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Media and Melodrama
Transcript of Media and Melodrama
"A paradoxical power was discovered: the very injury that enslaved the black noncitizen became a recognition of virtue that conferred humanity - and eventual citizenship - on the slave."
"It is a media dependent show, needing the pulpit, the state, the film, or the "glaring light of television" to melodramatize the villainy of slavery and the virtue of slaves, the villainy of segregation, the virtue of black men and women seeking rights.'
Israel - Gaza Conflict 2014
"The Israeli people view the conflict as a matter of security and defense. They believe in their right to the land of Israel due to their history and identity tied to it."
Boston Marathon Bombings
"The Obama administration has announced that it will employ the little-used public-safety exception to question Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev without reading him his Miranda rights."
2014 Ferguson Unrest
"The media did a great service to us all by making those images something so vivid....The media has been successful at putting that issue [of police militarization] on the national agenda..."
"Scope of melodrama...extends into political discourse and political action, providing the structuring framework for a specific contemporary American national identity that establishes its own moral virtue through victimization and heroic restitution."
"Israel's governments have unfairly indoctrinated their public that Gaza is a hostile place full of hostile people. It became permissible to level any degree of punishment on Gaza."
Israel draws a clear distinction between Hamas and Israel, one as evil and the other as good. In order to protect the goodness or virtue of Israel, a moral retribution as a 'punishment' is deemed necessary.
"Military commentators spoke on all the media outlets using almost the same words and images to describe the magnificent Israeli victory and no-less significant defeat of Hamas."
Media coverage of Israeli attacks serves to evoke support from citizens of Israel. At the same time, focusing on the inevitability of Israel's victory convinces people to approve the war as a righteous, moral act.
"The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorists trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans.... clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status."
-Four Republican leaders including Rep. Peter King and Sen. John McCain
Michael Brown's death revealed police brutality and bias that young African-American males face from law enforcement forces.
His innocent death became virtuous through national media coverage, focusing on villainy of racism and police militarization.
The melodrama highlighted in the incident is helping communities trust police forces again; Congress is working towards requiring police officers to wear body cams.
NFL Player Ray Rice
"Running back Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL.... the same day a shocking video surfaced showing the NFL star knocking out his future wife with a punch in February."
Through media coverage of Boston Bombing (including many close up of victims) and initial false reports (increasing number of victims/bombs), Americans become sympathetic towards victims and also become "victimized themselves".
As a hero, the government becomes responsible for moral retribution - a powerful role that justifies overpowered legal actions.
Ironically, the NFL has known about the incident for almost 7 months and yet Rice was only suspended for two games. Only when the story was leaked on media, NFL took harsher actions and suspended Rice indefinitely.
Through the incident, the injury - in this case, domestic violence - was revealed and the victim, Janay, became a character of virtue while Rice became a character of villainy.
The melodrama in this case was justifiable; increase in number of calls on domestic violence hot line increased dramatically after the video was released.
Two issues where melodrama is justified
1) North Korea and its prison camps
-inhumane treatment of innocent people
-historically caused many problems; Social Darwinism, Holocaust, racism, etc
-with development of science in modern society; designer babies becoming popular
-increase of crime; fertility clinic scams