What does the mass media exist to do?
Consider most of the films, television shows, radio shows, magazines, and newspapers we make use of. What is the attraction? Learning something? Good story? Inspiring performances. Astounding athletics? Humor? Or sex and violence? Don’t we frequent most of the mass media sources we use for their “entertainment” value?
What about the commercials? Why do the folks who put those commercials out there expect anyone to pay attention? What kind of products do they advertise? Do we watch most commercials because they are informative, funny, shocking, or because there is a sexy enticement?
What does the mass media exist to do? Without commercials most of the mass media would soon cease to exist. Even movies shown in the theaters and pay for view entertainment contain product placement ads. The FDA’s guidance even includes guidance for such ads (see Advertising and Promotion Guidances). So we can be swamped with ads even when there are supposedly no commercials. Hence it seems to me that the mass media exists to provide an audience for advertisers. So how do the people who run the mass media attract an audience? How do they to get us to watch the advertisements that pay the bills?
Is what we watch good for us? How do we define what is good for us? Do the MPAA film ratings help? What about those guidelines from the government, like those from the FDA?
Over thirty years ago I more or less gave up watching TV. I still listen to talk radio, read some newspapers and magazines, make use of the Internet, and watch some some stuff on the TV at the gym. However, by most standards, I suppose I am relatively ignorant of what passes for mass media entertainment these days. So I would like my commenters to tell me what I am missing. Do you watch? What? Do you pay? Why? Is what you watch good for you? Why or why not?
What is Part 2? I don’t know. It is not especially easy to comment on something I gave up over thirty years ago.