The research topic this week is the communication theory of gatekeeping, or agenda-setting. Gatekeeping is basically the power to filter, and in essence (at its most extreme) is or can be censorship.
Are there fewer conventional “gate-keepers” now because of the Internet? Let’s think about Edward Snowden, as an example. In the past, a figure like him with direct, classified information would have had to go to a conventional and probably large media outlet and would likely be turned away. However, in this day and age, he was able to publish his information directly for anybody in theory to see.
An example of gate-keeping that is currently being talked about is related to the recent terrorist attack in Paris. Some people have been upset at what they feel is a stark inequality between coverage of the incident in Paris, versus very similar events elsewhere, such as one in Beirut, Lebanon.
While a number of people there have died in terrorist attacks in the past week, we must admit that we know a lot less about those events than the one in Paris. Why?
I think that this is a fair and important topic to bring up. Here are some people’s posts focused on the difference between coverage of the Paris incident and similar ones in other parts of the world.
Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer of Green Day, on Instagram
A friend’s Facebook post
New York Times (Nov. 15) – Beirut, Also the Site of Deadly Attacks, Feels Forgotten : http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/16/world/middleeast/beirut-lebanon-attacks-paris.html