Duration: 1 – 2 hours.

Objective: Mass media as voicing and dictating the status quo and collective consciousness. This episode will explore the fundamental and seminal role that media – its content and usage – plays in shaping the general public in regards to every aspect of our lifestyles. The listener has to leave this episode with a much more critical attitude towards the messages they are fed on an everyday basis in our information overloaded world.

Focus: News reporting will comprise the central focus of the discussion, as the negative effects of mass news reporting is widely known and often brought up, especially by me because it is a pet-peeve and I am a co-owner of Positive News. Also, Donald Trump and his portrayal in the media will most likely form the focus of the discussion in regards to news reporting. There is a great deal of willful blindness surrounding Trump’s presidential campaign and he is often compared to Hitler in the media; to this end, this episode will link up very strong with Episode 2: Triumph of the Willful Blindness and its Great Dictator. However, the discussion will branch out to other areas of media usage and its content: cinema, reality television, selfies, etc., because in order to understand how the mass media plays a seminal role in shaping thought processes of our everyday lives, it is necessary to understand that it is not so much the content of media, but the media technology itself and how we go about interacting with it which has the biggest effect on human psychology…

“For the “content” of a medium is like the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind. The effect of the medium is made strong and intense just because it is given another medium as ‘content.’ The content of a movie is a novel or a play or an opera. The effect of the movie form is not related to its program content. The ‘content’ of writing or print is speech, but the reader is almost entirely unaware either of print or of speech… If the formative power in the media are the media themselves, that raises a host of large matters that can only be mentioned here, although they deserve volumes. Namely, that technological media are staples or natural resources, exactly as are coal and cotton and oil. Anybody will concede that society whose economy is dependent upon one or two major staples like cotton, or grain, or lumber, or fish, or cattle is going to have some obvious social patterns of organization as a result. Stress on a few major staples creates extreme instability in the economy but great endurance in the population. The pathos and humour of the American South are embedded in such an economy of limited staples. For a society configured by reliance on a few commodities accepts them as a social bond quite as much as the metropolis does the press. Cotton and oil, like radio and TV, become ‘fixed charges’ on the entire psychic life of the community. And this pervasive fact creates the unique cultural flavor of any society. It pays through the nose and all its other senses for each staple that shapes its life.”

– Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1966:32-35

This is why the focus of the previous episodes has been less on the two-dimensional images on the screen (the content) and more so on the interactions between the outlet and the user (the media). This is a concept which I want to start bringing to a clear conception within this episode in accordance with this episode’s consideration of how mass media is just an electronic extension of our central nervous systems and the human minds which are heavily influenced by the usage of those central nervous systems…

“Thus the age of anxiety and of electric media is also the age of the unconscious and of apathy. But it is strikingly the age of consciousness of the unconsciousness, in addition. With our central nervous system strategically numbed, the tasks of conscious awareness and order are transferred to the physical life of man, so that for the first time he has become aware of technology as an extension of his physical body. Apparently this could not have happened before the electric age gave us the means of instant, total field-awareness. With such awareness, the subliminal life, private and social, has been hoicked up into full view, with the result that we have “social consciousness” presented to us as a cause of guilt-feelings. Existentialism offers a philosophy of structures, rather than categories, and of total social involvement instead of the bourgeois spirit of individual separateness or points of view. In the electric age we wear all mankind as our skin.”

– Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, 1966:56

Marshall McLuhan will have a huge presence in this episode (as indeed he does in the podcast as a whole), the guy was ahead of his time in regards to media research and finally we have a reached a point where everything he said can clearly be discerned in our everyday lives, he had it absolutely right when he essentially said that we should focus less on the content and more so on the media, or, as I have been saying, less so on the two-dimensional images on the screen and more so on the media-organism which enables those two-dimensional images. It’s time to leave cave-like thinking behind and to get our teeth into the real heart of the matter – the media is the mentality.

Format: Factual documentary analysis using a combination of my linking voiceover narration and contributions from a range of interviewed guests; as well as excerpts from other related media texts to further expand the scope, validity and reliability of the discussion. There will also be some vox pop included.


Pre-Intro segment – Still thinking about this.

Podcast Intro – (45 seconds) – Cave of the 8-Bit Binary Organ theme music as combined with excerpts from other media texts to create a summative overview of what is the Breaking Cinema podcast.

Main body – News reporting will form the main component of the main body and will probably focus on the media coverage of Donald Trump and his presidential campaign. Around the focus on news reporting will be presented wider aspects and discussions of media usage and how the contributors and vox pop contributors think that these media technologies are having an influence on their everyday lives.

Conclusion – This will be heavily determined by the material of the contributors, but it is pretty well established from various research studies that the media does quite heavily influence human psychology, so the conclusion of this episode will be leaning towards this viewpoint, but will ideally present a new conclusion based on the content and contributions of this episode.

Podcast Outro – a: “Thank you for listening to Breaking Cinema, like the Facebook page, leave a review on iTunes, etc.” message will play over the outro music.

Next Time on Breaking Cinema – a short teaser of the next episode.


Additional Notes:

  • This episode will need release forms for the interviewed contributors and vox pop contributors.
  • For copyright queries on media content inclusion, see the Pulling Teeth & Breaking Blindness overview document.


Media content to be referenced and included:

Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, book, 1966

There will be more, yet to be determined.