Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week 8, Research Report 4, Lauren Leffingwell

        “Advertising” by Douglas Rushkoff is an eye opening chapter from his very popular book Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say. The chapter touched on a number of ways of how advertising is constantly changing to keep up and almost manipulate the consumers. Rushkoff stated “Advertisers are learning to stay one step ahead in the chaotic mediaplace (2000).” After reading this chapter, that sentence seems to be a good summary of the chapter. Even if consumers think they’re in control of the media and going against some of what they see as pressure from the media, advertisings are ahead of them and finding new ways to manipulate. Many real life examples were used to give depth to this theory, such as sharing stories of brewies releasing fake beers and Calvin Klein tactics behind their fragrance commercials (Rushkoff, 2000). The chapter was very interesting, but after researching more on Rushkoff and Coercion, it is important to read the book aware of a strong opinion behind the writing.
             The Riverhead Trade first published Rushkoff’s book Coercion, in 1999. To summarize the book, it goes into depth about how there are different techniques used to control consumer in our consumer-based society. The ability we have to make our own decisions on what we want, and don’t, is not in our control. As consumers, we are being controlled and we don’t even know it. As one can see from this summary, the book is clearly written from the journalistic characteristic of Journalism of Affirmation; creating loyalty with the reader with the same opinion and writing from a certain point of view. Doug Rushkoff has a side of this issue and it is written from a bias point of view. And it’s most likely a consumer who is wary about the influence that media has on their life’s will be a reader, so the loyalty and bias used is increasing these feelings. Though the book won the 2002 Marshal McLuhan Award, there were interesting reviews found on it that did point out flaws. On the site, a constant review that was found in the comments, was that his writing was often persuasive (GoodReads Inc, 2013.).  As learned in J201 Lectures, the five grade rules of Journalism are all to create a complete, non-bias report on stories. Coercion seemed to lack objectivity and balance within this issue. It’s important to know about the book when reading the “Advertising” portion.
Even though a bias was found in Coercion, Douglas Rushkoff is a very credible author and source of knowledge. Rushkoff is not only an author, he has his PhD in Media Literacy, is a teacher, and is a documentarian. He has published numerous best sellers, including Coercion itself. He’s won awards from his writings and has had many of his pieces featured in very popular and credible magazines; from Time Magazine to The New York Times. Rushkoff is a regular lecturer at NYU and serves on the board of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. This isn’t even all Douglas Rushkoff does, he’s also written and hosted three PBS Frontline documentaries. He’s had his commentaries aired on NPR and CBS (, 2013).  It’s clear Rushkoff has a lot of credible background knowledge.
In conclusion, Douglas Rushkoff is a credible wealth of information on media literacy. The knowledge he has helps give depth to the issue’s that face consumers. However because of all his knowledge, a bias needs to be carefully watched for. “Advertising” is an interesting article that will make one think and beware of things to look for in the advertisements seen everyday. Readers just need to be aware of the topic the book, Coercion;  “Advertising” is taken out of.

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