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Katie Hetherman MIT 2901 John Reed Monday October 26, 2009 Unplug For the purposes of this

paper, evaluations from the non-consumption challenge will focus on the power of mass media and the effects of 72 hours without access to it. The main challenge in avoiding paper products and electricity is that it disconnects a person from their world. At the University of Western Ontario, newspapers are fairly accessible and news on television, radio and internet is easy to come by. Without these resources, students must rely on word of moutha particularly biased and often unreliable medium. A few days without access to media, however, provides perspective in regards to how the media asks us to think and the issues they choose to present. As with word of mouth, news media often take a biased viewpoint, presenting the opinions of a few people as those of the majority. A few days without exposure to these news reports left me feeling as if something was missing from my daily routine. It also left me struggling to form my own absolute and critical opinions about events I witnessed. In his article The Homogenization of Global Consciousness: Media, Telecommunications and Culture, Jerry Mander critiques print news and notes television is a more efficient medium for cloning global consciousness with a homogenized set of corporate values (Mander 1). Watching television has become a daily activity for many Canadians. By watching the news for 30 minutes, viewers feel informed and somewhat empowered. A few days without access to this outlet emphasizes the fact that the media thrives when the beliefs of the

population are homogenized. Citizens who use limited electricity or avoid generating paper waste are somewhat lost from the influence of the media. There is no accounting for the social connection of these environmentally-friendly peoples access to the media or current events beyond their immediate circle of influence. Mass media caters to the homogenized, and in doing so homogenizes audiences even further. Environmental activists are usually propelled by others of similar mindset. It is participants recognition of their common interests that translates the potential for a movement into action, according to media theorist John Downing (Downing 3). Through environmental advocacy, activists often rebel against a generic demand for a media-connected audience. In The Power and Limits of Media-Based International Oppositional Politics, Wilma de Jongs case study of the Brent Spar incident, she argues environmental groups tend to be marginalized from the formal institutive news production process (de Jong 112), suggesting the media neither caters to the direct informational needs of these citizens nor prioritizes the coverage of environmental events that conflict with the medias set agenda. In conclusion, a 72 hour period without access to print or broadcast journalism can leave a person feeling robbed of their social right to information. Considering the medias collective
exclusion of environmentalists and green citizens demonstrates modern newscasts agenda-setting principles.. If more citizens were driven to avoid generating paper waste and using excess

electricity, there would be fewer audience members onto whom the media could push their agenda.