Well, the summer quarter has begun and with it are the last two Gen Ed classes that I need! One of them is Advanced Composition. The theme in this class is argument and debate. I'm still pretty choppy in the persuasive writing area though, it's not my best or favorite writing style! lol Hopefully I'll at least still pass.
He gives us a topic or a sentence and then we respond by writing an essay on whether we agree or disagree with the statement, and what we think should be done about it. This week was the Media and the sentence was: Media influences in the United States are largely negative, and for this reason, should be somehow regulated and even censored if necessary. This one was difficult because there are several ways of looking at it. And tons of opinions! As with anything...
If it needs to be censored, well, who's censoring it, the government? Do I really want them telling me what I can and can't watch like the government in China where it reaches to what news stories can be covered and which one's can't? Or since there is freedom of speech, what does it matter what they say, since they're free to say what they want, just turn it off. Or, shouldn't I be responsible for what goes on in my own house? If there are children in the home you can block certain channels and put parental controls on so they're not accessible. You can teach them what to watch and what not to, but what about when you gone? You can lock the TV so that it can't be turned on, but who wants to take such extreme measure in their own home, with their own children? That's basically what the classroom sounded like for about twenty minutes, just ideas and debate flying with the teacher arguing and questioning every point.
"Problems With the Media Today"
News shows, talk radio, newspapers, billboards, and the internet - it seems that no matter where you go you are bomb-barded with the media. This means taking in the good and the bad. Every day it seems as though the lines of media appropriateness become increasingly blurred. It seems that commercials and commentary are becoming more and more risqué with each passing week. It has gotten to where a family cannot sit together in the evening and enjoy a "family program" because even if it’s appropriate, the ads certainly aren’t.
What a lot of Americans may not know is that there is an organization dedicated to regulating all communications in or originating in the United States. It’s the Federal Communications Commission or the FCC. Their primary power comes from their ability to renew or decline to renew licenses to broadcasting stations. Prior to the 1980s, the FCC had a number of guidelines meant to keep the public stations as vessels primarily for the public good. This meant that a certain amount of hours each day were devoted to non-entertainment programming only, such as educational or news shows. The problem is that the rules regarding monopolies were much stricter before the ‘80s and as they were loosened, a number of affiliates were bought up by larger companies that reduced programming diversity significantly. This meant that as is true in so many areas, money was the bottom line. Large companies bought the airways and marketing teams started to push the accepted lines, and since the American viewers as a whole did not seem to mind, things were allowed to slide to where they are today.
The good news is that although it seems it would be impossible to revert back to the days when lingerie was not allowed to be paraded across the screen at any time, it is possible to take steps in that direction. This would mean that we first demand that the FCC monitor the airways better and not allow certain shows or ads to be aired during times when children are generally awake. The old rules of family appropriate television between the hours of six and nine in the evening need to be brought back and strictly enforced. Then the issue of how much skin is actually necessary to entice people to buy a product can be addressed. Does it really take two scantily clad women to get someone to buy a new car? If so then the FCC is the wrong agency to help with that problem. Before the airways become any worse we need to stand up for responsible television airing and stop asking, “Why?” and start asking, “How can we fix it?”