Wednesday, March 24, 2004

  1. For the majority of the book, I was wondering about the roll of the underprivileged in Turow’s analysis. Thankfully, he addressed the issue in the very end. But still, there is the question of how this (larger?) half of society fit into the divisions created by the advertising industry. After all, they spend money too. I am left curious about the strategies aimed towards this segment (WalMart and KoolAid ads spring to mind).
  2. Turrow’s work also holds questions for the “objective” model of journalism, which has some of its basis in mass appeal. Rather than loose a group of readers/viewers, the theory goes, it is better to offer a story that is free of observable bias. Certainly some new “fair and balanced” news organizations are beginning to challenge this model, but the issue remains for discussion of what the implications of moving away from it might be.
  3. A few weeks ago, I referred to by Cass Sunstein. He makes a similar argument, but extends it to claim that fragmentation can have an ill effect of creating a number of polarized groups who do not really communicate with each other. This appears to be a central issue here--communication. Turrow’s work makes claims about the fragmentation, but then seems to jump to the conclusion that it naturally will lead to a breakdown of social cohesion. If we are making the claim that the separations created by advertising are having these effects, shouldn’t we also look at how interaction between segments is beginning to take place? What is the effect of these interactions on social divisions?
-john t

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