Monday, September 24, 2018

MediaTheory: Media, Normative Theories and a Chomskyan Critique (W4-P3) Fa18

One of the general types of theories talked about in the beginning of media theory books is normative theories. It is usually covered along with a general introduction to critical theories.

What is a normative theory and what does it have to do with media?

“Normative theories … don’t describe things as they are, nor do they provide scientific explanations or predictions. Instead, they describe the way things should be if some ideal values or principles are to be realized” (Baran and Davis, p. 61).

When looking at media we could start to ask questions like: How should media be organized?  What relationship should there be between media and government?

One normative political theory that can be applied to media is libertarianism.

Libertarianism: “In the most general sense, libertarianism is a political philosophy that affirms the rights of individuals to liberty, to acquire, keep, and exchange their holdings, and considers the protection of individual rights the primary role for the state” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

Libertarianism in 6 Minutes

Chomsky and his Critique of (American) Libertarianism

“Noam Chomsky ... is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes described as "the father of modern linguistics," Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He is the author of over 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism” (Wikipedia).

Noam Chomsky - Freedom of Speech I

Chomsky and Manufacturing Consent

On of Chomsky’s books that deals critically with media is Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.  This is also a title of a documentary and Chomsky and his idea.

Manufacturing Consent (trailer)

When watching the full documentary, take careful notes on terms like hegemonymanufacturing consentnecessary illusionsmedia consolidation/concentration, the Herman & Chomsky propaganda model and flak  Note also lists like those associated with the propaganda model.

If you are interested, parts of the Manufacturing Consent doc are available YouTube.
Also, if you interested, you may find "Key points in 'Manufacturing Consent'" helpful.

Also, if interested, there is a more up-to-date video of 5 filters of the propaganda model.

Lastly, if you are interested in what Manufacturing Consent says about today's media landscape, you may want to check out these two videos, one a more recent interview of Herman and the other of Chomsky.

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