Category Archives: Network

Human Automata

In the 1970’s universe of Network, the general populace is glued to their television screens. The executives behind the glass thrive off the market shares they can get, which turn into profit via advertisements.  Network was certainly prophetic in its depiction of new media – Sybil the Soothsayer, Miss Mata Hari, Jim Webbing, and the Vox Populi all have their place in the present.

But perhaps now television has been unseated as the junction between the masses and the marketplace.  As discussed in a recent report by The New York Times, Facebook has pulled in astonishing numbers in advertising dollars, and only displays more and more capacity to grow:

Your addiction is making Facebook astonishingly profitable. Put a little more kindly, your emotional and intellectual interactions on the social network are creating a great place for companies to advertise.

What this means in dollars and cents for Facebook can be seen in numbers contained in its first-quarter financial results, released on Wednesday. For the United States and Canada, Facebook pulled in $11.86 in advertising revenue per user in the first quarter. That’s what advertisers are willing to pay to catch your attention as you argue with your friends and relatives over Donald Trump or coo over baby pictures or both.

As the advertising potential of Facebook, or some other social media company, continues to grow, more content must be generated to continue to increase profit margins.  And as social media permeates our life in every way- on our computers, on our phones, by our side at all times- the threat to our humanity grows more and more insidious.  Are we becoming the human automata that Howard Beale predicted, addicted to checking our phones and our computers at every possible instant? And who will dictate the media visible to us, and what goes unseen?

 

The Howard Beale Show as the Framework of Modern Advertising

After analyzing the format of the Howard Beale Show in Network, I came to the conclusion that the various segments relate to the basic framework of a typical advertisement. This theory does seem valid, because just like advertisements, the Howard Beale Show was designed to appeal to the masses. Below, I have outlined how each segment mirrors the components of a conventional advertisement.

“Sybil: The Soothsayer” and the Promise of a Better Reality

The “Sybil: The Soothsayer” segment on the Howard Beale Show is meant to portray the notion that society yearns for a glimpse into the future, perhaps to eliminate the anxiety of uncertainty and to keep aspirations alive for an idealized reality that lies ahead. Advertisement are similar in convincing the consumer that a certain product or service has the ability to provide this aspirational state. Advertisements are meant to highlight a need, whether existing or fabricated, and how a specific product or service can fulfill that need. Similar to “Sybil: The Soothsayer,” advertisements provide a sense of comfort that a current dissatisfaction will be overcome, and an idealized reality lies ahead. A more obvious example of this type of marketing can be seen in weight loss ads, which ensure that your “idealized state” can be achieved in the very near future.

lose-weight-fast-11

“Skeletons in the Closet” and the Life of the Elite

“Skeletons in the Closet” was meant to represent audience members’ desires to escape the detriments of their current lives by listening to the misfortunes of others, namely celebrities. Modern advertisements with celebrity endorsers somewhat portray this concept. Aside from providing more credibility behind advertisements, utilizing celebrity endorses shows the audience that celebrities have mutual misfortunes and needs, whether it be a remedy for acne, weight loss, etc. When people view these testimonials, recognize the struggles of public figures, and associate the success of celebrities with the product/service solving these setbacks, they are enticed to make a purchase in the hopes of escaping their struggles and experiencing the reality of celebrities’ lives.

katy

“Vox Populi” and Conforming to the Majority

The “Vox Populi,” or popular opinion segment of the Howard Beale Show represents peoples’ desire to not only listen to perspectives that resemble their own, but also the yearning to remain in synch with a larger community. This strategy is very similar to the methods many advertisers employ. Ads are obviously designed in a way that appeal to the needs and beliefs of the majority of a specific target audience, but also underscore the necessity of a specific product or service in fitting in among society. For example, the commercial for Bumpits (a plastic piece inserted into the hair to give the illusion of more volume) emphasizes the belief that all women allegedly desire and look better with more voluminous hair. Whether this notion is true or not, the commercial is meant to persuade women to believe that in order to fit in and obtain approval from others in society, they must purchase this product. Both the “Vox Populi” and commercials for products similar to Bumpit manipulate individuals to conform their individual desires and needs to what is portrayed as popular opinion.

bump

“It’s the Emmes Truth Department” and Deceitfulness

The “Emmes Truth Department” most likely depicts news stories in a fictional light in order to appeal to audiences. Such practices allows the audience members to hear only what they would like to hear and protects them from any type of news that would upset them. This deceitful nature is very present in the advertising industry as well. The benefits and quality of many products and services are often fabricated and exaggerated. Commercials and advertisements are designed to reflect what people would want to hear (e.g. “Loose weight easily and fast,” “xyz product is the #1 choice as voted by doctors,” etc.). By solely conveying what consumers want to hear, consumers are at risk of potentially wasting their time and money buying sub-par products, and even putting themselves in danger if the side effects of certain products are unclear. These ramifications are similar to sugar-coating news stories — the audience remains uneducated and potentially vulnerable to the harsh realities of the world.

McDonalds

“Mad Prophet of the Airways” and Masking Individual Thinking

Howard Beale provided an outlet for audience members to express their anger, but he also essentially dictated what the audience should believe in. The audience enjoys his segment because they can outwardly express emotions, but these emotions do not involve any type of personal thinking or formation of unique perspectives. Similarly, advertisements are created to influence consumers’ opinions on a product or service. The ultimate goal of advertising is to induce sales by showing a product/service in a positive light and ensuring it is easy for the consumers to choose a specific product/service over those of competitors. Because advertisements dictate how consumers should view a product and aim to trump any existing perceptions, they are very similar to the underlying goal of Howard Beale’s segment.

Although some of my explanations may have been a bit of a stretch, I do think the Howard Beale Show adequately reflects consumers’ dangerous relationship with advertising.

 

SENSATIONALISM in Digital Media – Causing Death and Destruction?

Do you Obtain News From Social Media?

During a class discussion, we realized not a single student (including myself) had
personal access to cable news. This
made me wonder – How are people engaging news? Check out how millennials engage news here (LINK)! The general trend is shifting their news engagement to social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat…) or online forums. In response to the blog, someone commented –

How do the economic urges to create sensational – let’s call it buzzworthy – content impact the digital media platform?

This blog post is aimed at addressing this complex question, and hopefully getting a better idea of the effects of dynamic viewership. Notice my insane article title – thats exactly the type of clickbait that many online news forum must use to garner the interest of online news forum. For example, Here are the top headlines from 2014 –

Officer Darren Wilson kills Michael Brown, Ebola in America, Obama declares war on ISIS, Donald Sterling loses Clippers, NFL flubs Ray Rice punishment, Russian-backed separatists blow up plane over Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappears, Israel vs. Hamas, School shootings, GM recalls

With the majority of top news stories overwhelmingly negative, online news forums have to compete to attract increased viewership – often they use sexy article titles.

Example 1) The World Health Organization released a report on Oct. 26 stating that certain processed meats are carcinogenic. In response, The Guardian’s Sarah Boseley published, “Processed meats rank alongside smoking as cancer causes – WHO.” This comparison is mockable, as meats do not have nearly the association with cancer as smoking cigarettes, which she even mentioned in her own article! She choose to frame the article as smoking and eating meat are similarly carcinogenic to attract viewership.

Example 2) In my sensationalist article title, “SENSATIONALISM in Digital Media – Causing Death and Destruction?” I simply found an article, investigating the increased rate of copycat suicides after a media outlet reports on an influential celebrity committing suicide (LINK). In fact the researchers recommend working with news media outlets to reduce the coverage of suicide in celebrities in hopes to lower the amount of copycat suicides. They frame this mechanism as social learning theory – one learns troubled people can solve problems with suicide, and may copy their suicidal behavior.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 2.58.51 PM

Top 12 News Podcasts

Personally, I found my solution through long-forum podcasts that investigate an issue through many different perspectives. Especially in comparison to hard-hitting TV news, “Lets Discuss Poverty in African Americans in a 2 minute segment – only two perspectives the “Democratic” vs. “Republican.” This type of one-liner and simplistic outlook on complex issues has been reflected in debates by young democrats and young republicans all over the country (and internet forums). However when presenting these same advocates in a long forum discussion, you (and hopefully them) realize that many mainstream news outlets are polarizing because they are only superficially discussing issues.

Works Cited:

http://www.abc15.com/news/national/top-headlines-of-2014-war-ebola-and-racial-divide

http://jech.bmj.com/content/57/4/238.full.pdf+html

http://www.snydergroupinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2014states.jpg

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/10/26/451211964/bad-day-for-bacon-processed-red-meats-cause-cancer-says-who

http://www.dailytexanonline.com/2015/11/08/mainstream-media-tends-toward-sensationalism-excessive-coverage-too-often

The Anti-Pundit

colbert(Image credit: The New York Times)

For someone so entrenched in politics, and more importantly, the media surrounding politics, it makes sense that Stephen Colbert’s favorite film is, in fact, Sidney Lumet’s Network.  (Read in his own words what he loves most about the film here).  At first glance, it could seem that his bombastic character from The Colbert Report might even be modeled from Howard Beale.  According to Colbert, this isn’t the case- as he remarks, “It’s not an influence for my show, because Beale is a hopeless character who ultimately does not succeed in what he wants to do, and is killed.”  But in satirizing modern television news and the pundits who inhabit the stations, Colbert’s past show takes after Network in its commentary and vision.

For other news commentators of our time, Howard Beale himself shines through in their programming.  In an interview, Glenn Beck actually said he personally identified with Howard Beale: of the “mad as hell” mantra, he said, “I think that’s the way people feel,” Mr. Beck said. “That’s the way I feel”.  His show includes segments such fiery segments as “Constitution under Attack” and “Economic Apocalypse,” and he “regularly bursts into tears”.  On whether he seems himself as a religious figure, akin to the holy church of Howard Beale, however, he declines.

When it was suggested in an interview that he sometimes sounds like a preacher, he responded, “No. You’ve never met a more flawed guy than me.” He added later: “I say on the air all time, ‘if you take what I say as gospel, you’re an idiot.’  (NY Times)

As we discussed in class, many of the segments on Howard Beale’s show feature themselves in the tropes of TV news today.  Stephen Colbert points out a few more: Vox Populi he sees most like CNN’s “iReport”, an opportunity for CNN viewers to be featured on the news by tagging “iReport” in their social media posts.  For Sybil the Soothsayer, he points to Bill O’Reilly’s “body language expert,” who supposedly analyzes the body language of important figures (often President Obama) to determine their secret internal and subconscious thoughts.

There is no doubt that Network accurately predicted many of the features of current television, especially in news programs.  Thankfully, we have the restoring order of such anti-pundits as Mr. Colbert to confront the mainstream.

 

 

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/stephen-colbert-on-network-great-film-or-the-greatest-film/

And the Oscar Goes to…..Who?

I won’t lie, my favorite thing about watching movies is learning about the actors and actresses in them. I know this is reminiscent of Old Hollywood but literally after every Monday I google the film and then look at the starring actor/actress’s Wikipedia page. Though I normally recognize at least one of the actors in each film we have watched, I am especially intrigued when I do not know who they are and upon looking them up and find a unique trivial fact.

When I was watching Network, I found it difficult to sympathize with Max’s wife Louise when she found out her husband was leaving her, mainly because the script did not focus on or even fully develop her character in the narrative, using her only as an emotional punching bag for the audience to reconsider their view of Max. So, imagine my surprise when I found out that the actress who played Louise Schumacher (Beatrice Straight) was not only nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, but won the category as well for her role as the heartbroken wife in Network. In fact, Beatrice Straight also holds the Academy record for the shortest performance to win, only being on screen for a total of 5 minutes and 40 seconds. Though Academy Award  wins are not the end all-be all of an actor’s talent (I’m looking at you, Leo), I was still intrigued that a character with such little screen time could warrant both a nomination and a win on the Oscar night. Therefore, I decided to scrounge the Internet for what people consider “The Worst Oscar Winners”. Though I am not strongly against Beatrice Straight winning an Academy Award for her work, I figured that this was not the first time the Academy went against the popular choices (and their better judgement) in both nominees and winners.

Starting with the men, here are the top 5 winners considered “the worst” Best Actors:

Sean Penn won an Oscar for the 2003 mystery drama "MysticRex Harrison charmed moviegoers (and Audrey Hepburn)

  1.  Sean Penn in 2003 for Mystic River
    • Viewed as an over-actor, many believed Bill Murray should have won for his performance in Lost in Translation
  2. Roberto Benigni in 1998 for Life is Beautiful
    • Viewed as a tasteless comedy about the holocaust, Benigni’s performance was seen as one-dimensional.
  3. John Wayne in 1970 for True Grit
    • This win was viewed as a lifetime achievement award from the Academy to John Wayne as an icon, not for his performance in True Grit.
  4. Rex Harrison in 1964 for My Fair Lady
    • Seen as an awkward, forced performance, many believe this award would have been more suited for Richard Burton or Peter O’Toole in Becket.
  5. Al Pacino in 1992 for Scent of a Woman
    • Everyone can agree that Pacino, in his prime, was a talented actor. However, many thought this performance was undeserving of an Oscar and that it was a sympathy Oscar for Pacino not winning for his past, stronger performances.

Now on to the “worst” actress wins

  1. Elizabeth Taylor in 1980 for Butterfield 8
    • Most critics concede that Taylor was a remarkably talented actress and definitely deserved an Oscar, just not for this film.
  2. Helen Hunt in 1997 for As Good as it Gets
    • Seen as an underwhelming, boring performance.
  3. Cher in 1987 for Moonstruck
    •  Seen as a good, yet overwhelming that should not have beaten out Glenn Close’s performance in Fatal Attraction.
  4. Halle Berry in 2002 for Monster’s Ball
    • Though Berry’s win was of historical significance (first African American female to win) many critics believed that Berry deserved a better character and better film to win for.
  5. Gwyneth Paltrow in 1998 for Shakespeare in Love
    • Seen as a romantic comedy performance that should have not even been nominated.

Though award shows are not everything, it is interesting to see how perception of  what is someone’s “best” or “worst” performance changes over time.

Sources:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/movies/2016/02/16/worst-best-actress-oscar-winners/80003620/

http://www.filmsite.org/worstoscars.html

http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/movies/2016/02/16/worst-best-actor-oscar-winners/80014628/

The paradox driving Network

Network with all of its themes about media contains a very interesting contradiction central to the plot. It is the fact that Howard Beale’s attempt to break away from TV only drives himself closer to it. It’s a very strange dynamic that persists throughout the film, and we didn’t talk about it much in class, so I just wanted to draw some attention to it.

At the beginning of the movie, Beale goes on TV and calls out the media for its “bullshit.” The result is not that Beale quits TV and urges others to do the same; the result is instead that Beale becomes further enveloped in the world of TV and creates a bigger media monster than the news with his Howard Beale Show that propels as much “bullshit” as his old news job. Beale on the show tells people to turn off their TV and stop paying attention to the media, even though he himself is the media, and he just gets more views from these statements rather than less. We even get visual irony in these scenes because while Beale denounces media, a camera in the frame reminds us that Beale is the media too.

So Network with this interesting contradiction is communicating the inescapability of TV. Anyone who stays on TV is getting good ratings, so even if they have good intentions, they might still be part of the problem. This inescapability is actually a bit similar to some themes we’ll see in Fight Club shortly wherein a revolution to escape a materialistic society just turns into a materialistic society itself.

I think this dynamic in Network really adds a lot to the movie because it makes the audience question a lot about what they think about TV and their own viewing habits. There’s the question of whether the Howard Beale Show has merit. If Beale can get good messages across while still being part of the system he is fighting against, is he still accomplishing his goal? Or is Beale just feeding the monster he is fighting against? Is it possible to fight against a system while being part of it? Or on the other extreme, is it necessary to be a part of a system to fight against it? I think these are all really good questions without clear answers. They are certainly important to consider in order to understand the beast that is media.

Ultimately, Network does have a bit of a defeatist attitude. It does not even attempt to offer any solutions because frankly there probably aren’t any. As Network shows, media just gives audiences what they want, so any change has to originate from the viewers of a show, not the show itself. Many humans just prefer sensational presentation, and we won’t evolve an aversion to it anytime soon, so things will probably stay the way they have been.

Kouchtown, Drunken 11-Year-Olds, and Governor Dunston

103 Primetime Emmy Nominations and 16 wins. The 21st best-written television series of all time, according to the Writers’ Guild of America. One of the best series finales in the history of television. Yet 30 Rock struggled to attract viewers throughout its run.

I am dedicating this post to Tina Fey’s laudable wit and satire just as I dedicated my Jefferson Smith post to Amy Poehler’s. Watching The Network and discussing it on Wednesday, I couldn’t help but be reminded of 30 Rock and its ingenious way of poking fun at itself. It’s a show on NBC about making a show on NBC. Tina Fey is the lead writer for the show, and plays the lead writer of the show that’s on the show. Genius! And the show touches on every single topic we discussed on Wednesday: the news oligopoly, the obsession with ratings, the political horse race, and absurd TV programming.

One of the plot lines of 30 Rock, shown largely through the existential struggles of network executive Jack Donaghy (played by Alec Baldwin), is the acquisition of NBC from its previous owner, General Electric, by the “fictitious” cable company called Kabletown. (Ahem, Comcast; Fey is poking fun at the actual sale of NBC from GE to Comcast that happened during the show’s run.) To satirize the absurd corporate structures both before and after the sale of the network, Fey designates Jack to be both the head of the network and the head of the Microwave division under GE, losing the latter position after NBC is sold. Jack struggles with the loss of this position, and the loss of his abilities to “create” something, coming up with numerous ideas and schemes to prove himself to his new boss at Kabletown.

One of his first ideas is couches. Just like a cable company buying a network is vertical integration, Jack decides that a network selling couches would further the vertical integration. This crazy idea aside, Kouchtown fails because of shoddy “American engineering” that creates couches so uncomfortable, they are purchased by law enforcement as interrogation chairs. But the show succeeds in using an absurd idea to pass on an important message: our “free” media is being held in fewer and fewer hands.

While 30 Rock struggled with ratings, TGS, the fictional show on the show likewise struggled, and Fey wrote in increasingly absurd demographics to poke fun at TV’s obsession with ratings. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Liz Lemon (Fey’s writer character) suggests that they will not be able to get the show done for Friday, to which Jack replies, “Well, that will really disappoint your key demographic of drunken 11-year-olds.”
  2. After introducing a new environmentalist mascot called Greenzo, Jack remarks, “Look how Greenzo’s testing! They love him in every demographic: colored people, broads, fairies, commies. Gosh, we gotta update these forms.”
  3. NBC’s new show about teenage boys on an island with hot moms, MILF Island has a new star called Deborah. Jack comments, “And Deborah is testing off the charts in the most profitable demographics: Soccer moms, NASCAR dads, white collar pervs and the obese.”

During the 2012 election, Fey also pokes fun at politicians and the people who impersonate them. She introduces a character called Governor Dunston, played by one of the cast members, Tracy Morgan, and then uses Morgan’s character, Tracey Jordan to satirize Dunston on TGS. Dunston is an absurd Republican politician and presidential candidate, promoting policies that terrify liberal Liz, while frequently humiliating himself in public. Because of Dunston and Jordan’s physical resemblance (they are played by the same actor), the Dunston skits put TGS’s ratings through the roof. However, the Dunston skits on TGS also increase the Republican Governor’s popularity, creating a moral dilemma for Liz: if she continues to write the skits, her show will get great ratings, but a foolish politician will get more votes for the presidential race; if she doesn’t write the skits, her show will suffer, but the candidate won’t benefit from the free media attention. The plot ingeniously pokes fun at Fey’s experience impersonating Sarah Palin, and eerily foreshadows the recent obsession of the media with Trump (it has helped their ratings, but has also helped Trump’s popularity).

All 7 beautiful seasons of 30 Rock are on Netflix and I encourage everyone to watch them. (I personally have binge-watched the show twice so far.) The pilot has received a lot of criticism, and the show takes a couple of episodes to find its comedic footing, but once you’re halfway through season 1, you can enjoy one of the best shows in TV history.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  • “Affirmative action was designed to keep women and minorities in competition with each other to distract us while white dudes inject AIDS into our chicken nuggets.” -Tracy
  • “No, Tracy took advantage of my white guilt, which is supposed to be used only for good, like over-tipping and supporting Barack Obama.” -Liz
  • “The only thing I will be discussing with the House Subcommittee on Baseball, Quiz Shows, Terrorism, and Media is vertical integration.” -Jack
  • “Okay, in my defense, every April 22nd I honor Richard Nixon’s death by getting drunk and making some unpopular decisions.” -Jack
  • “Every Tina I know is a judgmental bitch.” -Liz
  • “Oh, no, The Peace Corp. Lawrence Peace’s corporation. We drilled for oil in gorilla habitats.”-Avery

Here are the articles I used to write this post (and they are both worth a read!):

How Tina Fey’s ’30 Rock’ Lasted Seven Seasons and Changed the Game for Female Comedy Creators

10 Episodes that Show how 30 Rock Tweaked the Sitcom Formula

“The Network” – How Do Millennials Engage News?

This movie very entertainingly invites the viewer to look at the absurdities of today’s media from another perspective. The main character, Howard Beale, captures the frustrations of the nation and rises into a media sensation in a couple of weeks. The newly appointed vice-president of programming, Diane Christensen, identifies Beale’s value to the network and attempts to exploit Howard’s stress-driven mania. She seduces some TV executives to centralize powers to the corporations that own the network. When the corporation’s influence grew, suddenly the ratings were more important than the quality of information.

 

among-millennials-facebook-far-exceeds-any-other-source-for-political-news

 

On a side note, this film is pre-social media; meaning television news was a major news distributer. What about media consumption today you ask? Check out this diagram showing the media consumption of political news in varying generations.

 

 

In our post-film, we discussed how few major corporations, which are obligated to increase profits for shareholders, own the majority of television and news stations. This business model is very concerning, especially considering the trend since 1983 is consolidationthese-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-americaCheck out this diagram from an interesting article explaining  consolidation of media! However something very interesting also emerged during our discussion – not a single student including myself had cable meaning. This made me wonder – How are people engaging news? Since everyone seemed aware of media ownership, I wondered how this influences their how they get news.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 6.16.47 PM

Today there are a plethora of options to get news, but when you look at the corporate ownership there are six main companies with 90% ownership. Since the younger generation is engaging media differently, this may not be as influential for them. This was the silver lining when considering the future of politics, which ultimate reflects the media’s exposure and framing of issues. According the recent pew pools – millennials are seeking alternative forms like social media. Consider the implication of Facebook offering $3 billion to buy Snapchat… The network sends a powerful message by encouraging the viewers to consider the implications of corporate influences on the news industry. Final diagram below – explains the distrust of many news sources from millennials.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 6.42.37 PMWorks Cited –

  1. http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6
  2. http://www.neatorama.com/2008/07/07/who-owns-what-on-television/

Only the Good Die Young

Much to everyones dismay, I am NOT going to write about Donald Trump and politics and media today. Instead, I think it’s important to recognize the importance of ratings and how not everyone might agree with the ratings, but thats business. If a show doesn’t have good enough ratings, essentially it is destined to be cancelled. This was the motivation behind the Howard Beale Show, to expand the audience and eventually ratings would skyrocket! But can there be a way to beat the rating system and are we, in fact, headed in that very direction?

I have had some bad luck in TV shows when it comes to ratings and being cancelled. A few noteworthy favorites that got the short end of the TV show season renewal stick include: Underemployed, Pan Am, Wicked City, Smash and Glory Daze. Basically, if you really like a TV show, make sure I don’t like the same one because it is destined for cancellation.

Check out this website for more details about the ratings and cancellations: http://tvseriesfinale.com/television-ratings/

I think this is a sad reality of television. The fact that the industry is so driven by ratings and the size of the audience is relevant in more ways than one. In the case of the Howard Beale Show, the fear of bad ratings incentivizes the show to put on an ‘act of sorts’. They get to the point where they are just giving the people what they think they want and that is not always reality. This media corruption should be a reality check for us as an audience to work harder to find the truth and not just rely on the news.

Well, do you know what else the people want? We want answers! I can’t imagine HOW any of the TV series that I mentioned above would have ended. My latest cancelled show, Wicked City, had 3 episodes that were aired before they pulled the plug. WHO KNOWS what kind of potential was in the story. The sad part is, that we may never know. Because of how seriously ratings are taken in the TV world, we may never get the truth or the answers we deserve.

This made me think of the Film Festival this past weekend as well. I saw some well written, genuinely good film. However, with the industry being the way it is, WHO KNOWS if large audiences of people will ever get to see these films. Obviously when it comes to film and TV, different people have different preferences and opinions on things and we can’t make everyone happy.

In conclusion, since TV is really taking a modern transition into streaming and less people are watching traditional cable TV, can we really use the ratings as a justifiable reason to cancel a TV show? Maybe the more important thing is for writers to tell their stories from beginning to end and for the news TV shows, much like the Howard Beale Show, to tell the truth (long shot, but I’m a dreamer), and NOT worry about ratings since they know that they wont be cancelled. It’s kind of like school, if we were graded on a pass fail basis, would we as students experience less stress, more incentive to do better and a better appreciation for schooling in general?

**Side note:
Did anyone else think about this when they were screaming “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore”?

News Media Today a.k.a. The Onion In Real Life

For those of you unfamiliar with what I mean by my title, first go to TheOnion.com and read some of the best parody news in the entire world.

Moving on, Network had this very odd and totally wrong prediction about the future of news and that is that the news department will be trying to manufacture sensational news just to attract viewers. The last scene of the movie is Howard Beale being killed essentially for ratings, ad revenue, and an idea for another show. Thankfully that has never happened oh wait shit strap in.

Remember how Dr. Jordan talked about in class how Trump is getting all of the media coverage and by extension is winning all of these votes essentially because he’s who the news cares about? That’s not just because he says crazy things. Remember that huge poll that CNN had late last year (when we still had 400 candidates) that showed Trump at 36%? Yeah that wasn’t some actual measure of popularity. They designed the poll to give him an edge. Why? If their poll has him leading they get to cover him more, and people tune in for Trump. It’s unethical to say the least and infuriating to say the most. But moving on.

But news reporters don’t do morally awful things just for the sake of ratings? Except for that time a bunch of reporters broke into the apartment of the San Bernadino shooters two days after the shooting. Depending on who you are that might still have been an active crime scene. But no let’s show pictures of children on TV in relation to a terrorist attack and let’s also contaminate potential evidence. It’s actually pretty disgusting. Salvia Eric comments on it in a way better way than I can (warning it is very not safe for work).

I don’t know. I’d like to believe that Network was wrong and everyone involved in news is the Walter Cronkite of their generation always on the hunt for the truth. But you see things like this and you get kind of depressed.

P.S. I found an Onion article from the day after Obama won the election called “After Obama Victory, Shrieking White-Hot Sphere of Pure Rage Early GOP Frontrunner for 2016.” lol