reporting “ flat lies ” O t h e r

reporting “ flat lies ” O t h e r

Assignment 1

In your own words write a summary of about 750 words that describes the pertinent aspects of popular culture as discussed in the readings in this section. In particular for this section, I would like you to think about the intersections of popular culture and mass media and consider the role of the news media in our culture today. Fox News, The Daily Show, MSNBC, CNN, and all of the news celebrities they develop, all play pivotal roles in our culture that far exceed “mere news.” Some ways you might approach this would be by considering how news media and its media personalities shape our perceptions of the world. For example:

  • Is news inherently propagandistic (Chomsky)? Why or why not? Can you provide some examples?
  • Does this depend on the channel?  Also, can the news media be truly objective?  Why or why not?  
  • What about the influence of money? TV news is market driven and news directors make choices about what to air based on ratings. Is this a good thing? If not, what’s the alternative?  
  • What about the differences in medium: TV news vs. news over the Internet.  Which is better/worse?  Why?
  • What about the so-called “democratization of the internet” with memes, andmashups, and recuts, and bloggers, and YouTube, and Facebook, and Twitter, etc. We often now get content straight from the source, for example, a celebrity’s Twitter feed or Facebook page. How is that impacting our understanding of what is news, what is true and false, what content is “owned.” and what is available for anyone to use? 
  • Considering its past, what is the future of the “news” as it relates to how Graziandiscusses online media? 
  • Considering all of this, could/should the news be any different than it is? If not, why not, and if so then how?

Post your response to the “8.0 Media readings responses” section of the discussion board. Please cite specific passages from the readings to support your claims.

Assignment 2

Drawing on the “Things to think about when watching the film” section in the film folder, write a roughly 750-1000 word response to the film for this section that compares and contrasts the issues discussed in both films regarding media, how we consume media, how media may or may not be impartial, and so forth. The specifics of your response are up to you, but you should try to draw together ideas discussed in the readings and the lectures and compare them to issues covered in the films.

Things to think about when watching the film

The film for this section is a documentary that provides a perspective on the international perception of the Iraq War, through the lens of the Al Jazeera new channel.  Al Jazerra was criticized by U.S. State Department and Pentagon officials for reporting “flat lies” and running stories with a pro-Arab bias, and condemned for frequently airing civilian causalities as well as footage of American POWs; however, the station was also criticized by Arab countries as running “propaganda” for the United States.  Today Al Jazerra continues to be the Arab world’s most popular news outlet.

  • Both the United States and Iraq accused Al Jazerra of showing propaganda for the other side.  
    • After watching the film, do you think that Al Jazerra was a propaganda mouthpiece, or a legitimate news organization?  Explain why?
  • Al Jazerra claims that its goals are to educate people about democracy, open information, and free debate.  
    • After viewing the film, do think it is achieving its goal?  Why or why not?
  • All the major news organizations covering the war were stationed at “CentCom,” the United State’s central command center.  
    • Do you think this hindered the ability of news organizations, particularly American news organization’s ability to be objective?
    • Why or why not?  Give specific scenes from the film that influenced your perception.
  • At the end of the film, one of the employees of Al Jazerra says something to the effect that that the whole war is like a movie: you know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, you’re just waiting to find out what happens in the end.  
    • After watching the film, what role did the news media play in shaping the public’s conception of war?
  • Al Jazerra claimed that their aim was to show that any war has human costs, something they say is sanitized in the U.S. media; however, they were condemned by British and American politicians for showing dead Iraqi bodies and American POW’s on television.  
    • Considering what the American military journalist says in the film about his reaction to Iraqi vs. American casualties being shown on TV, do you think Al Jazerra was right or wrong to show dead civilians, soldiers, and American POWs on television?  
    • How would the footage be received differently by citizens of different countries?
  • Much of the end of the film centers on the death of an Al Jazerra reporter.  
    • What do you think happened?  
    • Was his death an accident?  
    • Was he targeted and killed because he worked for Al Jazerra?  
    • Why would the U.S. bomb that particular building?  
    • Do you believe the U.S.’s explanation for why it happened?  
    • Do you think that the bombings were good or bad for U.S. public relations in the region?  
    • Could the U.S. have handled the after-effects better

    • Link for the film:

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