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September 2008

Framing Cultural Farming: U.S. TV News and/or Journalism

By: Holland Wilde

Video Research Examples:

Baudrillard’s Blender

Cameras or Guns: Virginia Tech

Picture Perfect Weather

Good Night ‘Cuz We’re F*cked

Image Stain

Dark Side of the Camera

YouTube Journalism

In this paper, I will attempt to clarify which non-fictional journalistic TV-media is targeted for study and why by tracing TV’s historical evolution as framed through Cultural Farming’s appropriation and remix research interests.  The varieties of video research in Cultural Farming represent experiments for challenging and provoking television practice, production, and presentation.  Through a variety of investigative techniques one begins to value the import of appropriation as a recuperative means of communicating back to TV using its own language and technique.  This approach to television ‘talk-back’, however, is grounded most specifically in a particular genre of non-fictional journalistic moving imagery: U.S. TV News. 

In this subsection I will briefly argue that, once coupled, journalistic and anthropological epistemologies provide Cultural Farming with ‘lenses’ for doing, observing, and provoking practices of production throughout all of non-fictional journalistic media.  Each proffers extensive well-developed theories and methodologies for drawing Cultural Farming’s research methods within established disciplines (as James Elkins argued for in the section above) as a means to participate in our culture, rather than around it, or after it. 

To begin (for an anthropologist, or better perhaps for a sociologist), TV news and journalism can be viewed as Cultural Farming’s ‘exotic Other' for study.  Indeed, TV (news) remains the ‘fattest communication-information pipe' into most North American homes today providing an excellent, singular, curious object for study -- replete with a visual ethnographer’s view-finder (screen).   And while no one can predict television’s future, contrary to many recent 'convergence' obituaries (Bolter & Grusin 1999; Jenkins 2006; Gauntlett & Horsley 2000; Manovich 2001; Morse 1998, Rushkoff 1999), TV, per se, is not going away any time soon.  Ruppert Murdoch, the chairman and controlling shareholder of the transnational media powerhouse News Corp. knows this well; as does Google, the world's leading and publicly held Internet search engine.

Today it is hard to find any TV newscast that does not regularly include Google references and/or unattributed 'citizen eye-reporter' video from so-called 'social media' venues -- like YouTube and FaceBook -- all aired as legitimate journalistic/news content.  Indeed, we are witnessing a critical rupture in traditional news practice, with 'every man for himself.'  Media guidelines and regulations -- like ethics and copyright -- are in stunning free-fall; a trend that can only be matched by the equally stunning uptake in social media production.  For instance, in YouTube's first year alone, it showed 100 million video clips while uploading an estimated 65,000 more each day - much of it pirated, re-mediated content.  Even with legal issues of appropriation, usage and copyright still hanging in precarious balance, YouTube was well worth $1.65billion purchase price to Google in October, 2006.  Consequently, as our ‘pre-digital worlds are metabolized by new camera/screen realities, our socially constructed worlds change as well, along with our languages and grammars. 

However, while this transformation seemingly happened overnight, less mentioned is how this has exploded traditional notions of Habermas' public sphere through the ubiquities of social (mass) communication exchange.  And so, as we watch media that watches us watching ourselves watch -- a possibility-of-inversion provides new spaces of reciprocal (Althusserian) interpellation.  For instance: “Why don’t we ‘hail’ media back?”  Indeed, paradigms shift as do many outdated and highly criticized “one-way’ communication studies claims.  Old arguments like technological determination (Innis 1958; McLuhan 1964; Mumford 1952) and media effects (Williams 1974; Postman 1992, et al) re-emerge, come into deeper question, or beg re-examination with our new technologies.  Here journalism -- still democracy’s greatest hope (warts and all) for rational “fair and balanced” investigation -- holds a theoretically rich traditional ethic ripe for re-discovery.  But, as with any creative-cultural industry, a look through journalism’s provocative history highlights deep promise mixed with deep failure.

Erik Barnouw’s (1966) extraordinary History of Broadcasting illustrates how cyclical crises amongst traditional stage theater from the 1920’s, the tabloid press from the 1930’s, and the cinematic newsreels from the 1940’s cross-pollinated with ‘live’ radio’s episodic format.  This media collision of sorts between performance styles, emerging technologies, and the new market opportunities of government and corporate sponsorship helped launch what is still referred to today as the Golden Age of Television of the middle 1950’s.  This pedigree is significant in that it reveals a hodgepodge historicity similar to Cultural Farming’s intentional meld of multi-modal techniques.

Concurrently, during this fitful beginning, two influential ‘philosophies of journalism’ were publicly and hotly debated.   In his book Liberty and News, Walther Lippmann, the soon to be preeminent authority and eventual “father” of journalism, used the terms “truth” and “news” interchangeably (from Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2001:40).  Two years later, however, in Public Opinion, Lippmann (1922:226), revised his notion of news saying “truth and news are not the same thing.”   Moreover, in Lippmann’s view, a “specialized class” would be required to “manufacture consent” of “common interests” in order to manage the “bewildered herd,” a view Noam Chomsky (2002) would later adopt more strongly (Klaehn 2005:8).  Lippmann also argued that the public was too distracted and the world too complicated for average citizens to make informed decisions, and therefore it was incumbent upon journalists to impart appropriate knowledge upon the masses.  In response to these assertions, John Dewy, renowned philosopher and educator at that time, pointedly contradicted Lippmann’s overarching premise by publishing his rebuke in Lippmann’s own paper (a provocation most appealing to Cultural Farming).

While Lippmann’s observations arose from obvious concerns about the spurious forms of propaganda newly enlisted during WWI, “Dewey argued that a healthy process of democratic self-government was at least as important as an efficient result” (Fallows, 1996:237).  To Dewey, the Press’ main responsibility was to encourage citizens to become active participants in their world; democracy was a means not an end.  The daily struggle of engagement was crucial regardless of how messy.  While this debate can be seen as possibly the first and most widely cited theoretical “gotcha” in modern-day news banter, its repercussions can still be felt today, for it strikes to the very (Cultural Farming) heart of how we define and functionalize news and journalism.

As TV grew in importance with events like the Camel News Caravan, $64,000 Question, See It Now, Kraft Television Theatre, and the McCarthy-Communism hearings, several important divergences appeared.  On one hand, Hollywood was discovering television could be an ever-growing cash-cow for distribution.  Profitable movie making had been perfected years before, yet TV was just learning to create proprietary content.  And so, in 1956-7, when the number of TV stations grew from 108 to over 500, franchising Hollywood movies to TV stations as on-air content became a high-return revenue source for both parties.  This, however, drew much of the emerging ‘entertainment’ television production industry westward to Hollywood. 

Alternately, emerging TV newsmakers like Edward R. Murrow, Eric Severeid, and Fred Friendly, remained centralized in the major (newspaper) cities on the east coast where they toiled magnanimously under the canon that TV should also include ‘journalism’ –- that their duty was to actually serve the viewers –- even if fulfilling that function meant being a revenue loss-leader and creating controversy for ownership.  Meanwhile, other significant groups like artists and educators were fast becoming disillusioned, seeing the expansion of TV circumventing original promises of citizen access in favor of soft drinks and tobacco advertisements (Barnouw, 1966).

TV and news programming were fast maturing, as scholar Todd Gitlin (2002:23) observes, “The evening news as we know it today began in September 1963” with events like network newscasts expanding from thirty to sixty minutes, and three months later with the massive TV coverage of the assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy.  Meanwhile, Newton Minnow (1961), an activist chairman for the FCC, had earlier declared TV a “vast wasteland” and sent parent corporations scrambling to legitimize their activities in fear of license revocation.  For each step forward however there were equal, opposite, even paradoxical reactions.  For instance even disgraced Republican Vice President Spiro Agnew’s infamous ‘news coverage’ speech (Agnew, 1969), in attempting to chastise news coverage critical of the Nixon administration, exactly fingered many of the essential news ‘problems’ that remain unresolved to this day:

Now how is this network news determined?  A small group of men, numbering perhaps no more than a dozen anchormen, commentators, and executive producers, settle upon the 20 minutes or so of film and commentary that’s to reach the public.  This selection is made from the 90 to 180 minutes that may be available.  Their powers of choice are broad. 

     They decide what 40 to 50 million Americans will learn of the day’s events in the nation and in the world.  We cannot measure this power and influence by the traditional democratic standards, for these men can create national issues overnight.  They can make or break by their coverage and commentary a moratorium on the war.  They can elevate men from obscurity to national prominence within a week.  They can reward some politicians with national exposure and ignore others.

     Now what do Americans know of the men who wield this power?  Of the men who produce and direct the network news, the nation knows practically nothing.  Of the commentators, most Americans know little other than that they reflect an urbane and assured presence seemingly well informed on every important matter.  We do know that to a man these commentators and producers live and work in the geographical and intellectual confines of Washington, D.C., or New York City, the latter of which James Reston terms the most unrepresentative community in the entire United States.

Both communities bask in their own provincialism, their own parochialism.  …The views of the majority of this fraternity do not -- and I repeat, not -- represent the views of America. …Perhaps the place to start looking for a credibility gap is not in the offices of the Government in Washington but in the studios of the networks in New York!”

All told, there was quickening realization among TV owners that some representation of ‘public good’, however disingenuous, was necessary, if not always profitable, for placating growing opposition.  This in turn, fostered and legitimized journalistic ambivalence as a simply part of doing (capitalist) business.  No longer could TV stations expect to broadcast without also delivering some semblance of news and information.  However, big money talks and walks (Kellner 2005,1990; McChesney 2004; Plissner 1999; Schudson 1995) particularly when it controls both the microphone and the camera (Ailes 1988; Auletta 2003; Donahue 1998; Schudson 2003).   Still, as television’s unbridled growth seemingly exploded exponentially, the classic  “who, what, why and where” tenets of newspaper reportage (Schramm 1960) began to rub off onto TV as well as its budding news affiliate franchises. 

However, what TV and news would become, and for whom would it serve (Anderson 2004, Kellner 2005, Mazzocco 1994, Williams 1974) remained to be seen.  Where would journalism’s purpose and practice fall inside this thing called television; how would it be implemented; and who would monitor its production and presentation?   Moreover, if TV news and journalism were to uphold self-professed ideologies of a fourth estate, would a few well-trained experts (Lippmann’s Roman ideal) be dependable enough to monitor on behalf of the public all practices of censorship and deception?  Then again if an educated, pro-active public (Dewey’s Greek ideal) were to be deceived by government wouldn’t it in essence be their (i.e., our) own fault from inattention?  Cultural Farming’s bias holds that Lippmann won the battle of the day – but that Dewey’s ideals remain best for fighting a still on-going war for journalism.  Indeed, effective leadership may always be necessary, but the need for civic engagement is absolute for all - at least in theory.  Ours, however, is an imperfect world.

From this important yet apparently irresolvable binary springs an unending and deeply embedded misunderstanding, distrust, even distaste for much of modern TV news and journalism.  For without constant accessibility to television’s mechanisms -- at every level -- no amount of citizen education or leadership can gain co-steerage of democratic information gathering and dissemination processes.  Conversely, why would any media corporation willingly kill a cash-cow simply to oblige vague promises of democracy via civic participation?  Moreover, if both the news industry and government are already comprised of citizens, isn’t this proof enough of adequate cultural-political-civic check-and-balances?  Today, Cultural Farming suggests, it appears that the best collective maneuver for maintaining addictive profit margins, while placating socio-cultural need for “truth,” may be to continually obscure actualities of access, content, technologies, and terminologies.  But this, too, is simply the latest chapter in a medium fraught with constant contestation.

One casualty of constant contestation, terms like “news and journalism” are now catchalls signifying little.  Still, citizens are continually lectured on all fronts that both remain crucially important to democracy and freedom.  But, as news venues also proliferate on all fronts in growing varieties of styles and formats, “journalism” must be re-considered and separated from typical instant-coverage of newsworthy events.  For Cultural Farming, “news” today signifies any “breaking information” particularly where 24-hour networks lead the charge; as opposed to a delayed, reasoned, referenced, perspectival, “journalistic” account after the fact.  Today, obviously, one genre often contains the other; thus, there is troublesome slippage in both terms, as James Carey writes:

“But the disruption of journalism is rather more disquieting than the fact that we can no longer tell which parts of the movie are advertising and which parts are the story, for journalism is central to our politics, to the power of the sate, to our capacity to form livable communities, indeed to our survivability as a democratic community.  Therefore, it is rather important that we get a clear fix on the changes affecting journalism and both adapt and reinvigorate the most ennobling traditions of the craft.  …Journalism is a particular form of social practice, a form of inscribing the world, first in speech, then in print, then in the modern “advanced” arts of broadcasting and electronics.  What unifies the practice across time, media, and organizations is its democratic context and something more.  …We must ask not what the ideals of journalists are but what the spirit that is expressed in practice is and to what degree that spirit and practice are consistent with our needs as a democratic people” (Munson & Warren 1997:330-333).

The necessity for Carey’s bifurcation of journalism from the rest of news practice jibes with Cultural Farming’s interests.  Whereas everyday jeremiads of “news” often go unchallenged as culturally normative; definitions of “journalism” are more ardently contested.  Few are unwilling to weigh into the debate.  Stanley Fish proclaims that one role of journalism is to “not solve problems, but to signify” (Zelizer 2004:13).  But, what exactly should be signified -- and how -- when journalism is historically, less a profession, per se, and more craft?  Considering journalism as an unregulated practice disorients debate and gives appearances of an open invitation for anyone to join the ‘game’.  Indeed, the United States First Amendment ensures this confidence to all citizens.  James Carey, too, derives his idea of journalism from the U.S. First Amendment.  He writes, certainly citizens:

“… are free to speak to each other openly and freely.  They are further free to write down what they have to say and to share it beyond the immediate place of utterance” (Munson & Warren 1997:203).

However, when:

“the press sees its role as limited to informing whomever happens to turn up at the end of the communication channel, it explicitly abandons its role as an agent of carrying on the conversation of the culture.  …Under this reading, merely legal rights guarantee little if in daily life the actual give and take of ideas, facts, and experiences is aborted by isolation, mutual suspicion, abuse, fear, and hatred.  …The assertion of rights has become a mere tropism, as automatic as a plant turning toward light” (Munson & Warren 1997: 209).

Proceeding beyond the argument of rights, countless definitions of journalism are volleyed in countless texts from countless quarters.  Scholar/pundit Neil Postman (1992:46) writes, “Journalism is supposed to present the facts in an accurate and orderly fashion… so that viewers have some sense of how to weigh the facts and what value to give them.”  Ken Auletta (2003:xix) who Columbia Journalism Review named America’s premier media critic writes:

“We are not licensed as lawyers or doctors, and not as extensively trained, we are, in effect, accredited to sort out fact from fiction, to decide what is news and what is not, what is more and also less important, what the public needs to know to make decisions in a democracy.” 

The 1976 CBS News Standards (Fenton 2005:58) states:

“We in broadcast journalism cannot, should not, and will not base our judgments on what we think the viewers and listeners are ‘most interested’ in, or hinge our news judgment and our news treatment on our guesses or someone else’s surveys as to what the people want to hear and see, and in what form.  The judgments must be professional news judgments – nothing more nothing less.”

Bonnie Anderson (2004:9), a twenty-seven year TV news veteran-turned-consultant writes:

“As journalists, it is our civic duty, our social responsibility to protect this institution (democracy).  By no means is it unpatriotic to make money in the news business.  But the value of free media should never be measured in terms of earnings or in ratings achieved, although both can coexist with public service.”

And, media scholar Dan Hallin (in Gitlin 1986:20-21) writes:

“‘Serious’ journalism tends to treat politics as a contest rather than a discussion of social values… An entertainment medium cannot pose as an authority the way an information medium can, but must enter into dialogue with the public.”

To help clear the air and scaffold Cultural Farming’s claim for public media provocation, two primary sources are included here.  First is, The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics (cited website), and The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstein (2001).  The Society of Professional Journalists states:

“Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice.”

In doing so, the SPJ lists these ethical guidelines:

Seek Truth and Report It - Journalists should be honest, fair and

             courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting


Minimize Harm - Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and

             colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

Act Independently - Journalists should be free of obligation to    

            any interest other than the public's right to know.

Be Accountable - Journalists are accountable to their readers,

            listeners, viewers and each other.

It is the Society of Professional Journalists’ mission to perpetuate “a free press as the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty.”  With over 250 U.S. chapters, there is significant membership support to validate these guidelines of journalistic purpose and practice.  Still, we find little discussion or template for how these guidelines apply to the purpose and practice of production.

The other key source for defining journalism’s practice and purpose is The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect (Kovach & Rosenstein 2001).  This book is a result of a self–selected “Committee of Concerned Journalists,” which orchestrated “the most sustained, systematic, and comprehensive examination ever conducted by journalists of news gather and responsibilities” (ibid:11).  The committee “held 21 public forums attended by 3,000 people and involving testimony from more than 300 journalists.  …We partnered with a team of university researchers who conducted more than a hundred three-and-a-half hour interviews with journalists about their principles” (ibid:11-12).  The main conclusions were that the task to fulfill was:

   - Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth.

- Its first loyalty is to citizens.

- Its essence is a discipline of verification.

  1. -Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those

        they cover.

- It must serve as an independent monitor of power.

- It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.

- It must strive to make the significance interesting and relevant.

- It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.

- Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience  (ibid: 12-13).

Regardless of whether or not this defines journalism now; clearly, even with today’s rush of new(s) media outlets, the pressures of deregulation, blurring genres, evolving technologies, and celebrity potential; there appears to be widespread consensus, least among journalists, about a fundamental approach to journalism.  Why then do we hear constant lament about content stupidity, manipulation, impotence, spectacle and spectatorship -- both in and outside of journalism (Chomsky 2002; Ewen 1996, 1988; Hall 1997, 1973; Jhally 1990; Kellner 2003; McChesney 2004; Messaris 2005, 1997, 1994; Postman 1985; Rushkoff 1999)?  Is there nothing good to be had from U.S. TV news? 

But to the point of my Cultural Farming research: Why is journalism presented in a style anathema to these established journalistic tenets?  Where are ‘guidelines’ for reconsidering journalistic production and presentation (Barnhurst & Nerone 2000; Gross, et al 1988, 2003; Handa 2004; King & Levin 2006; Sontag 1973)?  If information is only as good as its design, how might production be discussed, valued and monitored (Arnheim 1966, 1969; Barry 1997; Kress & Van Leeuwen 1996; Margolin 1989; Sontag 2003; Sturken & Cartwright 2001; Tufte 1990, 1997, 2001; Virilio 2005)?   Thus, with Cultural Farming, we can at least begin to examine how producers/practitioners think by what they ‘tell’ us in their production/practice, and then respond.  In other words, it is our civic role to reflect upon how they “do” their roles and perform their responsibilities within the repercussions of public journalistic presentation -- as the first step in collectively engendering more reflexive practices.  Thus, while intentionally obfuscating definitions of news may, indeed, be a “commercial strategy” (Kovach & Rosenstein 2001:19), deciphering multiple histories of loosely defined TV news genres today becomes an almost endless parlor game –- news-journalism, informational-tabloid, business-news magazine, morning-evening-weekend, national-local, documentary-headline, etc. 

Unfortunately, scholarship about the intentions and purposes inherent throughout journalistic production is almost nonexistent, particularly where one might most expect to find it -- in academic tomes of generalized media overviews (Askew & Wilk 2002; Ginsburg 2002; Handa 2004; Newcomb 1994, 2007; Nichols 1976; Smith, et al 2005; Wasko 2005, Zelizer 2004; Zettl 2005).  These, like most others, ignore Critical examinations of the production of production.  For instance, there is research into news reportage.  News ‘framing’ has also been researched.  There are marginally important optical and eye-screen tracking articles; as well as numerous trade magazine announcements of news design launches unveiling branding or renovation packages; and still others deal with specific peripheries such as developing new technologies, political economy, tourist gaze, media-literacy based education, and the plethora of scholarship regarding audience reception and media effects research.  Yet, all gloss production/presentational elements as something tangentially ‘other’, as if technological technique had no ‘voice’ in the equation.  This deficiency of specific scholarship about news presentation design, visual information, or graphical construction, approached from any journalistic theoretical angle, is startling. 

While continuing library, EBSCO, and communication journal database searches uncover only a small handful of marginally useful texts specific to my research.  Two of these in particular should be mentioned.  In Hollywood: The Dream Factory, Hortense Powdermaker’s (1950) classic examination of the writers profession within the Hollywood system of production begins to strike at the heart of my research but clearly misses my primary sample target:

“Since no social system can be understood without a knowledge of the people through whom it functions, the personalities of those who sit in the front office, of producers, directors, actors, writers, and others were observed.  Their backgrounds, goals, ways of thinking, frustrations and compensations were all significant.  …Although no movie could be made without cameramen, set designers, musicians, costume and make-up departments, carpenters, electricians, and many others, these have relatively little influence on the content and meaning, and so were not studied in any detail” (p:10).

Needless to say, while offering useable frameworks, I beg to differ with Hortense’s estimation of production.  More to my research focus, however, is a book chapter entitled “Professional oversight: Policing the credibility of photojournalism” by Dona Schwartz (in Gross, et al 2003).  Schwartz is a professional photographer and visual communication scholar at the University of Minnesota.  Here, Schwartz quotes John Lang, president of the National Press Photographers Association commenting upon the credibility of digital imaging:

“The only hope lies in you and me.  We must be honest in all our professional dealing.  We ourselves, the photojournalists, must be trusted because the images themselves will no longer be proof positive.  Reporters have a long and honored tradition of honesty.  It is a tenet of their profession; it is their Hippocratic oath.  We need to develop the same internal standards, the same deep beliefs in the rightness of what we are doing.  Our future depends on us and no one else” (p:33).

And three pages latter, Schwartz lands exactly on a crucial Cultural Farming issue:

“Many (news) editors suggest that prohibitions against manipulating news photographs are informally understood by newspaper staffers, although tensions surface in their commentary.  One photography director implied that designers, not photojournalists, are the culprits responsible for undermining photographs’ integrity, saying, “All designers are scumbags.”  …Editors often distinguish between the goals of journalists and the goals of “production people.”  …Journalists often question designers’ allegiances, implying that they are likely to succumb to their artistic impulses.  Designers may be motivated to “fiddle around…” (p:36).

Considering the ubiquity and import of TV news, these conditions make for a curiously marginalized and oft misconstrued professional discourse; yet one that remains vitally rich for discovery of purpose and consequence.  Production and presentation designers, clearly, are not the journalists.  But are designers “culprits… scumbags?”  Are certain “prohibitions… understood?”  Are there production or presentational “goals… allegiances?”  What is changed during journalism’s production?  If citizens cannot ask the producers themselves, why not investigate their production of production?  Here, as before, Cultural Farming can help.  If these anonymous producers are known to rarely speak (reflexively) and are rarely spoken to (reflectively) about their roles and duties in the journalistic process, maybe it is time to provoke the situation?  Indeed, ideas of commonsense broach several discreet ebb-and-flow viewpoints: The sense of commonness of daily production practices; commonsensicality among production participants; the common-sensibilities TV news viewers bring to daily (re)presentation; as well as what producers commonly sense as viewer interest or demand.

Through these producers’ bodies of work we can witness the swift-currents of a vast sea-change, not only in production and presentational sensibility, but in Journalism itself.  Moreover, location, and much as technique, spurs this situation.  The historical location for production and presentational structure in TV news originated in local affiliate TV stations, with in-house art/design departments with individual art directors and staff, with private production facilities.   Now, this kind of diversification has been entirely reorganized and consolidated outside of individual stations and into a very few network design ‘farms.”  Generic, one-size-fits-all branding packages are manufactured by outside, un-‘invested’ consulting firms whose work is then ‘plugged’ into various local affiliates’ broadcast days leaving little room for more individualistic or localized forms of production and presentation.  Likewise, many studio floor crews have been replaced with robotic cameras, simple lighting technologies, large screen backgrounds and automated production procedures.  Who is minding the ‘production store’ regarding the journalistic tenets mentioned above?  But then, does ‘minding the store’ matter in an environment where location has no meaning?

Although much of today’s diasporic production practice can be attributed to technological evolution, major U.S. cable news networks -- the undisputed instigators of today’s current production sea-change -- do maintain a steady stable of in-house designers, directors, and production facilities to feed an insatiable 24hour on-air demand.  This is fortuitous for Cultural Farming because it localizes my production ‘sample’.  However, as we see daily from each major news outlet: sensationalism, exploitation, manipulation, and eye-grabbing machinations remain the presentational modi operandi.  This media production, from these producers, at these locations constitutes much of Cultural Farming’s appropriation archive.  Thus here, I should clearly restate: Much of the world’s tele-informational visualization comes to us filtered through these few news producers, employing uncannily similar production and presentational practices, which adhere to few regulatory, ethical, or moral journalistic guidelines.

Television journalistic production and presentation is more than aimlessly adrift, it is broken by virtue of public neglect and separated from the idea of journalism.  Here, I will simply end with a quote from Donna Haraway in her chapter “The persistence of vision” in Simmians, Cyborgs and Women (1991:189),

“Vision in this technological feast becomes unregulated gluttony; all perspective gives way to infinite mobile vision, which no longer seems just mythically about the god-trick of seeing everything from nowhere, but to have put the myth into ordinary practice.  And like the god-trick, this eye fucks the world to make techno-monsters.”

For a case study (both visual and verbal) of the brand of (expressionistic)  “unregulated gluttony” Harraway refers to, click here:

MSNBC: The News Channel of Dr. Caligari