Many actors are involved in this issue, but here I will outline just the bare bones:
The Monoorm and ‘objectivity’
The smothering o virtually all TV andcommercial cinema within the limiting structure o the Monoorm presents many problemsand contradictions - especially in a proession claiming to uphold ‘objectivity’, ‘impartiality’,‘airness’, ‘balance’, etc. Related to this issue is the act that commercial cinema producersuniversally claim that their products are uniquely “entertainment”, the “telling o a goodstory with strong characters” - and deny that there is any
agenda orimpact (intentional or not) behind the making and screening o their lms.The notion o ‘impartiality’ (the idea that the message is unbiased and can convey ‘acts’),when applied to the consequences o receiving inormation rom the MAVM, is a completemyth. I the MAVM are impartial, why is it that we can still claim to know so little aboutthe consequences o the sustained impact o audio-visual messages? - it is certainly not‘objective’ or the MAVM to withhold that inormation rom us!It is not uncommon or media proessionals to say that they too understand that ‘objectivity’ doesnot exist... and to continue by saying that, “all you can strive or is some kind o balanceand airness when you present something in a documentary or news programme...”.But this claim holds no water either. “Balance” and “airness” are meaningless concepts whenone considers that the products parading under this banner are invariably structured bythe Monoorm, and deliberately not discussed by the media... again, this is hardly ‘air’or ‘balanced’.
Culture o suppression within the MAVM
The Monoorm is nowcompulsory as media practice in all but name - a widespread repression throughout theproession enorces its use, and all attempts, either publicly or on the screen, to debate theissue are blocked. We have only to look around us to see the ruits o this silence - as we haveonly to look at TV, or visit the commercial cinema or some months, to see it in practice.Filmmakers today have the utmost diculty in making a lm or commercial cinema or TVunless they use: a) the ideology o the media popular culture, b) the Monoorm. Both aremandatory in all but name, and have resulted in the widespread proessional rejection / banning o a broad swathe o alternative orms o audiovisual communication - especiallyones using slower, more contemplative and complex editing and narrative orms, or onesthat present less brutally simplistic themes with a social concern and a critical edge.The nature and extent o this internal repression remains a secret to the public, even thoughits evidence is seen and heard every day on the screen. The MAVM reuse to debate thesignicance o this problem, and suppress any lm or TV production that attempts to raise it.As a consequence, it is now very common (and has long been the practice in commercialcinema) or commissioning editors and senior producers in TV to intervene directly in thecreative process o TV programmes, orcing material to conorm to ‘accepted practices’and the dictates o commercialism. TV and commercial cinema executives insist on theuse o the standardised Monoorm (without o course reerring to it as such), and telldirectors (and editors) that without it “we lose our audience”.It is impossible to exaggerate the extent o the repression that is now in place within theMAVM or the extent o the culture o compromise that allows it to happen. This is urtherillustrated by the emergence o the “universal clock” and “pitching” (see my writingelsewhere on these practices). Unortunately, many lmmakers and related proessionalshave accepted all o these repressions or ear o jeopardising their possibilities to obtainproduction unding, or work o any kind.One o the many glaring contradictions in the contemporary MAVM is that, alongside therepression, TV organisations still carry ocial texts o
Broadcasting Codes, Standards and Practices
, which herald the notions o ‘objectivity’ and ‘airness’!
Agendas and process o the MAVM
The media crisis does not onlyrelate to the enorced use o the Monoorm, but also to the
o the MAVM - whatthe media decide to show on the TV screen or to produce or the cinema (or print in thepress). With some exceptions (notably in the print media), the agendas o the mass mediaare extremely conservative and based on a national ideology (or lack o one) - which in theWest implies the maintenance o neoliberal globalisation.One way to consider the impact o media agendas is to contemplate how dierent the planetarysituation would be, had the MAVM not been incessantly bombarding us or the past hal-century with consumer-society values.The issues o language-orm and control agendas are only part o the media crisis. Anotheraspect is the undemocratic
o the MAVM towards the public - and this touchesupon every element regarding the decisions that the media make about what to say/tell, ornot, to the public (
), and about how to structure the presentation (
involves every other aspect o the relationship: the training that proessionals undergo,how they dialogue and communicate, or not, with the public (via public meetings, etc.),