Blog Entry #4: Representation in the Media

I'm not sure I agree with the statement in this blog prompt that we came to a consensus as a class that most public intellectuals are older white men.  Perhaps it is true, but I absolutely loved the example that someone shared about Laverne Cox being a public intellectual; I'm so happy to be living in a time where she is openly acknowledged and where she is able to use her platform to lift up others who are like her.

I am afraid I can't speak to which academic fields or disciplines are most well represented in the media because I don't often watch the news or subscribe to any other media outlets regularly.  If I had to give my uninformed opinion, however, I would say that political science and economics seem to be quite commonplace.  Having earned my bachelor's degree in psychology, I would love to see more of that in the media.

From what I see on TV in general or when I do catch the news, it seems to be fairly whitewashed, which can only allow for so much diversity in intellectual/philosophical perspectives.  Things seem to be so politically motivated currently and, as we've already discussed in class, there is some major left/right polarization in our country.  I think the media really plays to that and it's rare to find nonpartisan perspectives; liberals will, in general, gravitate toward the left-wing media and conservatives will gravitate toward the right-wing media. Similarly, perspectives that are under-represented, stigmatized, or scorned will depend on what type of media you subscribe to (liberal perspectives will be bashed on conservative media and vice versa).  It's rare to find a person who goes out of their way to watch/read both types of media to attain a truly informed perspective.

Comments

  1. Well said, Stefany. I especially agree with your comment at the end about how most people do not actively seek other perspectives other than the ones to which they subscribe. I do believe, or hope, most journalists seek all sides before they write commentaries, as that skill is engrained in their educational development. However, not all intellectual writers and readers from other fields are necessarily inclined to see other perspectives, so the question becomes how do we truly measure what is under-represented?

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  2. I agree with Caroline, this is so well said and I do agree with you, Stefany, in saying that Laverne Cox is an excellent example of a public intellectual. She displays courage and confidence with who she is as a person, which is truly inspiring to everyone whether one is in that stage of transformation or not.

    To make a comment on your other points about the media, having majored in journalism for my undergrad, I have learned that although journalist are objective about the topics they cover, they aren't objective to all sides. That's why you have your different news stations that are either completely left or completely right.

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  3. Stefany-- I feel like I could have not said this better myself. When it comes to the media we as humans tend to stick to the newspapers, new, television channels or what ever it maybe that have the same belief as us. I also feel that the media should do a better job of allowing us to see things from many over perspectives.

    I as well would love to see a rise of psychology in the media. I feel this topic is very neglected in the "public sphere" as well as in the media.

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  4. Hi Stefany! You're absolutely right that representation is becoming less and less "male, pale and stale," to borrow from Professor Macek; I think, too, that Laverne is shining example of a modern day public intellectual. It's honestly so exciting to be seeing more and more people of color, differing gender identities, and thinkers of different spheres (etc.) being recognized as public intellectuals.

    It's important that more academic fields are represented in the media. As a society, I think we'd benefit more from increased exposure from fields like psychology and art. Do you have any favorite public intellectuals from the psychology world?!

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