Final Essay, Dylan Adams-Martin, Team #2

Thesis: As the recent wave of populism continues to engulf parts of the world, countries continue to find themselves in a cross road of what comes next. The government of France has been at the brink for more than 15 weeks combatting the street protests, known as the “Yellow Vest Movement”. The protests have been covered very differently depending on news outlets. Euro-skeptic and alternative media sources have been quick to praise the protests while pro-EU and establishment media companies have blacked it out and reported it in a negative light.

The 21st century and all the technological change it has brought has warped the global landscape and post-World War II order as we know it. Ever since the 2008 financial collapse, we have seen a shift in global politics with the rise of populism. Historic events such as Brexit, the 2016 American Elections, as well as the rise of Eurosceptic governments in Europe the world is changing fast. One of the countries that seem to be taking the brunt of this change is the western European country of France with the “Yellow Vest movement”. For weeks on end French citizens have taken to the streets to protest the government of Emmanuelle Macron. How we know, what we know about the events is the way that the media has portrayed the yellow vests within France, which has led to varying narratives of what can be considered the truth.

The same way that the American media apparatus has become divided the same has begun in France. We see two portions of the population engaging in new and old forms of media consumption. This personal confirmation bias fueled media consumption has led to a parallel reality in France one in which words and actions take on a different meaning. “We can still observe some confusion in the academy and the media about the definition of populism, which has led to a very contested and vague use of the term”. (Fernández-García, Belén, and Óscar G. Luengo.) This vague and differing definition of what populism is and the labels being placed on protestors in France has exacerbated the situation creating an extremely-polarized environment.

The continued protests are stemming from a pathos emotion filled rhetoric claiming that middle and working class people of the country feel abandoned by Macron. The government narrative and many macron loyalists believe that Russia is behind the stream of disinformation and fake news, which has led to these uprisings. The government fears that access to new forms of tech such as social media has opened the door to Russian influence operations within the country.

As stated by Sylvie Corbet of Times Magazine “The movement, named after the fluorescent emergency, vests the French are required to keep in their cars, held its first nationwide protest Nov. 17. The main complaint then was fuel tax hikes, but that long ago expanded to an array of demands to maintain pressure on the government to reverse policies they see as favoring the rich. Calls for a citizens’ referendum is now among top demands on the list.” (Corbet, Sylvie). The rise of the protests began as the effects globalization and the loss of manufacturing jobs in parts of France have led to many people losing their jobs due to automatization as well as the increase in migrants willing to work for less.

 As stated by Pierre Souchon of Le Monde Diplomatique one of France’s biggest newspapers. “The weekly meeting in Branceilles was starting as I arrived. During the evening nearly 150 people got up to speak, people who found themselves homeless because they could no longer pay the rent or depended on charities for food. Their pain and anger were suddenly public after being kept private so long. One said, ‘I used to spend my evenings yelling at the telly.’ They were angry at all the political class: Emmanuel Macron and his ministers, members of parliament they barely recognized, and other elected representatives. (Souchon, Pierre)

Like a worldwide trend happening across the globe, we see differences in the ethos, pathos, and logos in thinking between the interior populations and populations living in big cities. With this change, we see the clash between the old French media and new alternative online media as McLuhan stated, “People don’t actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath”.

State run media outlets throughout the country have rushed to the defense of the country and created an ethos-fueled narrative of their own framing the protestors as Nazis, Bigots, Anarchists, and disruptors. This counter narrative is what has increased many hostilities in the country as now media outlets have begun to make otherwise center leaning people more radicalized unfortunately. As stated in the Associated Press “Yellow vest protesters marched on the headquarters of leading French broadcasters Saturday, as small groups turned out in Paris and around France despite waning momentum for their movement. Hundreds of demonstrators — some chanting “Journalists – Collaborationists!” — gathered at the central offices of television network BFM and state-run France Televisions. Some protesters hurled stones and other objects during scattered skirmishes with riot police firing tear gas. (Press, Associated)

The government has also taken steps to help stop the spreading of fake news articles on the internet. Fears of Russian influence campaigns within the country have led the government itself to start censoring. The problem with these actions is that the line between truth and reality only becomes more blurred. Critics also argue that the manipulation of information could jeopardize democracy as well as hurt freedom of the press. This action possesses a grave threat to the access of information and the type of media in which people watch as you have the government effectively deciding what the population can and cannot watch. “As stated by Pauline Bock of the Guardian “Resentment against the “president of the rich”, as Macron is known” (Bock, Pauline). This resentment can only be expected to increase if you have a government willing to manipulate the access of information to its population.

The bounds of debate will be expanded regardless because failure to let people air out their grievances by watching their favorite shows with likeminded opinions will only generate anger. If people cannot nod and agree in anger on what they watch in the privacy of their home or smart phone, they will protest in anger out on the streets instead. It is crucial for both protestors and the government to come to a resolution and compromise of some sort before both sides unknowingly walk into a self-made media dystopia.

 

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Annotated Bibliography, Dylan Adams-Martin, Team #2

Dylan –

Excellent work. I look forward to your final essay.

 

Thesis: As the recent wave of populism continues to engulf parts of the world, countries continue to find themselves in a cross road of what comes next. The government of France has been at the brink for more than 15 weeks combatting the street protests, known as the “Yellow Vest Movement”. The protests have been covered very differently depending on news outlets. Euro-skeptic and alternative media sources have been quick to praise the protests while pro-EU and establishment media companies have blacked it out and reported it in a negative light.

1.Book: Giusto, Hedwig, et al. The Changing Faces of Populism: Systemic Challengers in Europe and the U.S. Foundation for European Progressive Studies, 2013.

“This book talks about the rising tide of populism in Europe. 2008 and the financial crisis is one of the starting points for populism on both the left and right rising up in parts of the continent. The wave has hit France and people are letting Macron know of their displeasure with the administration’s globalist policies by protesting gas hikes.”

Found in FIU Green Library General Collection — JN13 .C43 2013

2. Scholarly Journal: Works Cited

Fernández-García, Belén, and Óscar G. Luengo. “Populist Parties in Western Europe. An Analysis of the Three Core Elements of Populism.” Communication & Society, vol. 31, no. 3, July 2018, pp. 57–76. EBSCOhost, doi:10.15581/003.31.3.57-76.

“This scholarly journal talks about the 3 main components which are leading to populism in Europe. All 3 of these variables are currently being seen in France. The journal stresses how when a ruling establishment ignores their lower and middle classes for too long then they will attempt to vote out the establishment and seek different alternatives.” Found in the communication and media database on the FIU website.

3.Corbet, Sylvie. “16th Straight Weekend of ‘Yellow Vest’ Protests in France.” Time, Time, 2 Mar. 2019, time.com/5542350/yellow-vests-france-16th-weekend/.

“This article in Time magazine talks about how the Yellow vest protest are on the 16th week straight. This highlights how the government is trying to avoid taking concrete steps to meet the demands of protestors and the public at large. While the majority of the protests have been taking place in Paris there is a large portion of them that continue throughout the country especially in rural agricultural towns.”

4.Souchon, Pierre. “Yellow Vests Don’t Do Politics.” Le Monde Diplomatique, 1 Jan. 2019, mondediplo.com/2019/01/03gilets-jaunes-roundabouts.

“Le Monde is the New York Times of France. The article has taken much criticism for downplaying the protests and calling them a ragtag group. Le Monde and its reporting has been criticized as pro-establishment and covering for Macron by much of conservative and alternative news sources in France. The article shows the odd similarities with the United States as cultural elites in big cities tend to dismiss working class people from the center of countries.”

5.Bock, Pauline. “The French Protests, like Brexit, Are a Raging Cry for Help from the Disenfranchised | Pauline Bock.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 5 Dec. 2018, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/05/french-protests-brexit-raging-cry-help-fuel-prices-macron.

“The Guardian is a good website as it is a British based. The article on the website does a great job of highlighting the similarities between Brexit and the Yellow vest movement. The author touches on how the media tends to side with government and elites and just like in Britain they call protestors racists, Nazis, and bigots to delegitimize disenfranchised portions of the population to the country and the world over.”

6.“Yellow Vest Protesters Target French Media as Movement Ebbs.” AP News, Associated Press, 29 Dec. 2018, http://www.apnews.com/318b9324e5484f86bfea4203e5503283.

“The associated press is a good source to use as the article it talks about shows how demonstrators are targeting media outlets. Hundreds of demonstrators — some chanting “Journalists – Collaborationists!” — gathered at the central offices of television network BFM and state-run France Televisions. AP shows how the demonstrators feel demonized and resentful towards the media and the way they are being perceived in culture.”

Dylan Adams-Martin, Individual Assignment 3, Team #2

Dylan –

  Overall, a good analysis with interesting connections to Deresiewicz. The generational issue you raise is spot on. Writing is good, but consider shorter sentences for greater clarity and impact. Also, omit needless words.

Seeing a definite improvement in your writing.       

 

Thesis: Reading “The End of Solitude” by Deresiewicz and doing a 48-hour news blackout have shown that with the internet we are never alone, but then without the internet, we are clueless on what is going on. Good thesis.

            Getting away from social media, apps that gives news, and other types of news (television, radio, etc.) was extremely challenging. I watch sports all the time, this includes ESPN on a daily basis, if it’s by the app or watching it on the television, so sports news was impossible for me. (two sentences would work best here):

I watch sports all the time, including  ESPN on a daily basis. It was impossible to avoid sports news on apps or television.

It didn’t help that this past weekend was the All-Star Weekend for the NBA and all my friends were constantly texting me, it got to the point where my phone was silenced and on do not disturb in order to stop seeing all the text messages and notifications showing up on my screen. Ouch!

            We are constantly using social media and scrolling through all these post/feeds about current news. , so it It was frustrating at first to block off all this information that you don’t realize you receive. until after the you blackout from all news. Eating dinner with your parents was difficult because all they wanted to talk about current news that was going on and every time they begun to talk about this, I would have to leave the room for nearly 30 minutes (Stick with first or third person. Either works here, but be consistent.). Plus, the ESPN channel is practically locked on my TV so there wasn’t any television watching either, which made it even worse.

            This 48-hour news blackout assignment opened my mind because one problem that people always say about this current generation is that all we care about is ourselves and what things affect us. But this assignment showed me how much we read about other issues around the world, like the border dispute currently going on, the Venezuelan crisis, and much more. Older generations think all we do is fool around on our phone but in reality, this is how we receive our news, this is how we get our day to day information. It’s all the same information, just different ways of receiving it. Excellent point. Older generations always fear new media, dismissing it as inferior to what they know.

            At first, this blackout was not challenging, but has as the hours went by, it got harder and harder. I began to notice that we have to know what is going on around us because if we didn’t, then we will begin to feel out of place. The whole time, my mind was going crazy to see what was going on the outside. When the 48 hours were finished, I rushed onto my phone to see what I had missed while conducting this assignment, which showed me how connected we are to the news.

            The solitude that Deresiewicz describes in “The End of Solitude” is that the internet has cultivated us so much that we don’t have to be with someone to feel that certain connection. It is essential to us to talk to other people and know what they are up to, so while completing this assignment, it was challenging to be alone, it was just me and my thoughts for the whole 48 hours. (2 sentences here) This was a major wake up call to be more inclined (not sure if this is the right word here) with my surroundings and be more connected with these surroundings.

Assignment 2: Dylan Adams-Martin (Team 2)

Dylan- I think you have a basic grasp of McLuhan’s central idea, but your writing lacks clarity. Try reading aloud to another person and ask them if they get it. Getting another perspective can be helpful. You might consider an appointment with the writing center in the library. You can schedule a 45-minute appointment, in-person or via Skype, with a consultant who can go over your work.

Thesis: Looking over the Playboy interview, the chapter from Understanding Media, and the lectures from class, it is evident that McLuhan uses critical perspective in his theories and explanations that the medium is the message.

This quote that “the medium is the message” is a perfect example of how he uses critical perspective by questioning common assumptions and by expanding the bounds of debate. His idea on how the medium has had substantial effect and impact on society in the way that we receive and perceive information that we receive on a daily basis. This is a tighter and more focused sentence:

Media has a substantial impact on society and an effect on the way we receive and perceive information.

McLuhan stresses about that the medium is the message because in most cases, the medium is more important than the content, the content just plays an ordinary role.

The readings go on and on about that today’s society only care caring about the content instead of the medium, and this would be where we begin to lose all the changes of understanding the message correctly. He goes into questioning common assumptions when he says that when we over stress the content and not the medium, we would be unprepared and stuck in the current period of technologies instead of making revolutionary innovations and inventions. Interesting, but not quite McLuhan’s point.

McLuhan begins to theorize that by placing most of the stress on the message and not the medium, we are going then to be oblivious when it comes down to the impact that new technologies are going to have on mankind. The way that we interpret the message when we see something on the internet is how we can impact the world instead of focusing on the content of that message. Media in today’s society can have a major impact for the society and the people in it.

McLuhan used example examples of how the radio and television industry shapes our concept of the consumption of information, and the medium itself would have an even greater impact on the society if we consume the right message in the medium instead of looking at the content.

McLuhan expands on the idea of “the medium is the message” and expands on the bounds of debate by claiming that our very own survival can be predicted on if or if not, we can understand the nature of our environment in these quick changing times. The media can portray the culture, values, and attitudes of society in a flash because of how easy it is to convince people when they are only skimming and not diving deep down.

He constantly uses critical perspective to show how easy media can change how we work, how it has shaped our life, and how media can keep on doing such things until we have a society can begin to see that the medium is the message, and the content can be very misleading. In my opinion, McLuhan barely touched on how “the medium is the message” aims for the betterment of society.

Dylan Adams-Martin, Team 2, Assignment #1

Dylan – Most of your analysis of rhetoric is good, though you miss the ethos of C&S. However, you need to more carefully edit the writing to clarify your arguments. Use paragraphs to break up multiple ideas and arguments. Watch your plural/singular forms.

Thesis: Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, authors of the New York Times article “Why Our Memory Fails Us”, uses use logos, pathos, and ethos throughout the article to help strengthen their messages.

In the article written by Chabris and Simons, you can see the rhetorical triangle being used to spread their message, these two authors mostly used logos and pathos, while ethos was non-existent throughout it. But you said ethos was used in your thesis. The authors used real life events that have happened in our past to support the arguments that are being held up by the support beams that are logos, pathos, and ethos.

You can see that throughout Throughout “Why Our Memory Fails Us” Chabris and Simons They use real life scenarios and stories like with President Bush around the time when 9/11 had happened. With the argument of 9/11 and how apparently Bush knew about the first tower being hit by the plane, Chabris and Simons here are appealing more towards the logos side of the Rhetorical Triangle. The reason why our memory can fail us sometimes because since it is our own memory, the logical reason behind this would be that our memory is correct no matter what, even if the counter arguments point is more valid, we are always going to believe our own no matter what. Chabris and Simons are using logical reasoning to support and strengthen their argument in this article. Throughout the article and in the comment section, you can see an emotional appeal, or pathos, being used for the Bush argument. While reading some of the comments that were made, you can see that some people were for Bush’s standpoint while others were completely opposed to it. The authors here are trying to put our emotions either for or against the arguments that even the highest standard of people can be wrong too, that it is not just lower class people being wrong because of the memory that is there. This should be more than one paragraph. The subject of failed memory is not Bush, but Tyson. The writing would be improved if more concise and to the point (see example below).

Chabris and Simons use logos and pathos to demonstrate that our memories, while influential, can be wrong. They use logos by presenting examples of failed memory, such as Dr. Tyson’s recollection of President Bush’s 9/11 comments. That even so prominent a scientist can suffer the embarrassment of a public error of memory shows the universality of the problem. To err in memory is all too human. We empathize with Dr. Tyson, knowing it could be us. This use of pathos is particularly effective.

Has reading the top reader’s comments, you can notice that the comments are similar to how Heffernan talks about in the article “Comment is King”, how they provide an easier understanding of the article written by Chabris and Simons. That is not Heffernan’s point. Most comments nowadays are just a single sentence that would say something like “Great read! Love your work!”, but these comments were more compelling and useful in trying to understand. Good point. One of the comments from the top reader’s section was from a Dr. Neil Tyson, so you wouldn’t expect nothing anything ordinary about what he had to say. While the New York Times picks were more from normal people like us, that was just written to give the article good ratings instead of a good stance on it. All in all, Chabris and Simons used logos and pathos to help influence and strengthen the argument that would be memory and how it can affect an argument with someone.