Sunday, March 29, 2009

Marcus' questions

Q1) I don’t know much about Sao Paulo or Brazil, but the impression I got from the Herscovitz piece was pretty subtle – he says that American media is traditionally cast as independent from government, but I suspect most American readers would say something like “Seriously?” There’s obviously a serious connection, but what if he meant his comment literally? The New York Times is obviously not connected to the government in the same way the BBC is connected to the British government. Ours is at least legally separated, even if it’s not practical these days. How big a difference does that make?
Q2) And now that I’m thinking about it – if Sao Paulo is so unique, as Gabino says, then what about the rest of Latin America? If it’s different, then how, and why?
Q3) Benson, I think, has a pretty obtuse definition of “politics.” I know we covered that in the last class, but I still think it applies here – saying that ideas can be measured against a political yardstick of sorts is a bit naïve. It’s also pretty American-centered – how seriously are those concepts taken in the third world? I know Herscovitz talked about Brazil, but beyond that, doesn’t this theory imply that all politics is American?
Q4) Similarly, doesn’t it also imply all politics are national? These readings seem to emphasize the big picture over the smaller ones. Is there evidence that, say, metropolitan newspapers follow the same pattern – that local news is either relevant politically, or not? Or is it all national?
Q5) Have there been any studies to take those theories beyond politics? It may sound like a strange question, but what about other areas? Plenty of scholars have criticized the links between the media and political power structures, but how universal are the theories? It may be less significant in the long run, but looking at, say, the entertainment media’s relationship with Hollywood could serve as an interesting sidebar to the political discussion. If there’s association in one area, why not another?

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