Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Friend the Media

Since President Bush embarked on his six-day, five-nation African ‘safari’ there has been an unprecedented coverage of his efforts with development in Africa He started in Kenya, still up in arms since their election, ‘warning’ the government that it needs to agree to a power-sharing agreement with the opposition. But what is really being done to prevent further violence in Kenya?
Although currently Chad is facing rebel groups trying to overthrow their government, new violence has erupted in the Darfur region of Sudan, warlords are fighting in Somalia and Ethiopia and Eritrea are having yet another border standoff – Bush has decided to take a showcase tour of some of Africa’s achieving foreign aid programs. Bush hopes to use this trip to highlight success stories in Africa and the programs he has launched to fight disease, poverty and illiteracy. Isn’t it in his favor how colorful and correct he looks on his visit to Africa? It reminded me of how media is used as a tool to create whatever reality he/she is trying to portray. The choice of what is covered, and when, effects the audience greatly because in most cases it is the individuals unique source of information. The amount of coverage that the media gives a certain topic is what gives that event, conflict or person its ordained value in the world.
In Joe Gould’s Secret, Mitchel illustrates in two instances his own influence as a journalist. The first being with his story of the young homeless couple who were living in central Park. His article instigated a great deal of response from the public, just because of the way that he had told their story. And in this case, it wasn’t even the couple who were seeking support, it was just a compelling story that touched the public into become involved. Similarly, Mitchel’s telling of Joe Gould in his first published article also created a portrait of Gould that wasn’t exactly spot on, but nevertheless, the public’s opinion of him was greatly effected after reading the news article. Also in reading Gonnerman’s ‘Life on the Outside,’ our main character, Elaine uses media coverage as a tool to bring her to life as a human being, with a family, rather than the anonymous inmate/drug trafficker. Eventually it would be her use of the media to highlight parts of the story that would support her release from prison and demonstrate the fallacy of the Rockefeller drug laws.

No comments: