial radio: Clear Channel also wants another satellite radio competitor, 5 percent "public interest" radio, and zero local programming or local advertising.

intha916 posted the following blurb:

"We all seem to agree that radio today is pretty much coockie cutter with most stations in most cities sounding the same. Well, here's a big reason why. Just about all of them are owned by the same company. Wth Clear Channel being in the news lately for organizing pro war rallies under a fake citizen group name and banning the Dixie Chicks from their Playliss. I thought I would share with you what a monster that Clear Channel has become.

"Clear Channel owns over 1,200 radio stations and 37 television station,with investments in 240 radio stations globally. And Clear Channel Entertainament (aka SFX, one of their more well-known subsidiaries) owns and operates 200 venues nationwide. They are in 248 of the top 250 radio markets, controlling 60% of all rock programming. They outright own the tours of musicians like Janet Jackson, Aerosmith, Pearl Jam, Madonna and N'Sync. They own the network that airs Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, Casey Kasem, and the Fox Sports Radio Network. With 103,000,000 listeners in the US, and 1,000,000,000 globally (1/6 of the world population); this powerful company has grown unchecked, using thier mopoly to control the entire music industry."

The case-study of Clear Channel is one way of understanding the media/communications today. It is the control and power that these conglomerates have that makes our media what it is. We are merely cog in the whole machinery, and cannot have a say or do anything about it. The sad thing about South Africa is that the majority of the poor africans and other minroity ethnic groups are not really aware that this is that kind of company we are dealing with. These are some of the ways and means we are going to have to employ and apply in educating the masses about the state of existing digital and analogic media in our midst today.

From Technocracy to Technopoly

Evolution of the Technology For The Printing Press And The Book - Johan Gutenberg...
Evolution of the Technology For The Printing Press And The Book - Johan Gutenberg...

Technopoly: Postman's Musings on Technocracy

Media monopoly in the US and globally is nothing new. Thee are many ways that the Imperial net-cast is affecting the world. Whether this has to do with natural minerals of the so-called poor countires, or the implementaion of Cultural colonizalism and many other numerous ways I cannot list. since I am focusing on one entity, it is important to pay attention as to what the effects and affects are engendered by such business practices, arrangements and control.

From Technocracy To Technopoly: Postman's Schtick

If You At last must have a world to say.

Say Neither, in their way.

Addressing both those who were exhilarated by technocracy and those who were repulsed by it. Septhen Vincent Benet gave the only advice that made any sense. In "John Brown's body" he wrote:

"It is a deadly magic and accursed,"

Nor "It is Belst," but only "It is here."

"Say only, "It is here."

Post man continues:

Say only, "It is here." But when did "here" begin? When did Bacon's ideology become a reality? When, to use Siegfried Giedion's phrase, did mechanization take command? To be cautious about it, we might locate the emergence of the first true technocracy in England in the latter half of the eighteenth century-let us say with James Watt's invention of the steam engine in 1765.

"From that time forward, a decade didnot pass witout the invention of some significant machinery with, taken together, put an end to the "medieval" manufacture (which once meant "to make by hand"). The practical energy and technical skills unleashed at this time changed forever the material and psychic environment of the Western World"(I might Also, the so-called developing and Third World Countries, as I have briefly discussed about South Africa above).

We further learn from Postman that:

"An equaly plausible date for the beginnings of technocracy (and for the American, easier to remember) is 1776, When Adam smith's "wealth Of Nations" was published. As Bacon was no scientist, Smith was no inventor. But. Like Bacon, he provided a theory that gave conceptual relevance and credibility to the direction in which human enterprise was poitned. Specifically, he justified the transformation from small scale, personalized, skilled labor to large-scale, impersonal, mechanized production. He not only argued convincingly that money, not land, was the key to wealth, but gave us his famous principle of the 'self-regulating market'.

"In a technocracy-that is , a society only loosley controlled by social and religious tradition and driven by the impulse to invent-an "unseen hand" will eliminate the incompetent and reward those who produce cheaply and well the goods that the people want. It is not celar then, and still isn't, whose unseen mind gives the unseen hand, but it is possible (the technocratic industrialists believed) that Gold could have something to do with it. And if not God, then "human nature," for Adam Smith had named our species "Economic Man," born with an instinct to barter and acquire wealth.

"... Technocracy gave us the idea of progress, and the necessity loosened our bonds with tradition-whether political or spiritual. Technocracy filled the air with the promise of new freedoms and new forms of social organization. Technocracy speeds up the world. We could get to places faster, do things faster, accomplish more in a shorter time. Time, in fact, became an adversary over which technology could triumph. And this meant that there was no time to look back or to contemplate what was being lost.

"There were 'empires' to build, opprtunities to exploit, exciting freedoms to enjoy, especially in America. There, on the wings of Technocracy, the United States soared to unprecendented heigthts as a world power. The Technocracy that emerged, fully armed, in nineteenth-century America, disdained such beliefs, because holy men and sin, grandmothers and families, regional loyalties and two thousand year-old traditions, are antagonistic to the technocratic way of life. They are a troublesome redo of a tool-using period, a source of criticism of technocracy.

"They represent a thought-world that stands apart from Technocracy and rebukes it-rebukes its language, its impersonality, its fragmentation, its alienation. And so, Technocracy disdains a thought-world, but in America, did not and could ot destroy it."

That is why, above, I pointed out to the fact that Clear Channel disdains and destroys African culture and its attendant features. The partial tech history given above by Postman gives us just enough to begin to understand how and why Clear Channel is operating and behaving as it does in countries like South Afirca. It has no interest in local or indigenous cultures, languages, music and so forth. It always wants or is programmed by its beginnings/history to impose its interests, ideas, its programs and its way how it was conceived/functioned centuries ago, as traced by Postman above.

The story and history of the beginnings of technology is important to take into account here for us to begin to fathom and understand the ways of the inner-workings of Clear Channel, and why in South Africa, and the US, too, many people are disempowered and rendered obsolete by shenanigans and modus operandi of such multi-corporation entities like Clear Channel. Understanding the media, therefore, means getting to know more about the story and history of Clear Channel so's to be able to figure out what is happening to listening public in countiries like South Africa.

The monopolizing and technologizing of communities like ours here in South Africa, I will steal Postman's term, is nothing else but Technopoly. Technological monopoly is what we have been describing above here in this Hub. One can see the depth, and spread of the overarching reach that has been shown above by Clear Channel. So much power in the hands of one company is amazing and shocking/revealing. And Clear Channel is willing and able to protect its interests, by any means necessay. It therefore behooves us to begin to study, very carefully, what these entities, like Clear Channel emerge from, and what their present intentions are-what these effects and affects are on the media/communicating and incarcerated listening public-more specifically in the Case of South Africa.

It is these effects and affects thatt are determing and directing the flow of the life in different places throughout South Africa. What we see as cultural disfunction, historical amnesia, customary refjction by the vast majority of the people in the enclaves of African South Africans, that, as the Web grows and expand, and as technologies permeate this clusters of captured users and communities, I hope the time will come when many people will be able to read this Hub, especially the poor of South Africa and the Africans in the USA, and be able to revisit their state of existence, at that time and in those different places they live as prisoners, not only in jails, but also in their minds, souls and spirits-Maybe they will be able to free and resolve their shortcomings and imposed incarceration.

The Government Say It So

Propaganda Equals Truth

There are many way through which "Lies" are told to the masses. My sub-topic "Technique & Autonomy-Lies" is what I want to develop and trace on this section of the Hub. For me, in order to put this topic or my sub-heading into context, I will defer on this matter to Ellul:

"We have not yet considered a problem, familiar but too often ignored: the relationship between propaganda and truth or rather, between propaganda and accuracy of facts. We shall speak henceforth of accuracy or reality, and not of "truth" which is an important term here.

"The most generally held concept of propaganda is that it is a series of tall stories, a tissue of lies, and that lies are necessary for effective propaganda Hitler himself apparently confirmed this point of view when he said tha:t "the bigger lie, the more its chance of being believed." This concept leds to two attitudes among the public.

"The first is: "Of course we shall not be victims of propaganda because we are capable of distinguishing truth from falsehood." Anyone holding that conviction is extremely susceptible to propaganda, because when propaganda does tell the "truth," he is then convinced that it is no longer propaganda; moreover, his self-confidence makes him all the more vulnerable to attacks of which he is unaware.

"The second attiitude is: "We believe 'nothing' that the enemy says because 'everything' he says is necessarily untrue." But if the enemy can demonstrate that he has told the truth, a sudden turn of his favor will result.

"..The idea that propaganda consists of lies (which makes it harmless and even a little ridiculous in the eyes of the public) is still maintained by many specialists. C Irion gives it as the basic trait in his definition of propaganda. But it is certainly not so. For a long time propagandists have recognized that lying must be avoided.

"In propaganda truth pays off-this formula has been increasingly accepted. Lenin proclaimed it. And alongside Hitler's statement on lying,one must place Goebbels's insistence that facts to be disseminated must be accurate. How can we explain this contradiction?

"It seems that in propaganda we must make a radical distinction between a fact on the one a\hand, and intentions or interpretations, on the other; in brief, between the material and the moral elements.The truth that pays off is in the realm of "facts". The necessary 'falsehoods', which also pay off, are in the realm of 'intentions' and 'interpretations'. This is the fundamental rule for propaganda analysis."

In my own humble opinion, Truth told remains so and changes the attitudes of men, when discovered and know to be true. Learning this from Ellul, helps one to begin to look at life and information anew: what is truth, and what is intention. Seemingly, then, the best technique used is to make no propaganda based on lies. The present-day techniques used in the viral stream, they too need to be looked at anew. I had heard on some documentary report that Google is begin to look for authentic material in their assessment of creating a reliable base of files in their storage.

What I am saying, Google too has come to realize that its remaining an effectively reliable info-warehouse it's data-base. it realizes that it is going to depend on correct and true facts. This, for writers like me, is a welcomed blow-in of Fresh Air and Ideas. I write long and very long articles, but the thing about it is that I want to trace and make/present the truth of my topic, and use reliable and realizable and coherent information whilst doing so. The lie may be part of the State or institution desire or aim/goal, but if I read Ellul correctly, they use truth to propagandize their intentions. This is what I have partly learned from Ellul's citation above.

Active Action Within And Without The Media

Media Activism, Techinque and Lies, as my sub-topic goes, is my way of using the study of semantics and context to make sense of the use of language to either liberate us, or rule us. I choose the former. One thing I like about communications media and the existing gizmos and their tehniques, is that they serve various ends, and it is for us to try and identify as much of these trends as possible and use to update this Hub, which is trying to find out what effects and affects do we derive from these.

But a casual look at or study of how language systems help us fathom the ever changing jargon and new language that emerges from using these gadgets as we do up to reading from such contraptions, as I post on this Blog. So that, our usage is no more an abstract entity. The very nature of communicating through this Block by typing the paragraphs I have, is in of itself the whole enchilada of the media gizmos and their embedded techniques that we use in all aspects of our lives. I usuually explore many approaches and ways of learning about current Media for me to even write about Technique, Autonomy And Lies, I will need to set some parameters with the help of other writers and their researches. I will take some ideas from an article written by Carlo Pence:

Carlo tries to build a bridge between results in commonsensereasoning and inferential theories of meaning. We focus on the problem of communication and the contrast between two views of communication, the“expressive” view and the “convergence” view. According to the convergenceview (and local holism which supports it) the meaning of a sentence is the set of inferences to which speakers converge in a discourse context. The problem isthat we have no idea about the strategy of this convergence, even if it isapparent that the convergence of inferences depends on contextual clues andpragmatic factors. We claim that in order to accept the convergence view weneed to supplement the idea of meaning as inference with recent results inmulti-context theories. Our solution to the problem is based on a distinctionbetween semantic competence and contextual competence defined as rule-governed pragmatic competence.

Alos, Carlo's aim is to build a bridge between multi-context theories asdeveloped in A.I. and theories of meaning as developed in the philosophical tradition.The bridge is given by the link between analysis of commonsense reasoning and theinferential approach to meaning (to know the meaning of a word is to master referential and inferential uses of sentences in which that word occurs). We try tomake the best use of the two fields of research to give an overall view of communication.We start with a basic contrast between two views on communication: the“expressive view” and the “convergence view”. We will see the problems arisingfrom both of them and try to use some results from A.I. to solve a problem in theconvergence view of communication.

Communicating As Sharing:

The “Expressive view” claims that communication is the passage of contents fromone mind to another 1. The expressive view has two components:(i) meaning-sharing: in order to communicate properly we need to have acommon language, that is to share the meanings of the words.(ii) content-exchange: by sharing the meanings of the words, incommunication we “pass” different contents from one mind to another:Philosophers of the linguistic turn rejected the idea that what is exchanged are mentalpictures. But they did not put in question the general view. The first explicit challengeto the expressivist view, mainly to component (i), has been posed by meaning holism.The holistic view claims that the meaning of a word depends on the totality of theaccepted sentences and inferences in which the word occurs.Michael Dummett [6] [7] has strongly reacted to meaning holism. He has justremarked that if the meaning of a word (sentence) depends on the totality of theaccepted sentences and inferences in which it occurs2 – since speakers don’t share allthe same sentences and inferences - then no persons will associate the same meaningsto the same words.3But if two persons will not share the meanings of the words they use, there will beno possibility to agree or disagree, and communication will become impossible. Aholistic theory of meaning leads to destroying the possibility of communication.1.2 Communication as convergingAn answer to Dummett’s objection to holism is that the problem obtains only if wekeep the first component of the classical view of communication (communication presupposes the sharing of meanings). We may abandon that claim suggesting analternative view of communication as “convergence”: starting with two different setsof beliefs or theories, two speakers converge towards the same meanings, elaborating a common theory which is built up during the dialogue.

This stance is akin to certain ideas of Wittgenstein about language games ascomplete languages used in a particular situation, where the meaning is given by thetotality of the rules of the language game. Following this analogy, we may define“local holism”5 as a theory of meaning which is coherent with the convergence viewof communication. Shortly, local holism is the view that the meanings of words andsentences are totally defined by the language and the rules used in a local situation(the meaning of a word depends on the theory used in the process of localizedreasoning).The main point of this discussion is that, in order to have a common theory, we donot need to start from the sharing of meanings6. Speakers may start with different setsof beliefs and inferences but, through the dialogue, they converge towards a locallyshared theory. They arrive at sharing common meanings as the result of the process of convergence.How? The problem is what can lead us from different individual theories to aunified local one. The first answer is that the common world we share will compel usto converge. This is not enough, and Davidson speaks also of general strategiesgoverning the process of convergence in dialogue among speakers. What twospeakers need for communicating is “the ability to converge” towards minimal,locally shared, theories.In what follows we will try to show a blindspot in the “convergence” view asdevised by Davidson and we will use some recent work in artificial intelligence tocorrect the difficulties of such theory. We end up suggesting a strong correlation between what we will call “contextual competence” and semantic competence.

Efficiency In Communications

Communication and competence

According to the inferentialist theory of meaning, the meaning of a sentence isgiven by the relevant chains of inferences connected to it. We suggest that speakingof communication as convergence amounts to understanding communication asconverging towards the same set of inferences. The problem is which inferences must be shared in the communication process – which inferences define the commonmeanings we reach at the end of a successful communication. Note that this isanalogous to the problem at the origin of commonsense reasoning since McCarthy’sadvise taker.

2.1

A Blinspot in Davidson’s theory

Davidson thinks that any attempt to give a set of rules constituting semanticcompetence as an “ability which is shared both by speaker and interpreter” isunsuccessful. He claims that any sentence can be uttered in contexts that cannot be predicted by any general theory of semantic competence. Although he speaks of an“ability which is shared both by speaker and interpreter” and call it a “strategy” for interpreting through different contexts, he remarks, with some disdain, that “‘strategy’is a gracious word for the mysterious process through which a speaker or a hearer uses what he knows in advance plus the data of the moment to produce a passingtheory”. Here we find a double blindspot in Davidson’s approach:a)

The fact that contexts are unpredictable does not imply that our ability to work with them is undetectable or unpredictable. Therefore, if we are able to define the basic features of this ability, the strategy of convergence cannot be defined as“mysterious”. b)

To say that we cannot presuppose shared (literal) meanings does not imply theimpossibility that at least some features of meanings are shared, depending on generalrules of language and local situations. Therefore there is room for a context dependentsemantic competence.

2.2

Strategic backbones

Le us begin with the point a) above. Why does Davidson think that theability to converge is a “mysterious process”? His main worry is that any expressionis so strongly context dependent that no definition of meaning may take care of all its possible different uses. However he does not consider that for clarifying the ability toconverge towards a common local theory we need something different from a theoryof meaning.

We need a general theory of reasoning, a theory of the kinds of operations performed in accessing the conceptual space of an interlocutor. Amongmany attempts to give a theory of this kind, a prominent role has recently been played by multi-context theories. It is exactly from researches in artificial intelligence that wefind the best attempts to show that the strategy hinted at by Davidson is notmysterious at all, but has some defined guidelines.

Benerecetti-Bouquet-Ghidini 2000 (from now on BBG) have firstly tried togive a general framework of the abilities with which we master our moving from onecontext to another. BBG define three “dimensions” of contextual dependence, whichcorresponds to three dimensions of representation:
partiality, granularity and perspective. The three dimensions can be described as kinds of ability, or kinds of reasoning processes:

(a) the ability to isolate some partial aspect of a situation in order to reason cuttingoff part of the story;

(b)the ability to reason filtering the level of detail of our description, cuttingirrelevant features, and assuming aschematic aspect for the entire story;

(c) the ability to individuate different perspectives from which we may consider thesame situation.

These abilities are defined in BBG as corresponding to “high level rules” of contextual reasoning, linked to the variation of elements of a context (intended as aset of axioms and rules, parameters and their values). Guha and McCarthy 2003 (fromnow on GM) have taken over the BBG approach, speaking of “varieties of contexts”:these abilities are described as different forms of lifting rules, varying from each typeof context,

Projection Context, Approximation Context, Mental State context
(mappedon the three dimensions given in BBG), to which a fourth is joined, AmbiguityContext
(in this fourth case the represented ability is basically similar to conceptual blending, but more on this later).

These high level rules emerge from the meta-theories of common sensereasoning which accept the notion of context as a tool for defining the operations wemake in entering, exiting and passing from one context to another.

We claim that weshould interpret these rules as (formal) expressions of the strategies we need (or infact we have) to converge towards common contents in communication. These rulesare –we might say – the strategic backbones of communication. By these means, wemay give substance to Davidson’s proposal of what he calls “strategy” of convergence. Before addressing this point, let us check the second aspect of the blindspot in Davidson’s theory.

2.3

A starting point for convergence

According to Davidson we do not necessarily share “conventional” meaningsof our words, because our respective idiolects will almost inevitably diverge.Conventional or constitutive meanings are a desideratum, a normative ideal, which isnot realized in actual communication. Before starting a conversation we have themaximum uncertainty on the meanings other people may attribute to words. However,in order to begin a conversation, there must be something shared among speakersfrom which to start.

Just high level rules for navigating across contexts!
even assuming that they are an explanans of what Davidson calls “shared strategy”!
are not enough, if nothing is shared at the level of the individual beliefs and inferences

8. To accept the idea of a common starting point however seems to lead us again to thetraditional “expressivist” view of sharing of meanings. How much shall we concedeto the traditional view of communication? Among different possibilities a peculiar form of “local holism” has emerged in the discussion

9: in order for people tocommunicate properly it is not necessary that there is some meaning constitutive usethey share, but it is necessary that they share
something about the word they use(notice the different scope of the operator of necessity). May be they use the word“atom” in very different ways, being one a scholar and the other an ignorant.However the scholar easily will share with the ignorant the inference “

x is an atom, therefore x is very, very small, certainly smaller than a grain of salt”. This might beenough to start a conversation.In other words, even though we cannot say in advance exactly which inferences (or which aspects of meaning) are shared before starting a communication, stillcommunication starts only when some inferences are shared.

Another example (freelytaken from Bilgrami): if a physician and a layman speak of “water”, maybe most of the knowledge of the first (that water is H2O, boils at 100°, and so on) is not shared bythe second; but, according to the goals of the situation, they probably share somecontent, e.g. that water is drinkable if the goal is to find something to drink or thatwater cleans is the goal is to use water to clean something.If in order to communicate, two persons need to share some common use of theexpressions, we cannot give an a priori definition of which uses or which set of inferences are relevant

10. Certainly we may assume also that a common language (letus say “Italian”, “English” or a relevant subpart of them) has a normative character,and that meanings are associate to words following certain epistemic standards.However, given the network of contexts in which the same expression can be usedwith different meanings (inferences), to understand the working of communication weneed to rely on contexts and goals

11.

3.Sharing, communication and competence

Summarizing the data we have reached so far, we may say that a convergence viewof communication should face three levels of what is shared:

(i) a general strategy (according to Davidson “mysterious”, according to us“rule governed”) shared among speakers before starting a dialogue;

(ii) a minimum sharing of data of the local situation on which to start (and itmay also include some general knowledge of the world) plus someinferences depending from goals and contexts.

(iii) the result of the convergence process, that is a highly shared theory of thelocal situation.The first two kinds of sharing should be part of the means for the explanation of the working of linguistic exchange; the third is what needs to be explained throughthe first two. In the paragraphs that follow we try to clarify the first two aspects astools for explaining the third one On the one hand we have suggested focusing on some of the most basic rules andstrategies to navigate through contexts as what enables us to converge incommunication.

We have said that the strategies with which we converge towards acommon understanding of what we say are some basic abilities we share, commonstrategic “backbones” of our communicative activity. This is the level (i) of sharedabilities.On the other hand, describing a form of local holism, we have introduced the problem of a minimal semantic competence. If in order to communicate, two personsneed to have a starting point, some shared use of words, even if not always predictable, it seems that we have to assume a basic or minimal semantic competence,interpreted as the ability to make some elementary inferences needed for start a dialogue.

We have decided to reject the idea that we have to assess in advance which inferences are more basic or meaning constitutive (if we accepted a stronger claim of meaning constitutive uses, the point of semantic competence would just become evenstronger). This is the level (ii) of locally sharing minimal inferences.We might therefore distinguish a double level of competence, which is supposed to be shared by people (or intelligent systems).

The two levels concern, respectively,sharing high level abilities which help us to navigate through contexts, and sharingconceptual contents, at least partially. The first can be defined as “pragmatic” or “contextual” competence, while the other can be defined typically as “semantic” competence, or better “minimal semantic” competence.

3.1 Semantic and pragmatic competence

Going back to our previous example, if a normal, ignorant speaker asks an expertin chemistry for a glass of water, she need not share any chemical knowledge tointeract with him. Given this context and the local goal (to drink a glass of water) theyhave to “distill out” what is needed for the use of the word in the local situation. Theexpert does not care to drive his interlocutor to believe all his beliefs, unless necessaryto solve some other problem.

However this beginning of conversation may also leadto share more information if more complex problems arise. In general, if needed, wewill plug in the conversation the minimum amount of our beliefs to build a commonset of beliefs towards which our interlocutor may converge.At the beginning of a dialogue we have a basic problem to solve: how can wecheck which contents the interlocutor share with us?

The high level of “contextual”competence may give some help to answer the point. Our contextual competenceenables us to organize some strategies to check what we share with the interlocutor,suggesting, for instance, how to individuate the compatibility relations of my inferences with her inferences. We might condense this result in the claim that thelocal holistic stance requires a form of dependence of semantic competence oncontextual competence:

No semantic competence without contextual competence

Semantic competence cannot be developed in isolation; we cannot build a personalsemantic competence in the void, but only in the interaction with other people; inorder to ascertain which contents we actually share, which inference rules we bothfollow and which inferences we have in common, we need to rely on some high level abilities. These are used for instance to enter the cognitive context (or conceptualspace) of another individual, or to check its compatibility with our conceptual spaces,and build local common conceptual spaces.

As we use information technologies, “we develop the cognitive skills best suited for them and neglect those capacities that are less well matched,” Kanner writes. “We mold ourselves to the machine.
As we use information technologies, “we develop the cognitive skills best suited for them and neglect those capacities that are less well matched,” Kanner writes. “We mold ourselves to the machine. | Source

Somehow, In The end, Technology Does Determine Us..

Learning from the Penco about Pragmatic and Semantic Competence is important for this Hub. It is in learning what makes us have a dialogue, and what factors are involved, and how do we see some semblance of consensus of what is being talked about, affected by the local grammar and speak. These are important to breakdown as I have done for they help us better grasp what and how autonomous technique and lies can be utilized to bring a better understanding and better know-how, as to when and why these are used, and how we should recognize them from the breakdown in Penco's research above-and react in using them, rechanneling them towards our own collective human needs-for the good of man.

The nature of media-based data collection, in particular, presents several unique challenges for data completeness, accuracy, quality, and credibility (Woolley 2000; Reeves et al. 2006). First, as with any social scientific inquiry, there is potential for human error by the coder. To reduce the risk of human error, each project received multiple rounds of arbitration, ensuring that each project entry was reviewed by at least two researchers. Second, information extracted from public media outlets cannot substitute for complete and accurate statistical data from official sources.

Media-based data collection is only as good as the imperfect data sources upon which it relies. In the absence of official project-level data, there is no foolproof method for adjudicating between conflicting media reports.12 However, because our methodology pulls from a diverse set of information repositories, researchers were often able to reconcile competing media reports by finding information in government documents, NGO reports, or journal articles. Third, relying on media reports poses a risk of “detection bias,” or the risk that countries with lower levels of press freedom are less likely to permit journalists to report on official finance activities from various donors. Similarly, if the motives of media reporting are economic or political in nature, the objectivity and utility of the data are questionable. Among sociologists and scholars who study conflict and terrorism, there is an appreciation for the fact that the use of media reports to identify inherently political “events” (e.g., political protests, terrorist attacks) introduces a risk of selection bias (McCarthy et al. 1996; Drakos and Gofas 2006; Drakos 2007).

AidData’s methodology for tracking under-reported financial flows (TUFF) is designed to mitigate many of the risks associated with using media reports to collect data. During the first stage, projects undertaken in a particular country and supported by a specific supplier of development finance—

However, it is also not the case that official sources are always more credible (and valuable) than media-based information. First, media-based data collection that relies on information regarding the implementation and/or the completion of projects can provide more useful and accurate project-level information than official reports, depending on how official project information is collected, updated and presented.

Second, aid data are politically sensitive and might thus be more susceptible to manipulation. In this regard, empirical evidence in Wallace (2011) suggests caution in the usage of politically sensitive data provided by authoritarian regimes."

The manner of communications in an environment is determined by many things. To be 'on the same page,' means at least sharing same mindsets, language and the whole bit, in order for dialogue and communication to take place. Today it's known as response, and this can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and so forth. Control of what is being said by whom where and when, why and to what end or results, is subject to being tampered with and manipulated to relay something else, either than what is being said.

Lying can be telling the truth in order to highlight some unforeseen thought or idea/outcome. Even Goebbels realized the disadvantages of misinformation(lies) defeats the propaganda purpose. Propaganda, therefore, according to Ellul, is more effective when its intended subject realizes that the enemy has been telling the truth, thus, it will put him into thought/psychological and physical action. Understanding that the environment that is being caricatured by the piece above by Carlo Pence, is recognizing that there are pattens, manners and ways of communicating that we think are natural, yet we still have to interrogate them fully.

For instance, smith and Marx note:

Technological Determinism Summed Up:

"...Technology as a driving force of history: a technical innovation suddenly appears and causes important things to happen."

- Merritt Roe Smith and Leo Marx, editors, Does Technology Drive History? page x
as examples Smith and Marx cite attributing the reformation to the arrival of the printing press, and blaming the civil war on the Cotton Gin. These are major historical events, and if we think technology stood behind them, then we are surrendering some control we might have once had ourselves, or formerly gave to god.

Put that way, it's a mental framework: how do we phrase the world around us, and what does that reflect about our sense of machines?

Ee talk about human "programming," social "codes," the body is a "machine," everything is "data" — not only have we made technology the agents of change, but we use machine metaphors to identify our very humanity and culture. Is that because we have become part of the machine? Because we have been (coded) to think in machine terms?

This is the fundamental question of technological determinism - Who's shaping who? author Thomas Hughes argues that it is not black and white, but rather a sliding scale according to age and embeddedness of the technology:

"A technological system can be both a cause and an effect; it can shape or be shaped by society. As they grow larger and more complex, systems tend to be more shaping of society and less shaped by it."
- Thomas P. Hughes, "Technological Momentum," Does Technology Drive History?

He proceeds to argue that we have more control over younger systems. Less entrenched technologies are more prone to social construction. Once a technological system has human values assigned to it, and the physical underpinnings of those values are in place, it becomes increasingly hard to affect change in that system (though not impossible, he mentions, if the system is broken down into component parts or if a range of challengers urge change).

If we consider electric poles, highways, telephone lines, plumbing, interstate trucking, satellite communications all part of the same technological system, then we might say we are dealing with a rather entrenched system. Leading a grand charge against it would require a rather broad resistance, more than simply the Unabomber and the amish, with a liberal dose of ralph Nader.

Either that or the system of technology infrastructure is so fragile and subject to failure that it will topple without much deliberate effort. (the day my thesis final draft was due, news came out that a PanAmSat Galaxy IV satellite had lost its orbit, debilitating communications and information for the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Weather Service, Reuters, United Press International, National Public Radio, PageNet (an estimated 90% of paging services — "Wayward Satellite Wreaks Havoc," Reuters/Wired News).

Doctors could not be paged by patients, payments and withdrawals with ATM and credit cards were stalled, airports and airlines didn't know windspeed or weather predictions. The early news is breathless, describing an unprecedented calamity, a vital communications breakdown. So far little physical damage has been reported however, and older technologies are working backup. So are we screwed here or just inconvenienced?)"

Fortunately this question of technological determinism can never be fully answered so we are free to weight it as a state of mind. Smith and Marx note how those narratives focus on the consequences, rather than the origins of those machines. Similarly we can see ourselves as trapped on machine treadmills when we continue to apply technology fixes to technology problems instead of looking at root causes — we become dependent on new machines to solve the mess left by the old.

Hunched over machines

Marion Zimmer Bradley quote:

But if we leave behind this boring talk of human responsibility and consider that in our laziness and daring to dream of the ultimate machine we may have nearly created a self-propagating race of robot servants that will soon supersede us. as

Mark Dery notes:

"...The mathematician and SF author Vernor Vinge maintains that cybernetic evolution will give rise to a 'greater than human intelligence' between 2005 and 2030, at which point ultra-intelligent machine life will assume control of its own destiny, producing ever smarter progeny at an ever faster pace. The inevitable result, he argues, will be the ascent of a super evolved, technologically enhanced post-humanity."


Believing Vinge, and seeing our machines of today as the predecessors of the replicants of tomorrow requires a certain science fiction consciousness: imbuing the machine, technology system with a certain consciousness, that it moves forth almost as a supernatural force.

If we make that conceptual leap, we can already say that machines are determining their own direction, and dragging us along with them:

The telephone invented by Bell to help the deaf and broadcast symphonies is now a place where "gaudy women chat" ("Useless Chatter," International Herald Tribune, March 30, 1923)

The internet invented by the defense industry and academics for scientists to share data is now driving telecommunications networks into development overdrive.
Applying Hughes scale here, we might be working still to define technologies and their boundaries, but increasingly our machines demand other machines. Considered negatively, we often build as a reaction to fallout from previous inventions:

Increasingly our machines demand other machines. Considered negatively, we often build as a reaction to fallout from previous inventions:

Fallout From Abundance:

Too much of the rich food and a life of physical ease means we need new anti-obesity technologies: olestra, diet pills.

Fallout from pollution/changing nature of foodstuffs:
Having the infrastructure in place to make so much wonderful stuff isn't exactly compatible with organic humanity. Our products are malnourishing or even poisoning us. So we compensate with other products: vitamins, fortification.

That we manage these problems with technology implies our being locked into a technological society determined: machines demand machines, and we no longer have much say in determining direction, only forecasting coming apocalypses and exciting new software revisions.

Giger Cyberflesh technology determinism is more sinister when considered in the realms of health. If we use machines to improve our bodies, and those machines demand other technologies, then we are locked in a relationship with the machine that we cannot avoid or leave to sustain our lives. We are then true cyborgs — organics and mechanics intertwined such that neither can survive without the other.

Tracy Chapman..

A Way Of Looking As To How Technology Determines Us

It would be relevant at this point to read about Technological Determinism, in Short, as explained below by Shinya Tsukamoto:

Technological determinism summed up:

"...Technology as a driving force of history: a technical innovation suddenly appears and causes important things to happen."
- Merritt Roe Smith and Leo Marx, editors, Does Technology Drive History?

As examples Smith and Marx cite attributing the reformation to the arrival of the printing press, and blaming the civil war on the cotton gin. these are major historical events, and if we think technology stood behind them, then we are surrendering some control we might have once had ourselves, or formerly gave to god.

Put that way, it's a mental framework: how do we phrase the world around us, and what does that reflect about our sense of machines?

We talk about human "programming," social "codes," the body is a "machine," everything is "data" - not only have we made technology the agents of change, but we use machine metaphors to identify our very humanity and culture. is that because we have become part of the machine? because we have been (coded) to think in machine terms?

This is the fundamental question of technological determinism - who's shaping who? author Thomas Hughes argues that it is not black and white, but rather a sliding scale according to age and embeddedness of the technology:

"A technological system can be both a cause and an effect; it can shape or be shaped by society. As they grow larger and more complex, systems tend to be more shaping of society and less shaped by it."
- Thomas P. Hughes, "Technological Momentum," Does Technology Drive History?

He proceeds to argue that we have more control over younger systems. less entrenched technologies are more prone to social construction. once a technological system has human values assigned to it, and the physical underpinings of those values are in place, it becomes increasingly hard to affect change in that system (though not impossible, he mentions, if the system is broken down into component parts or if a range of challengers urge change).

If we consider electric poles, highways, telephone lines, plumbing, interstate trucking, satellite communications all part of the same technological system, then we might say we are dealing with a rather entrenched system. leading a grand charge against it would require a rather broad resistance, more than simply the unabomber and the amish, with a liberal dose of ralph nader.

Either that or the system of technology infrastructure is so fragile and subject to failure that it will topple without much deliberate effort. (the day my thesis final draft was due, news came out that a PanAmSat Galaxy IV satellite had lost its orbit, debilitating communications and information for the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Weather Service, Reuters, United Press International, National Public Radio, PageNet (an estimated 90% of paging services - "Wayward Satellite Wreaks Havoc," Reuters/Wired News).

Doctors could not be paged by patients, payments and withdrawls with ATM and credit cards were stalled, airports and airlines didn't know windspeed or weather predictions. the early news is breathless, describing an unprecedented calamity, a vital communications breakdown. so far little physical damage has been reported however, and older technologies are working backup. so are we screwed here or just inconvenienced?)

Fortunately this question of technological determinism can never be fully answered so we are free to weight it as a state of mind. Smith and Marx note how those narratives focus on the consequences, rather than the origins of those machines. similarly we can see ourselves as trapped on machine treadmills when we continue to apply technology fixes to technology problems instead of looking at root causes - we become dependent on new machines to solve the mess left by the old.

But if we leave behind this boring talk of human responsibility and consider that in our laziness and daring to dream of the ultimate machine we may have nearly created a self-propigating race of robot servants that will soon supercede us. as Mark Dery notes:

"...The mathematician and SF author Vernor Vinge maintains that cybernetic evolution will give rise to a 'greater than human intelligence' between 2005 and 2030, at which point ultra-intelligent machine life will assume control of its own destiny, producing ever smarter progeny at an ever faster pace. The inevitable result, he argues, will be the ascent of a superevolved, technologically enhanced posthumanity."

Believing Vinge, and seeing our machines of today as the predecessors of the replicants of tomorrow requires a certain science fiction consciousness: imbuing the machine, technology system with a certain consciousness, that it moves forth almost as a supernatural force.
if we make that conceptual leap, we can already say that machines are determining their own direction, and dragging us along with them:

The telephone invented by Bell to help the deaf and broadcast symphonies is now a place where "gaddy women chat" ("Useless Chatter," International Herald Tribune, March 30, 1923)

The internet invented by the defense industry and academics for scientists to share data is now driving telecommunications networks into development overdrive.

Applying Hughes scale here, we might be working still to define technologies and their boundaries, but increasingly our machines demand other machines. considered negatively, we often build as a reaction to fallout from previous inventions:

Increasingly our machines demand other machines. considered negatively, we often build as a reaction to fallout from previous inventions:
fallout from abundance:
too much of the rich food and a life of physical ease means we need new anti-obesity technologies: olestra, diet pills.

Fallout from pollution/changing nature of foodstuffs:
having the infrastructure in place to make so much wonderful stuff isn't exactly compatible with organic humanity. our products are malnourishing or even poisoning us. so we compensate with other products: vitamins, fortification.

That we manage these problems with technology implies our being locked into a technological society determined: machines demand machines, and we no longer have much say in determining direction, only forecasting coming apocalypses and exciting new software revisions.

Technology determinism is more sinister when considered in the realms of health. if we use machines to improve our bodies, and those machines demand other technologies, then we are locked in a relationship with the machine that we can not avoid or leave to sustain our lives. Ee are then true cyborgs - organics and mechanics intertwined such that neither can survive without the other.

"What I was thought when I was making Tetsuo [Tetsuo: Iron Man, a short black and white film from Japan, 1992] was that you can experience euphoria even if you're being raped by the machine. At the same time, there is always this urge to destroy technology, the industrial world. That conflict was going on inside me when i was making Tetsuo- the feeling that i enjoy being raped by the machine but at the same time i want to destrong the things that are invading me, the human being."

The computer is a human means of enslaving resources that has in turn enslaved us. the vision inferred by Markison's remarks (and elaborated on in his interview) is one where humans are more responsible for their position in time and space, and exercise that through creation and education.

Both of these are visions engaging the future of human-technology interaction., techno-less utopian visions, . here the best human outcome is happiness, dependent on abandoning the pace of technology and leading a life grounded in a more biologial sense of appropriate "natural rhthym." for Brown and Markison, considering the human animal in the utopia is most important, a higher priority than concocting efficiency scenarios involving greater human-machine compatibility.

The more ordered minds responsible for efficiency fantasies too often ignore the human side of the future: unintended uses and consequences. technologically enabled futurists see the world unfolding from their conveniences and use-patterns extended worldwide. Their scenarios require a narrow vision, since the ordering of resources and establishing of technology priorities in a stable fashion requires a unified architecture.

But perhaps the machines themselves demand singularity of focus; witness the arguments around vaccines: everyone needs to be on board, or it creates problems for the whole healthy system. proponents of diet pills lead us to believe that the cutting edge will evolve quickly to address swelling side effects. this kind of thinking is deterministic, and insultingly unrealistic.

My best hopes for my computer-utopian scenarios concocted around the web were for a future of collective art making, and for a present of extending resources beyond their still concentrated class locations. this was primarily a culture based fantasy I think, and not a machine based fantasy. existing resources and technologies were used in my scenario, perhaps in greater quantities, definitely different distributions, but I was not hinging my vision on to-be-developed-global-satellite-positioning-equipped-cellular-personal-digital dynapads.

The vision, utopian as it may be called here, of collective reflection and storytelling online has indeed come to some fruition, but it manifests itself in typically unavoidable human ways - everyone has access to my email address and they hourly send me their ten page business pitches and extremist religious theories. Is that utopia? it ain't mine - it's ours.

The notion that communications technologies will hardwire the psychic energies of the human race, and allow finally for the arrival of some kind of spiritual force is certainly a far cry from the stated intent of the founders of the internet. while they had better communication in mind, i doubt they envisioned "the global brain" - or "'God' ...

The consciousness that will be created when enough of us are connected by the Internet." describing the internet in these terms handedly ignores the 95% of the world that has never checked its email, but perhaps allows for a more creative and ultimately humane understanding of the best use of our machines. the alternative vision is "you will."

Besides the intriguing techno-spew of psychedelicists (Hendrix, McKenna), science fiction writers have asked many of the most pressing and difficult questions about machines. Philip K. Dick stands out for addressing identity and technology in his stories about systemic determinism (Man in the High Castle), virtual memory ("We'll Remember it for you Wholesale") and arbitrating human-ness (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Often what he acknowledges with his characters is the messiness of the whole thing; in spite of our magical machines, we are still beasts underneath, with irreconcilable desires.

According to Norman O. Brown, it's these unacknowledged, omnipresent human desires, or neuroses that drive the dangers aspects of progress:

"...If repression were overcome and man could enjoy the life proper to his species, the regressive fixation to the past would dissolve; the resless quest for novelty would be reabsorbed into the desire for pleasurable repetition; the desire to Become would be reabsorbed into the desire to Be."
- Norman O. Brown, Life Against Death

Certainly much of high technology is the restless quest for novelty, and many of the arguments about appropriate use dwell in aged notions (electronic babysitting). recognizing this situation and transforming oneself if Brown's key to unified post-Freudian mind-body consciouness. this is where technology theory (building to Become) meets religion at large (just Be happy/enlightened, etc): creation of a heaven on earth? forget it; it's all in our minds, paradise is here now, let's get loose and enjoy ourselves.

Dr. Amos Wilson: You Reap What You Sow

Portrayal of Minorities in the Film, Media and Entertainment Industries

I will cull a large piece from an article written by Yurii Horton, Raggen Price and Eric Brown:

According to MediaScope, a column that monitors diversity in television:

Considerable public concern has arisen over the issue of media diversity, as it is generally accepted that mass media has strong social and psychological effects on viewers. Film and television, for example, provide many children with their first exposure to people of other races, ethnicities, religions and cultures. What they see onscreen, therefore, can impact their attitudes about the treatment of others.

One study found, for instance, that two years of viewing Sesame Street by European-American preschoolers was associated with more positive attitudes toward African and Latino Americans. Another study found that white children exposed to a negative television portrayal of African-Americans had a negative change in attitude toward blacks. (Diversity in film and television: MediaScope)

This illustrates the importance of the social responsibility that each and every member of American society has to ensure that television portrays minorities accurately and without bias.

Because television is such an integral part of society it is imperative that the wrong ideas and values do not go across the airwaves and into the homes of unsuspecting young children. According to a report named Reality in Television, "Studies have shown that television teaches stereotypical attitudes and preconceptions about people and lifestyles that they would have no contact with outside of watching the way these people are shown by television." Unfortunately, in a time where children spend more time than ever watching television unsupervised, the television becomes the teacher.

Children of course... are less likely to distinguish a stereotype from reality, and when they watch an ideal family on TV in a perfect home with no money problems they may wonder why they don't have the same. If they see things on TV that they don't have a comparison in real life, the TV image will be the reality to them. When images and ideals presented at a young age take hold, and are reinforced over years of viewing, these images become reality. They may feel inadequate in comparison to the lives some seem to lead, and superior and hateful to those portrayed in a negative way, even though that portrayal is not true. (Reality in Television)

Once these stereotypes and misconceptions become ingrained in the psyche of American children, they become self-perpetuating. Being unable to combat the effects of this phenomenon, we could essentially create an environment that is every bit as hostile as Jim Crow America and the segregated South. Granted these are extremes, but without changes in the media there is the plausibility of such a disaster.

Minorities, more specifically African-Americans and Latino-Americans are the casualty of a media that perpetuates social stereotypes and ethnic homogeneity. Television continues to promote social stereotypes even in this age of multiculturalism and diversity. In Christopher Campbell's Race Myth and the News Mr. Campbell points to the report published by the Kerner Commission in 1968 as the starting point in the research of race and the media.

The media had too long basked in a white world, looking out of it, if at all, with white men's eyes and a white perspective. Researchers consistently point to a pattern of news selection and coverage that represents the views and values of the homogenous world of journalists. In his study of TV network news and weekly news magazine coverage, Gans observed, 'News supports the social order of public, business, and professional, upper-middle-class, middle-aged, and white male sectors of society.' He cites the 'enduring values' of this social class-ethnocentrism, responsible capitalism, small-town pastoralism, moderatism-as the values that are propagated through news coverage. (Fans)

Essentially, what is going on is that news coverage is portraying a biased view of society. It is not promoting the aims of presenting the public with an objective coverage of the news, instead the bottom line is ratings. Therefore the objectives of a network is to cater to an audience....This results in a newscast that is geared towards the majority. This leads to the inherent racism that has been found to exist in newscasts across the country. This same problem occurs in the sitcoms and other shows that fall into the realm of entertainment. The only way to make money in this industry is to ensure that people watch the shows. The critical equation for any segment of this industry is ratings = earnings. Like the news telecasts, these other shows cater towards the majority at the expense of the minorities. According to MediaScope's column on the Diversity in film and television:

The United States is one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world, but the media and entertainment industries tell a different story. While improvements have been made over the last several decades in the way race, ethnicity, gender and other social issues are portrayed in the media, the entertainment industry still has far to go in its attempt to reflect society's changing demographics.

For instance, a 1997 study discovered that ethnic minority groups make up 15.7% of prime time drama casts, even though they represent 25.4% of the population; 26% of major characters in movies are women, although they comprise 51% of the population... When people of color, women, seniors and other social groups are portrayed, activist groups contend, these images are often stereotypical, inaccurate and not reflective of the individual diversity that exists in real life. An American Psychological Association task force concluded that minorities are not only underrepresented on television, but are 'segregated in specific types of content, and rarely engage in cross-ethnic interactions.' (1-2)

For every Cosby Show or Fresh Prince of Bel Aire there is a Good Times, Sanford and Son or Cops to cancel out the positive effect that the show may have. The Cosby Show clearly had the effect of broadening the American television publics perception of black family and black economic status. "Shows like 'Sanford and Son' and 'Good Times' showed a lot of different stereotypes with Fred Sanford always having crazy schemes and being presented as lazy and J.J. from "Good Times" as a cartoony street wise jivetalker" (Reality in Television). Until we successfully decrease the number of "bad" shows that airs for every "good" show, we aren't really making any progress.

Television, in the past two decades, has made major gains in terms of casting diversity and the portrayal of minorities in differing roles. From being scarcely visible in the 1950's to being portrayed as wealthy Attorney's and doctors in the 1990's, television has taken great strides to change the way it portrays minorities. Despite these exceptions to the rules, there still remain a plethora of shows and newscasts that shine a negative light on minorities in this country. Found in the text of a column entitled "Distorted Reality," we are able to see that the gains are not all that significant. S. Lichter and Daniel Amundson proclaim:

"In studies of prime time entertainment reaching from the 1950's to the 1990's, we found that black representation has gradually increased and negative stereotypes have decreased. Blacks are more likely to be portrayed positively than are whites, and they engage in proportionately less violent and criminal behavior. An exception to this general pattern is the newly popular genre of reality based programming, which frequently casts minorities in criminal roles. Latinos are less visible in prime time television than they were in the 1950's. Their portrayals have not improved markedly since the days of Jose Jimenez and Frito Bandito." (Distorted Reality)

It seems as though the media industry is more concerned with humoring opponents with token changes and superficial modifications, but in reality substantial change is not the terminology that comes to mind when referring to the places minorities hold in television. If certain minority groups are less visible today than they were 40 years ago, how does that bode for the future? Do we continue on the same path that we have paved for ourselves, or do we take a more pro-active role and diverge from the established path and pave a new road? In light of the industry's sloth-like movements, these are questions that must be presented to society.

Despite the gains and changes that the television industry has striven to achieve, the results are few and far between. Barriers, such as the homogeneity of the industry and the "bottom line," all create a complexity of situation that is not conducive to altering an entire industry. If there aren't people from the top of the ladder pushing rigorously for changes, the probability of successfully regulating the media and entertainment industries are rather slight.

The winds of change must start up top and work their way down in order for there to be a visible difference in the composition of casts and portrayal of minorities. So, who is actually in charge of putting on the shows that we watch? We'll use NBC as a typical network and it will be representative of the other major networks. According to recent figures from the "Reality in Television" report:

"A breakdown of the senior staff of NBC is probably typical of other networks. At NBC's New York Headquarters in the network news division, of 645 employees, 96% were white. In that department, which monitors, writes about and broadcasts news across the globe, only 16 were African-American, 8 were Latino and 6 were Asian. As we know these percentages do not represent the actual "key employees" position, 270 jobs in all, can be broken down as follows: 142 white males, 121 white females, 3 black males, 2 black females, 2 Latinos and one Asian female. (1)

This proves to be a very difficult environment to introduce multi-cultural programming in. People inherently cast people who look like them in professional roles and roles that are looked upon positively. And of course, when it comes time to cast a role that is looked upon negatively, people tend to cast it with people who don't look like themselves. Is this a conscious behavior probably not, but it will take a conscious effort to reverse this trend that lends itself to stereotyping and racism.

To say that the problem of portraying minorities negatively is as bad now as it was in the past would be inaccurate, but to say that the situation was good would be just as grossly inaccurate. We must recognize that there are changes and that there are barriers that stand in the way of change. The only way to remove these barriers is to have patience and persistence in what you believe is right.

Until more people of color make it up the ranks of the media and entertainment industries, it will be very difficult to enact drastic changes. Yeah, there are shows that portray minorities positively, but there are still far too many that place minorities into inferior roles. Until television represents reality, it will be a threat to those who are uninformed and impressionable. But for now, change is occurring and hopefully it will pick up the pace in the future.

Throughout the 20th Century, minorities have made significant strides towards autonomy and equality in American society. From the right to own land to the right to vote, and further still, the squelching of Jim Crow era segregation in the South. These advances are part of who we are as Americans, yet it seems they have not fully infiltrated the collective whole of American society.

Despite the political rights and power that minorities have obtained, the supremacist ideologies and racist beliefs that were indoctrinated into the American psyche are just recently being reversed. However, these ideas that were ingrained in the mindset of Americans for so long have given way to a less conscious variant of segregation. No longer is it the blatant practice upheld by the law and celebrated with hangings and beatings, but instead it is a subtle practice that is the "crown jewel" of the entertainment, media and film industries.

We might not see confederate flags flying in parks or signs relegating colored people to separate facilities, but we do see minorities cast as criminals and leeches to "white upper-class" America. It is the Paramount Pictures, NBC's, ABC's and Universal Studio's of the world that are the propagators of the negative stereotypes and inescapable stigmas that many thought were left behind once the shackles of segregation were broken. Unfortunately, they are resurfacing in our sitcoms, newscasts and big screen movies.

Historically, the portrayal of minorities in movies and television is less than ideal. Whether it's appearing in disparaging roles or not appearing at all, minorities are the victim of an industry that relies on old ideas to appeal to the "majority" at the expense of the insignificant minority." All blame, however, cannot be placed on the white males who run the industry, for a small number of black entertainers perpetuate these stereotypes as well.

Even though they defend their actions as an "insiders look" into the life of a certain minority group, they are guilty of the same offenses that opponents have indicted the media, film and entertainment industries of. We cannot contribute to the viscous cycle that is the unconscious racism of the media, film and entertainment industries; instead we need to break the cycle and formulate a new industry that is more representative of the reality that is American[World] society today.

Apartheid Revisited...

Apartheid Mental, Psychological and Physical Terrorism
Apartheid Mental, Psychological and Physical Terrorism

Cultural Terrorism Against African People: DeAfricanization Of A People

It is a historical fact that by design, Europeans took it upon themselves to distort the African image, memory, history, customs and traditional intentionally so that the people of African descent should fe confused and ineffective. It is important that we write and specifically, and correctly talk about these shenanigans of the Europeans in their efforts to make sure that this affects Africans completely and totally. We can partially learn about this pattern from learning about what happened in Brazil, so that these lies can be laid bare. Asa informs us thusly:

"The divide and conquer strategy has been used against Africans since the first invaders journeyed there to pillage the land. The pit 'tribe' against 'tribe' so that they could steal and enforce their agenda as the warring Africans directed their scrutiny at each other. Today, the divide and conquer strategy is employed by the right wing and the left wing. Individual Africans have been permitted to rise to the highest levels, but only if they are not perceived as identifying with Africans as an ethnic group.

"Self-hatred or the hatred of Africans is a prerequisite for financial gain and acceptance in a White supremacist culture. Cultural terrorists have always used the domination agenda so's to divide Africans from each other, by any means necessary, and to bond individuals to those who dominate us… The cultural terrorism in Brazil, which was described earlier, provides a functional country to study ad learn how cultural terrorism by europeans has been effective. It can help us to grasp the fate that some oppressors now envision for Africans Everywhere, and to see a sophisticated divide and conquer system in operation."

Asa continues:

"In 1914, Theodore Roosevelt wrote an article in a popular magazine describing what he had seen and heard in Brazil. He was told the following by one observer in Brazil. 'Of course, the presence of the Negro is the problem, and a very serious problem, both in your country and mine, Brazil. Slavery was an intolerable method of solving the problem, and had to be abolished.

"But the problem itself remained, in the presence of the Negro. ...With us, the question tends to disappear, because the Blacks(Africans) tend to 'disappear' ad become absorbed. ...In Brazil the idea looked forward to the' disappearance' of the Negro question through gradual 'disappearance' of the Negro himself. ...That is through his gradual absorption into the White Race."

Asa further informs us:

"As outlined earlier, many of Brazil's Africans accepted the 'disappearance goal, and sought to "advance the race" by "disappearing," mixing" or becoming as European as possible… The de-Africanization of African Brazilians was the result of a deliberate government policy and popular thrust of, "whitening." They also adopted the propaganda that suggested that Brazil is a "racial democracy." Until recently, the voices of the African downtrodden were silent, and there were few who spoke of the truth of "invisible" color domination. Nascimento writes:

"The European elite promoted mass immigration of White people in order to 'improve the nation's racial stock.' The ruling class was in panic over the Africanness of this newly declared citizenry, and hurried in the 1891 Constitution, for the first time, the literacy requirement for voting. This done, it went about subsidizing European immigration to saturate the labor market, leaving Africans destitute, and simultaneously inculcating in the national consciousness a social compulsion to 'marry White.' The idea was to eliminate the African presence entirely , hopefully by the end of this century.

"... Brazilian intellectuals, writers and scientists' who created a complex network of sophistries idealizing the 'whitening' of the Brazilian 'race' are among those often translated into English and other languages. Two major examples are Gilberto Freyre and Jorge Amado. Both contributed erroneously to foreign readers' misinformation, depicting race mixture as a true index of ethnic harmony and racial 'democracy' in Brazil. The truth, however, is just the opposite. Apple to Afro-Brazilians' living reality, the concept of racial democracy operates as one more tool used to perpetuate the ruling minority's domination over Brazilians of African origin.

"... In this distortion of statistics, we come upon a cornerstone of 'Latin racism': the psycho-social whitening of Africans in these societies. The compulsion to identify with European values, aesthetics and criteria of personal beauty created various negative psychological complexes, which are nothing new to students of Frantz Fanon and Albert Memmi.

"The process of domination and control of Africans in the United States has been no different from that what happened in Brazil. Africans have had to be forced to forget all things Africans so that they would come to perceive European culture and African exploitation as the norm. Mazrui says:

"... Their collective names became "Negros" (or even "niggers") — a name based on the color of their skin. In short, the whole history of slavery and racism in the United States had one persistent refrain addressed to the captives; The rule is: forget where you came from, remember what you look like. Forget your ancestry, remember you skin color; Forget you are African, remember you are Black. Don't look at the map, look at the mirror! So successful was this policy that the Collective name of the captives remained imprisoned within the pigmentation paradigm until 1998..."

Asa continues:

"A recent example of the attempt to control the leadership of the African population in America can be found in a carefully designed system that covered two decades; beginning with the election of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States. Right wing Republicans sponsored and "audition" of Blacks(Africans) who might become the new voice of African people; a subtle divide and conquer tactic. This plan was obviously hatched in Conservative Think Tanks(Edwards). Edwin Meese, an official of the Reagan Administration, was present, and played a role in the dialogue. A meeting was called on December 12 and 13 in 1980, at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.

"The purpose was to launch an effort to develop an alternative to the existing African Leadership; the visible Civil rights leaders. The meeting featured invitees who presented papers that supposedly suggested new approaches to replace the traditional African leadership. The conference was attended by the following participants, who include some variety in ideological orientations:

"Bernard E, Anderson, Thomas L. Berkeley, Michael J. Boskin, Randolph W. Bromery, tony Brown, Milton S. Friedman, Wenell Wilke Gunn, Charles V. Hamilton, Robert B. Hawkins, Jr., Maria Lucia Johnson, Martin L. Kilson, James Lorenz, Henry Lucas, Jr., Edwin Meese III, Clarence M. Pendleton Jr., Dan J. smith, Thomas Sowell, Chuck Stone, Percy E. Sutton. Clarence Thomas, Gloria E.A. Toote, Walter E. Williams and Oscar Wright(Browne).

Asa adds:

"The Culture wars did not rely totally on Black(African) clones. Some very prominent members of the Right-Wing elite made their attack directly on Africans and others. ... A Nation Magazine article about Lynne Cheney reads:

"One of her first campaigns was aimed at a PBS series, "The Africans," that she called propaganda: because it described African's historic problems as a consequence of European exploitation. She insisted on removing NEH's name from the credits and refused to approve endowment publicity funding for the series — actions she termed "a defense of free speech." The controversy enabled her to seize the limelight for her own brand of political correctness.

"At the NEH, she also criticized colleges fro shifting away from traditional Western Civilization courses toward Global history and culture. The American experience was the high point of World history. "I find t hard to imagine a that there's a story more wonderful than being driven by the desire to worship freely, to set off across that ocean, to make a home out of this wild and inhospitable land.

The article goes on to report that:

".. She stumbled once, in her effort to pack the advisory panel of the NEH with Right Wingers, who lacked the requisite qualifications — especially Carol Iannone. Iannone had gained d fame for a Commentary article in which she said that giving National Book Awards and Pulitzer Prices to African American women like toni Morrison and Alice Walker sacrificed 'the demands of excellence to the democratic dictatorship of mediocrity.(Weiner)

Autuonmy, techniques and lies are the bane of modern day society, as we have seen, this has a historical antecedent. Earning and knowing more about the ways and means through which these lies and distortion and de-Africanization of African people took place is upper-most importance. It is for us and the next coming generation to read-up on such Hub s and begin to piece together the jigsaw puzzle that is our decrepit existence today-globally. This is not a local phenomena, the 'disappering of Africa people,' it is in Africa as well as in the African Diaspora. Knowmg more and clearly about thiese shenanigans will help move our understanding the needs of our struggles forwards.

Unwired Speed Read Is Us

Ways Of Knowing And Reading Are Fundmental Here..

A Brief View Of Techniques And Obfuscation

The autonomy of Technique Through Technopoly in a Technolozied society and Civilization is very broad and totally encompassing. This means the the Old Age of ourur analogical technological reality has given way to the Digital Age and societies, society and actively technopolized technological society thruotecehnopolizedgh technique. This is important to note. The morphing and transformation of mat as effected and affected by the technodigical gizmos and environ which is palpable and has made the past mechanical automated analogic era into a Jurassic stone age technological reality and look like a burden and backwardness of man, prior present-now digi-age.

The lies which have been propagated as to the advent of the new emerging and merging, converging technologies, their gizmos and advanced techniques, has transformed man in space of two or more decades. If in the past we were relying on tape recorders, trurntables, connected through wires and so forth, today we have iPods and surround sound speaker modules that have altered listening to music, and the way we put together those machines, or gizmos, pods which have given birth to Podcasting and such like operation reality, of our interactions with our machines, and the facilitating techniques that are aping the human nervous system, so that, the Change we see is very great, and in most cases, we humans are simply catch-up, and are always being as to manifestations of these changes.

Today's lies are embedded with what is now commonly known as 'conspiracy theories' and the posting by various people and the relaying of all types of information, that we end up have data glut and a lot of falsities among to lies, not only by the State and propagandists, but every "Tom-Dick-And Harry" that has access and is enabled by present-day technologies and their gizmos.

Lies on the virally streaming data have a lot of people bamboozled and perplex. This is because the present environment is that of a fast flowing and splurging metadata which engages the user and freezes them in the flow, and there is not time for cognition or digesting the information, for it is constantly flowing and being added in a manner of some serious micro and nano-seconds. What was life of technology in the analogic age, in the digi age it has become a very faster that light and sound flow of all types of information, and there is now no time to mull of the infomation, but thee is great pressure and need to stay abreast with the posted and dropped feeds of news and data that thinking and learning and understanding that information, is incapacitied by more data that is being consistently posted, dropped and still needs to be nsee, not serouly read neither adequately understaood.

So lies, are such eivnronment that is neither there nor here… It is, as a matter of fact, the desolution of Old school learning, and the introduction of a galactic flow of information which we the users, still have to grapple with,catch up and undersign and know-this is not an easy feat, and we are still trudging behind trying to wrap our heads around the volume of garbled and encrypted data in a Data-spherical setting, amidst a Digikryptonite-like environment-This should be understood as taking form, or manifesting itself with and in a mediarized context and sense.

Sifting lies from seriously well-intentioned obfuscation of information and intention is what many lay and badly uninformed modern milieu and users, who think that just because they can manipulate and have a semblance of info, this qualified them to be the all-knowing master and gurus of technology and communication. This is not going to help anyone, we need to realize that with the Media Ecology we exist in, reading is fundamental, and research important and urgent, that just skimming through data and imagine we know, is egregiously false and terribly wrong. I have met such types in our modern societies in many forums and event. It is amazing to see how many people really think the, and do so, when dealing with, with the prejudices as to my Race, accent and the stigma attacked to my Africa Continent, that they think I do not really know Jack…

Well, that still needs to proven to be true by these folks I am talking about, and still, they will have to read the article above to ascertain as to whether I am what they 'imagine' or my ability to dal with Media Matters, from various position, and maybe obscure Theoretical Communication point of view. What any reader brings to such articles as I have posted above, is what is going to be added by what they can read and eke out of such articles.

My way of looking and understanding what I am talking about, needs for one to do a seriously holistically reading of this article, and this is and has been presented as Media Ecological view and perspective, that in of itself, helps the read discern and understand what is it that is happening to them as they interact with and getting to know these constantly changing technological gizmos and their techniques, at least, given the speed of change that is taking place.

The caption above captures the spirit and the letter if the writing above. As human beings, moving from caligraphy to Book reading and Vrial stream reading, is that, the viral mode is moving and evolbing fast, and the book-reading is static and preserved in a none-moving pattern. This is important to make note of, for many of us sen to be lost as to what it is meant when we talking about the changed present-day digital environ as contrasted against the reading of the printed word in books.

So that, things like people not being able to absorb the auditory or caligraphic print with difficulty, as opposed to people who abosrb their inform from visual data. This is serious change, but this does not mean we are evolving as a sepcies to read just as fast. That is why we are alwas lagging behind the streaming data, for we are still programmed literally analogue reading, and are trying hard to be fast readers within the present-day streaming and splugring digi-data.

So that, the amount of informatin we are able to garner is based upon and premised on the basis of how we were trained to do our reading from stationary-non-moving data in books. The gathering of information accmuates in one the stutters and is segmented, and cognition kicks in after some time, at which time, the siralling viral meta-data surges ahead, and we have to bee perpetually chasing the latest, but stale posts, which are new to our eyes and brains.

Data View And Understanding

The Fundamental Ways We Use And Accumulated Data

How we gahter and process, digest and analyse data is premised upon certain ways of behaving, reading weeing know and gathering information. Here are some Postulaton:

1. The human Brain is amazing and vry durable

2. so that, our brains are great and excellent especially recognizing shapes and patterns

3. for example: The Brain receives 8.96 megabits of data from the eye every second

4. The speed of sight is 8.96 megabits per second

5. The average person comprehends 120 words permute reading

6. .. That is equivalent to 81.6 bits of data per second

7. So that, we are not wired to read fast(caption ahead)

8. We are wired to visualize fast

9. Data visualization can be awesome tools when used the right way

10. There are five fundamental ways we use data visualization effectively

1) To analyze: Bar Charts; Deat Maps; Bullet Grphs; Line Graphs; Spark Lines; Box Plots; Tree Maps. these tools help us see the trends anomalies correlations patterns and make decisions.

II) A well designed dashboard allows you to analyze masive detests At-A-Glance

Visually Viewing Data Dashboard

2. To Diacover: If you need to find something buried inside 1,000,000 data points. Would you rather read or see 1,000,000 data points. What if you don't know exactly whaat it is you are even looking for? You cna't build a dashboard for that.

3. To suppoert a story, the right data visualization can emphasize key points-provide context and engage the adience. Get speakers yse visuals to make their story memorable

4. To tell a story by itself-sometims the data visualization is the story ... a story without a sentence

5. To Teach: Our brains perform more efficiently and more information is retained when e learn from visuals. The funamental ways we use Data Visualizations:

i) to analyze

11) to discover

iii) to support a story

iv) To tell a story

v) To each

The Value of Data Visualization:

-Two basic two basic types:

  • Exploaton - find a story the data is telling you
  • Explanation - tellthe story to an audience

-Represents large quantites of data coherently

-Help the user to discern relationships in the data

Doesnot distortwhat the data sya

- Takes into account your audience's expectation

I explored the bit above in order to demostrate and show how and what data collection and knowledge does to affect our reading and perception.This is important to undeersocre the pointsmade aboe, for the help us with understanding the present video, internet and the merging and srbmerging interconnecting media and its gizmos. At time qulaitative informaton is sahred, and at time distortion and lies are used. This is what I worte this Hub for...Modern Meida and it's dadgets and mediarized environs.

Douglas Rushkoff - Program or Be Programmed

Technology and Human Vulnerability

This is what we learn from the Harvard Business Review Staff:

For most of the last 50 years, technology knew its place. We all spent a lot of time with technology—we drove to work, flew on airplanes, used telephones and computers, and cooked with microwaves. But even five years ago, technology seemed external, a servant. These days, what’s so striking is not only technology’s ubiquity but also its intimacy.

On the Internet, people create imaginary identities in virtual worlds and spend hours playing out parallel lives. Children bond with artificial pets that ask for their care and affection. A new generation contemplates a life of wearable computing, finding it natural to think of their eyeglasses as screen monitors, their bodies as elements of cyborg selves. Filmmakers reflect our anxieties about these developments, present and imminent. In Wim Wenders’s Until the End of the World, human beings become addicted to a technology that shows video images of their dreams. In The Matrix, the Wachowski brothers paint a future in which people are plugged into a virtual reality game. In Steven Spielberg’s AI: Artificial Intelligence, a woman struggles with her feelings for David, a robot child who has been programmed to love her.

Today, we are not yet faced with humanoid robots that demand our affection or with parallel universes as developed as the Matrix. Yet we’re increasingly preoccupied with the virtual realities we now experience. People in chat rooms blur the boundaries between their on-line and off-line lives, and there is every indication that the future will include robots that seem to express feelings and moods. What will it mean to people when their primary daily companion is a robotic dog? Or to a hospital patient when her health care attendant is built in the form of a robot nurse? Both as consumers and as businesspeople, we need to take a closer look at the psychological effects of the technologies we’re using today and of the innovations just around the corner.

Indeed, the smartest people in the field of technology are already doing just that. MIT and Cal Tech, providers of much of the intellectual capital for today’s high-tech business, have been turning to research that examines what technology does to us as well as what it does for us. To probe these questions further, HBR senior editor Diane L. Coutu met with Sherry Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. Turkle is widely considered one of the most distinguished scholars in the area of how technology influences human identity.

Few people are as well qualified as Turkle to understand what happens when mind meets machine. Trained as a sociologist and psychologist, she has spent more than 20 years closely observing how people interact with and relate to computers and other high-tech products. The author of two groundbreaking books on people’s relationship to computers—The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit and Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet—Turkle is currently working on the third book, with the working title Intimate Machines, in what she calls her “computational trilogy.” At her home in Boston, she spoke with Coutu about the psychological dynamics between people and technology in an age when technology is increasingly redefining what it means to be human.

You’re at the frontier of research being done on computers and their effects on society. What has changed in the past few decades?

To be in computing in 1980, you had to be a computer scientist. But if you’re an architect now, you’re in computing. Physicians are in computing. Businesspeople are certainly in computing. In a way, we’re all in computing; that’s just inevitable. And this means that the power of the computer—with its gifts of simulation and visualization—to change our habits of thought extends across the culture.

My most recent work reflects that transformation. I have turned my attention from computer scientists to builders, designers, physicians, executives, and to people, generally, in their everyday lives. Computer software changes how architects think about buildings, surgeons about bodies, and CEOs about businesses. It also changes how teachers think about teaching and how their students think about learning. In all of these cases, the challenge is to deeply understand the personal effects of the technology in order to make it better serve our human purposes.

A good example of such a challenge is the way we use PowerPoint presentation software, which was originally designed for business applications but which has become one of the most popular pieces of educational software. In my own observations of PowerPoint in the classroom, I’m left with many positive impressions. Just as it does in business settings, it helps some students organize their thoughts more effectively and serves as an excellent note-taking device. But as a thinking technology for elementary school children, it has limitations. It doesn’t encourage students to begin a conversation—rather, it encourages them to make points. It is designed to confer authority on the presenter, but giving a third or a fourth grader that sense of presumed authority is often counterproductive. The PowerPoint aesthetic of bullet points does not easily encourage the give-and-take of ideas, some of them messy and unformed. The opportunity here is to acknowledge that PowerPoint, like so many other computational technologies, is not just a tool but an evocative object that affects our habits of mind. We need to meet the challenge of using computers to develop the kinds of mind tools that will support the most appropriate and stimulating conversations possible in elementary and middle schools. But the simple importation of a technology perfectly designed for the sociology of the boardroom does not meet that challenge.

“The Machine might say, ‘Mary, you are very tense this morning. It is not good for the organization for you to be doing X right now. Why don’t you try Y?’”


If a technology as simple as PowerPoint can raise such difficult questions, how are people going to cope with the really complex issues waiting for us down the road—questions that go far more to the heart of what we consider our specific rights and responsibilities as human beings? Would we want, for example, to replace a human being with a robot nanny? A robot nanny would be more interactive and stimulating than television, the technology that today serves as a caretaker stand-in for many children. Indeed, the robot nanny might be more interactive and stimulating than many human beings. Yet the idea of a child bonding with a robot that presents itself as a companion seems chilling.

We are ill prepared for the new psychological world we are creating. We make objects that are emotionally powerful; at the same time, we say things such as “technology is just a tool” that deny the power of our creations both on us as individuals and on our culture. At MIT, I began the Initiative on Technology and Self, in which we look into the ways technologies change our human identities. One of our ongoing activities, called the Evocative Objects seminar, looks at the emotional, cognitive, and philosophical power of the “objects of our lives.” Speakers present objects, often technical ones, with significant personal meaning. We have looked at manual typewriters, programming languages, hand pumps, e-mail, bicycle gears, software that morphs digital images, personal digital assistants—always focusing on what these objects have meant in people’s lives. What most of these objects have in common is that their designers saw them as “just tools” but their users experience them as carriers of meanings and ideas, even extensions of themselves.

The image of the nanny robot raises a question: Is such a robot capable of loving us?

Let me turn that question around. In Spielberg’s AI, scientists build a humanoid robot, David, who is programmed to love. David expresses his love to a woman who has adopted him as her child. In the discussions that followed the release of the film, emphasis usually fell on the question of whether such a robot could really be developed. Was this technically feasible? And if it were feasible, how long would we have to wait for it? People thereby passed over another question, one that historically has contributed to our fascination with the computer’s burgeoning capabilities. The question is not what computers can do or what computers will be like in the future, but rather, what we will be like. What we need to ask is not whether robots will be able to love us but rather why we might love robots.

Some things are already clear. We create robots in our own image, we connect with them easily, and then we become vulnerable to the emotional power of that connection. When I studied children and robots that were programmed to make eye contact and mimic body movements, the children’s responses were striking: When the robot made eye contact with the children, followed their gaze, and gestured toward them, they responded to the robot as if it were a sentient, and even caring, being. This was not surprising; evolution has clearly programmed us to respond to creatures that have these capabilities as though they were sentient. But it was more surprising that children responded in that way to very simple robots—like Furby, the little owl-like toy that learned to speak “Furbish” and to play simple games with children. So, for example, when I asked the question, “Do you think the Furby is alive?” children answered not in terms of what the Furby could do but in terms of how they felt about the Furby and how it might feel about them.

Interestingly, the so-called theory of object relations in psychoanalysis has always been about the relationships that people—or objects—have with one another. So it is somewhat ironic that I’m now trying to use the psychodynamic object-relations tradition to write about the relationships people have with objects in the everyday sense of the word. Social critic Christopher Lasch wrote that we live in a “culture of narcissism.” The narcissist’s classic problem involves loneliness and fear of intimacy. From that point of view, in the computer we have created a very powerful object, an object that offers the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy, an object that allows you to be a loner and yet never be alone. In this sense, computers add a new dimension to the power of the traditional teddy bear or security blanket.

So how exactly do the robot toys that you are describing differ from traditional toys?

Well, if a child plays with a Raggedy Ann or a Barbie doll or a toy soldier, the child can use the doll to work through whatever is on his or her mind. Some days, the child might need the toy soldier to fight a battle; other days, the child might need the doll to sit quietly and serve as a confidante. Some days, Barbie gets to attend a tea party; other days, she needs to be punished. But even the relatively simple artificial creatures of today, such as Hasbro’s My Real Baby or Sony’s dog robot AIBO, give the appearance of having minds of their own, agendas of their own. You might say that they seem to have their own lives, psychologies, and needs. Indeed, for this reason, some children tire easily of the robots—they simply are not flexible enough to accommodate childhood fantasies. These children prefer to play with hand puppets and will choose simple robots over complicated ones. It was common for children to remark that they missed their Tamagotchis [a virtual pet circa 1997 that needed to be cleaned, fed, amused, and disciplined in order to grow] because although their more up-to-date robot toys were “smarter,” their Tamagotchis “needed” them more.

If we can relate to machines as psychological beings, do we have a moral responsibility to them?

When people program a computer that develops some intelligence or social competency, they tend to feel as though they’ve nurtured it. And so, they often feel that they owe it something—some loyalty, some respect. Even when roboticists admit that they have not succeeded in building a machine that has consciousness, they can still feel that they don’t want their robot to be mistreated or tossed in the dustheap as though it were just a machine. Some owners of robots do not want them shut off unceremoniously, without a ritualized “good night.” Indeed, when given the chance, people wanted to “bury” their “dead” Tamagotchi in on-line Tamagotchi graveyards. So once again, I want to turn your question around. Instead of trying to get a “right” answer to the question of our moral responsibility to machines, we need to establish the boundaries at which our machines begin to have those competencies that allow them to tug at our emotions.

In this respect, I found one woman’s comment on AIBO, Sony’s dog robot, especially striking in terms of what it might augur for the future of person-machine relationships: “[AIBO] is better than a real dog…It won’t do dangerous things, and it won’t betray you…Also, it won’t die suddenly and make you feel very sad.” The possibilities of engaging emotionally with creatures that will not die, whose loss we will never need to face, presents dramatic questions. The sight of children and the elderly exchanging tenderness with robotic pets brings philosophy down to earth. In the end, the question is not whether children will come to love their toy robots more than their parents, but what will loving itself come to mean?

What sort of relational technologies might a manager turn to?

We’ve already developed machines that can assess a person’s emotional state. So for example, a machine could measure a corporate vice president’s galvanic skin response, temperature, and degree of pupil dilation precisely and noninvasively. And then it might say, “Mary, you are very tense this morning. It is not good for the organization for you to be doing X right now. Why don’t you try Y?” This is the kind of thing that we are going to see in the business world because machines are so good at measuring certain kinds of emotional states. Many people try to hide their emotions from other people, but machines can’t be easily fooled by human dissembling.

So could machines take over specific managerial functions? For example, might it be better to be fired by a robot?

Well, we need to draw lines between different kinds of functions, and they won’t be straight lines. We need to know what business functions can be better served by a machine. There are aspects of training that machines excel at—for example, providing information—but there are aspects of mentoring that are about encouragement and creating a relationship, so you might want to have another person in that role. Again, we learn about ourselves by thinking about where machines seem to fit and where they don’t. Most people would not want a machine to notify them of a death; there is a universal sense that such a moment is a sacred space that needs to be shared with another person who understands its meaning. Similarly, some people would argue that having a machine fire someone would show lack of respect. But others would argue that it might let the worker who is being fired save face.

“Are you really you if you have a baboon’s heart inside, had your face resculpted by Brazil’s finest plastic surgeons, and are taking Zoloft to give you a competitive edge at work?”


Related to that, it’s interesting to remember that in the mid-1960s computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum wrote the ELIZA program, which was “taught” to speak English and “make conversation” by playing the role of a therapist. The computer’s technique was mainly to mirror what its clients said to it. Thus, if the patient said, “I am having problems with my girlfriend,” the computer program might respond, “I understand that you are having problems with your girlfriend.” Weizenbaum’s students and colleagues knew and understood the program’s limitations, and yet many of these very sophisticated users related to ELIZA as though it were a person. With full knowledge that the program could not empathize with them, they confided in it and wanted to be alone with it. ELIZA was not a sophisticated program, but people’s experiences with it foreshadowed something important. Although computer programs today are no more able to understand or empathize with human problems than they were 40 years ago, attitudes toward talking things over with a machine have gotten more and more positive. The idea of the nonjudgmental computer, a confidential “ear” and information resource, seems increasingly appealing. Indeed, if people are turning toward robots to take roles that were once the sole domain of people, I think it is fair to read this as a criticism of our society. So when I ask people why they like robot therapists, I find it’s because they see human ones as pill pushers or potentially abusive. When I’ve found sympathy for the idea of computer judges, it is usually because people fear that human judges are biased along lines of gender, race, or class. Clearly, it will be awhile before people say they prefer to be given job counseling or to be fired by a robot, but it’s not a hard stretch for the imagination.

The story of people wanting to spend time with ELIZA brings me to what some have termed “computer addiction.” Is it unhealthy for people to spend too much time with a computer?

Usually, the fear of addiction comes up in terms of the Internet. In my own studies of Internet social experience, I have found that the people who make the most of their “lives on the screen” are those who approach on-line life in a spirit of self-reflection. They look at what they are doing with their virtual selves and ask what these actions say about their desires, perhaps unmet, as well as their need for social connection, perhaps unfilled. If we stigmatize the medium as “addictive” (and try to strictly control it as if it were a drug), we will not learn how to more widely nurture this discipline of self-reflection. The computer can in fact serve as a kind of mirror. A 13-year-old boy once said to me that when you are with a computer, “you take a little piece of your mind and put it into the computer’s mind…and you start to see yourself differently.” This sense of the computer as second self is magnified in cyberspace.

For some people, cyberspace is a place to act out unresolved conflicts, to play and replay personal difficulties on a new and exotic stage. For others, it provides an opportunity to work through significant problems, to use the new materials of “cybersociality” to reach for new resolutions. These more positive identity effects follow from the fact that for some, cyberspace provides what psychologist Erik Erikson would have called a “psychosocial moratorium,” a central element in how Erikson thought about identity development in adolescence. Today, the idea of the college years as a consequence-free time-out seems of another era. But if our culture no longer offers an adolescent time-out, virtual communities often do. It is part of what makes them seem so attractive. Time in cyberspace reworks the notion of the moratorium because it may now exist on an always-available window.

A parent whose child is on heroin needs to get the child off the drug. A parent whose child spends a great deal of time on the Internet needs, first and foremost, to be curious about what the child is doing there. Does the child’s life on the screen point to things that might be missing in the rest of his or her life? When contemplating a person’s computer habits, it is more constructive to think of the Internet as a Rorschach than as a narcotic. In on-line life, people are engaged in identity play, but it is very serious identity play.

Isn’t there a risk that we’ll start to confuse simulation with reality?

Yes, there certainly is. When my daughter was seven years old, I took her on a vacation in Italy. We took a boat ride in the postcard-blue Mediterranean. She saw a creature in the water, pointed to it excitedly, and said, “Look, Mommy, a jellyfish. It looks so realistic.” When I told this to a research scientist at Walt Disney, he responded by describing the reaction of visitors to Animal Kingdom, Disney’s newest theme park in Orlando, populated by “real,” that is, biological, animals. He told me that the first visitors to the park expressed disappointment that the biological animals were not realistic enough. They did not exhibit the lifelike behavior of the more active robotic animals at Disney World, only a few miles away. What is the gold standard here? For me, this story is a cautionary tale. It means that in some way the essence of a crocodile has become not an actual living crocodile but its simulation. In business, one is tempted to sell the simulation if that is what people have come to expect. But how far should you go in selling the simulation by marketing it as authentic?

“One woman, a successful journalist, described the experience of losing the contents of her PDA: ‘When my Palm crashed, it was like a death. More than I could handle. I had lost my mind.’”


You’ve said that computers change the way we think about ourselves. How so?

People tend to define what is special about being human by comparing themselves to their “nearest neighbors,” so when our nearest neighbors were pets, people were special because of their intellects. When computers were primitive machines and began to be analogized to people, people were superior because of their superior intellects. As the computers became smarter, the emphasis shifted to the soul and the spirit in the human machine. When Gary Kasparov lost his match against IBM’s chess computer, “Deep Blue,” he declared that at least he had feelings about losing. In other words, people were declared unique because they were authentically emotional. But when robot cats and dogs present themselves as needing people to take care of them in order to function well and thrive, they present themselves as if they had emotions. As a consequence, for many people I interview, feelings begin to seem less special, less specifically human. I am hearing people begin to describe humans and robots as though they somehow shared emotional lives.

If emotions are not what set us apart from machines, then people search for what does, and they come up with the biological. What makes human beings special in this new environment is the fact that we are biological beings rather than mechanical ones. In the language of children, the robot is smart and can be a friend but doesn’t have “a real heart or blood.” An adult confronting an “affective” computer program designed to function as a psychotherapist says, “Why would I want to talk about sibling rivalry to something that was never born?” It would be too simple to say that our feelings are devalued; it would be closer to the mark to say that they no longer seem equal to the task of putting enough distance between ourselves and the robots we have created in our image. Our bodies, our sexuality, our sensuality do a better job.

Of course, defining people in biological terms creates its own problems. For one thing, we are already blurring the distinction between people and machines by making machines out of biological materials and using machine parts within the human body. And we are treating our bodies as things—in our investigations of our genetic code, in the way we implant pumps and defibrillators in our flesh, in our digitizing of our bodies for education, research, and therapeutic purposes. Additionally, a psychopharmacologist might well say, “Excuse me, sir, but have you noticed that you are taking ten psychotropic medications to alter your mental programming?” In terms of our identities, we’re getting squeezed in every direction as new technologies provoke us to rethink what it means to be authentically human.

A recent New Yorker cartoon summed up these recent anxieties: Two grown-ups face a child in a wall of solidarity, explaining, “We’re neither software nor hardware. We’re your parents.” This cartoon reminds me of a statement someone I interviewed once made about simulation and authenticity: “Simulated thinking can be thinking, but simulated feeling can never be feeling. Simulated love is never love.” The more we manipulate ourselves and the more our artifacts seek pride of place beside us as social and psychological equals, the more we find the issue of authenticity confronting us. Authenticity is becoming to us what sex was to the Victorians—an object of threat and obsession, of taboo and fascination.

Could you expand on that?

In many intellectual circles, notions of traditional, unitary identity have long been exiled as passé—identity is fluid and multiple. In a way, the experience of the Internet with its multiple windows and multiple identities brings that philosophy down to earth. But human beings are complex, and with fluidity comes a search for what seems solid. Our experiences with today’s technologies pose questions about authenticity in new, urgent ways. Are you really you if you have a baboon’s heart inside, had your face resculpted by Brazil’s finest plastic surgeons, and are taking Zoloft to give you a competitive edge at work? Clearly, identity comes to be seen as malleable when the distinction between the real and the artificial fades. Personally, I find it amazing how in less than one generation people have gotten used to the idea of giving their children Ritalin—not because the children are hyperactive but because it will enhance their performance in school. Who are you, anyway—your unmedicated self or your Ritalin self? For a lot of people, it has become unproblematic that their self is their self with Ritalin or their self with the addition of a Web connection as an extension of mind. As one student with a wearable computer with a 24-hour Internet connection put it, “I become my computer. It’s not just that I remember people or know more. I feel invincible, sociable, better prepared. I am naked without it. With it, I’m a better person.”

In our culture, technology has moved from being a tool to a prosthetic to becoming part of our cyborg selves. And as a culture, we’ve become more comfortable with these closer bonds through our increasingly intimate connections with the technologies that we have allowed onto and into our person. For most people, it hasn’t been through technologies as exotic as a wearable computer. It’s been through technologies as banal as a Palm Pilot (which, of course, when you think about it, is a wearable computer). In the Evocative Objects seminar at the Initiative on Technology and Self, one woman, a successful journalist, described the experience of losing the contents of her PDA: “When my Palm crashed, it was like a death. More than I could handle. I had lost my mind.” Such objects are intimate machines because we experience them as extensions of self.

Do you think that kind of dependence is dangerous?

Not necessarily. Nursing homes in Japan increasingly make use of robots that give elders their medicine, take their blood pressure, and serve as companions. The Japanese are committed to this form of care for their elders; some say that they see it as more respectful than bringing in foreigners from different cultural backgrounds. When I first heard about this trend toward the use of robotics for elder care, I felt troubled. I feared that in our country there might be a danger that the widespread use of robotics would be used to legitimate social policy that does not make elder care a priority and does not set aside the resources, both in time and money, to have people there for the elderly. However, I have been doing fieldwork with robots for the elderly in local nursing homes. My project is to introduce simple robotic creatures—for example, robotic dogs and robotic baby dolls—in nursing homes and see what kinds of relationships the elderly form with these robots. Of course, when you look at particular institutions, families, and individuals, the question of the humane use of robotics for elder care is in fact quite complex.

At one nursing home, for example, the nursing staff has just gone out and bought five robot baby dolls with their own funds. The nurses are not doing this so that each elderly person can go to his or her room with a robot baby. They are doing this because it gives the elders something to talk about and share together, a community use of the robots that was totally unexpected when I began the project and which is quite promising.

One goal of my work is to help designers, businesspeople, and consumers keep human purposes in mind as they design and deploy technology and then choose how to make it part of daily life. For me, authenticity in relationships is a human purpose. So, from that point of view, the fact that our parents and grandparents might say “I love you” to a robot, who will say “I love you” in return, does not feel completely comfortable to me and raises, as I have said, questions about what kind of authenticity we require of our technology. We should not have robots saying things that they could not possibly “mean.” Robots do not love. They might, by giving timely reminders to take medication or call a nurse, show a kind of caretaking that is appropriate to what they are, but it’s not quite as simple as that. Elders come to love the robots that care for them, and it may be too frustrating if the robot does not say the words “I love you” back to the older person, just as I can already see that it is extremely frustrating if the robot is not programmed to say the elderly person’s name. These are the kinds of things we need to investigate, with the goal of having the robots serve our human purposes.

How can we make sure that happens?

It’s my hope that as we become more sophisticated consumers of computational technology—and realize how much it is changing the way we see our world and the quality of our relationships—we will become more discerning producers and consumers. We need to fully discuss human purposes and our options in technical design before a technology becomes widely available and standardized. Let me give you an example. Many hospitals have robots that help health care workers lift patients. The robots can be used to help turn paralyzed or weak patients over in bed, to clean them, bathe them, or prevent bedsores. Basically, they’re like an exoskeleton with hydraulic arms that are directly controlled by the human’s lifting movements.

Now, there are two ways of looking at this technology. It can be designed, built, and marketed in ways that emphasize its identity as a mechanical “flipper.” With this approach, it will tend to be seen as yet another sterile, dehumanizing machine in an increasingly cold health care environment. Alternatively, we can step back and imagine this machine as a technological extension of the body of one human being trying to care for another. Seen in the first light, one might argue that the robot exoskeleton comes between human beings, that it eliminates human contact. Seen in the second light, this machine can be designed, built, and marketed in ways that emphasize its role as an extension of a person in a loving role.

During one seminar at the Initiative on Technology and Self in which we were discussing this robotic technology, a woman whose mother had just died spoke about how much she would have loved to have had robot arms such as these to help her lift her mother when she was ill. Relatively small changes in how we imagine our technologies can have very large consequences on our experiences with them. Are the robot arms industrial “flippers” or extensions of a daughter’s touch?

The Case for The Positive Side Of Techological Effects/Affects On Its Users Today

Sheldon Ayers Presents the following view...

Societies are constantly changing. Some of these changes are subtle and barely noticeable. Other changes are blatant and abrupt. Social changes can affect the values, norms, roles and institutions within a particular community.

The increased wealth and prosperity set in motion by the Industrial Revolution caused a shift in values for many people. Materialism gave new life, hope and new meaning to many poor people during this period. As a result, materialism took on new meaning and became a "new god". Mans' increasing self reliance and preoccupation with self also raised him to the status of "god". Scientific reason and knowledge became yet another "god" with its principal agents, the scientist and the technologist. Scientists and technologists were perceived as the "high priests" of technological advancement and many people had "faith" in their power to improve the world.

THE INFORMATION AGE

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution life in industrial and post industrial societies have been characterized by a constant stream of evolving products, innovative methods of production and dynamic means of distribution. The development of the world wide web, for example, is a major breakthrough in the advancement of communication. Today, a few years after its introduction, the Web has become a major cultural movement involving millions of people. One eminent computer scientist, Michael Dertouzos, head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science, has authored a captivating book about the future of computer science. Mr. Dertouzos thoughtfully explain his vision of the future "Information Marketplace". In What Will Be, the author gives the reader an insiders preview of the advancements and inventions that will propel the information revolution in new directions.

The world of information that we now live in has already altered many aspects of our lives, either directly or indirectly. For example, the millions of web users, from homeowners to Chief Executive Officers, have grown in numbers at an astronomical rate, adding daily to the cumulative web of information by posting their own "home pages" that describe their own specific interests and needs. The computer mouse clicks of all these subscribers is opening new avenues for information retrieval, fun, commerce, and surprises at millions of web sites. The theses of Mr. Dertouzos book is that, in a quiet and relentless way, information technology is altering our world so profoundly that the movement rivals the changes brought on by the Industrial Revolution. The evidence of these changes is embedded in our popular culture and have ramifications for all our institutions.

Most people welcome the notion that increased reliance on computers and information technology will change how we work and how we play. But what old and new issues will advancement cause? Technology is advancing at a rate well beyond our human capacity to cope with the moral and ethical dilemmas associated with it. Technology will challenge us to re-examine aspects of our lives and how we relate to others. The march of progress will also demand that we re-think : how we receive health care, how our children learn, how the elderly remain connected to society, how government conducts their affairs, how ethnic groups preserve their heritage, whose voices are heard, even how nations are formed. Increased reliance on computers and information technology will present serious challenges: poor people might get poorer and sicker; criminals, insurance companies, and employers might invade our bank accounts, medical files and personal correspondence.

In the early 1980s the demand for personal computers was phenomenal. Buying your own personal computer was like buying a car: you would never again have to wait for the bus, much less get bumped off onto the street. Because of technical limitations, these independent personal computers could not easily share information. To solve this problem researchers throughout the world began analyzing how to make large scale information sharing possible. Some organizations were skeptical about the possibility of linking independent computers. International Business Machines (IBM) could not believe that the mainframe computer and its connecting terminals could be replaced by personal computers with no central authority to control them. Years later, IBM and other makers of large computers would be forced to lay off thousands, having steadfastly refused to recognize the worldwide shift from a few big machines to masses of small computers as a direct result of the rapid development of the microprocessor by Intel and others. The ascendancy of the personal computer shattered the notion that a centralized machine was needed to coordinate and control people at various terminals. The "Information Marketplace" is the next step. This marketplace will reshape our notion of "community ", this time among millions of people at powerful machines. The growth of personal computing moved us away from computer autocracy and moved us toward computer democracy.

Ideally the Information Revolution will repeat the successes of the Industrial Revolution, except that this time brain work instead of muscle work will be offloaded onto machines.

Reviewing Contemporary Technology

Are today's technologies improving the quality of peoples lives? The resounding answer is yes. Todays' technologies offer a better deal for everyone. Individuals are acquiring greater control over their lives, their minds, their bodies even their genes, thanks to breakthroughs in medicine, communication, transportation and industry.

These technologies are simultaneously providing social benefits and undoing some of the environmental damage caused in the past. Improved technology helps to conserve natural resources and reduce pollution. American farmers are so efficient that unneeded cropland is reverting to forests and parks.

It is not surprising that the most high tech countries have the cleanest air and purest water. The Information Revolution is also fostering peaceful cooperation between people by decentralizing power. Today tyrants and demagogues are disempowered because their subjects can communicate directly with one another via the world wide web, satellite communications, etc.

Technology has given people the tools to do their jobs at home. People are also forging new communities in cyberspace and developing new relationships with their neighbors in real space. Arguably, technology has the potential to increase individual freedom and strengthen community - even though so many people argue it does neither at the moment.

Since 1965, Americans have gained an average of one hour of leisure each day, according to social scientist at the University of Maryland. Some "experts" even believe that by the middle of the next century, the average work week in America will be shorter than 28 hours. Today men and women have more time and opportunity than ever to pursue their dreams.

So why do so many people complain about modern technology? One reason is that new technologies, like computers, usually are more trouble than they are worth - at first. Initially, they are hard to learn and create resentment among workers particularly the unskilled ones who fear displacement and are jealous of higher paid "experts" in the new technology.

There is no reason to assume that personal computers will remain complicated. Gadgets become more user friendly as technologies mature and marketers appeal to the masses. Today, E-mail is a novelty that can be disruptive, but pioneers are developing techniques for coping, like automated responses when there is no time to deal with an overcrowded mailbox and filters to sift out the junk mail.

Technological progress has also raised our overall quality of life expectations. Today, the middle class demands privileges once limited to the rich, from material luxuries to cultural experiences and intellectual fulfillment. People feel rushed today because they have more possibilities and demand more "entertainment stimulation".

With technology we've upped the ante. Instead of corresponding with 6 or 7 people we have 150 E-mail partners ." Currently, only about 40 percent of Americans have computers, but the percentage is rising as the machines become less expensive and easier to use.

THE FUTURE

The future of information technology is exciting. As we approach the twenty first century, experts in the filed hypothesize that there will be more "natural communication" between humans and computers. In order for people and computers to collaborate we must "interface" or communicate as efficiently and naturally as possible.

Interfaces are important because that is where people come into contact with the machinery of the Information Marketplace. Some experts, such as Michael Dertouzos at MIT, argue that the Information Marketplace will not reach its full potential until the interaction between humans and machines become closer to human-to-human communication.

Besides keyboards and mice, today's interface devices include trackballs, joysticks, hand held styluses for handwriting and drawing, microphones that pick up speech, and both still and video cameras for images. There are many other devices being developed around the world. Scientists and engineers are currently working on gloves that let the computer know the precise movement of your fingers.

Experts are also working on glasses and head tracking helmets with mechanical, electromagnetic and optical gadgets that track eye and head movements so that the computer knows where you are looking. Complete body suits that convey the motions of the torso and limbs are not readily available but they have been built (in clumsy forms) and will undoubtedly appear in the future.

These same devices will feed information back to you, flooding your senses with spoken information, three dimensional video, audio and "bodyo"- tactile impressions that will range from the tickle of a cats' whiskers to being driven into the back of your chair. These state of the art interfaces will forever alter the way we work and "re-create" in the near future.

These new interfaces may allow individuals to work simultaneously with colleagues around the globe, order food from a French waiter in French, even though you don't know the language and even take dance lessons at home from an instructor across town. The application possibilities for these interface technologies is mind boggling.

The ability to speak to our computers is a critical part of the interface we will end up with. This will occur for two reasons: speaking is natural - the majority of the time we communicate with one another simply by speaking. Speech is the interface technology most ready to explode for practical applications.

It is clear to everyone involved that developing a system that enables computers to understand speech will dramatically expand technologies role in our daily lives. The applications for a language recognition system would be far reaching. For example, a navigational-aid program in the car could help you find your way through an unfamiliar city as you drive.

Another language recognition system on your home computer could guide you through a maze of potentially useful services. It would be convenient for speech systems to act as travel agents assisting consumers to book flights or make car and hotel reservations.

A phone system that translates language is also within the reach of speech-understanding technology. The system would work like this: say you want to call from the United States to an associate in South Africa. After you connected with your party, you would speak into your phone in English and you would immediately hear a computer generated paraphrase of what you said, to ensure the computer understood you.

At the same time, the machine would translate and present your sentence to the other party. If the computer did not understand, you would hear the incorrect paraphrase hit an abort button and try to convey your message with a different sentence.

Speech understanding systems could well dominate tomorrow's interfaces. Developing a proficient system has been an engineering challenge however. For decades computers have been notoriously poor at comprehending ordinary human speech. Many skeptics have written off the possibility of genuine conversation between people and machines. Engineers, scientists and linguists are still analyzing the problem however.

The Techno Environ - Today...

Some Of The Negative Effects/Affects Of Technology

The Four Negative Sides of Technology... by Pamela DeLoatch:

We live in a high tech world—with high tech classrooms. We embrace the benefits of using iPads during class, integrating tweets during presentations, and teaching students while using smart TVs. We know the many benefits of incorporating technology while teaching, such as adding diversity to lessons, increasing student interaction, and to bringing new perspectives and knowledge to the class.

But there can be a negative side resulting from inappropriate or overuse of technology, and that negative side can have serious and long-term consequences. To make the best out of tools of technology, teachers and parents must also recognize their downsides and how to avoid them.

Negative #1: Technology Changes the Way Children Think
Using technology can change a child’s brain. An article in Psychology Today says that the use of technology can alter the actual wiring of the brain. More than a third of children under the age of two use mobile media. That number only increases as children age, with 95% of teens 12-17 spending time online. The time spent with technology doesn’t just give kids newfangled ways of doing things, it changes the way their brains work. For example, the article says that while video games may condition the brain to pay attention to multiple stimuli, they can lead to distraction and decreased memory. Children who always use search engines may become very good at finding information—but not very good at remembering it. In addition, the article said, children who use too much technology may not have enough opportunities to use their imagination or to read and think deeply about the material.

Negative #2: Technology Changes the Way Children Feel
Using technology can affect a child’s ability to empathize. A study on two groups of sixth graders found that kids who had no access to electronic devices for five days were better at picking up on emotions and nonverbal cues of photos of faces than the group that used their devices during that time. The increased face-to-face interaction that the test group had made students more sensitive to nuances in expression.

Overuse of technology can also affect a child’s own mood. A report from the United Kingdom revealed that kids who use computer games and their home Internet for more than four hours do not have the same sense of wellbeing as those who used that technology for less than an hour. One expert explained that with less physical contact, children might have difficulty developing social skills and emotional reactions.

Negative #3: Technology Can Put Privacy and Safety at Risk
Improper use of technology can expose a child to numerous risks. Children who use technology may unwittingly share information that can put them in danger. In 82% of online sex crimes against children, the sex offenders used social networking sites to get information about the victim’s preferences. And the anonymity of technology can also make it easier for people to bully others online. A quarter of teenagers say they have been bullied either by text or on the Internet. Sexting is another high-risk behavior of concern, with 24% of teenagers aged 14 -17 have participated in some sort of nude sexting.

Negative #4: More Use of Technology with Less Physical Activity Leads to Obesity
Childhood obesity is on the rise, and technology may be to blame. Pediatricians also say that severe obesity is increasing among young people. Although one traditional focus is on the amount and type of foods kids eat, one study says that obesity is on the rise, not just because of food, but because as we use more technology, we exercise less. With technology that includes cars, television, computers and mobile devices, the amount of time we spend sedentary increased and our time in physical activity dropped.

Addressing the Negatives of Technology
We’re certainly not advocating cutting out all technology, but, as with most things, moderation is best. Teachers and parents who want their students and children to experience the benefits of technology—without the negatives—should consider these ideas.

Monitor the use of technology. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or both, make sure you know how your kids are using technology. Many classroom computers have restrictions on which sites can be used. If yours doesn’t, consider adding them or checking the search history to know what your students are doing. For parents, some mobile phone plans offer family-friendly options that let parents restrict calls or texts during parent-established times.
Teach responsible usage. We don’t suggest ignoring what technology can offer. Instead, talk with students about establishing their Internet footprint, and the long-range consequences of putting inappropriate information into cyberspace. Encourage students to discuss tricky situations they may encounter online and help them work to a positive resolution.
Be familiar with technology. Keep up with what those young people are into. Vine, Snapchat, or whatever the current online trend is, stay current so you can recognize and head off any problems early on.
Use classroom technology intentionally. It’s easy to allow technology (i.e. videos, movies) to take precedence in a lesson. Be sure to use these tools to augment—not substitute for—your teaching.
Offer alternatives to technology. Give students an assignment that requires reading a hard copy of a material. Task them with interviewing each other—in person—instead of texting questions. Conduct class outside where you can sit and discuss a topic without the usual distractions.
In Short
Technology makes our lives easier. Today’s students have tremendous opportunities to learn and to connect by using it. But with each advantage comes a potential cost. When we understand those costs and can minimize them, we can keep the use of technology positive.

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