I think living in the U.S it can be very easy to ignore the importance of proper representation of international media to the domestic population and what that can do for the people’s perception. This has raised, for me, a question of blindness or ignorance. Can we even answer this question? We’ve seen an example of this ignorance during the first class with how Hollywood depicts the Middle East and North Africa in movies. That, however, was not surprising. What was surprising was this concept of the public sphere.
I know. “Sloane, a public sphere is pretty self-explanatory. How is this surprising?” Hear me out. The concept, yes, is pretty simple. A space, public for most, where ideas and opinions can be expressed, discussed, and argued. The surprising factor however is the extent to which the government will go to manipulate these spaces. Learning about the tools used to do so such as framing, pre and post censorship, agenda-setting, and the biggest being self-censorship was new and watching these efforts play out in actual media. Especially with self-censorship, the ability of the government to implement laws and rules to control the media and those being so severe that the people chose to stay silent (in some cases) rather than posting.
All in all this half of the semester has made me, obviously, look at the media I consume and the realness and genuineness of it. I already began to following the last election but, this class has given me the terms to describe what I’m seeing and experiencing which is interesting. In a sense, it’s my in-class education colliding with my reality.