Sunday, May 3, 2009

Media Matters - Don't Believe the Hype

Per request from my former student(thanks Ashley!) I am going to offer a few thoughts on the swine flu...and my thoughts on the subject can really be summed up in one sentence: MEDIA STRIKES AGAIN!

The best thing that has come out of this pandemic so far is the funny joke going around that Ashley posted in an earlier post...."They said we'll have a Black President when pigs fly. 100 days later - Swine Flu! (flew)" LOL :-)

The most important thing that has come out of this is the latest example of the power of the media to DEFINE reality....not reflect it. While this new flu strain may or may not be a pandemic in the grand scheme of things, what the media made it OVER NIGHT was ISSUE #1.

It took NO time for it to be the topic of conversation everywhere, including my classrooms. Students came into my classes buzzing about a swine flu no one had heard of two days prior.. don't tell me the media is not can shape people's thoughts, and as we've seen, behaviors, overnight. Understanding that power is critical.

So while I made light of the swine flu (I was not feeling well this past week and told students that i might have I will never make light of hegemony and the media's power to shape our reality.

The airwaves are public and are supposed to be used for public good...but corporate media is driven by profit, NOT public interests.

Supporting organizations like FREEPRESS.NET and MEDIA MATTERS is one practical step we ALL can do to demand a truly free press and more accountable media. We also need to make sure we get information from sources that provide more robust and critical commentary, sites like ALTERNET.ORG and PLAYAHATA.COM.

Flu Schmlu ... Forget the Media's Hype

By Cervantes, AlterNet. Posted April 29, 2009.

There are many things to fear in this world, but so far the swine flu isn't one of them.


Jeff Lee said...

Yep-(from what I know-but I'm no expert so don't quote me on this!), it's basically a different mutation of the normal flu, even though the symptoms are the generally the same. This hysteria has caused a lot of talk to me from my parents.

I'm kind of curious-how have you handled this situation as a parent to your kids knowing the hype that surrounds it?

Ashley said...

love the article.

love my personal shoutout.


Jeff Lee said...

Tina I was reading this great article on how technology controlling us vs us controlling it:

I think reason #6 ("We're victims of the outrage machine") offers an interesting argument on how media has made it seem like we are worse off than our parents and how there is no "mass media" anymore. What do you think?

Tina said...

Hey Jeff - sorry i fell off and didn't get back on this thread...I actually didn't hype the issue at all with my kids. they brought home notes from school but I didn't say much, just basically explained like you said here that I thought it was a pretty much the same as normal flu and the media is apt to make news not reflect it.