assess POV

What’s an underlying point-of-view (POV) guiding most “news”?

In reportage on the entertainment industries, the systemic bias is typically driven by the logic of the “marketplace.”  What gets produced and how is driven by profits and accessed through commodity exchange.[1]  As if “natural,” it goes unquestioned that capitalist motives determine the production and distribution of cultural resources.

This POV normalizes a politics of consumption.  It focuses on questions of quality, aesthetics, new features, cost, and for stockholders, projected revenue.  For example, reports on Apple’s latest iPhone typically highlight ever-greater sales numbers and the long, up-at-dawn queue of eager upgrade consumers.  The question of whether these “upgrades” are in the best interests of consumers, workers, families, communities, and the environment is rarely asked.  Rather, it is assumed that newer is better; questions of a moral-sustainable economy are not posed.

It is only when conflict occurs, when power is contested, e.g. lack of Academy Award diversity, that some form of counter-narrative is heard.  Even then, there is rarely any questioning of the underlying capitalist system as the determining force of cultural production.  The system may allow some those previously marginalized, e.g. black Americans like Oprah or Beyonce, to join the game;  but only if they  generate top profits and toe the capitalist line.

Entertainment industry “news” doesn’t ponder what a different system beyond commodity culture might look like.  It doesn’t consider what it would mean to apply principles of democracy to these industries, such that workers and consumers have equal say in the kinds of narrative content produced or levels of income disparity between CEO and bottom-rung worker.  Though “news” is supposedly guided by principles of “objectivity,” do readers ever encounter alternative perspectives beyond the prevailing capitalist ideology?

[1]  For most of human history, cultural resources were largely part of a commons economy in which music, dance, story, song, communal rituals and celebrations (the carnivalesque) were freely shared.  It is only within the last century, that culture has become a mass commodity. While living in its middest, it may seem that this is “the way it is,” “always has been, will be.”  But if democracy were truly engaged, the system could change. The Internet has opened many possibilities, e.g. the Creative Commons.  What might a democratic cultural economy look like?