6.22.2010

Broadcasting the Globe Over


The world cup 2010 has started and fans are heavily glued to their television sets. It's amazing how a game in South Africa can be seen in Australia, Russia, and the United States simultaneously. Technology has launched us into an age of endless information and entertainment. Most of us are even overloaded with it from the radio to our computers and everywhere in-between. Even the far reaches of the Earth have signals coming in for television. People in the most remote areas can now view Switzerland scoring a goal against Spain. Yet, there are some individuals who do not have access to such information; but are they missing out? What does it mean to have access to information at all times and is it a good thing? Should more people be given the same opportunities for viewing entertainment and information as we have? These questions become more important as technology keeps expanding and globalization grips the people of the Earth - especially when a global market is being controlled by a small group of people with homogenous ideas.

There is hardly a country on Earth that is television free. The majority of the world saw the invention and rise of TV between 1930 and 1960. Some on the other hand didn't experience the TV invasion even until the 1990's including many parts of Africa and lower Asia. Click HERE for details. To this day, however, the most viewers of television are located in the US, Canada, Japan, and certain European countries. Check out THIS MAP to see what countries are lowest on that list. The United States by far has the most television use with 99% of households having at least one TV; over 50% have 3 per household. This shows us that mass information and entertainment has A) slowly spread to now cover the globe and B) become more engrained within our culture for longer than in other developing countries. Many US citizens can't imagine their lives without television.

Some believe that more and more people should have access to television. In certain ways this may be true. If individuals have access to TV they have access to local and world news. If their country is under distress they may not even know unless they saw it on TV or heard it on the radio; once they receive this news they can decide at that point if action is needed. Also, as I mentioned above, individuals with TVs get to be part of the entertainment they love like the World Cup. A film called The Great Match shows us how three different families in isolated parts of the world long to see the World Cup (2002) take place and they go to great lengths to make this happen. After viewing the film it may cause US citizens to appreciate the easy access they have to such entertainment. However, the film also has a sub-text highlighting the negative effects of globally broadcasted information.

The main issue to examine with globalized information is who is doing the broadcasting and what opinions are they trying to assert? Of all the information getting passed around the world, most of it can be traced back to one of just a handful of sources. General Electric, for example, owns many media outlets including NBC, Universal Studios, and several smaller stations including the History Channel. A major concern in knowing that GE owns so much of television is that they also own energy and healthcare corporations. One could assume that General Electric would like their privatized GE Healthcare to remain (very) profitable. What better way to get their message out than through the many media outlets they own? That is precisely what they do. Many other companies do the same thing like Disney or Time Warner who not only owns CNN and AOL but also contributed the maximum donation amount allowed for the second inauguration of George W. Bush (3). Another media powerhouse owns a company which makes Army helicopters; it's in their best interest to make sure the Army has a reason to use those helicopters. One can now see how politics and even war is perpetuated by the media when it's convenient for them.

Global news is hardly a wide-range of media from around the world, it's quite the opposite. Worldwide information is controlled by a very small group of corporations and it is their own opinions and interests we're being fed in a global information market, a market that is not competitive but monopolized. To learn more about this issue and see which companies are on top of it all (and making upwards of $20 billion a year) click HERE. Gradually, the world is being fed the same images, same news, and same ideas. Where there once was a rural family interested in local arts, foods, sports, and politics, now is a family who listens to hip-hop, eats at KFC, watches the World Cup, and is angry about the conflict in the Middle East. Sound familiar? Globalization = Homogenization. What happens when a gene pool, for example, consists of a limited or homogenized background? It becomes weak and develops health related problems. This translates well to the dangers in cultural homogenization: without variety in thoughts and activities, the society becomes weak from lack of competing ideas and modes of living.

The World Bank and the United States government are two entities that have pushed hard for deregulation and the opening of world markets. They've done a fabulous job of putting pro-globalization information on television, in movies, and even in the classroom. However, their arguments are quite transparent. Check out THIS BLOG that claims it will present both pros and cons of globalization, but in reality it is all-out propaganda in favor of global markets. Its arguments against the opposition are nothing but ad hominem lashings. This is not a popular or credible blog, but it helps illustrate how average citizens perpetuate misinformation. The writer states that globalization increases competition, but this is not accurate. As discussed above, we know that most world business (especially in information broadcasting) can be traced back to just a handful of corporations. This is why we need to be critical of who we get our information from. The same people pushing globalization for profit are the same people telling the writer of that blog how it will make "everyone get rich".

Even if globalizing information and entertainment can spread knowledge around the world, what if it's not the kind of knowledge people want? Many individuals rate the prosperity of countries in terms of their monetary wealth. Is the US considered the best, most prosperous country in the world because 99% of us can afford television sets? I'd suggest, however, that this is only one type of prosperity. The concept of globalization fails when it assumes that all happiness and wealth is based on money and, unfortunately, this concept is now spreading across the Earth. Your physical health, your friends, and your own crafts should be considered when rating prosperity and not just how much you slave away in a cubicle to afford a box that emits pictures; pictures that tell you how to feel about the world and the people in it. After all, is it actually telling you about the world, or simply what the broadcasting companies want you to think about the world? Re-consider the images you see on television and if the spread of mass information is a good thing, it may change your entire view of our "global culture".

5 comments:

Arthur Gelsinger said...

Honestly, I might be tempted to watch a little television here and there if there were actually any interesting/informative programs available. However, since most of what's on just recycles the same old boring clich├ęs while taking the subjects/scenarios depicted to ever higher levels of idiocy and ever lower levels of taste, I choose to stay away (this in addition to concerns over brainwashing/thought control outlined in this article). Besides, I've just never seen the point of paying good money to have my intelligence insulted by advertisers. It's actually quite shocking, really, when you've gone without seeing any television for a while and you suddenly find it on before you. You definitely notice just how plain BAD most of what's on (from "news" to "reality" shows to commercials) truly is. It's like I always say - When you're swimming in shit all day, how can you see the turd floating past your face?

Liberality said...

We have a television at our house but it is used for viewing DVDs of our choice. We lost our slender signal when everything went digital. The reasons WHY we don't watch television, cable or otherwise, are nicely stated in your blog post. BTW, I've put you on my blog roll.

Jayna said...

Thanks for reading, commenting and adding me to your roll!I've really enjoyed reaidng your posts as well.

Thanks again.

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