Mass Media Analysis

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Please give detailed and thorough answers to each of these questions. It is important to have access to the textbook : Media, Persuasion and Propaganda by Marshall Soules (2015).

1. For this essay question, watch two pharmaceutical TV commercials, and compare the two ads, in terms of how they are each creating and/or enhancing a particular schema to get potential consumers thinking along the lines of a certain scenario, as well as to convince them they need the product. Which advertiser is doing it more effectively, and why?

2. Consider President Trump’s recent remarks about NFL players who “[disrespect] our flag” (his words), the backlash from the NFL commissioner and others, as well as the coverage the conversation has received all across the media.

You may watch and read more about this at the following link (on ESPN):…

Also consider that Gilmore et al said on pp. 702-703, that “news often echoes the focus and voices of political and economic opinion leaders, including government officials” and (next paragraph) “journalists might choose to cite government officials and political leaders who promulgate an overtly pro-American viewpoint that reaffirms U.S. national identity. Such a perspective is reflective of what scholars have termed “uncritical” patriotism, which combines an unquestioning positive evaluation of the country with intolerance of national cricitism.”

For the example above, in what ways are both President Trump and the news media promulgating an “uncritical” patriotism that shows intolerance of national criticism and attempts to shut down any questions about the definitions of patriotism and loyalty to the U.S.? Are the news media merely acting as conduits through which the President is voicing his opinions? Or are the news media, through their coverage, privileging the most obvious proponents on either side of the conversation, while marginalizing moderate viewpoints? Are any and all parties in the discussion seeking to minimize rational and potentially constructive dialogue on this issue? How so? Why would they?

3. Please watch at least a couple minutes of this video: (Copy and paste it into your browser.)

SORRY! WARNING: There’s a fair amount of cussing, especially in the first few minutes. Skip over to the middle or later sections, if you like! Mostly it’s bleeped after that.

On page 10 of MPP, Soules writes, “Ideology legitimates power relations and is necessary for maintaining those relations. Persuasion and propaganda are necessary in democracies, because the powerful must constantly reaffirm and rationalise their dominance to pacify citizen doubts and complaints, make the social order seem natural and encourage trust in the system.” Soules goes on to discuss Gramsci’s concept of hegemony, which he believes leads to ideologies being thought of as “common sense” and being taken for granted.

In light of what John Oliver is saying about the NCAA and student athletes not getting paid, and given the discussion of how powerful groups acquire and maintain ideological power, what do you believe is the mass media’s role in maintaining and enhancing the power relationship of colleges and coaches over players? Is the American public being deceived by the NCAA and colleges in general? How effective do you think John Oliver’s challenging of the status quo power held by media and college athletics programs will ultimately be, especially given the millions of dollars made by television, cable, and radio networks that cover college sports?

4. Do you believe Marshall Soules is correct in saying that President Bush’s post-911 speech (seen on various mass media) was monological? Why or why not? And which decoding strategy (as identified by Hall) do you think was best facilitated by the live, mass-mediated coverage of his speech? To what degree do you think this decoding strategy affected the persuasiveness of the president’s message?

5. In the article “Why Do (We Think) They Hate Us” by Gilmore, Meeks, and Domke, the authors write (on page 703), “…when journalists cover instances of manifest anti-American sentiment, they turn to official sources and political leaders for their interpretations. In this process, one of the key communication decisions by politicians and journalists is how to assess cause and effect for this societal concern (research cited). Such assessments for national problems in particular often spur accusations of blame, because someone or something–rather than the nation’s mythic ideals–must be at fault. Such attributions of blame, Iyengar (1991) suggests, serve as “powerful psychological cue(s)” for public opinions and attitudes, and politicians and journalists work hard and strategically to craft their words for such moments (more research cited). In such a context, who gets blamed is contested space.

What is the significance, and what are the potential implications of their statements here, if true?

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