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Marxist Analysis Of Social Media In Guatemala

1070 words - 5 pages

The 14th of January of 2014 the president and vice-president of Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina and Roxanna Baldetti, presented the annual report on the advancements made by the government on violence, child malnutrition and other problems that affect Guatemalan society. When the vice-president was leaving the building, a woman throw flour at her as a demonstration of discontent (Associated Press, 2014). Both the president and vice-president of Guatemala have been accused of corruption and having ties with organized crime (Zamora & Arana, 2013). Although they officially report that they made significantly advancements on matters such criminality and health, there are still 15 homicides per day ...view middle of the document...

In the case of Guatemala we can find similarities with the case presented above. Since the mid 90’s the national cable companies have been controlled by only one man, Ángel González. He acquired the cable companies after making a deal with the Guatemalan government (El Universal, 2007) and in 2011 he renewed the contract with president Álvaro Colom. Through the decades Ángel González has played a vital role in the campaigns of every presidential candidate (Gutiérrez, 2012). A we can see in this example Ángel González has acquired different media outlets under the umbrella of his company Albavisión, and through it he has the possibility of shaping the public opinion of Guatemalan people. Ott and Mack (2013, 50) name this practice agenda setting. The cable channels will touch topics that the political elites find helpful to their cause. They might use it to discredit the opposition or to present the “great” work the government does, like the annual report that Otto Pérez Molina and Roxanna Baldetti presented on 14th January of 2014.
Other characteristic of the example presented above is what Ott and Mack (2013, 42) have named Celebrity and Spectacle. The authors of the textbook used to describe how media use the lives of celebrities and their problems to distract population of what really is happening. In the case of Guatemala you are able to compare some politicians to celebrities and their scandals. The day the government presented their annual report no one was analyzing or critiquing the results, instead every comment you could find in the newspapers, news channels and other types of media outlets where discussing the flour attack, how security had failed to protect the vice president, who were the women that orchestrated the attack and so on. In the end this spectacle help obscure the poor job the government has done in the last two years.
I believe it’s important and useful to return to the work of authors such as Marcuse, Adorno, and Horkheimer to understand the situation presented in this example. They argued that media had gone through process of homogenization and that all content had become the same. In doing so, the audiences had been stripped of their ability of critical thinking. The spectacle that took place on...

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