Posted by: bahughes13 | November 12, 2011

Today’s Blog Post Brought to You by the Number 42 (and Beaches Resorts)

Eighteen chapters in and I think it is fair to say that McChesney overwhelmingly favors a non-profit (possibly government-funded) broadcast media system. The closest thing we have is PBS, and probably the most universally recognized show on PBS is Sesame Street. This month, the Street marked 42 years on the air.

Sesame Street now comes in 20 or so different international flavors and is shown in more than 120 countries across the globe. According to the Sesame Street wiki, the Carnegie Institute, the Ford Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and others helped underwrite the cost of forming the Children’s Television Network and producing the show initially. After disputes with the federal government in the late 1970’s, producers decided they needed to find a more stable form of outside funding. That led to licensing deals with toy companies and publishers. (Tickle Me Elmo anyone?) In the late 1990’s, the producers started accepting sponsorships from McDonalds, baby food companies, and, now, Beaches Resorts.

Is this the way it is supposed to be? Not in McChesney’s utopia. But it is what we have, and, for now, it works. There is well-funded competition from Dora and SpongeBob, but few shows for kids can or are willing to take on issues such as hunger, homelessness, and HIV. However it is funded, I hope Bert and Ernie are still around for my grandkids. They still have a lot to teach us.Discussion Questions:  1.  If government funds public television and radio, whether through grants or pass-through taxes on corporate media, how would McChesney guarantee that the public product is not subject to censorship?

2.  Does the acceptance of corporate sponsorships by PBS and NPR erode their public service ability? Or strengthen it?

3.  How does McChesney view the Internet of 2011? Does he believe it fulfills its promise as a “much needed public sphere” or is it hopelessly caught in the control of media moguls?


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