Sig Mickelson said...

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Sig Mickelson said...

Postby brainpanhandler » Sun Jul 27, 2008 8:45 am

Interesting musings: Media Studies for the Hell of It?: Second Thoughts on McChesney and Fiske by: Aniko Bodroghkozy / University of Virginia at Flow TV

Sig Mickelson said:

Are these comments really by teachers of media studies? Hmmm.

It was heartening to read atleast one of you pointing out that Fox News somehow manages to misinform its viewers. The other networks do, too.

Gosh, what media theory is that?
It’s called “lying.” That’s what governments do to get away with crimes using what is called by the Pentagon and CIA, “psychological operations” or “strategic persuasion” or other euphemisms for manipulating people’s minds.

Read Christopher Simpson’s book,’The Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare, 1945-1960.’

Then read about the Office of War Information during WWII.

Then read Carl Bernstein’s 10/20/77 Rolling Stone article called ‘The CIA and the Media’based on suppressed parts of the Church Committee’s Final Report on CIA abuses. Around 400 journalists were CIA or complicit with them including the highest levels of management.

There are far fewer media organizations today over thirty years later and the system of state-controlled media is much more efficient than back then.

Research the elements of social engineering, role modeling, violence desensitization, conditioning, indoctrination, subliminal framing, keyword hijacking, imitative deception.

Learn the Pentagon’s codified methods of counterpropaganda.

Learn the 25 Tactics if Disinformation.

Learn the 8 Traits of a Disinformationist.

Then you might be able to analyze US media. Because the CIA has a strong hand in it.

But then staff at the University of Virginia probably know about such things. If not, your students should get their money back.

-September 7th, 2007 at 2:49 am

Link: Flow TV

March 27, 2000 - Sig Mickelson, First Director Of CBS's TV News, Dies at 86


So Hugh, what did you think of the article?
Last edited by brainpanhandler on Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hu... er, I mean, Sig Mickelson said...

Postby Hugh Manatee Wins » Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:11 pm

brainpanhandler wrote:So Hugh, what did you think of the article?


Excellent comment. I agree with every word. Someone has done their homework. 8)
I especially liked-
Gosh, what media theory is that?
It’s called “lying.”


The NYTimes obit of Sig Mickelson is sanitized, obviously.
He admitted on film he worked with CIA while he was president of CBS news. He hired Walter Cronkite and was "the most trusted man in America's" boss.
CIA runs mainstream media since WWII:
news rooms, movies/TV, publishing
...
Disney is CIA for kidz!
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Postby brainpanhandler » Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:48 am

Hugh,

You're not the author of the Mickelson comment?


I don't know why the link to the flowtv forum is not working, but here's the post by Aniko Bodroghkozy

I’ve been thinking about a somewhat inflammatory polemic that Robert McChesney (above, left) wrote almost a decade ago in which he skewered unnamed Postmodern and Cultural Studies-influenced media historians for producing “politically timid and intellectually uninteresting and unimportant” and “trivial” work (McChesney: 1996, p. 540). He argued that, given the policy and regulatory decisions — such as the recently passed 1996 Telecommunications Act — that were likely to fundamentally reshape the communications landscape, media scholars needed to be providing historical scholarship (and by extension, one assumes, non-historical work as well) that intervened and provided context for these policy debates (p. 550).

The work that McChesney characterized as “trivial” tended to focus on audiences and the “discovery” that “they do not necessarily swallow whatever the corporate masters feed them” (p.544). Clearly McChesney was mopping the floor with the scholarship of John Fiske (above, right), his students, and those influenced by Fiske’s work on popular culture and television. The piece also seemed to be excoriating Lynn Spigel’s hugely influential cultural history of suburban families and the introduction of television in the postwar era (Spigel: 1992). McChesney may have been coy about “naming names,” but it was pretty clear who he was talking about.

For a young scholar like me this was far more than an academic battle among competing intellectual paradigms. If you were a grad student in the Telecommunication section of the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the 1990s, this was about you. In the early 1990s McChesney was a junior faculty member struggling to get tenure in the Journalism and Mass Communications Department one floor down from Comm Arts in Vilas Hall. Upstairs on the 6th floor of Vilas Hall, John Fiske ruled. Brought into the department in 1988, Fiske was a star. His brand of “affirmative” Cultural Studies was the emergent paradigm, McChesney’s hoary old “political economy” appeared residual. In Fiske’s terminology the “financial economy” that scholars like McChesney, Dallas Smythe, Herb Schiller and the like focused on wasn’t the end of the game. Scholars needed to pay attention to the “cultural economy” of audiences and its meanings and pleasures (Fiske: 1989, p. 26). Grad students on the 6th floor of Vilas, such as me, would genuflect in front of the financial economy of television, but then quickly move on to the really fun, interesting, sexy, and cutting edge stuff we could analyze in the cultural economy. Political economy scholarship and policy studies were like broccoli. Good for us as media scholars-in-training, but not tasty. We taught issues of ownership and control and media concentration to our students because we knew it was important for them to understand how the media industries were configured. These issues were never central, however, and certainly not in our own developing scholarship. Cultural studies made a more satisfying meal and it seemed more well balanced.

Fast forward to 2005. John Fiske is retired from academe and runs a successful antiquing business in Vermont and writes about 17th century oak furniture. Robert McChesney is now the star. He writes best selling books (McChesney 1999), gets compared to Thomas Paine and Paul Revere, heads up one of the most dynamic of a growing number of media reform organizations, Free Press, and has managed to make political economy of the media sexy. It’s feeling to me that McChesney’s paradigm is now emergent and cultural studies residual. (Here in Flow, some of the most stimulating and well-responded-to pieces have been columns on media reform from Tom Streeter and Mike Curtin).

Let me pose a question bluntly: to what extent does it matter whether TV audiences can or do perform negotiated or resistant readings of Fear Factor or Punked or The Apprentice or Desperate Housewives? Are audience agency and receptive practices important right now? In the past, one could argue (and I certainly have) that television as popular culture functioned as an important cultural terrain for mediating and negotiating significant social change (Bodroghkozy: 1992, 2001, 2004). Fiske’s argument that popular culture was “on the side of the subordinate” and had politically progressive (albeit not “radical”) possibilities made sense within the context of television programming in the 1960s and 1970s. A mushy form of liberalism was hegemonic common sense throughout this period. Even the Reaganite 1980s could not significantly overthrow the cultural impact of the social change movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Jane Feuer found the pervasive self-reflexivity of 1980s TV to constitute a “postmodern form of complicitous critique” (Feuer: 1995, p. 9). By decoding reception practices during this period, critics and scholars could actually produce useful information about the cultural handling of larger political and societal forces.

And with broadcast television of the 1990s, we saw a new “Golden Age” of quality and popular prime time fare. A commentator on Public Radio International recently extolled 1990s TV observing that “in the ’90s the best shows were also by and large the most highly rated shows. That had never happened before. And mainstream TV was arguably superior to mainstream motion pictures. That had never happened before either.” I could have deconstructed this “high culture/low culture,” canon formation talk, but instead I sat in my car nodding vigorously at my windshield as I listened. Clearly in the 1990s when TV was “good” (even while some of my grad school colleagues were almost perversely fixating on “bad” TV), it became intellectually defensible to study the texts and audiences of the medium. Television merited humanistic and textual analysis even though cultural studies approaches were not grounded in questions of aesthetics and artistry. I don’t think it is any accident that television studies entered the academy during this “Golden Age.” And the “best” shows of the 1990s were also ones that welcomed readings over contested ideological positionings and subversive discourses. There is excellent scholarship on shows like Roseanne, thirtysomething, The Simpsons, Murphy Brown, etc. Fiske’s best (and regrettably last) book on television was about how 1990s television produced media events that brought to “maximum visibility” otherwise hidden cultural currents and shifts in the structure of feeling (Fiske: 1996).

But the 1990s was the time when McChesney’s voice cried out in the wilderness that we cultural studies/Postmodernist scholars of television and media were blind — bewitched by carnivalesque trifles and simulacral silliness. Most media scholars are ready to concede, of course, the intellectual shallowness and “banality” (in Meaghan Morris’s terminology) of the mania for finding “resistive” or “oppositional” activity everywhere in the pop culture environment. That moment does seem to be “oh so 90s” and over. The 1990s also saw the entrenchment of media deregulation that has ushered in the frighteningly concentrated industry we find ourselves with today. What I am trying to figure out is to what extent McChesney was correct to chastise cultural studies-oriented media scholars (historians or not) for our preoccupation with bottom-up tactics over top-down strategies of power, ownership, and control. Were we feasting on cultural studies meals of empty calories and sugary treats when we should have been eating our broccoli, strengthening ourselves to produce muscular scholarship for battles in the political arena?

I am struggling to find an answer. I’m not ready to junk my own approach to television study (which has always tried to account for lines of power, dialogue, resistance, and incorporation across industry, text, and audience formations within specific historical contexts). On the other hand, to analyze contemporary television and media and not take account of the massive concentration of ownership of all sectors of media into a small handful of conglomerate behemoths with more power than many nation-states seems intellectually decadent.

McChesney and his acolytes are becoming political activists and intervening directly into the political and regulatory regime. Whether one agrees with McChesney and Free Press’s particular agenda or framing of the issues seems beside the point. The point is for television and media scholars and students to get involved in media reform politics. I went to the first national media reform conference organized by McChesney’s group in 2004, held in, of all places, Madison. Practically nobody from the 6th floor of Vilas Hall was there. Practically no television studies/media studies scholars I know (except for Constance Penley and fellow former Vilas “telecommie” Norma Coates) attended. I couldn’t understand why not. I found it strangely ironic to return to Madison and find my intellectual allegiances shifting, at least somewhat, away from what the 6th floor had represented to me as a grad student and moving downstairs to the 5th floor. A couple weeks ago, the second annual media reform conference took place in St. Louis with reportedly over two thousand in attendance. I couldn’t make it this time around but hoped other media scholars could.

For me, it comes down to this: regardless of what we do in our scholarship, if we consider ourselves students and teachers of media and television but are not on some level involved in media reform, we’re doing media studies “for the hell of it.”

Works Cited

Bodroghkozy, A. “Good Times in Race Relations?: CBS’s Good Times and the Legacy of Civil Rights in 1970s Prime Time” Screen, 2004.

—. Groove Tube: Sixties Television and the Youth Rebellion. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2001.

—. “Is This What You Mean By Color TV?: Race, Gender and Contested Meanings in NBC’s Julia.” Private Screenings: Television and the Female Consumer. Eds. L. Spigel and D. Mann. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1992.

Feuer, J. Seeing Through the Eighties: Television and Reaganism. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 1995.

Fiske, J. Media Matters: Race and Gender in U.S. Politics. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1996.

—. Understanding Popular Culture. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989.

McChesney, R.W. “Communication for the Hell of It: The Triviality of U.S. Broadcasting History.” Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 40 (1996).

—. Rich Media, Poor Democracy: Communication Politics in Dubious Times. New York: New Press, 1999.

Spigel, L. Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1992.
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Postby Hugh Manatee Wins » Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:57 pm

bph, yes, that is my comment using old Sig as a handle.

The op article I commented on is so sad to me because it shows how historically clueless most Media Studies academics really are about media's role in national security since WWII.

But Aniko Bodroghkozy's essay asking 'are we missing something here?' is a good sign.
HISTORY 101, people. Start there.

That Media Reform Conference has ZERO clue about psyops culture. None.
Or it is being suppressed by gatekeepers.

Hmmm. The Big Names at that conference have been regularly Bill Moyers of the CFR/CIA/PBS/VOA and recently Dan 'magic bullet' Rather from CIA/CBS.
That tells me there are serious damn problems with the people booking the conference.

Even Robert McChesney's top-down viewpoint (good start) is missing basic National inSecurity State history.
What I am trying to figure out is to what extent McChesney was correct to chastise cultural studies-oriented media scholars (historians or not) for our preoccupation with bottom-up tactics over top-down strategies of power, ownership, and control. Were we feasting on cultural studies meals of empty calories and sugary treats when we should have been eating our broccoli, strengthening ourselves to produce muscular scholarship for battles in the political arena?

I am struggling to find an answer. I’m not ready to junk my own approach to television study (which has always tried to account for lines of power, dialogue, resistance, and incorporation across industry, text, and audience formations within specific historical contexts). On the other hand, to analyze contemporary television and media and not take account of the massive concentration of ownership of all sectors of media into a small handful of conglomerate behemoths with more power than many nation-states seems intellectually decadent.


"...not take into account...more power than many nation-states...seems intellectually decadent."

????!!!!???? No, that would ABSURD AND IRRESPONSIBLE!

Waaaay back on May 9, 1961 the head of the FCC, Newton Minow, gave his famous "vaste wasteland" speech about television and the whole thing merits reading with the knowledge that the CIA was using that wasteland programming for social control-

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/newtonminow.htm
You know that the FCC has been studying network operations for some time. I intend to press this to a speedy conclusion with useful results. I can tell you right now, however, that I am deeply concerned with concentration of power in the hands of the networks.
CIA runs mainstream media since WWII:
news rooms, movies/TV, publishing
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Disney is CIA for kidz!
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Postby brainpanhandler » Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:13 pm

The op article I commented on is so sad to me because it shows how historically clueless most Media Studies academics really are about media's role in national security since WWII.


I can understand how you would feel this way given where you are coming from.

Even Robert McChesney's top-down viewpoint (good start) is missing basic National inSecurity State history.


McChesney's The Problem of the Media was an important read for me and luckily enough my first real introduction to media analysis and a lot of media history I was woefully ignorant of.

Minow seems like nobody's fool and yet his idealism is quaint. What would he think of today's media conglomerates?

Does it stand to reason that if we did what Minow and McChesney advocate that it would be more difficult for the CIA to manipulate media for psyops purposes? A diverse, decentralized media would be harder to control, no? Rather than advocating that people recognize psyops that are by definition designed to be invisible to them, wouldn't it be more likely fruitful to attack the legislation that has allowed fewer and fewer media conglomerates to gobble up more and more media outlets?

FYI... I found Sig with a google search for the terms, Cia, keyword and hijacking.
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Re: Sig Mickelson said...

Postby brainpanhandler » Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:05 pm

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." - Martin Luther King Jr.
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Re: Sig Mickelson said...

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:03 am

Is Hugh still using "Sig Mickelson" as an alias anywhere?
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