I had the great privilege of seeing an amazing play the other night that was based on the interviews done by David Frost with Richard Nixon, after the Watergate debacle. It was an incredible piece of art that really allowed the audience the opportunity to discover the author’s point without him having to come right out to say it. The play focused on the power of the media. In fact, the quote I posted last night was from an interview David Frost did with Malcom X!

I was blown away by how obvious it made the responsibility of the media. The media at large runs the population, more than anything, the media is in charge of the influence that changes the nation and ultimately the world.

To be honest this kind of responsibility is quite frightening. But then I try and remind myself that as long as I am honest about the things I am doing and the things I believe in, it is all good. However, sometimes that is, in fact, the most challenging thing to do.

I can wax poetic forever, but actually claiming anything as concrete truth for me and following up is where I fall short. I do know that I love people, and I am overwhelmed with our capacity to think and grow. I always want to support these two things and hopefully inspire others to do the same. If we understood how amazing it is that we are alive and live in the world we live in, what a miracle that is, then we would have no need for violence.

So, I suppose the thing I believe in is the value of life and the inspiration of human beings.

Sorry about the slight diatribe!

I should have the next inspired conversation up soon!

xoxo
allison

Add yours Comments – 33

  • Christnot

    on September 28, 2008 at 1:01 am

    Yeah, the media dose have a strong grip it seems.
    Good thing you are a free spirit.

    Many can learn much from you, Allison.

  • Jendi

    on September 28, 2008 at 1:07 am

    It’s an interesting though the power of the media…I don’t no if we actually know to what extent it has influenced us….
    We’ve spoken of freewill and beliefs etc but the media is a powerful source of some of our beliefs and perceptions?? I know for me thats true anyway…I watch the news and see a media story on a murder and i take it for what they say! maybe I’m a bit ignorant?

    Here’s a question though what if one day you found out all you see and believe and feel wasn’t true, that it was an instilled concept??? does that make sense?? I mean sometimes I worry a lot, about the future about the people I love, about the world i live in and about the possiblilies maybe just maybe I need to re-evaulate…I’m 25, I’m loved, I love, financially I get by fine, my job stimulates me, i physically and mentally challenge myself regularly …..am i greed to say I want more??? I think i need more….life is to short, i could get mowed down by a bus tomorrow crossing the street so I guess I’m asking you all a question finally….

    Should we settle or should we constantly strive for more?????
    Is it possible to have complete bliss?? or is that not the point??? Sorry guys his blog started on way and then somewhere took a strange turn!!

  • Chris Welden

    on September 28, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Hardly a diatribe. Although it does strike me as something of a non sequitur. I’d be interested in better understanding the leap from the frightening responsibility of the media to your own …quest?… for honesty and absolute truth.

    Or is it that your are, as an actor, implicitly classifying yourself as part of the media? If you feel like you’re a part of that all powerful machine, then I guess I can understand feeling a heightened burden to understand who you are and be true to that, lest you inadvertantly misuse the disproportionate influence your status provides…

    …And it must be doubly hard when your job, by definition, requires you to be someone you’re not.

    Still, I think I can safely that if more people held your truths at the core of their being, the world – and, as a result, the media – would be better for it.

    Sorry for the late night rambling; I was up late catching up on years of missed Smallville episodes. 🙂

  • arash

    on September 28, 2008 at 1:18 am

    There is a difference between Truth and honesty. When it come to Media truth is a carefully sellected small part of an event that helps to transfer some ideas to the audience but honesty is when you cover all prespectives.
    Reporter no 1;
    We are in Beautiful Italy right now and look at all these Gelatos, Yam Yam. The color combination is just fasinating. Each color is a taste of a fruit, by the way do you get enough fruits every day? These ice creams are made with real cream, and you should have real dairy every day absolutly necessary for your health. A lot of my good childhood memories are with music of the ice cream truck and we kids running (also healthy) and screaming in joy.
    Reporter no 2;
    Ice cream. How much sugar is too risky for our health, how much fat would keep us running but not toward hospital. Did you know our stomach can not digest food very well in a cold environment, what chemicals are those artificial colors made of?

  • arash

    on September 28, 2008 at 2:09 am

    Reporter no 3;
    Ice cream. Is it good for you or not ? Easy to answer just ask yourself where do they serve ice cream in heaven or hell ?

  • naomi

    on September 28, 2008 at 3:51 am

    You write about the most thought worthy things on your blog it allways gets me thinking, and i think your right the media does have alot of power. If they say we usuallly believe it.

  • paul

    on September 28, 2008 at 4:06 am

    Watergate and the downfall of Nixon are the examples most often cited of the power of the media, but in truth they represented the peak of that power. As did the late Vietnam years in general.
    Just as an example, correspondents in those days were free agents, neither subject to censorship as they had been in previous wars nor shepherded about as they have been since. Cities often had several newspapers in those days, expressing varied points of view, and newsrooms were well funded. The press was esteemed by the public. Now, media conglomerates rule, newspapers are in decline (and reportage with them). Today most journalism students, incredibly, are planning a career in public relations. The days of Woodward and Bernstein are long gone.

  • Robin

    on September 28, 2008 at 4:13 am

    Hi Allison,

    Woah!Thoughtful and scarey comments…

    Well like it or not we are increasingly becoming a “Global Society” and as you mention we should all take responsibility in being open minded in the media.

    As for the power of the media, it’s a bit like advanced reviews by critics who can create bad press over a film/play and thus dictate whether a film is viewed as good or bad before anyone can see it .

    Not only does the media create opinions but can also ignore-how are we to judge people and events if we (the public) never know it exists. Who in the media decides which events to promote and which to ignore- or rather who owns the media??

    I know I’m certainly guilty of sometimes accepting fact as truth.
    I guess we all need to be better judges on what we see and read and realise there are more than one point of view all things.

    Off topic-thanks for the continual updates on your “home work” for your directorial debut- being IT illiterate I can’t seem to place a comment on the correct section! Had never realised the commitment needed-very interesting and I hope great fun.

    PS. Arash -ice-cream is worth the risk!

  • Dominique

    on September 28, 2008 at 4:21 am

    Striving to find the truth about things for yourself, rather than listen to the media is extremely hard this day and age. Like Jendi said, I also listen to the news and just accept what they are saying, even though I am aware of the fact that the media can put a spin on or even change the facts they give us. I think this is not only because being busy its hard to find the time to do your own research into global events, but maybe because deep down I think how is it possible for me to distinguish the truth for myself? Without actually seing something for yourself, how can you know who is telling the truth? Does it come down to who or what you trust?
    I guess we could all do a little more to find a truth that we can trust the most and believe the most, whether or not we reach the real truth ourselves.
    I’d like to think that if I did this, the decisions I made in my life based on the information could only be to the best of my ability…
    I think allison is right, thereare truths that KNOW are right, who you love, who loves you and your beliefs, and i think this are the things I can make confident decisions about and know im doing the right thing, and as for the media, I guess you can only do the best with what you’re given, and be aware that things aren’t always as they seem…

    I hope that made sense…it did in my head anyway 🙂

    peace xxx

  • paul

    on September 28, 2008 at 4:29 am

    As for your own obligations as part of the media, I don’t think you ought to bear much burden of responsibility. You’re working in the realm of fiction; there are truths in fiction to be sure, but they are malleable, and it is very much the responsibility of the audience to sort out those truths.

    One of the “problems” with Smallville is that it essentially endorses vigilante justice. As does any superhero-themed work of fiction. I believe that’s something for the viewer to sort out. If the message anyone takes away is that rogue violence is the solution to the world’s problems, that’s their own doing.

  • Claud

    on September 28, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Allison,

    What you say about the power of the media is true. However, media power has diminished since the Watergate era, and it grows less each year. IMHO this is mainly due to the growth of alternate sources of news (the internet and talk radio being the major ones), combined with the declining credibility of the traditional press.

    I believe a free press is essential to the democratic process. When journalists are caught being less than honest (NBC’s fake exploding pickup, Dan Rather’s fake Bush memo, etc.) or become blatant advocates for a cause or candidate they damage an essential institution.

    If the present trends of shrinking circulation for newspapers and dwindling ratings for network news programs continues, how do you think most people will get their news in ten years?
    How about in twenty years?

  • Spiritman

    on September 28, 2008 at 8:16 am

    This is my first time posting here. There’s a lot that can be talked about in what you’ve said here about the media and about your own personal responsibility. Most of us are media consumers but very few really understand it’s influence on us. To really understand, we have to come to terms with the ultimate questions. What is truth, what is real, what is art, what is our true relationship and responsibility with each other? We think that we understand these enough to think and act, but in reality there is very little about our perceptions and experience that is as it seems. I wish I could go into all of that here but the format is too limited. Perhaps over time… Conventional media is still in it’s infancy. Generally it hasn’t claimed it’s real power for helping us move towards anything like Truth. Most media these days is focussed on stimulation. It’s kind of like the difference between drinking 10 cups of coffee and deep meditation. But also conventional media has become about promoting corporate profits. But we have get beyond seeing ourselves as victims of influences that seem to be “out there”. Moving out of our collective infancy as humans first requires that we take full responsibility for our experience. Ultimately things don’t really happen to us, we happen to them. We are very powerful beings, but we have made ourselves small and powerless by comparison. There’s a huge amount to be said but I don’t want to go on too long here. I want to connect in a more personal way before I go. To Allison, try not to be hard on yourself about your capacity for “concrete truth” and your ability to act on that. You ARE working very hard to do that. It’s very hard to really grow and evolve and it’s obvious that you are very devoted to that process. And what’s most important is that your love is moving more and more into the world. It’s working. As we grow we become more and more sensitive to human suffering and our own seeming limitations. In our apparent separateness I can honestly say that I love you. As I grow all that will be necessary is to say that I love. As we journey to the Ocean of Love, you may go as you and I may go as I, but when we get there all that will remain is the Ocean of Love. Namaste (the God in me honors the God in you).

  • David Hayes

    on September 28, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Does fiction in the media act more as a self-fulfilling prophesy than a reflection of life … and if so, which prophesy should be put forward?

    This is an old theme for me, so forgive me if you have heard it before. When TV first became available to the public and the first telecasts were being done, the people hired to be on television were classically trained actors and radio announcers with polished, perfect voices. In televised fiction, even street bums and societal outcasts were portrayed as well-spoken individuals who clearly enunciated everything they said. The impact in the schools was seen soon after that. Children’s’ vocabulary and speech patterns were drastically improving. Education in America had taken a jump forward.

    Then, people started realizing that the fictions didn’t really portray the people. Stories became grittier. Dialects became more prominent and perhaps exaggerated. The mare vivid or shocking the subject, the more it stuck with the audience. Misinformation given as humor was absorbed as fact by children. People’s attitudes towards the nature of humanity sank. We had the situation where there was the valley girl phenomena in California that had girls across America speaking in ways that their family and community could not understand.

    So a filtered, exaggerated picture fo humanity mirrored itself in daily life … and the media had to keep ahead of the game by becoming more and more dramatic and shocking.

    The question is, would we have a nicer, gentler world today if the average TV program reflected the values of “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” instead of “Married, with Children” ??

  • taylor nikole

    on September 28, 2008 at 10:16 am

    “Ice cream. Is it good for you or not ? Easy to answer just ask yourself where do they serve ice cream in heaven or hell ?”

    Where ever they serve it… I’m goi-
    *you know the rest*
    :-p

  • David Hayes

    on September 28, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I was just watching part of a show last night in which one tainted batch of ice cream made a couple hundred thousand people sick and had permanent, disasterous health consequences for at least 4 people. It all came down to a company making a short-sighted profit motivated decision and one transport truck not being cleaned thoroughly enough.

  • taylor nikole

    on September 28, 2008 at 10:33 am

    hmmm
    thanks david :-/
    hahaha

  • Tony

    on September 28, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Media feeds us information, true and false (probably mostly true), but we eat and select our truths and falsehoods according to who we are at the time. How many times do we eat what we don’t like, whether it’s true or false? And how many times would we prefer to eat what we like, even if it’s false? –Tony

  • Brittany

    on September 28, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    “So, I suppose the thing I believe in is the value of life and the inspiration of human beings.” Well said Allison, well said! Did I tell you you are an amazing role model to me?

    Media does control a large portion of people, but some can fight it, some can’t. The trick is not to let it get to you. You know what’s true or not and that’s all that matters. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I’m glad you had the opportunity to see that play and enjoy it, I’m sure I would have!
    Much love, Brittany

  • Melissa

    on September 28, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Media is powerful….it consumed our life, but that doesn’t mean that we have to take everything of what the media does or gives……we should select the good part of it if we want to live a normal life. We are the guides on our own ways, we decide what to take and what not.

  • Lou

    on September 28, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    that’s going to be a movie soon, if I’m not mistaken (or something similar).

    Crazy how really torn the country was over all this. Something many people don’t realize is the real reason Ford pardoned Nixon. I’m from the same city Ford grew up in. I know the mentality of the general types he grew up around. He pardoned Nixon because if the trial went on, it would tear the country apart, moreso than it already was. we were on the brink of civil/social upheaval, the vietnam war had just been ended (by nixon), but people were affected were still trying to cope in their own ways. times were drastically changing and the President goes and spies on his political opponents. not good timing. but to be fair, everyone did it all the time, and still do. it just happens that he got caught. 😛

    but no doubt about it, Nixon had a serious issue with overconfidence in himself. he was THE GREAT NIXON!!! (with echoes) not a very good way for people to remember you.

  • Jendi

    on September 28, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    So who controls the media then??? Have any of you ever read a Japanese history book on events in WWII, like how Pearl Harbour panned out??? It’s world wide history but what and how I was taught of those events from an allied nation is very different to how it was taught to a Japanese friend of mine…..so who’s history is right and who’s is wrong??? I keep relating this back to freewill???

  • The Friday Philosopher

    on September 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    “So, I suppose the thing I believe in is the value of life and the inspiration of human beings.”

    I couldn’t agree with this more. It would be wrong to judge the media in its entirety on the actions of a few, besides, I would much rather reserve my time for the pursuit of friendship and inspiration!

    The Media changes its perspective on a daily basis; friendships can last forever!

    Friday

  • arash

    on September 28, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    I wish if I could read a Japanese history book.
    I don’t care what country’s history it is, I just can’t.
    Even electronics are made in china these days.
    (I am messing with your heads, I just went back to the topic on miscommunications )

    I noticed today we are slowly getting into politics as we never did before. Is it the impact of media on ellections and economical crisis ? They control all water cooler stations for sure.

  • David Hayes

    on September 28, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    I pick up copies of the book “We Japanese” on E-Bay when I can. It is an interesting book which has been published in volumes or in a combined edition. The earlier versions are printed on a long sheet of rice paper that is then fan folded into pages and bound in a fabric covered cover and sometimes slipcased with an ivory clasp. What it is is a compilation of placemats from a Japanese hotel’s restaurant. There are illustrations and explanations of Japanese life and they were created over a period of decades starting long before WWII until 1950.

  • Nikk

    on September 28, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    This is all I have to say about truth, beliefs and other things…it’s a quote from my favorite book.

    “People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.” – Zeddicus Zu’ul Zorander (from Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind)

  • taylor nikole

    on September 28, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Ehh despite that…
    it seems to make for great conversation.

  • taylor nikole

    on September 28, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    heheh but i like it 🙂
    “people are stupid”

  • taylor nikole

    on September 28, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    oh no… what if sarah palin isn’t actually ‘stupid’….
    and i wrote an article about her due to the medias view on her??
    oh no!
    I just like to read and watch her speak…
    cause its funny…

  • taylor nikole

    on September 28, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    so, philosophical question…do you think isolation is the cause of stigma, and stigma is the cause of loneliness, or can loneliness be the cause of stigma, which could be the cause of self-inflicted isolation?

    yes, my friend decides to give me questions like this at 12 am :-/

  • taylor nikole

    on September 29, 2008 at 12:09 am

    [00:05] Varun: define dignity.
    [00:05] smileytay5: damn youuuu
    [00:05] Varun: :]
    [00:06] smileytay5: my mind is already jumbled from your question
    [00:06] smileytay5: hmm
    [00:06] smileytay5: lemme think
    [00:06] Varun: lol, mk
    [00:06] Varun: mission accomplished

    Evil i tell you 🙂
    but whatever

  • Ron St.Amant

    on September 30, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Allison,
    I actually have the book written by Frost about the Nixon interviews. It’s fabulous and I recommend it to you if you are able to find it (I’m certain it is out of print, so it might be a library find). Failing that, if you really are interested, let me know and I’ll get it to you.
    As an historian, Nixon is my focus subject. I have several shelves of my library devoted to the subject. One of my mentors in University, Dr. Margaret MacMillan wrote a wonderful book “Nixon in China” that I also recommend. Nixon the man is endlessly fascinating, his long period in public life filled with plenty of interesting stories, and his relationship with the media and it with him a great topic of discussion as well.
    I would love to hear more about this play as I’m sure I would enjoy it.

    Cheers,
    Ron

  • bourdieu

    on October 6, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    “I was blown away by how obvious it made the responsibility of the media. The media at large runs the population, more than anything, the media is in charge of the influence that changes the nation and ultimately the world.
    To be honest this kind of responsibility is quite frightening. But then I try and remind myself that as long as I am honest about the things I am doing and the things I believe in, it is all good.”

    I am pretty sure this play was about the news media and its role in democracies as a producer of the public sphere and civil society. That’s very different from entertainment media like Smallville so I wouldn’t get too carried away. And the arguments about the importance of the media are very complex, with corporate interests, political interests and public interests all entangled. The most powerful of the agents of power are the ones you don’t see, remember.

  • Jake

    on October 9, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    There’s no greater power than that of the couple dozen people who run and filter nearly everything our minds takes in… every minute of every day we’re pulled in the direction they want us to go, consumed by the influence of THEIR interests.

    We’re told what’s acceptable to say and think, “Political Correctness”, a Marxist originated ideology that’s reached into every home, public school and college, and every state government and corporate business, not only in America but much of the world.

    If these were a diverse few dozen persons, there would be no concern because WE’RE diverse. In pointing out the obvious, that every one of them is Jewish, their media indoctrinated mechanisms tell us simply acknowledging this is insane, racist, and anti-Semitic/Nazi like.

    These demonetizations are nothing more than brainwashing epithets used to keep us from questioning their intentions.

    That’s my take on “media control”, anyway. Here’s an article that makes what I just said sound much less crazy. I hope everyone reading this read it also: http://www.natvan.com/who-rules-america/

    Good blog, Allison:)

    Jake