Who are we?
Who are we if we are not our media?
Questions of personal identity are always fraught with problems without even bringing national identity into the discussion.
If we think critically about the coverage of Iran's recent election, I feel that we would find that social media (twitter, facebook,etc.) became the story and altered our sense of the situation in Iran. Check out the a social media timeline of events: http://mashable.com/2009/06/21/iran-election-timeline/
From the media coverage it would appear that nationally all of Iran was up in arms over the current election. A disparity become evident when you consider that despite the enormous natural resources of Iran, the Iranian economy is in the toilet. The faces and voices that have appeared on the US news have been fasly represented as the majority of the population. In acuallity, all of the English speaking, electronic device owners represent a distinct minority of the population. Much of Iran exists in a greater level of poverty and the opinion and voices of those people were not represented on news broadcasts since they lacked technological link to the American news media.
In America, due to the images broadcast by the news media, popular sentemant over the protests made people call for this to be used as an opportunity to spin the EU in action. For reasons unknown to mainstream America, they balked. This was due to Europe's ability to see through the transparent, one sided, representation from news media. What is scary is that outside involvement brought due to the new coverage could have worked though. With an insular country such as Iran a few media savvy groups could theoretically bring down a government with their images and web presence. If we were not fighting two wars currently, it is not out of our character to use such images a pretext for an invasion.
How then do we teach our children to see through the hype as the Europeans did? Our identity as consumers seems to be the meeting point of our personal identities and our nation identity. As this is largely controlled by the media, how are we to address this in our classrooms?
I am of the opinion that I as a teacher should be a merciless skeptic of any and all messages, modelling methods of dissecting any communication for possible hidden meaning. This may be seen by some as unduly influencing my students but I offer no quarter to my own pet belief: global warming, socialism and such.
What do you think?
Check out the link to this lesson about Listerine: Miracle Liquid or Product in Search of a Purpose?
"magritte 3" by aldoaldoz