Media Discourse Final CA

Hackers Steal PlayStation Gamers’ Details – Sky

PlayStation Network hacker took user info – BBC

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General Election 2011

As part of our CA for this class we have to make and analyse our own content about the General Election. Our group has chosen Sinn Fein as our party and we have decided to undertake a slightly mock style broadcast whereby we have used the Charlie Brooker and Onion Newscasts for inspiration.

Our group blog can be seen here for more updates.

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News Broadcast

London’s Cuts March Tainted By Violence

Violence that continued late into last night overshadowed London’s massive anti-government cuts demonstrations.


Which sources are given priority (e.g. who is interviewed and where?)

This clip focuses its attention on the events that took place after the peaceful daytime demonstration by between 400,000 and 500,000 teachers, nurses, fire-fighters, other public sector employees, students, pensioners and campaign groups. In my opinion, the priority is given to the activists and supporters from the UK Uncut group because they did not want to take away from the peaceful events that took place earlier and also because the media knows that violence will sell better than peace and Sky News being a commercial broadcaster is out to generate revenue.

Which explanations are given priority (such as headlines?)

Many protesters occupied ‘Iconic Landmarks’ like Trafalgar Square, some threw missiles and damaged the Olympic clock within the square while hundreds attacked The Ritz hotel with paint and smoke-bombs.

Others targeted companies associated with tax avoidance were also destroyed. The campaign group UK Uncut forced themselves into Fortnum and Mason because they claimed it dodged millions of pounds in tax. These campaigners also occupied Topshop, Vodafone, Boots and BHS stores and HSBC and Santander Banks for the same reason.

Does the story sequence produce certain meanings?

The sequence at the start of the piece makes out the demonstration that look place early in the day has turned into these scenes of violence and destruction. Only when the reporter speaks do the actual meanings take shape. If someone had only glanced at this they would not have gotten the whole picture.

The sequences also make it out that this was being done by thousands of people, when the reality is that only a minority took part in this and many of them seemed to be acting in front of the camera, which is most evident when the man tries to break the window of the Porsche dealership by kicking it.

What terms of reference (language) are used to describe or label the participants and their actions?

“These radical groups have been condemned for their actions.”

“The day has been marred by some criminal acts.”

“Cowardly acts of criminality.”

“Many of these protestors are unrepentant believing direct action is justified.”

“Violence is the only real way to get the message across.”

The language used is mostly neutral when the reporter is describing and reporting on the incident. When the police officer is being interviewed the language changes to a much more ‘condemning’ tone. He speaks of what happened as “Cowardly acts of criminality”, thus describing the actions of the masked groups as being too afraid to try and deal with what’s going on in a responsible way.

The man who is interviewed says “Violence isn’t right but it’s the only real way to get the message across.” He both condemns and justifies the actions going on.

What point of view is produced by the camera shots?

As the camera is handheld in amongst the action, it gives a first person point of view. It is made to seem like the viewer is there taking part of the events and forces an emotional reaction from them. There are a few top down shots which are used to establish the location and the amount of people there.

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Class Review W/E 9/3/11

This week in the first class we presented our print advertisement analysis to the rest of the class. It was very interesting to hear other people’s feedback and opinions on what was presented. It really shows the different ways in which people think and recieve information.

The class we watched Wag The Dog, which is a film based on the spin that is put on events that happen in order to fraw attention from unwanted publicity and events. I really liked this film, which some of us had studied during our film elective in 2nd year. The ideas that are put forth by this film really highlight just how information is re-presented to us.

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Wag The Dog CA

“Why does the dog wag its tail?
Because the dog is smarter than the tail.
If the tail were smarter, it would wag the dog.”

The staging of a pretend war, along with the use slogans, a theme song, apparent merchandising, and the use of a sympathetic character in order to distract the public from the bad press are key in realising the reality that is trying to be pushed on the public by the media in this film. A series of controlled leaks to the press make it to the evening news, and everyone is reporting about the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Albania. Even though no troops have been sent anywhere near Albania, the actual battles don’t matter to the story because, if it’s on television, it must be real according to Conrad Brean.

The use of production style techniques to create images of the “war” also creates a deception that renders the public in a state of unity. Staging events to create media coverage and publicity directly shown then to the public via television coverage, show the President in good light amidst the shady events which led to this course of events.

“This is nothing!”

– Words that are echoed throughout the film by Stanley Motss.

The general style of the events are ‘spun’ so well by Stanley Motss that no matter what gets thrown at him, including the death of the homecoming hero, are mere obstacles in the way of the greater picture…finishing the ‘film’. Each event is carefully strung together by Motss and Brean so that all news is good news for the President and in the race up to the election, all that was needed was to knock the scandal out of the voting public’s minds and secure the votes of the public on Election Day.

Personally I think that the way in which the stories are presented to the public in this film are not all that far away from the events that take place in the real world. Although they are obviously done on a much more dramatic and drastic level in the film, the ideas that are being pushed are very much seen in the media today. Media and news has become more about taking in revenue and making money than informing people of current events. In a newspaper the first things that are in there are adverts which have been paid for and enable it to be produced. The last thing that goes in is the news.

To say that the events that are portrayed in the film are a million miles away from the truth would be a massive exaggeration because the reality is that depending on location, broadcaster, etc… the news that we receive is filtered and tailored to us.

The deception that takes place in the film just goes to show that with the right people in the right places, you can turn negative coverage into positive coverage as easily as can be done vice versa.

At the press conference in which Monica Lewinsky was about to give information of her presence in the Congress in regard to the sex scandal which had been brought forth, The White House announced the missile strikes against Sudan and Afghanistan. This was much like what was seen in the film Wag the Dog, in which case the President was under scrutiny so to distract the public from those events, they focused on an even greater story.

During the 1992 Presidential campaign the so-called “bimbo eruptions” smearing Clinton came and went. Betsy Wright and Jack Palladino did a masterful job of deflecting or spinning the attention from Gennifer Flowers and other women who came forward to tell about the Caligula-like goings on at the Little Rock Governor’s Mansion during the tenure of Bill Clinton. —- Reference

Bertie Ahern looking for a scapegoat when it came to him having to explain about certain payments he had received and where is outgoing expenditure was coming from. Bertie tried to turn this around and say that people were out to ‘bury’ him, thus trying to evoke some sense of emotion from people to cover his mistakes.

To a certain extent the events that take place on ‘reality’ shows are often staged and used to create controversial viewing which in turn generates ratings and revenue.

In general, questioning the credulity of the viewing public can be seen as more of an innocence rather than mindless intake of information. Most people would be clueless to the fact that the news is re-presented to us by the media due to the fact that the introduction of television has meant that the old saying ‘seeing is believing’ is true to most. The film even touches on this when Conrad is being questioned by the CIA about the war and he says that because he can see it on TV it must be real. This would be the general consensus that most people would have. The reality is in that the media shows us news worthy stories that will sell papers and earn ratings from viewers, in order to find the real news and real stories as they are, you have to search through alot of misleading media information, and to most people it’s more hassle than it’s worth.

It reminds me of a scene from the show Cougar Town in which the father has no idea of the outside world other than a very simplistic outlook. His son and his girlfriend introduce him to some books, news and other forms of media and he can no longer maintain his lifestyle due to all the things happening in the world. Everything he sees and hears he relates to something worse. This is form of information overload and as a result he ends up knowing too much. The affects the media has on our information which we receive is largely so that we get filtered information and are desensitised to alot of it.

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Media Manipulation Example

Example of the Illussions used by the Media

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Semiotic Print Advertisement Analysis

LEGO building blocks and the term LEGO are renowned throughout the world as one the most famous children’s toys. LEGO consists of colourful interlocking plastic bricks and an entire catalogue of attachments, figures, landscapes and various other parts. LEGO bricks can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct such objects as vehicles, buildings, etc… Anything that is made with LEGO can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects.

From a denotative point of view this series of ads has a very minimalist style approach. Each advert has a few pieces of LEGO placed together to form a shape of some sort and in the bottom right hand corner is the LEGO logo, which has LEGO capitalised in bold white text sitting on a red background.

  • The first advert has 4 yellow blocks pieced together, underneath this is a silhouette of what appears to be a dinosaur.
  • The second advert has two red blocks pieced together and a silhouette of an airplane underneath it.
  • The third advert has 3 blue blocks pieced together and what appears to be a silhouette of a tank underneath it.
  • The fourth advert has two white blocks sitting on top of each other and a silhouette of a ship underneath it.

The first and third adverts are placed onto a green background and the second and fourth adverts are placed onto a blue background. This adds a sense of contrast to the images.

1.       Yellow on Green

2.       Red on Blue

3.       Blue on Green

4.       White on Blue

What are the advertiser is trying to do here is to take a product that has been around for over 60 years, is well known throughout the world and appeals to a large demographic and market the idea of the power of imagination and the endless possibilities of the famous building blocks.

The first advert is a very simple stacking of blocks but with a little imagination and creativity it transforms into a ferocious dinosaur that can be used in any scenario imagined by the user. This notion is further backed up by the fact that the yellow pieces are placed on a green background, which could be associated with grass and terrain.

The second advert simply crossed two pieces together and from this the assumption that it is an airplane is formed. This notion is further backed up by the fact that the red pieces are placed on a blue background, which could depict the sky.

The third consists of some strategically placed pieces to from a tank that can be used to blast holes in other LEGO creations or simply used to travel around in. This notion is further backed up by the fact that the blue pieces are placed on a green background, which could be associated with grass and terrain.

The fourth advert consists of two blocks placed in a way that forms the idea of it being a ship. This notion is further backed up by the fact that the white pieces are placed on a blue background, which could depict the ocean.

This series of adverts carries a strong message but it is pulled off in a very simple and effective way. The message in the adverts is to show that creativity and imagination are an important part of a child’s development. They use these skills all the time in order to play and interact with toys and even, to an extent, to interact with people. Children make associations based on what they see, hear and what they are told. These adverts at a most basic of interpretations are aimed towards kids in the way that the target audience will have used LEGO in their childhood.

These adverts also show that the simple things are often the best. LEGO is proven to provide hours of entertainment and to stimulate and develop the brain. They are presented to us in a very clever and thought provoking way but with minimal amount content. Straight away when I saw these images they reminded me of the things I used to create with LEGO when I was younger.

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