Senator Tom Kent was a guest on the popular weekly television show Front Page Challenge with host Fred Davis and panellists: Pierre Berton, Betty Kennedy, Gordon Sinclair on Dec. 6, 1981. He managed to stump the panellists.
“Senator Tom Kent was the head the 1981 Royal Commission on Newspapers called the Tom Kent Commission. Kent described the state of media concentration such as newspaper monopolies in Canada as “monstrous.”    The Kent Commission made some tough recommendations. These included making Thomson sell its recently acquired flagship paper, the Globe and Mail, putting a stop to Southam’s expansion, and breaking up regional monopolies like the Irving empire in New Brunswick (CBC 1981).”.

The commission want[ed] to forbid companies from owning newspapers and television or radio stations in the same market. Both publishers and reporters attack[ed] the Kent report saying it [was] too harsh. They sa[id] the commission want[ed] to put the government in the newsrooms of the nation, which would infringe upon their freedom (CBC 1981).”

“The Kent Commission wasn’t exclusively about concentration of media ownership but also looked at press councils, quality of print journalism in Canada and new technologies such as the introduction of computers in newsrooms. Kent proposed a Canada Newspaper Act aimed at controlling media concentration, particularly cross-ownership of newspapers and other media. But the government largely ignored Kent’s recommendations as it did a decade earlier with the Davey report (CBC 1981).”

CBC placed this story under Politics and Economy > Concentration to Convergence: Media Ownership in Canada > Tom Kent stumps Front Page Challenge panel

Chester (2007) illustrates how the Google-sold media ad Green Tea Partay on Google-owned YouTube (viewed 3M times) featuring a pseudo-hiphop-for-the-conspicuous-consumer cleverly conceals an ad for Smirkoff Vodka.

A single tab (window) in Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 presented as a single ‘page’ on a computer screen resembles the classic print-version newspaper more than the classic web page from the 1990s. With Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 blogs (and even your very personal Gmail) and ad-enhanced content there is a cacophony of voices, a postmodern irony to the conflicting messages in advertisements, news, opinions, reviews, classified ads displayed within one frame. We became used to the classical (but now largely outdated) unique web pages in one frame, window or tag that presented information from an author from a specific standpoint with virtually no peripheral advertising. As powerful search engines like Google using complex algorithms to connect information seekers to information providers combine with a brilliant ad-service, the boundaries between page-frame-window author and paid-publicity have become so blurred that the argument in the content of the page can conflict with the products and services sold on the page. In one blog, for example, articles, reports, studies, entertainment, infotainment, advertisements, news, opinions, reviews and classified ads all appear to have resonance, when in reality their messages diverge completely. The confusion is even greater when the content-author is not clearly identified.

We can no longer say that “the media is the message” because the rhizomic media network of Web 2.0 sends mixed, often conflicting messages.

Unfortunately, in the one area where conflicting ads are absent — academic journals — the exclusive, proprietorial nature of most of these require registration or pay-per-use. They are not easily accessible and are relegated to the realm of the deep Web or Internet (once called the Invisible Web).

The solution will probably not come from more policing of Google-like service providers. In an ideal world readers might be compelled to become increasingly sophisticated in distinguishing sources and might engage in more robust critical thinking. In a dystopic highly materialistic world-view we are only one click away from buying more of what we don’t need.

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Related entries on Speechless

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Synset, Semantic Web, CBC and Alberta Oil.” September 28.

Filed in Blogosphere, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Learning from users, New generation social marketing, SEO, Web 2.0, collaborative, energy, ethnoclassification, ethnoclassification: faceted tagging, findability, folksonomy, folksonomy:faceted tagging, search engine optimization, semantic web, social bookmarking, tagging

Do we secretly admire white collar criminals and their brilliant lawyers? Conrad Black and three others are accused of stealing $60M from shareholders to fatten their 5- and 7-figure salaries. Prosecutor Jeffrey Cramer claimed in his opening statement that media mogul Black failed to provide the public with objective accounts of world affairs.

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See also:

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2006. “Media and Objectivity: a Selected Timeline of Social Events.” >> papergirls.wordpress.com. December 6.

This a series of three BBC documentaries that show how fear is an ultimate tool for politicians to preserve their power. As director Adam Curtis puts it, “Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us: from nightmares.”

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