Thursday, November 10, 2016

Some Thoughts on Media and Government Relations

The past two weeks has been a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions in regards to politics, government and the media. Most of my classes and their assignments are led and guided by discussions about the relationships between these entities, even in Dr. A's class on telenovelas! Last week we began discussing the history of Venezuelan government and its relations with the media over the past 15 years. The confrontations and strict regulations placed by the government under Chávez had such a huge impact on the telenovela industry, and ultimately on Venezuela's grounds of democracy.

We see this happening similarly in Turkey as well! Since the attempted coup of July, Turkish government has been really cracking down on the media. Journalists are being arrested, media outlets are being raided by Turkish police, and at this point 15 of Turkish media outlets have been shut down. Though I truly can't imagine something like that happening in the United States, Dr. Hollifield put it best in my News Management class that even the best of democracies aren't immune to the ability to destroy themselves. Our country is about to endure change to some degree. I haven't totally grasped how it will change exactly, so much seems unforeseeable. But I'd like to say that we won't put ourselves in a position where our freedom of speech and our freedom of press won't be threatened or diminished.

I will say though, I appreciate how the writers of Venezuelan telenovelas were able to deal with the constraints they were under. For example, it's really cool that the writers of La mujer perfecta were able to raise awareness about the conditions of Asberger's disease through their telenovela. I remember some weeks back in class we read responses by parents of children who have Asberger's and how having a telenovela with characters like Micaela was so inspiring to their families. But now understanding a little more context from the writer's position of governmental restraints, I see the abilities of these writers from an even deeper perspective. I guess what I mean is that they probably felt a threat to their freedom of expression if  they wrote anything that puts the government in a bad light. But despite those restraints they were able to use their platform to address other issues.

On a kind of unrelated note, I have some short thoughts about American media and the election results. Something that I'm very curious to see in these next four years is how the media in the United States will be affected by the election results this week. I've had a couple of discussions about the media coverage of the election year and more specifically election night. Many people think that the media have had a negative effect on this election season, and it'll be interesting to see if that remains to be a common opinion throughout Trump's presidency. I'm also interested to see how American television show writers will be reacting and producing in response to the election results.


  1. If we look at history, we can find ample examples of governments trying to censor the media. During Brazil's dictatorship from the 1960-80s, artists had to find creative ways to include hidden messages in movies, telenovelas, and music. The situation in Venezuela has reached a new level because the government has basically forced networks to shutdown the majority of production. I wish Monica's telenovela the best of luck. I really hope that their success will encourage the government to ease up on regulations and promote more production.
    As for our own country, I definitely feel as though the media played a role in the election results. Since the day that Trump announced his presidency, the media treated him and his supporters as a joke. To be fair, however, both the RNC and the DNC treated him this way as well. This led to greater polarization and misinformation. As a result, many of his supporters felt as though they could not voice their opinions and became "silent voters." In a way, this is a form of the media censoring the American electorate.
    I also worry about both the partisanship in news as well as Trump's attacks on sources like SNL, the New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC. I believe the media has every right to criticize Trump's actions and policies (this goes for all politicians). However, I think we now have to reconsider the way we frame our criticisms. Clearly, calling him and his supporters stupid, uninformed, a joke etc. does not work. I think instead the media needs to start phrasing their criticisms using facts and evidence to support arguments. "We don't agree with Mr. Trump's policies because x, y, and z." We need to start using logic again in our debates. Ad hominem attacks get us nowhere and simply lead to divisiveness. As for Mr. Trump, I think he has to adopt the same attitude. Calling the media's portrayal of him "unfair" gets him nowhere. Instead he needs to defend his policies with facts. President Obama was no stranger to criticism and he employed facts to defend his positions. I think Mr. Trump will fair better if he begins to use this tactic.
    Furthermore, I feel as though telenovela networks in the United States are also worried about the election results. The Latinx community has been targeted by Mr. Trump. His most recent plan says that he will deport or incarcerate 2-3 million undocumented immigrants. This will no doubt begin to affect our economy.Telenovelas depend on the Latinx community for business and an oppressed community will lead to a decrease in spending. I foresee this having an effect on networks like Telemundo and Univision. Similarly, I am interested in seeing whether networks will adopt the current political climate into telenovela plots much like Cosita Rica. We are entering an era of unknowns and it will be interesting to see how telenovelas and media overall begin to react.

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  3. Estoy muy contenta de que compartías tus pensamientos sobre las relaciones con los medios de comunicación y el gobierno, porque como tú, he visto muchas relaciones entre mis discusiones de clase últimamente y las recientes elecciones. Específicamente, en esta clase pensé que era irónico cómo empezábamos a aprender sobre la situación en Venezuela, en la cual el gobierno esencialmente obligó a las redes a cerrar la producción. Es locura cómo los periodistas pueden ser arrestados por el gobierno por retratar la verdad. Mi telenovela, "El patrón del mal", también se enfrentó a críticas similares y los productores tuvieron que trabajar más para retratar la historia en una manera entretenida, pero informativa para explicar los horrores de Pablo Emilio Escobar. Mi telenovela, como "La mujer perfecta", es una gran manera de aumentar la conciencia sobre la historia de Colombia, respetando a todos los personas que perdieron sus vidas durante este tiempo.

    Como tú, yo también tengo curiosidad por ver cómo los medios serán retratados en los Estados Unidos durante los próximos cuatro años. Después de las elecciones, yo miré a un episodio de SNL que esencialmente atacó a Trump y todas sus políticas. Me gusta ver SNL para aprender más sobre lo que está pasando en las noticias de una manera humorística, pero con todas las bromas y mentiras sobre Trump últimamente, estoy realmente inseguro de lo que es cierto, y que los medios retratan. Creo firmemente que los próximos cuatro años serán mejores de que todos pensamos. Buen post Cory!

  4. Estoy tan feliz que escribiste este post sobre de este tema! Creo que es tan importante a conectar las temas que discutimos en nuestras clases a la vida real. La regulación de la media durante el presidencia de Trump, en una manera, ya ha comenzado a ocurrir. Durante el primera junta entre Presidente Obama y el presidente electo, Trump no quiero fotos o cualquier cobertura mediática. Esto es sin precedentes. También, con la manera en que él odiaba los medios durante su campaña, me pregunto si incluso tendrá periodistas en la casa blanca. Cuál es un pensamiento asustadizo. Su capacidad para convencer mucha de la gente en los EE. UU. de que las noticias son mentirosas es asombrosa, también. Me temo que estamos empezando a ver un tratamiento gubernamental de las noticias como Alemania durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial.