I'm reading the 'Audience Fragmentation" section of a book for class. It talks about how we now have specialized channels to cater specific demographics of society. The authors talk about how we have "narrowcasting" now rather than broadcasting and that we share less and less of our media experiences because of this audience fragmentation.
I came upon the part where it says that Microsoft's Encarta encyclopaedia stated the inventor of the telephone was two different people... In the US, UK, and German edition Encarta said that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, but in the Italian edition it was "Antonio Meucci, a poor Italian American candlemaker who -according to this version of history- beat Bell by 5 years" (Croteau and Hoynes 207).
The authors then pose the questions, "If companies producing supposedly authoritative information such as encyclopedias are comfortable generating multiple versions of history to appeal to different markets, then what is to prevent them from doing the same to court domestic audiences? Will corporations in the future produce different versions of history [and this is what I think is most important] or current events for different demographics?" (Croteau and Hoynes 207).
I think it is important that we see that this is occurring. Being media savvy isn't just for the kids in Media Studies, it's important for everyone. I ask why the editors of Encarta couldn't say something like, "Although Alexander Graham Bell is widely credited as the inventor of the telephone, it is quite possible that Antonio Meucci invented the telephone..." Or something of the like, which mentions both possible inventors. Why should one group of people be told one story and another group be told a completely different story? I find it jarring just thinking about this. Thoughts?
The Business of Media: Corporate Media and Public Interest by David Croteau and William Hoynes. Published in 2006. (I don't feel like doing a proper citation. This is close enough. Too many essays lately.)