Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cogito Ergo Sum: I Think, Therefore I Sam.

Doctoral candidate and J1111 teaching assistant Sam Srauy spoke to the class today about epistemology, entological judgment, economic theory and other big ideas, ultimately leading up to the HUGE question: Does media ownership matter?

What do you think?

Are you surprised to learn that the six largest media producers are all either Western European or North American? Is that a problem?

And what about Sam's other questions:

- How do you know what is the truth?
- Is knowledge a right or a commodity?
- How do you know who to trust?

Can you have an original thought? Or have you been previously influenced by the world around you?


Mike McDermott said...

Cool presentation. It left us with a world of questions which I hope we can answer here. The only flaw I found was that of original thought which someone brought up and stumped him on (props). Obviously there has to be some origination of our thinking style in order to develop subsequent schools of thinking. This was not addressed. As far as America and Europe being the frontrunners of modern media- is anyone surprised?...

Dalia Ghazal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wafai Dias said...

I think that he is really good at making us think because I'm still thinking about all that information and I'm trying to consume it. Media Ownership does matter. I learned that you shouldn't doubt your information because you are a smart, and "awesome" person that has experienced things and is eligible to give information. I think that one of the ways you know something is true is when you experience it or record it so that people far from it can also see it. Knowledge is a right however I do understand what the boy that defended commodity was saying.

I don't know who to trust but I base my facts on who I assume is right and unbiased.

I'm not surprised that the six largest media producers are Western European or North American because they've had powers for centuries now. For Disney to be one of them explains why Disney kicks Nickelodeons ass.

It is a problem that they are the big six because there's no diversity in the power.

I think that people can have their own thought because the power and capacity of the mind is immeasurable. I do think that everyone is influenced by the world around them. Unless they were born on an Island in which they wouldn't have that institutional knowledge that we were discussing in class.

NewsNut said...

Sam Srauy did an extraordinary job today.Thank you Sam.

His energy and interest in the subject was quite infectious. As the lecture was winding down I could feel myself building on the pile of questions that I had before class re: information and knowledge. I ave always taken a very "enlightened" view of knowledge. During the period of The European Enlightenment, knowledge was considered a necessary tooland a RIGHT that enabled us to govern the world better. But today as capitalism is more globalized knowledge is becoming more of a commodity availabe to only those who can afford it. Knowledge in many respects is no-longer regarded as a right. I believe as journalists we are the frontier in this battle. Because I believe it is a battle that rages between the haves and the rest of the public.
Shara Dae Howard

Justin Verterano said...

Sam did a pretty good job today. He was able to stand up there and keep my attention for the full class. It's very hard to decipher the truth, because we really don't know what is true. It comes down to what we personally believe, but that again has been affected by the media we've been exposed to since birth. Overall, it made me think a lot after leaving the room.

Amira said...

i think that having only six media producers isn't necessarily and good or a bad thing. We live in a time where there are tons and tons of media outlets, such as blogs. People can find the information that they want to believe, or information that coincides with their opinion

Matt Lista said...

I enjoyed the open forum today. It was a really interesting way to feel out the ideas of others. I, too, would have like to continue the "original thought debate." One may be able to form new schools of thought, but aren't those still influenced (for better or for worse) by previous knowledge?
And the discussions today were a real eye opener into the question: does truth exist?
Truth does, in fact, exist. One may wish to refute this, but the fact remains that truth does exist for the individual. One person's idea of the truth may be vastly different from another. It is all in the eye of the beholder.

William Carlson said...

I was not surprised by the fact that six major media producers control the North American and European market. We're covering this in my BTMM course as well but I was already aware. I missed the part that the professor added at the end about General Electric (because everyone was packing up their books). I thought they were one of the big 6 and noticed that they have a lot of holdings in military related areas. How can you provide balanced journalism with such a conflict of interest? Did anyone catch that clarification about GE? I'd like to hear about it.

Sam, you did a good job.

Geo said...

General Electric bought out Vivendi (one of the companies on the chart). Now, NBC Universal is the third largest media conglomerate in the world.

- George
(the original-thinking teacher)

Judy Kim said...

Sam's presentation was awesome.
It was sort of fresh presentation that I never would have asked my self.
I personally don't like the way that there are six largest media producers.. even though I know that there should be some corporations(?) to sort of control over the rest of medias..
I'm not sure how it works exactly.. but.. it kind of.. reminds me of the government hierarchy.. or.. too much power might be concentrated in those six medias. I dunno...
And I think that knowledge could be right 'and' commodity.
Let's say.. If someone is placed in an unfair situation regards to some lawful terms..
The more knowledge you get.. the more right to proclaim..
(the knowledge will support that reasoning to fight back to whatever unfairness that person is situated)
And of course, I think that knowledge is also a commodity..
Aren't we all in college and study hard, because we all want to sell our knowledge back in society?
I partially think that the journalists are paid by informing and educating people..
The information people get from those journalist will make economic field, politic field, every field and society to run smoothly but at the same time actively..
As I wrote this comment, I don't even know what I'm talking about.. haha.. o well.. it was insightful presentation for sure!!

Dan Housch said...

Having six media producers at this size is a problem. Even if all of the subsidiaries of one of these conglomerates set out to act on their own accord, they can always be censored or held in place by the entity as a whole. Such as when Rupert Murdoch micromanages businesses within News Corp, by not allowing a book to be published or a show not to air. Giving so few people this immense power is wrong.

Anonymous said...

i think that this is a very interesting topic, but it sort of makes me angry because knowledge is something we all have the capability of having. and to debate weather its a right or a commodity is stupid because we are naturally born with it. so you cant say it is either when it is naturally given to us

Nathan Cross said...

I think the information covered and questions posed in the presentation came in the best possible order. Only after being reminded by Sam of the fundamentals of the nature of our thought processing routine, which we ignore in day-to-day cognition, could a proper question of ethics surrounding the ownership of media be asked. In America, media is owned by corporations. Corporations are controlled by people. People have socio-political biases and viewpoints. This inevitable situation calls to mind the ancient dispute between the worldviews of philosophical and rhetorical thinkers, in terms of the nature of communication. Where philosophers believe truth exists and communication is the means by which people can reveal it to one another, rhetoricians insist that truth or knowledge is purely subjective and all communication is persuasion. Rhetoricians stress morality above all in how we influence others, or persuade others. Here we are millennia later asking ourselves wtf is up with people controlling our information. Someone has to control it! News corporations must exist. Are they trying their best to bring us the truth, or are they trying their best to make us believe what is best for us to believe? I highly recommend the film “Manufacturing Consent” featuring Noam Chomsky for more on corporate media ownership.

Lisa Jiang said...

Sam's presentation was pretty interesting. It's got me thinking about the topics we discussed during class. I wasn't that surprised to find that the 6 largest media producers were Western European or North American and I knew Disney would be one of them. What surprised me was how many companies each of them actually owned. That was new to me.

kn said...

I really enjoyed the presentation. I thougth it was interesting and fun. Sam did a nice job on this.

Don Hoegg said...

The point he made about media ownership is absolutely relevant. Watch an hour of Al Jazeera and an hour of CNN- you'll see the difference.

And it's impossible not to be influenced by the world around you. Objective journalism is an oxymoron, to quote HST

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a great presentation, very entertaining, yet really got the point across. I never really thought about knowledge being a right or a commodity... but after hearing what he had to say, I think that it's a little bit of both. I agree more with commodity though, because, like a student brought up in class, people chose what they want to learn and everyone has different knowledge. No one knows exactly the same imformation. Also, a lot of imformation is founf through internet, tv, newspaper, mags, etc. which one must pay one generally pays for in order to obtain the information.

Genny Glassman said...

-I think ultimately media ownership matters. Those who control the media control the amount/type of information given to the world. It doesn't surprise me that some of the six largest media producers are american, given that we are known for our freedom of speech and capitalistic economy, which when combined leads to these huge news media companies. It is sort of like what I said in class, it would be weird to expect the Disney company to put out racy television and Sam furthered that point by saying we would never see Disney brand pornography. They have a wholesome image to uphold and that means that they probably only want to associate with those who will condone to that standard. So by force or by the nature of the business exchange, the companies Disney owns have to filter what is being broadcast.
-As far as the other questions go... the nature of truth is probably way to complicated to define in a sentence or two, but I will try. Ultimately it comes down to how you rationalize the information given to you when compared with your knowledge and perception of how the world works.
-Knowledge shouldn't be a commodity, but sadly it is. The world is there to explore, however having/not having the means to explore it can ultimately decide how much you can learn. If you can't afford a computer or the money to go to the library and don't have access to newspapers , you are limited to whatever news the television can provide. If you can't afford a television, then what are you going to do? It is unfair and certainly not the ideal, however many live under the example I just gave and it truly narrows the amount of knowledge and understanding they have of the world.
-I don't think we ever know who to trust. We can only base our trust in a source on the past experience we have had in them and the faith that they will maintain that behavior. It is all about assumption, like someone else mentioned in class.
-I think we can have an original thought because we have things like innovation. For example, technology is relatively new to the world and is a combination of taking what is known and given to you as an understanding of the world and using it to create something totally new based on other concepts. The people who taught whomever built the first computer about electronics or electricity probably did not shape how that information was used to make the first computer.

Fatia said...

Sam did an awesome job!!! As his "trial student" I pondered about what he said..about how do we know what we know.....coming from a perspective of institutional knowledge...that is all that I can say makes the most sense1 someone taught someone, that taught someone, and taught someone!!

William Carlson said...

Thanks, professor, for the clarification on GE. I heard you explain it in the early part of the last lecture in class, too.