Our readings for this week discussed the fact that media can be used to create social change or to challenge ideas. Michael Chanan’s “Cinemas in Revolution” demonstrates this and shows how these “radical and experimental” (232) moments in cinema sought to further a Marxist way of thinking. While it is no doubt that media has evolved and grown since the 1920s and 1960s, the persuasive nature of media has stayed the same. Sometimes, this is good; media can alert the masses to various forms of injustice, it can build revolutions, and much more.

However, this power that media has can also be detrimental. Take, for instance, Donald Trump’s recent interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. During the interview, Fallon allows Trump to use this platform to come off as a funny, easy going, possibly even relatable guy, rather than the racist and misogynistic man that he truly is. In the instance (linked below) when Fallon ruffles Trump’s hair, Trump comes off as an easy going and likable person. Trump’s use of this media platform—and Fallon’s allowance of him to use it—could have repercussions come November. Some people, such as those who are on the fence about whom to vote for and those who are uneducated about the candidates, may see this clip and decide that Trump is a likable, funny man who is worthy of their votes.

Clearly, media is a powerful political tool when it is yielded correctly, and I think it is worth being aware of this when one is engaging with media.


3 responses »

  1. maddieglouner says:

    I really agree with you on the consistent persuasive nature of media being so prevalent in reporting and documenting pop-culture. While what is being reported on in always subject to change, people consistently turn towards media-particularly film media platforms, as their source for information. While media as a tool is crucial in engaging people in what is going on around the world, it also becomes a problem when people lack media literacy. News outlets like Fox News for example, always skew their reporting and information towards more conservative values. People aren’t able to get a broad enough scope of sides and opinions on important issues when they are consistently being swayed by a certain group, unknowingly so. This is just another example of how media can be such a powerful tool politically and socially, but can also be detrimental if people are not educated on how or who is feeding them information.

  2. bhedigan says:

    I absolutely agree. One of the more frustrating aspects of this presidential election thus far has been watching the media create the disaster that is Donald Trump’s presidential run. By focusing such an intense spotlight on him, the media made his competitors irrelevant and gave his bigotry an even larger stage to project upon. One could argue that the media elevated Trump’s campaign, and worse still, continues to do so. It should be the media’s #1 priority to be responsible and thoughtful about what they report on, and yet that’s not the case in today’s mass media (though truthfully, it’s unlikely that this has even been the case regarding mass media).

  3. emacune says:

    I completely agree that the technique that Vertov utilized can be powerful for social justice movements, but just as powerful as well as dangerous for brainwashing by power mongers (such as Donald Trump.) In my last media studies class, we watched a Nazi propaganda film by Leni Riefenstahl that used imagery of gods and godesses with footage of Hitler, but as I mentioned in my blog post, these techniques could also be used for good to help movements such as Black Lives Matter. Combining powerful imagery of police violence and stories of survivors put together could be very powerful in advancing their movement.

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