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Sociology & Media: What About The Public?

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Grievances with the mainstream media are often framed in terms of the supply rather than the demand. Most analyses focus either on the field of journalism, corporate ownership, commercialization or government regulation.

But what about our culture that demands to see mindless infotainment?

I would like The Echo Chamber documentary to provide a catalyst for the process of cultural evolution based upon the insights of the dynamic nature of our culture and various theories of human development.

The following sections explore the question of how ‘the public institution’ interacts with other institutional powers of influence...

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Incorporating Complexity into Film

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I have been struggling with how to incorporate the methodological flaws of the Media Research Center into my documentary film. For the first time, I have organized my thoughts as clearly and succinctly as I can in this blog post.

But the medium of web writing and the medium of film are completely different, and it will be very difficult to make the same caliber of an argument within The Echo Chamber documentary.

A writer has more freedom to use complex words and phrases that carry very specific meanings, and adding a hypertext link allows the reader to learn more about the difference between an inductive and hypothetico-deductive method of scientific inquiry.

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Junk Science of Liberal Media Bias

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The Media Research Center is the conservative watchdog group that is the most influential intellectual authority behind the claims that the media "slant reports in favor of the liberal position on issues."

While there may in fact be instances where the media’s coverage is tainted by a political bias, the standard of scientifically validating this causal path goes beyond simply collecting "a mountain of evidence."

The MRC claims to have proven the existence of liberal media bias through "sound scientific research," but yet their scientific methodology relies solely upon inductive method of investigation while never using a more comprehensive Hypothetico-Deductive Method of scientific inquiry.

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I’m Theory-Driven and Not Ideologically-Driven

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I intend for my project to be soundly grounded in theory from the disciplines of sociology, psychology and mass communications.

The underlying theory that I am trying to apply is that fixed attitudes and beliefs can limit one’s perception of reality. Our attitudes and beliefs are influenced by our value system and sense of morality. Our value systems serve as the primary filter to how we see the world and what we perceive to be the "truth" as we understand it.

The project will be covering issues that are very emotionally charged, and it will inevitably stimulate emotional states of high passion and low logic. But at the same time it is difficult to make a credible argument to an opposing viewpoint by going outside the bounds of accepted academic discourse. The more that the film’s content is grounded in academic theory, then more persuasive and acceptable it will become.

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What Does MetaThought Mean?

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Names are important because they carry meaning.

I named my production company "MetaThought Productions" after a textbook called "Tools of Critical Thinking: Metathoughts for Psychology" by Pepperdine University Professor David A. Levy.

My mission statement explains further:

Our mission at MetaThought Productions is to expand consciousness by exploring the limitations of our attitudes and beliefs. By "thinking about how we think," then we can gain the perspective to be able to break out of our dominant paradigms. We accomplish this by producing multimedia outreach tools for liberals and progressives that stimulate dialogue with conservatives. The Echo Chamber documentary intends to build understanding between the polarized ends of the political spectrum by providing an emotionally engaging catalyst for discussing grievances with the mainstream television news media.

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Public Declaration of Goals

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I thought that I would publish some of the goals that I want to accomplish before my Christmas break starting on December 21st. If I tell everyone in the world what I want to do, then I enable all my friends, family and volunteers to hold me accountable to my intentions.

Plus if you share these goals, then you can help me by simply visualizing these that these intentions will manifest.

Don't believe in the power of prayer or the power of intentionality? Then drop by the Institute of Noetic Sciences for some scientific research, or check out Dr. Wayne Dyer's The Power of Intention for the pop culture version.

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Blogging = Antidote to Business Plan Writer’s Block

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This is a meta-blogging post to analyze how I can use the blogging forum as a means to overcome my writers block.

I’ve been "slogging" through the process of writing up my business plan. I’ve made quite a lot of progress, but I’ve hit a wall.

I then discovered something very interesting yesterday – that blogging can provide an interesting way to overcome my writer’s block.

This business plan was going to be mailed out to a few key producers and funders. When you’re writing to a few people, then you try to make it as polished and perfect as possible.

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Market Demand for This Documentary

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I'm writing up various parts of my business plan, and thought that the "Market Demand" section resonated with the cultural aspects of academic bias that I briefly discussed in the previous post.

Below is a rough draft that hasn't been proofread yet, but I thought I would share what I have and welcome any feedback.


There is a strong demand for hard-hitting investigative reporting on complex issues, especially regarding the performance of the mainstream media leading up to the war in Iraq.

There is also an evolving paradigm shift for how our society views the role of mainstream journalism in our democracy. There is an increasing level of doubt as to whether the mainstream television news media can adequately fulfill their obligations of informing the electorate about the vital issues of the day.

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Moving Bias War to Academia -- Buddhist Perspective

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I am trying to take an integrative, systems approach to this documentary. It’s hard to pin the blame of any alleged failings of the mainstream media squarely on the media.

This is because there is a complex feedback loop relationship between the government, the media, and the society. Just critiquing the supply (media) without analyzing the demand (popular culture) is a simplistic and reductionistic approach to the issue.

One implication of this is that our public education system and college educational paradigms have a major impact on our culture, which then influences the demand for the programming that commercial broadcasters provide.

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David Sirota Transcript Now Posted

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Our interview with David Sirota is now posted online here.
Sirota is the Director for Strategic Communications at the Center for American Progress. He also runs his Sirotablog.

[img_assist|fid=24|thumb=0|alt=David Sirota]
"I think it's the press' responsibility to ask all the questions so that the American public has the full story at all times. That's not what happened in this case. You didn't need to be for or against the war to want to know as much of the truth, as much of the circumstances, surrounding the decision to go to war. That clearly didn't happen."

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