Socialized Media

For the readings this week, I would like to focus on two in particular, the Enzensberger essay "Constituents of a Theory of the New Media" and in rebuttal the Baudrillard essay "Requiem for the New Media." In these two essays both authors discuss the same subject matter, the possibility of socialization in media. Enzensberger's view is that society will take over media, making it more truthful. Baudrillard, on the other hand, argues against Enzensberger, saying such a socialized media is impossible.

This idea of a socialized media is ridiculously absurd in American society. Sure it is nice to think about in theory, a media governed and run by the people, but it is not going to happen. Capitalistic corporations have their claws too deep set in today's media, and they are unwilling to let go. And for good reason, when you consider the amount of money these businesses make off of advertising. Even YouTube, which may look like a socialist network will eventually only be controlled by big business. In fact, it already seems to be happening, with all the new contests involving YouTube commercials. The corporations have turned a potential dangerous media to their favor by making the public do their dirty work. With the public submitting commercials with their own ideas all the advertisers have to do is pick one and make it a commercial, thus saving them scrupulous amounts of time and money, all while the American public sits back and willingly participates. The problem with Enzensberger's idea of a socialized media is the American public is all too willing to sit back and let the colossal corporations run their life, by controlling what information they obtain, what they buy and who they buy it from. Sure it would be nice to have a socialized media but who is going to run it, and who is to say what they produce is fair. Not all of us can participate, so that leaves the power of information in the hands of a select few. Enzensberger says himself, "There is no such thing as un-manipulated writing, filming, or broadcasting. The question is therefore not whether the media are manipulated, but who manipulates them." (pg. 265 NMR) Which puts us right back a square one. We are still being manipulated, we just don't know by whom yet.

On the other hand, I have a hard time agreeing with Baudrillard. To say we have absolutely no control of our media is naïve. In a sense we control what is popular and what is not. We decide when, what and where to watch and discuss things. And now with the innovation of the internet and blogs, the viewers are fighting back. So in a sense, the "era of non-response" (pg 281 NMR) has finally come to an end. However, we are not as far along, and quite possibly will never be, as Enzensberger has predicted.