Dumbing Down - Mass Communications Media

Mass Communications Media

See also: Media culture

Increased business competition, and the introduction of econometric methods have changed the business practices of the mass communications media. The business monopoly practice of media consolidation has reduced the breadth and the depth of the journalism practiced and provided. The reduction of operating costs (overhead expenses) eliminated foreign news bureaus and reporters, in favour of publishing the public relations publications (news releases) of a government, a business, and a political party as fact.

Refinements in the tracking systems that measure approval-ratings and audience-size increased the cultural incentive for producers to write as simply and as simplistically possible by diminishing the intellectual complexity of the argument presented in the programme, usually at the expense of factual accuracy, logic, and complexity. Cultural theorists including Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams, Neil Postman, Henry Giroux, and Pierre Bourdieu invoke these effects as evidence that commercial television is an especially pernicious contributor to the dumbing-down of communications. Nonetheless, the critic Stuart Hall said that teachers of critical thinking — parents and academic instructors — can improve the quality (breadth and depth) of their instruction by occasionally including television programmes..

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