CMU 200 Winter 2000
Questions to think about while doing the Week 2 readings on media ownership and the motion picture industry. We won't be collecting your answers: but we will be discussing some of these questions in section next week.
For week 2, there are two readings by Bagdikian. One is in the book (Iyengar, pp. 66-76), and the other is in the reading packet. It makes sense to read both of these together, since some of the topics discussed are similar.
Bagdikian: The U.S. Media. Supermarket or Assembly Line? (Book) / "The Endless Chain" (Reading packet)
- In the "U.S. Media: Supermarket or Assembly Line?" Bagdikian claims that selling media products is very different from selling turnips. What are some of the reasons that he gives?
- In the last part of "The U.S. Media" Bagdikian talks about the influence of advertising on the mass media. What are these influences? How do they operate? Do you think these influences matters? Why/why not?
- How have patterns of media ownership changed over the last 20-30 years?
- What are some implications for US society if the mass media become concentrated in the hands of just a few companies? (In other words, why should we care?)
- What does Bagdikian mean by "the endless chain"? "the marketplace of ideas"? an "oligopoly"?
Greenfield, "The Business of Television News" (Book, pp. 90-98)
- Greenfield thinks that television is unfairly blamed for various types of social upheaval. What alternative explanations does he give? Think back to the reading about George Gerbner from Week 1. Which explanation do you think is more reasonable?
Baker: "Murdoch's Mean Machine"
- Why is Rupert Murdoch so interested in influencing politics in countries such as the US, UK, and Australia? (In thinking about this question, you might find it useful to look at the first part of the Bagdikian article from the book again.) What, according to Baker, are some of the ways in which Murdoch has used his media empire to influence politics in these countries?
Gomery: "Hollywood's Business"
- What are some of the ways in which today's movie industry resembles that of the 1940s? What are some of the differences?
- What does the term "vertical integration" mean?