Media

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Wed Aug 2 08:44:49 MDT 1995


Louis:

Regarding your comments on the media and Bosnia:

One issue that you are raising, the role of the media and "pictures" is
very interesting.  It seems to me that, on the one hand, the media is a
capitalist institution that is both part of the private market economy
and aligned with the capitalist state.  On the other hand, one could
argue that there is a relative autonomy for the media from the state (at
least in our country) that is influenced by other factors such as the
ideologies of reporters, photographers, editors, etc. and the
personalities of the individuals involved. In turn, these other factors
can then influence capitalist state policy to the extent that they can
change perceptions of events both for the public and for those
decision-makers within the capitalist state.

To give an example:  the NY press has in recent years, for the most part,
been anti-squatter.  This was a position influenced both by City Hall
(the state) and investors (such as banks and real estate companies in the
private sector). Yet, when reporters covered recent events on 13th St in
Manhattan the imagery of tanks and barricades (and young people on the
one side and riot cops on the other) influenced their reporting and
stories. The picture of a tank, for instance, being used against
civilians was just too good to resist. Also, the fact that cops
roughed-up some photographers and reporters didn't held them either. So,
the stories were written and the photographs appeared which made the City
look really bad.  City Hall then somewhat reacted to the bad publicity by
temporarily being less aggressive in terms of squatter evictions.  Of
course, this situation is fluid and can change again.

Regards,

Jerry




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