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Biggs 1 Summer Biggs Professor Innes Mitchell Media Communications 1 February 2012 The Corporation and The Crisis

in Journalism Response Paper The Corporation, a film by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott, and Joel Bakan and The Crisis in Journalism, a book chapter from The Death and Life of American Journalism go hand in hand by showing how media is changing. Tension between journalism and commerce, buyouts, layoffs, downsizings, lack of public control, and the corporate agenda are all concerns our society has began to deal with in the 21st century. These concerns seem to be well known but the public is unaware of the degree and the long-term consequences these issues hold. After watching the documentary, I was very surprised at how much I didnt know about modern corporations. I felt strange because I now feel like I dont know the truth. These big name corporations that we all are so familiar with, and who we choose to trust, are completely profit driven and will lie, perform immoral acts, and manipulate consumers. I thought it was perfect the way the filmmakers listed the characteristics of corporations, gave specific examples, and then connected these criteria to the behaviors of a a psychopath. In The Seven Deadly Sins of Corporate Doubletalk, Larry Alexander compiles a similar list. Ignoring major social problems, placing the blame on someone else, discrediting outside critics, firing troublemakers, suppressing information, countering with a PR campaign, and denying charges all are all connected with the major theme from the film of corporations only concern with short term profit and their stockholders. Alexander shows how each one of these sins is detrimental to long-term success. Many of these sins initially seem to work, which reinforces a companys

Biggs 2 belief that its response is correct. Unfortunately, they often backfire in the long run when the true picture emerges and the company is exposed for some inappropriate behavior (Alexander). It makes me wonder what loyalty means to corporations and at what point is too far. The passages that created the most impact on me were about the sweatshops in Honduras, Bangladesh and China. The footage shown of the young girls working in the factories was astonishing. I couldnt believe that when corporations realize they cant do any more in a country, they move onto the next desperate lot because the wages are too high and people are no longer desperate. Its the principle of exploitation that is so astounding. This represents the films arguments of harm to workers, unconcern for feelings of others, and the incapability of maintaining enduring relationships. The most lasting impression I got from the film was the concept of generational tyranny and taxation without representation. The Corporation discussed how our generation is leaving a horrible legacy of diminishment of the environment for our grandchildrens grandchildren. I really liked the metaphor of the first people to try and fly. The person thinks they are flying because the ground is so far away but in reality, he is just in free fall. The false perception we have of our unlimited resources is a scary thing to think about. Just like in the metaphor, the ground is coming up fast and we need to find a way to slow it down, or ultimately keep from hitting the bottom. This part of the film made me realize that the responsibility is on all of us. It isnt fair to take from the earth something that belongs to future generations as well. It will be their home, just as much as it is ours now. The purpose of this film is to inform the public about the nature of modern corporations and to raise awareness about the need for media reform. I think that the filmmakers of The Corporation were very effective in their communication strategies. Their argument was sound

Biggs 3 based on the ethos, logos and pathos used. The ethos came from the credibility of the interview subjects. From the forty subjects interviewed, there were CEOs and executives from a wide variety of industries like oil, manufacturing, branding, advertising and undercover marketing. Academics, historians and critics were also included. In terms of logos, the documentary was filled with statistics, actual footage, court decisions, and excerpts from news and business reports. The variety of information and the way they compared public perception to actual events was very successful in my opinion. And finally, the use of pathos played a huge part in the impact the filmmakers wanted to create. They wanted to make the viewer feel a sense of realization, astonishment, and fear. These reactions are central to the purpose of the film, which is to get people to act on these emotions and become part of the solution. The purpose of The Crisis in Journalism is to acknowledge the problem surrounding the newspaper industry and to outline the future of journalism. I also think the authors of this book were effective in getting their message across to the readers. They broke up the chapter with their main points in question form, and then answered the question, giving the chapter a Q&A feel. This allows people to quickly see what they want to know; question, answer, problem, and solution. They also used studies, quotes, charts and graphs to back up their claims and to represent their argument in a variety of ways. The intended audience of both the film and the book chapter are men and women ages 18 to 60. I think both works are trying to target adults in general. The older adults are included because they are the ones who are concerned about corporate power and the death of newspapers. They are the ones who have experienced better times, when the public had more control over corporations and when the Internet didnt threaten journalism. They are looking for answers. On the other hand, the younger adults in this target audience are the ones who need to

Biggs 4 be informed. Generally, teenagers and young adults arent concerned about these topics. The filmmakers of The Corporation and the authors of The Crisis in Journalism must reach out to these people, in hopes that the upcoming generation will take action. I do consider myself to be part of the intended audience because I am a potential solution. From watching The Corporation, I have learned about marketing and advertising techniques that seem to raise some issues. The nag factor is how kids get their parents to buy the things they want. The documentary discusses the nagging study that has parents record every time their child nagged them for a product. It was designed to help corporations help children to nag more effectively. Companies are in a way, manipulating children into buying their products. Food marketing expenditures aimed at children increased from $6.9 billion in 1992 to $15 billion in 2002 - this includes advertising for such items as cheese crackers, pasta, cereals, sweetened snacks, Oscar Mayer 'Lunchables' and Kellogg's Pop-Tarts, as well as fast-food restaurants (Spake 2003) (Bridges). It is clearly an effective strategy, but is it ethical? There is debate over if it is okay for marketers to play towards childrens developmental stages. From the film, I have learned that our society is starting to see the world in terms of commodities. The film uses the examples of water being privatized in Bolivia. It is amazing that someone could charge families for such a basic human need. Although not as extreme as the example of water, commodifying information is also becoming an issue. It is an anomaly that information, the one thing most necessary to our survival as choosers of our own way, should be a commodity subject to the same merchandising rules as chewing gum (Jackson). This is exactly why the media reform movement is so important. The media are now a political issue. And not just that, but its understood as a keystone issue like a keystone species, something that critically affects virtually everything else we care about (Jackson).

Biggs 5 My perceptions of the media, private corporations, government and American society have changed after watching the film and reading The Crisis in Journalism mostly because I have now become aware. Ive learned that the media is in trouble. In the book chapter, it emphasizes the consequences of the loss of newspapers. If the daily newspaper disappears, other forms of news that are living on it will be weakened. I strongly believe that media reform is necessary. I think I could see myself getting involved in a media reform movement at some point in my life. A lot of progress is ahead in terms of this issue but we have to look at the accomplishments made so far as well. People are aware of media reform, which is an achievement in itself. The part that will take work is getting people to do something about it. Taking action is the next step. With people getting informed by sources like The Corporation and The Crisis in Journalism, we are moving towards this next step.

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Works Cited Alexander, Larry D. "The Seven Deadly Sins Of Corporate Doubletalk." Business & Society Review (00453609) 48 (1984): Business Source Complete. Web. 31 Jan. 2012. Bridges, Eileen, and Richard A. Briesch. "The 'Nag Factor' And Children's Product Categories." International Journal Of Advertising 25.2 (2006): 157-187. Business Source Complete. Web. 31 Jan. 2012. Jackson, Janine. "Media Reform For What?." Extra! 19.1 (2006): 5. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.