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Assess cultural pessimist views of the new media

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Introduction

´╗┐CULTURAL PESSIMISTS ON NEW MEDIA Cultural pessimists have a negative view of new media, arguing the rise in new media has been exaggerated by neophiliacs. Cultural pessimists argue new media is not so ?new?, instead it is an extension of old media. The only novelty of new media is its speed, allowing information to be accessed in the real time. Cultural pessimists believe new media retains negative features of old media, particularly ownership patterns (i.e. concentration in hands of elite groups), which is supported by Marxists. Cultural pessimists argue new media promotes low/candy floss culture of poor quality. Cultural pessimists believe the effects of new media on society are negative, meaning the government should regulate its content. By contrast, neophiliacs disagree, arguing new media brings many benefits to the society, including enhancement of social life and democratisation of the society. Cultural pessimists believe new media is merely an extension of old media. Cultural pessimists argue new media is still run by and for the benefit of major corporations. ...read more.

Middle

Furthermore, political elite have constructed sophisticated websites to ensure their views dominate the Internet. Marxists argue this way the elites are able to transmit dominant ideology through new media. Media technologies are strengthening the already powerful rather than promoting alternative views. The elites benefit from the inequality of access to new media: they do not have to respond to concerns of digital underclass, whose grievances are perhaps the most genuine. However, SEATON reports that political involvement online mirrors political participation in reality anyway. Nevertheless, neophiliacs argue that the Internet contains a wide range of political views represented. Besides, neophiliacs note new media can actually be used to challenge elites, as shown by the significance of new media in Arab Spring, which contradicts the one-sided argument of cultural pessimists. Cultural pessimists criticise new media for promoting low culture. Cultural pessimists argue digitalisation of TV had led to a decline of popular culture. HARVEY argues emergence of various TV channels resulted in dominance of repeats of cheap imported material, reality television shows and gambling. ...read more.

Conclusion

New media also leads to digital divide between those who can and cannot access new media. Marxists note this reinforces class divisions. Those who cannot access new media form a digital underclass, whose members are excluded from benefits of new media. Although neophiliacs argue that the poor in fact can access some parts of new media, it is insufficient to argue no inequality exists. Plus, cultural pessimists criticise the fact that new media lacks state regulation has a negative impact on the society, as it is easy to get access to racist, homophobic, violent or sexual content, even for children. OFCOM 2006 reports 1/6 children have come across worrying material on the Internet. Nevertheless, neophiliacs would argue lack of state regulation prevents heavy censorship and allows freedom of speech. In conclusion, cultural pessimists overwhelmingly exaggerate negative aspects of new media, not acknowledging any of the benefits it provides for the society, which are highlighted by neophiliacs. Moreover, it can be argued that some of cultural pessimists arguments are not particularly true in the contemporary society because there?s a diversity of content for people to choose from, and a digital divide is narrowing globally. . ...read more.

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