Presentation Title

Policy as Instrument of Ideological Control: Incorporating Knowledge of Corporate and Governmental Communications Policy into the Critical Media Literacy Curriculum

Biographical Sketch

Emil Marmol is a PhD candidate at University of Toronto/OISE. He has conducted research into the use of alternative news media to foster critical thinking and engaged citizenship among secondary and postsecondary students. As an interdisciplinary scholar, he has published on the impact of neoliberalism on higher education, standardized testing, labour struggles, and film. Emil is currently writing his doctoral thesis as an autoethnography about growing up as the son of Latino immigrants in Orange County, California. Emil has professional film and radio production experience.

Type of Presentation

Individual presentation

Brief Description of Presentation

The internet has provided an historically unparalleled forum for the communication of diverse ideas, expanded public discourse and mobilization. The emancipatory potential of the internet is now under a two-pronged threat from both corporations and the government. As a response, this presentation is a call for a reaffirmation of the importance of political economy of media within critical media literacy education. It is hoped that by enhancing awareness of the constructed nature of our media system, students will be encouraged to play a part in preserving its democratic potential.

Abstract of Proposal

The future of the internet as we know it is at a critical juncture. The corporate press and tech behemoths Google, Facebook, and Twitter, along with organizations to which they affiliated, have effectively begun to silence dissent and oppositional views under the pretext of fighting fake news (Parry, 2016). Google, for example, has altered its search algorithm and in so doing has blacklisted world renowned journalists such as Chris Hedges, and caused a precipitous decline in traffic for many of the internet’s most respected, popular, and trusted sources of independent and alternative news (Damon, 2017; Hopkins, 2017; Your up-to-date guide to avoiding internet censorship, 2017). Meanwhile, Ajit Pai, Trump appointed Chair of the FCC and former lawyer for Verizon, is working vigorously to eliminate local media, and accelerate the decades long trend in media consolidation. Of great consequence is Pai’s stated goal of eliminating network neutrality, the bedrock of a free and open internet, which ensures that all data is treated equally across the network. The threats and pressures imposed upon the internet have historical antecedents in other mediums such as publishing and radio, which were much more diverse in ownership and content before succumbing to the economic and ideological interests of ruling elites (Forde, 2011; McChesney, 2004).

This paper calls on critical media literacy educators to substantively incorporate a political economy of media lens into their curriculum. While it is vitally important to critically analyze texts, students must also come to understand that media systems are not natural; there are processes and forces that shape the media that produce the texts to which they are exposed. Educators are further encouraged to introduce alternative/independent news websites into the curriculum as a transformative and revolutionary pedagogy (Leban & McLaren, 2010; Funk, Kellner, & Share, 2015) that allows for students to become familiar with and embrace oppositional, counter-hegemonic news sources that will encourage them to think critically and engage robustly as informed and active citizens. Empowered with the foregoing knowledge, it is hoped that students will realize they can play an active role in preserving the liberatory potential of the internet and help to shape the media system to suit their democratic needs.

Damon, A. (2017, October 20). Google escalates blacklisting of left-wing web sites and journalists. World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved from http://www.wsws.org

Forde, S. (2011). Challenging the news: The journalism of alternative and community media. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan

Funk, S., Kellner, D., & Share, J. (2015). Critical media literacy as transformative pedagogy in M. N. Yildiz & J. Keengwe (Eds.), Handbook of research on media literacy in the digital age. (pp. 1-30) Hershey PA: IGI Global

Hopkins, C. J. (2017, November 3). Who’s afraid of corporate COINTELPRO? Counter Punch. Retrieved from https://www.counterpunch.org

Leban, S. & McLaren, P. (2010). Revolutionary critical pedagogy: The struggle against the oppression of neoliberalism—A conversation with Peter McLaren in S. L. Macrine, P. McLaren & D. Hill (Eds.), Revolutionizing pedagogy: Education for social justice within and beyond global neo-liberalism. (pp. 87-116) New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

McChesney, R. W. (2004). The problem of the media: U.S. communication politics in the twenty-first century. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Parry, R. (2016, November 18). What to do about ‘fake news’. Consortium News. Retrieved from https://consortiumnews.com

Your up-to-date guide to avoiding internet censorship. (2017, August 26). Monthly Review. Retrieved from https://monthlyreview.org

Start Date

2-24-2018 8:10 AM

End Date

2-24-2018 9:40 AM

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Policy as Instrument of Ideological Control: Incorporating Knowledge of Corporate and Governmental Communications Policy into the Critical Media Literacy Curriculum

The future of the internet as we know it is at a critical juncture. The corporate press and tech behemoths Google, Facebook, and Twitter, along with organizations to which they affiliated, have effectively begun to silence dissent and oppositional views under the pretext of fighting fake news (Parry, 2016). Google, for example, has altered its search algorithm and in so doing has blacklisted world renowned journalists such as Chris Hedges, and caused a precipitous decline in traffic for many of the internet’s most respected, popular, and trusted sources of independent and alternative news (Damon, 2017; Hopkins, 2017; Your up-to-date guide to avoiding internet censorship, 2017). Meanwhile, Ajit Pai, Trump appointed Chair of the FCC and former lawyer for Verizon, is working vigorously to eliminate local media, and accelerate the decades long trend in media consolidation. Of great consequence is Pai’s stated goal of eliminating network neutrality, the bedrock of a free and open internet, which ensures that all data is treated equally across the network. The threats and pressures imposed upon the internet have historical antecedents in other mediums such as publishing and radio, which were much more diverse in ownership and content before succumbing to the economic and ideological interests of ruling elites (Forde, 2011; McChesney, 2004).

This paper calls on critical media literacy educators to substantively incorporate a political economy of media lens into their curriculum. While it is vitally important to critically analyze texts, students must also come to understand that media systems are not natural; there are processes and forces that shape the media that produce the texts to which they are exposed. Educators are further encouraged to introduce alternative/independent news websites into the curriculum as a transformative and revolutionary pedagogy (Leban & McLaren, 2010; Funk, Kellner, & Share, 2015) that allows for students to become familiar with and embrace oppositional, counter-hegemonic news sources that will encourage them to think critically and engage robustly as informed and active citizens. Empowered with the foregoing knowledge, it is hoped that students will realize they can play an active role in preserving the liberatory potential of the internet and help to shape the media system to suit their democratic needs.

Damon, A. (2017, October 20). Google escalates blacklisting of left-wing web sites and journalists. World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved from http://www.wsws.org

Forde, S. (2011). Challenging the news: The journalism of alternative and community media. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan

Funk, S., Kellner, D., & Share, J. (2015). Critical media literacy as transformative pedagogy in M. N. Yildiz & J. Keengwe (Eds.), Handbook of research on media literacy in the digital age. (pp. 1-30) Hershey PA: IGI Global

Hopkins, C. J. (2017, November 3). Who’s afraid of corporate COINTELPRO? Counter Punch. Retrieved from https://www.counterpunch.org

Leban, S. & McLaren, P. (2010). Revolutionary critical pedagogy: The struggle against the oppression of neoliberalism—A conversation with Peter McLaren in S. L. Macrine, P. McLaren & D. Hill (Eds.), Revolutionizing pedagogy: Education for social justice within and beyond global neo-liberalism. (pp. 87-116) New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

McChesney, R. W. (2004). The problem of the media: U.S. communication politics in the twenty-first century. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Parry, R. (2016, November 18). What to do about ‘fake news’. Consortium News. Retrieved from https://consortiumnews.com

Your up-to-date guide to avoiding internet censorship. (2017, August 26). Monthly Review. Retrieved from https://monthlyreview.org