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Modern mass media consolidation and the erosion of information

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The mass and the removal of the need for discourse.
    1. Media critics, analysts, observers, and the like.
    2. Media - always influenced by the dollar.
  3. The process for removing the necessity for hard information.
    1. The Media Monopoly by Ben H. Bagdikian.
    2. Mass media as an authority more trustworthy than the government itself.
    3. Keeping the American public feeling the same way.
    4. The general format of a news program.
    5. Turning the news into entertainment.
  4. Presidential elections - gold mines for the media.
    1. The narrative structures created by the media in politics.
  5. Conclusion.

Ever since there has been a way to convey information?spoken language, perhaps even body language??there has been the immediate by-product of misinformation. It is a reasonable assumption to say that nothing presented as information of any sort can ever be fully ?true,? particularly if that information is coming from a limited number of sources. However, the introduction of ?media? that offered the possibility of providing information to increasingly larger numbers of people has only proven to come with more undesirable effects. In times even as recently as the 1800's and early 1900's, when newspapers were the dominant mass media, the public was more prepared to know how specific information affected them and how it affected them personally. Additionally, the linguistic tradition that existed prior to mass media encouraged discursive thought and demanded patience from the public, who could decide for themselves how they felt about a particular issue. As Neil Postman wrote in Amusing Ourselves to Death, events such as the Lincoln-Douglas debate were met with enthusiasm from a public who yearned to know for themselves, and who would ultimately decide for themselves based on in-depth analytical information they received.

[...] Where did our demand for information The implication is that the mass media is what has done the bulk of the damage, which is true, but disregards earlier forms of media and, more significantly, the very nature of people. It is true that television news has become more and more irrelevant, but the roots of misinformation presented as information and entertainment presented as news are much deeper than television itself. The most important difference between newspapers of the time and debates such as the Lincoln-Douglas ones was not that the audience was getting information directly from the source (which they were) or that debates provided a more in-depth analytical forum for the individuals who were presenting information (which it did). [...]

[...] The diminishing ownership of mass media has directly affected not only the way the American public receives information, but the kind of information they receive and the level of contentment they express for compromised content. Huge corporations, sharing political interests, are satisfied with the political status quo as long as it continues to encourage and support them. In their programming, the media finds a way to ensure the same political contentment amongst their audience by removing information from context and convincing the viewer that they are still being informed somehow. [...]

[...] This allows the media to turn news into entertainment and avoid presenting actual information at the same time. Presidential elections have been gold mines for the media in terms of creating narratives out of politics. In 2000, the characters were heavily built up?Al Gore the sitting vice president trying to step out of the shadow of his Bill Clinton; and George W. Bush, the son of an ex- president. When the election results were too close to call initially, and a recount in Florida was demanded, the media had an entirely new cast of characters within the Florida state government. [...]

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