The Circuit of Culture, in relation to media studies, refers to the five perspectives that media texts can be examined under, in order to be analysed properly. These five perspectives are; Representation, Identity, Production, Consumption and Regulation. This circuit, which was originally conceived by Paul du Gay, is essential when analysing any media text (Du Gay, P., et al, 2013). With the above in mind, I have chosen a recently featured News Broadcast which I will analyse under these five headings. The media text I’ve chosen can be found here: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/13/politics/donald-trump-justin-trudeau-white-house/
Based on my watching of the short clip of the press conference between President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; there is no music or graphics used within the text, save for the commonplace CNN logo, the breaking news banner and the usual tertiary information commonly used within news broadcasts such as the time and place of the interview. The lack of music and graphics denotes a very serious and ominous tone to the whole affair and there are multiple fades and jump cuts between the two leaders, cutting out chunks of what they were saying. There is also no newscaster or anchor present to describe what is happening, denoting that it does not need an introduction or further description from a third party. There are four main figures in the text; Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, the lady journalist and the camera operator. I mention the camera operator for a very good reason which I will go into later but the three main figures are well dressed, either in suits or dress clothes and speak with Western and well-pronounced accents, adding further to the serious tone set by the text itself. There is an imbalance of gender here where the only woman in the text is a journalist asking the two men questions. This comes across to me as nothing out of the ordinary, considering that the text is a condensed representation of the larger story, though it could be said that the woman is the viewer’s guide through the text, a lay person for whom the audience can associate themselves with.
The identity of the mediator is CNN which is a commercial news channel originating in America. CNN broadcast mainly through television but also online like other mediators. CNN operate on a national level and a global one too, depending on the section in which you are watching but this text is clearly national news. CNN has garnered much criticism as of last year where they frequently aired unedited footage of Trump’s presidential rallies where it was felt that this undermined the other Republican candidates’ campaigns (Georgantopoulos, M. 2016). I will also touch on this in the production of the text.
The production of the media text is poor in my opinion. The camera shakes quite noticeably while placed solely on Trump which may denote the use of impromptu camera equipment or a general lack of regard for what he is saying. The audio, on the other hand, is of decent quality, though the beginning of Trump’s response to the question he is asked goes unheard. This may be due to the audio operator’s fault or again, a blatant disregard for Trump’s answer. For the quality that is shown in the text, it surprises me that CNN would use substandard equipment for such an ‘important’ media event. However, as I mentioned previously, CNN has been quite sympathetic to Trump in 2016. Although, with his comments regarding ‘fake news’ and CNN, this may be a subtle indication of CNN’s thoughts on the matter (Stone, 2017). However, I do entertain the fact that it may perhaps be a recording from a mobile phone. It is also apparent that the camera operator chooses to zoom and focus in very closely on Trump when he is speaking while zooming back out to the two men while Trudeau is speaking. This seems to put an extra emphasis on the POTUS over the Canadian Prime Minister. When speaking of propaganda models, Chomsky says “The representatives of these issues have important agendas and principles which they want to advance…” (Chomsky.N, p XI). Perhaps CNN is actively trying to show the power that Donald Trump has over the Canadian prime minister by using these close up shots and reverting back to a wide shot when Trudeau is speaking. Essentially ‘advancing‘ the idea that Trump is more powerful than Trudeau.
This text is obviously a compressed version of the original representation as I have said before, thus I confer that the text I am analysing is meant to be viewed as a brief snippet while travelling to work or while online. The actual event took place at 2:30 P.M (Washington, America) meaning children were still in school, people were still in work and the only people at home to watch the text where those who are unemployed or otherwise would have been able to watch it. The event itself only took place to answer questions from the press regarding the meeting, though CNN still thought of it as newsworthy and reported it live all the same.
CNN falls under American law when it comes to broadcasting regulations by the FCC and other governing bodies which monitor the news. CNN also adhere to the first amendment where free speech from both the public and the press is allowed, with some exceptions. The regulations which CNN fall under do not hinder or add to the media text in my opinion.
Conclusion and Alternate Reality:
To conclude on the media text I have presented; I feel that the overall message which is to be taken away from this representation is that this is a very serious thing which occurred. Usually, the meeting between two leaders of allied countries is a great occasion where the leaders are seen walking through the grounds or the home of the leader of the hosting nation, they are seen shaking hands, seen discussing important issues and smiling and waving to the press. This is not the case here, the press conference is solemn and serious. An alternate reality which may have been presented to us could have been what I mentioned above, though CNN decided to focus solely on the press conference, rather than detail the full Visit of Justin Trudeau in this short media text.
“Media shape public opinion in different ways depending on the content.” (Curtis, A.R., 2012). Perhaps the media, or CNN, is trying to shape public opinion based on the content they show. By only highlighting the serious nature of the press conference, it would shape public opinion to think that the talks between the two leaders did not go well.
In contrast to this view, the Daily Mail (Chambers, F., 2017) reported a different version of the events which occurred. In this text, there are multiple images of the two leaders shaking hands, being friendly and warm to one another and generally just acting normally. When you compare this to the image taken by Kevin Lamarque below, it makes one wonder why there are not more images being featured of the two men acting normally.
There are many meanings which can be taken away from the media text which I have presented, but the above is only my opinion based on my life experiences and cultural influences. It is entirely possible that someone else could interpret this media text completely differently. Although, I will highlight an image I’ve seen of both Trump and Trudeau and compare it to a post I found on Imgur which may help in understanding the points I’ve made here in my conclusion.
As a fellow Canadian, I have also considered this. 2017. Imgur. Available from: http://imgur.com/gallery/HeD2S [Accessed February 18, 2017].
Chambers, F. 2017. Trump meets Trudeau: Canadian PM gives POTUS a grip and grin at WH. Mail Online. Available from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4220308/Trump-meets-Trudeau-Canadian-PM-comes-White-House.html [Accessed February 18, 2017].
Curtis, A.R., 2012. Mass media influence on society. Resources for Courses. University of North Caroline at Pembroke.
Du Gay, P., Hall, S., Janes, L., Madsen, A.K., Mackay, H. and Negus, K., 2013. Doing cultural studies: The story of the Sony Walkman. Sage.
Georgantopoulos, M. 2016. CNN’s President Says It Was A Mistake To Air So Many Trump Rallies And “Let Them Run”. BuzzFeed. Available from: https://www.buzzfeed.com/maryanngeorgantopoulos/cnn-president-mistake-to-air-so-many-trump-rallies?utm_term=.rqLw8MjKq#.lsVlvPAz5 [Accessed February 14, 2017].
Herman, E.S. and Chomsky, N., 2010. Manufacturing consent: The political economy of the mass media. Random House.
Reuters, 2017. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with President Trump in the Oval Office at the White House on Feb. 13, 2017.
Stone, M. 2017. Trump spreads debunked story about CNN cutting off Sanders for calling the network ‘fake news’. Business Insider. Available from: http://uk.businessinsider.com/trump-spreads-debunked-story-about-cnn-fake-news-2017-2?r=US&IR=T [Accessed February 14, 2017].