A key point from Dr. Schiller’s YouTube video was his discussion of corporate ownership, hegemony and media conglomeration. His original background is in economics. The main argument of his work is that a few corporations that frame the way we think about events, subjects, news, and basically control/dominate the American media landscape. The two major trends Schiller focused his attention on were the private takeover of public spaces in this country, and how this country is controlling cultural life abroad. He discusses his first hand knowledge and experience in economics and relates those points to mass communication.
Because of his economics training, he has a unique perspective on the ways in which power and conglomeration controls the media. He came to the field of mass communications later in life, so I think the juxtaposition of both backgrounds lends itself to a unique approach to the study of journalism, the media and mass communication as a whole.
The article on advertising by Ewen chronicled the rise of capitalism and went on to discuss consumerist culture and how to market to these audiences. As society began expanding and changing via the industrial revolution, there became a chance for consumerism to develop and thrive. People had shorter work hours, which allowed for more time to spend on other things—essentially, “…time out for mass consumption becomes as much a necessity as time in for production” (p. 3). In addition to more time, people were being paid higher wages, which meant more disposable income than ever before. These are two necessary and important aspects for consumerism to occur. As a response to the wants and desires that mass industrial capitalism was inspiring, modern advertising also began developing. It went beyond the conventional appeals of emphasizing a product’s “utilitarian value” and “traditional notion of mechanical quality” (p. 6). Products now needed to possess those qualities, but the most important quality was the introduction of the “fancied need” concept, which went beyond filling a need—it inspired the very feelings that define consumerism, and also made people deliberate over their product choices and purchases instead of simply purchasing the basics. Buying became like a pastime instead of a matter of practicality. This is also where the concept of branding came into play, as people felt they were buying into a brand and lifestyle that transcends the actual product. This is an emotion which still rings true today, even more so than ever before. People want to enjoy buying something, feel they have a variety of choices, feel they are not only getting the cheapest and most efficient/highly operational product but the most “cool” and appealing product as well.