￼Sensationalization, Media & Affective Emotion
International Studies 550 Kirsten Polley
In this paper I take a close look at the work of Richard Grusin on premediation and remediation, alongside Brian Massiumi’s idea of the half-life of disaster, to argue how mediation affects current events - specifically through the story of the recent loss of Malaysian Airlines flight 370. Media has played a large part in shaping American history, since its early days in the colonies through today. Media has been used as a tool to influence public perception and opinion. Whether a British vs. an American perspective during the revolution, a distortion by yellow journalism of the 1800s, or in more recent times, and the polarized political ideologies between the republican and democratic parties, media shifts and changes what it deems the public should perceive as important and what can be ignored.
Richard Grusin argues that news now “premediates”: it is a predictor or maker of future events, rather than just an outlet to tell of events that are currently happening or have already taken place (1). Events now seem to be inevitable because they are so hyped up before they even happen (Grusin 1). Grusin’s rational behind this occurrence is that it will help to avoid the devastation that comes from large events that take place such as the attacks on September 11th, 2001. By over-sensationalizing upcoming or potential conflicts - such as invading another country, drone strikes, a large shift in administrative policy, etc - the media outlets are desensitizing the public to avoid the outrage once the event actually takes place. The example Grusin gives in his interview is the Iraq War following the 9/11 attacks (Grusin 1). Even with a large base of citizens opposing the idea of the U.S. going to war on the opposite side of the globe, by the time congress approved the funds and boots were on the ground there was much
less resistance by Americans then previous administrations faced when sending troops abroad. The American people were sincerely sick of hearing about it and had already come to realize that the war was going to take place no matter how hard they protested, so they just gave in. This trend of premediation or reporting on an event that has yet to actually take place is an idea that seems to be here to stay.
Premediation is the fears of George Orwell’s novel 1985 in living color. It is today’s equivalent of having the police inside a person’s head; media can control the public’s thinking. (Grusin 4). In today’s fast paced... give it to me now society, few people take the time to really dig deeper into issues that are reported on in the news. Instead they take the reports at face value. Many of these stories have a much larger back story that is never told. Media outlets report stories from their perspective and focus on what is most important in their opinion, not necessarily what is the most important underling issue at hand. They use...