Search Results for: Jennifer L. Pozner

Dec 1 2010

Creating the Illusion of Popular Demand

Corporate realities behind ‘reality TV’

Flavor of Love/Public Enemy's Flava Flav--Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Jnforte

Former VH1 programmer and Flavor of Love creator Michael Hirschorn has said of reality TV, “If women didn’t want these shows, they wouldn’t get made.” This gender-specific variant on Fox programmer (and Joe Millionaire mastermind) Mike Darnell’s “giving people what they want” mantra ignores a central truth: Marketing plays a mammoth role in generating the illusion of populist demand. Without 2000’s Survivor, the reality genre may not have become a network mainstay. But behind Survivor’s long-term, landscape-shifting impact was the relentless promotion of the series by Viacom, which had recently merged with CBS and Infinity Broadcasting. Survivor wasn’t only a […]

Nov 1 2008

Huffington Post Mutes Women’s Voices

New media, same gender imbalance

Women’s voices have long been lacking in corporate media. As Internet outlets compete more and more with traditional media as a source for news and opinion, will women’s voices be heard there more frequently than in print publications? If the Huffington Post, one of the most prominent and successful blogs today, is an accurate barometer, the answer is no. The Huffington Post is a left-leaning site that features opinion pieces by the site’s founder and editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington, as well as by a wide assortment of guest bloggers. According to the blog-tracking website Technorati, it is the single most-linked-to blog […]

Feb 1 2006

The Language of Extra!

Reflections on fairness and accuracy

A major focus of my research is the way language can be used to oppress or empower, and I have applied this perspective to media discourse in my writing for Extra! magazine. This has given me an opportunity to reflect on what it means—for media critics as well as for those we scrutinize—to be precise, independent, reasonable and evenhanded. By examining the work of fellow writers for Extra! over the past 20 years and in learning from my own assignments, I have altered both my own approach to criticism and my definitions of key terms. My first project for Extra! […]

Dec 1 2001

Op-Ed Omission: Women’s Voices

In the weeks leading up to the U.S. bombing campaign in Afghanistan, news watchers grew accustomed to poll stories with headlines like the Washington Post’s “Public Unyielding in War Against Terror; 9 in 10 Back Robust Military Response” (9/29/01). The numbers seemed overwhelming: Two out of three respondents to the Post poll “would favor military action even if the result was a long war in which large numbers of U.S. troops were killed.” Such reports give the impression that Americans are, as the Post declared, “unswerving” in their support for war and unified in their “demand for a full-scale response.” […]

Sep 1 2001

Controversy, Not Credibility

A study of 'gay change' with the results media were looking for

Thousands of scientific studies are conducted every year, but only a fraction of these ever see newsprint. Even fewer dominate the news cycle for weeks, transform researchers into culture war commentators and move the public debate. At the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting on May 9, two unpublished, non-peer-reviewed studies offered opposing reports about the effectiveness and potential safety risks of “reparative therapy” to “convert” lesbians and gay men to heterosexuality, a practice long-denounced as unethical and futile by the APA and most mental health professionals. For one presentation, titled “200 Subjects Who Claim to Have Changed Their Sexual Orientation […]

Jul 1 2001

Power Shortage for Media Women

Studies document absence from influential roles

The New York Times (8/22/99) declared the glass ceiling “shattered” when Hewlett Packard’s Carly Fiorina became the third female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. But if they were looking for conflicting evidence, they could start in their own backyard. As a variety of recent studies show, women continue to face a substantial glass ceiling in the media industry itself. According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors 2001 Newsroom Census, women are only 34 percent of daily newsroom supervisors; women of color hold a mere 3 percent of these positions, ASNE’s Bobbi Bowman told Extra!. There are even fewer […]

May 1 2001

Self-Gagged on Gag Rule

Coverage of family-planning restrictions inaccurate, incomplete

George W. Bush celebrated his first working day in office–and the 28th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (1/22/01)–by reinstating the Mexico City Policy, a Reagan-era rule that bans U.S. family planning aid to overseas groups that provide abortions or referrals–even if they do so with private, non-U.S. funds. Under the rule (lifted in 1993 by Bill Clinton), U.S. aid recipients cannot use their own money to discuss abortion as a medical option, lobby their own governments for legal reforms, or conduct “public information campaigns” about the procedure. Long condemned in family-planning circles as the “global gag rule,” the ban has […]

Jan 1 2001

For Love or Money?

Economics takes a backseat in network reports about working mothers

Mothers work because they’re selfish. That’s the conclusion viewers might have drawn after watching ABC and NBC news broadcasts about a recently released Census Bureau report (“Fertility of American Women,” 9/00) that showed that more mothers, especially mothers of infants, were in the work force in 1998 than ever before (73 percent and 59 percent, respectively). The labor force participation of mothers has risen steadily since the Census Bureau began collecting data on the topic in 1976, so it is not particularly surprising that more women with infants are on the job today than in years past. Perhaps more noteworthy […]