The Thin Line between Satire and Misinformation

The Deseret News coverage of Stephen Colbert’s report of “Yahweh or No way, Mormons and God’s polling numbers” had, in my mind, a perfect introduction. It reads “When it comes to comedy, the line between satire and misinformation can be a thin one.” The article then talks about the coverage of the Obama Administration using the word ‘weird’ against the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign.

At first, Colbert seemed a little defensive of the LDS church, and how inaccurate ad misleading the word ‘weird’ is in a professional sense. Then his satire gets more dense as he starts to hamper on the LDS church’s “I’m a Mormon” campaign in their PR department. It is still visible that Colbert is trying to be a balanced; but it becomes more obvious that he is more critical of the campaign of the church than he is defending Obama’s “weird” notion of the Presidential campaign.

Of course Colbert is slightly biased in his criticisms and comments, but he mentioned that he was Catholic, and for me that stabilized his credibility to even be addressing a religious subject. There are biases in all things, but this one in particular seemed to be just poking fun and making a joke.

The Deseret News coverage on the piece was a little more geared towards the inaccuracy of his comments and outside opinions of those who also had some sort of literacy into the situation.


The Everyday Morals we Ignore

Sometimes we forget that we are surrounded by violations of our moral beliefs as Christians and as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. For example, I show up to Albertsons, Walmart, etc. and I am waiting in line to check out. I see a flood of Magazines with titles like “Kim’s 10 ways to feel sexy!” or “Insider’s look into the Taylor & Hiddleston breakup!” or “Exclusive interview with Angelina Jolie  reveals the reason behind the divorce”.

For some reason, it has become the American public’s ‘duty’ or ‘daily scoop’ to be a part of the lives of celebrities or be a part of the gossip that the Media is framing for us to be ‘in touch with the world/society’. There is a difference between subscribing to those magazines and subscribing to other magazines like Better Home and Gardens.  The magazines that seem to fuel the American public with the “inside scoop” on quite literally stranger’s lives are also crossing the line of human privacy and specifically our moral standpoint on pornography. Is there such thing anymore anyway with Target’s transgender bathrooms? We see these everywhere. We see immodest swimsuit pictures on the front page, we see suggestive poses on Billboards, the list goes on.

The question is- has anyone ever questioned the morality of these portrayals? It is different if the person themselves are posting inappropriate pictures, but our society doesn’t seem to be bothered by all of the immorality that is shoved in our face. Regardless of religion or religious standpoint, I think that these issues need to be addressed in some manner by our society.

Lights, Camera… is everyone okay?

Live television takes a huge risk with anything. The fact that QVC managed to mess it up with a ladder commercial means that it could get messed up with just about anything anyone is trying to do. If your an anchor man/woman and you’re trying to give a soft story at the end of the day about a charity for kids like ‘Toys for Tots’ you could lose a large portion of your audience if you say the wrong name,  say something vulgar like (‘toys and tits’), or in any ways suggest that the organization is not really worth anyone’s time.

For example, if those hoverboard things that got super popular around last year made a video montage of all the people who had hurt themselves or fallen off of it, they might be out of business. It is so common to see accidents like this anyway- like a news reporter gets hit with a mailbox in a hurricane or something it might turn to bad PR on that news organization.

Live television with advertising is a huge risk in general- but it appears so much more than we think.

How the Internet will Transform the Government

This TED talk was done by Clay Shirky, a media expert.  TED talk by Clay Shirky

The talk was basically about the open source programming and the ramifications of it. I thought it was interesting that he said ‘cooperation without coordintation’ and how the US Tax laws are all so dependent upon each other and that is how democracy is being affected by it. He talked about how we are coming up with newer ways to argue- and if they are better or not.

On a side note, Shirky mentioned that  “More Media means more arguing” and that really provoked thinking for me, because that really all depends on how people use media; and in this statement he is implying that people use it not as a healthy debate but as a stoning grounds where they can just voice their opinion and throw stones at any differing ones.  He mentioned that people post things thinking  “this will be good for democracy” (referring to democratic debate) but since those people are not using the media for useful and uplifting purposes then we are one unrighteous generation.


Behavioral Placement

“Television always influences behavior” says the woman being interviewed.

I think that this statement depends on one’s moral values-  sure, there are some things you can try to portray over television and I am not saying that this is not a good idea- but I would like to submit that you can only go so far with that. If I grew up in a liberal family then the values being portrayed MOST CLOSELY to my beliefs are things that I may decide to practice, and vice versa.

It is an interesting concept having behavioral placement in TV shows- it goes to show that the experts have really hit the head on the nail; they know that humans will take action based on something they watch on a frequent basis- and if that’s one way that they can get us to take action, then why not?

Apple Product Placement

Reading the articles and doing some research online really opened my eyes to Product Placement. Since I don’t watch a ton of things that are popular on Television/Netflix, it was difficult for me to picture how companies advertise through shows and movies. Some of the most popularity Apple has received are from Modern Family, The Simpsons, The Office, Sex and the City, and 24.

Personally, I have never watched a movie and thought ‘wow remember that one scene where that one character was doing that one thing with that one product- yeah I want one of those…do they exist?’ I know I have seen a few shows where they take something that already exists and twist it into something that is different but still the same, such as on the show iCarly, where they use pear phones and pear pads- ridiculously similar to apple products. This could also be considered product placement since thousands of people are watching the show every week.

All of the shows I listed above are sure giving Apple some really good popularity. Product placement is all around us, and sometimes it is difficult to identify even if you are the target audience.  I can’t think of any specific films that have racked my memory and made me want to buy something besides the segway from Mall Cop. It is my goal to be more aware of product placement and to see how it affects companies and the stocks and bonds they are integrating.

Julian Treasure- The impact of Sound

I liked that he gave so many good examples of things we hear and things we associate that sound with.

The statistics he gave of productivity and sales were really astounding. It is interesting that we can live our daily lives and just think of things we are hearing as normal. The beginning of that when he played the sound effects of the city made me realize how loud and distracting it really was. I think that is part of the reason we have music options for the Testing Center- so that we can focus better and improve our productivity.

Something that he pointed out that was interesting was that it affects us behaviorally, and that really sparked my interest because its true. We associate different kinds of music with different kinds of activities, and maybe even times of the year I might suggest. I think we should all try to be more aware of what kinds of sounds we are associating with different activities and the physiological, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral effects it is having on us.

The Trustworthy Question

Before I write anything else about this post, I just want to clarify that I have no political bias at this point, and I am analyzing the video based on my understanding of Media Literacy.

I saw this Ad on my Facebook feed posted by someone who has continuously showed their political standings on Facebook to be against Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign. The Caption read “The Most Powerful Anti-Hillary Ad Yet…This Could Change Everything”. The first thing I noticed was that the title was quite confident. Do the makers of the video think they can single-handedly crumble an accomplished woman’s presidential campaign? The makers of the video are sponsored at the end, which means they are openly against Mrs. Clinton and her campaign.

I am not one who endorses posting political views, especially on a public pages- this opens the doors of cyber bullying and thousands of people spreading a spirit of contention and misunderstanding over the internet. Heavenly Father is not a God of contention or anger. Jesus Christ teaches “then ye may know if ye are my disciples…if ye have love one to another“. This got me thinking about the person who posted this- are they trying to affect my view of those running for President in the 2016 Election?

Secondly, I thought of the company who put together this video. They surprisingly did a fantastic job of editing and it was compelling and thought-provoking to watch. The information seemed to all be put in context except for two possible soundbites that particularly stood out to me.

At about  18 seconds Hillary is recorded saying “I am proud of the work we have done; to elevate diplomacy and development…” Which is one of the soundbites that could have been taken out of context. Maybe if the editors would have included a chyron at the bottom of the screen that read ‘Secretary Clinton at the FBI investigation of email scandal’ and it would have provided some context for the sentence she says in that part.

At about 30 seconds Hillary is videoed saying “What difference, at this point, does it make?” supposedly referring to the email scandal where she allegedly deleted 30,000 classified emails. The video uses her words in that context, but is the way that the video portrayed that made their motives clear. They sealed their fate so to speak, and personally, as a viewer, I began to question the source and if the source itself was trustworthy, let alone Secretary Clinton.

Police Violence and Public Outcry

This week I read an article from the Wall Street Journal titled “Police Push Back Scrutiny of Fatal Shootings” and the literal subheading is “New Pew survey finds six in 10 Americans see a broader problem in police killing of black men”.

First of all, is the subheading a dead give away into who is going to profit from this article?

Secondly, out of the representative number “six out of ten” what kind of demographics were those people living in? Were they rich, poor, educated, non-educated, live in a more conservative or more liberal state? This post is so vague that I am disappointed. Apparently more ‘whites’ (42%) have ‘a lot’ of faith in their local police compared to a whopping 14% of blacks. Are the blacks who were part of the survey media literate? Or did they just assume that ‘all cops are bad’?

It is interesting to see how the media can take something and attempt to put a giant blanket of obliviousness over it like nobody will ever question the motives, the data, the information. This was week 3 of learning to be more media literate.

The Vote Ad

I apologize for any sexual or profane reference in this video (there are like 5.) But I saw this ad on Facebook, and for the first 10 seconds I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that these celebrities were encouraging the U.S. citizens to vote, and as the video went on I fell into a deep thought about who was promoting this video.  As one part of the video mentions that the only way that society can prove that voting is important is if a bunch of famous people come together and promote it for us.  Then it started to resonate within me- has our generation stooped so low that we have ‘come to terms’ and decided that our patriotic duty doesn’t matter when it comes to an election with the “unfavorable” options we have?

The more the video went on, the more you could tell it was scripted. “Of course it was scripted” you may think– but are the implications of that conflicting with the message? Is the fact that they all make an insignificant promise to their audience counteracting the intended promotion that everyone should register to vote? The longer I watched this video, the more disappointed I became. Since it was scripted, is there any meaning or emotional connection? Or is this just “another show, another promo” for them?

It is our duty as Americans to be involved in our communities, in our callings, in our wards, in our homes, in the classroom, and especially in our country. The fact that this video even exists kind of disgusts me. Think about what you can do for your country.