Commercial in Televation.

Commercial in Televation.

Here our teacher ask us to write reflection about the article in the site, I post it so you can know what exactly she meant be identity and know what she expect us to take about. In addition, There are articles about genders, race, etc in the left in the same site.

http://www.criticalmediaproject.org/about/key-concepts/
As we begin our media project, an introduction to social constructionism is a necessary step. We know the various identities we inhabit – we learn from a young age how gender, race, ethnicity, social class, and sexuality influence the way others perceive us and in turn, how we see ourselves.
Click on the link above and read the article. Along the left-hand side, there will be links for further exploration of Gender, Race and Ethnicity, Sexuality, and Social Class. Read each section and use the Reading Reflection guidelines to form your response on the discussion board. In a separate paragraph, select one identity (gender, race/ethnicty, sexuality, or social class) to discuss in-depth. What form of media (TV, Film, or Commercials) do you feel lends to an analysis of this identity? We will discuss this further in class and you will be asked to discuss your selection.

Read the note in read in the bottom they are more clear.
Evolving Identities in the Media Project
Objective:    This project is designed to hone each of the core skills of Focused                 Inquiry:  written and oral communication, critical thinking, ethical                 reasoning, quantitative literacy, and information literacy.
Project:         During the past week, we have discussed media literacy and social                 identities such as gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, and social                 class. We understand that conceptions of identity are influenced by             our social world and they continue to evolve through time. Your                 task is to select one form of media (Television Sit-Coms, Television                 Other, Commercials, or Films), narrow your focus to make it more                 manageable, and explore how one or more of the social identities                 evolved within that medium over time.
In order to complete the project, you must have at least 5 specific examples to conduct your content analysis. You will use this evidence to build a persuasive essay that illustrates how the media representation of your selected social identity (or identities) changed over time (your examples must cover at least a 10 year period). A crucial part of this to focus on the specific strategies used to create an understanding of these identities especially within the cultural and social context of the time they were created.
Essay:    Your essay must be at least 5 pages (2200 words) with a separate works cited page. You must use at least 3 outside sources and one of these must be the “Introduction to Media Literacy” article discussed in class. The other sources will come from reputable, substantive sources. You are free to design your essay however you like but you must include the following elements:
•    Claim: After your research and analysis, what did you find?
•    Evidence: What specific examples did you select to illustrate your claim? How did your social identity (or identities) evolve?
•    Analysis: What does all this mean? How did your media genre reflect the cultural and social context of the time they were created? Is there any data on the social identity or identities that helps to support your claim? Using the “Introduction to Media Literacy” article, what concepts were helpful in your deconstruction?
•    Conclusion: Restate your claim and show how your evidence supports it.

Use this guide to help organize the elements of your project.
Media Genre:commercials on television
Narrowed topic:
Claim: how the commercials trick us?
Example 1: make up, such us how mascara make our lashes tall, while in reality that are wrong
Example 2: hair creams and Shampoo
Example 3: creams for skin that make our skin soft
Example 4: diet pills that make us thinner
Example 5:I am not sure about this one, may be the commercials that are about the kitchen tools, or hair straighter, any thing you find it good and you also can change if you find something else easy are more related to the essay.
Media Literacy Concepts:you can find the concepts in the attatchement. “Introduction to Media Literacy”
Outside source 1:
Outside source 2:

Here our teacher ask us to write reflection about the article in the site, I post it so you can know what exactly she meant be identity and know what she expect us to take about. In addition, There are articles about genders, race, etc in the left in the same site.

http://www.criticalmediaproject.org/about/key-concepts/
As we begin our media project, an introduction to social constructionism is a necessary step. We know the various identities we inhabit – we learn from a young age how gender, race, ethnicity, social class, and sexuality influence the way others perceive us and in turn, how we see ourselves.
Click on the link above and read the article. Along the left-hand side, there will be links for further exploration of Gender, Race and Ethnicity, Sexuality, and Social Class. Read each section and use the Reading Reflection guidelines to form your response on the discussion board. In a separate paragraph, select one identity (gender, race/ethnicty, sexuality, or social class) to discuss in-depth. What form of media (TV, Film, or Commercials) do you feel lends to an analysis of this identity? We will discuss this further in class and you will be asked to discuss your selection.

Media Literacy Project
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Introduction to Media Literacy
Media literacy is a set of skills that anyone can learn. Just as literacy is the ability to read and write,
media literacy refers to the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media messages of all
kinds.
These are essential skills in today’s world. Today, many people get most of their information through
complex combinations of text, images and sounds. We need to be able to navigate this complex
media environment, to make sense of the media messages that bombard us every day, and to
express ourselves using a variety of media tools and technologies.
Media literate youth and adults are better able to decipher the complex messages we receive from
television, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, billboards, signs, packaging, marketing materials,
video games, recorded music, the Internet and other forms of media. They can understand how these
media messages are constructed, and discover how they create meaning – usually in ways hidden
beneath the surface. People who are media literate can also create their own media, becoming active
participants in our media culture.
Media literacy skills can help children, youth and adults:
• Understand how media messages create meaning
• Identify who created a particular media message
• Recognize what the media maker wants us to believe or do
• Name the “tools of persuasion” used
• Recognize bias, spin, misinformation and lies
• Discover the part of the story that’s not being told
• Evaluate media messages based on our own experiences, beliefs and values
• Create and distribute our own media messages
• Become advocates for change in our media system
Media literacy education helps to develop critical thinking and active participation in our media
culture. The goal is to give youth and adults greater freedom by empowering them to access,
analyze, evaluate, and create media.
In schools: Educational standards in many states — in language arts, social studies, health and other
subjects — include the skills of accessing, analyzing and evaluating information found in media. These
are media literacy skills, though the standards may not use that term. Teachers know that students
like to examine and talk about their own media, and they’ve found that media literacy is an engaging
way to explore a wide array of topics and issues.
In the community: Researchers and practitioners recognize that media literacy education is an
important tool in addressing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use; obesity and eating disorders;
bullying and violence; gender identity and sexuality; racism and other forms of discrimination and
oppression; and life skills. Media literacy skills can empower people and communities usually shut out
of the media system to tell their own stories, share their perspectives, and work for justice.
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 2
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In public life: Media literacy helps us understand how media create cultures, and how the “media
monopoly” – the handful of giant corporations that control most of our media – affects our politics and
our society. Media literacy encourages and empowers youth and adults to change our media system,
and to create new, more just and more accessible media networks.
Media Literacy Concepts
The study and practice of media literacy is based on a number of fundamental concepts about media
messages, our media system, and the role of media literacy in bringing about change. Understanding
these concepts is an essential first step in media literacy education.
We’ve organized Media Literacy Concepts into three levels: Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. Basic
concepts focus on how media affect us. Intermediate concepts examine more closely how we create
meaning from media messages. Advanced concepts examine the interaction of media and society,
and the role of media literacy in bringing about change.
Basic concepts
1. Media construct our culture. Our society and culture – even our perception of reality – is shaped
by the information and images we receive via the media. A few generations ago, our culture’s
storytellers were people – family, friends, and others in our community. For many people today, the
most powerful storytellers are television, movies, music, video games, and the Internet.
2. Media messages affect our thoughts, attitudes and actions. We don’t like to admit it, but all of
us are affected by advertising, news, movies, pop music, video games, and other forms of media.
That’s why media are such a powerful cultural force, and why the media industry is such big
business.
3. Media use “the language of persuasion.” All media messages try to persuade us to believe or
do something. News, documentary films, and nonfiction books all claim to be telling the truth.
Advertising tries to get us to buy products. Novels and TV dramas go to great lengths to appear
realistic. To do this, they use specific techniques (like flattery, repetition, fear, and humor) we call “the
language of persuasion.”
4. Media construct fantasy worlds. While fantasy can be pleasurable and entertaining, it can also
be harmful. Movies, TV shows, and music videos sometimes inspire people to do things that are
unwise, anti-social, or even dangerous. At other times, media can inspire our imagination. Advertising
constructs a fantasy world where all problems can be solved with a purchase. Media literacy helps
people to recognize fantasy and constructively integrate it with reality.
5. No one tells the whole story. Every media maker has a point of view. Every good story highlights
some information and leaves out the rest. Often, the effect of a media message comes not only from
what is said, but from what part of the story is not told.
6. Media messages contain “texts” and “subtexts.” The text is the actual words, pictures and/or
sounds in a media message. The subtext is the hidden and underlying meaning of the message.
7. Media messages reflect the values and viewpoints of media makers. Everyone has a point of
view. Our values and viewpoints influence our choice of words, sounds and images we use to
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 3
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communicate through media. This is true for all media makers, from a preschooler’s crayon drawing
to a media conglomerate’s TV news broadcast.
8. Individuals construct their own meanings from media. Although media makers attempt to
convey specific messages, people receive and interpret them differently, based on their own prior
knowledge and experience, their values, and their beliefs. This means that people can create different
subtexts from the same piece of media. All meanings and interpretations are valid and should be
respected.
9. Media messages can be decoded. By “deconstructing” media, we can figure out who created the
message, and why. We can identify the techniques of persuasion being used and recognize how
media makers are trying to influence us. We notice what parts of the story are not being told, and how
we can become better informed.
10. Media literate youth and adults are active consumers of media. Many forms of media – like
television – seek to create passive, impulsive consumers. Media literacy helps people consume
media with a critical eye, evaluating sources, intended purposes, persuasion techniques, and deeper
meanings.
Intermediate concepts
11. The human brain processes images differently than words. Images are processed in the
“reptilian” part of the brain, where strong emotions and instincts are also located. Written and spoken
language is processed in another part of the brain, the neocortex, where reason lies. This is why TV
commercials are often more powerful than print ads.
12. We process time-based media differently than static media. The information and images in
TV shows, movies, video games, and music often bypass the analytic brain and trigger emotions and
memory in the unconscious and reactive parts of the brain. Only a small proportion surfaces in
consciousness. When we read a newspaper, magazine, book or website, we have the opportunity to
stop and think, re-read something, and integrate the information rationally.
13. Media are most powerful when they operate on an emotional level. Most fiction engages our
hearts as well as our minds. Advertisements take this further, and seek to transfer feelings from an
emotionally-charged symbol (family, sex, the flag) to a product.
14. Media messages can be manipulated to enhance emotional impact. Movies and TV shows
use a variety of filmic techniques (like camera angles, framing, reaction shots, quick cuts, special
effects, lighting tricks, music, and sound effects) to reinforce the messages in the script. Dramatic
graphic design can do the same for magazine ads or websites.
15. Media effects are subtle. Few people believe everything they see and hear in the media. Few
people rush out to the store immediately after seeing an ad. Playing a violent video game won’t
automatically turn you into a murderer. The effects of media are more subtle than this, but because
we are so immersed in the media environment, the effects are still significant.
16. Media effects are complex. Media messages directly influence us as individuals, but they also
affect our families and friends, our communities, and our society. So some media effects are indirect.
We must consider both direct and indirect effects to understand media’s true influence.
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 4
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17. Media convey ideological and value messages. Ideology and values are usually conveyed in
the subtext. Two examples include news reports (besides covering an issue or event, news reports
often reinforce assumptions about power and authority) and advertisements (besides selling
particular products, advertisements almost always promote the values of a consumer society).
18. We all create media. Maybe you don’t have the skills and resources to make a blockbuster
movie or publish a daily newspaper. But just about anyone can snap a photo, write a letter or sing a
song. And new technology has allowed millions of people to make media–email, websites, videos,
newsletters, and more — easily and cheaply. Creating your own media messages is an important part
of media literacy.
Advanced concepts
19. Our media system reflects the power dynamics in our society. People and institutions with
money, privilege, influence, and power can more easily create media messages and distribute them
to large numbers of people. People without this access are often shut out of the media system.
20. Most media are controlled by commercial interests. In the United States, the marketplace
largely determines what we see on television, what we hear on the radio, what we read in
newspapers or magazines. As we use media, we should always be alert to the self-interest of
corporate media makers. Are they concerned about your health? Do they care if you’re smart or wellinformed?
Are they interested in creating active participants in our society and culture, or merely
passive consumers of their products, services, and ideas?
21. Media monopolies reduce opportunities to participate in decision making. When a few huge
media corporations control access to information, they have the power to make some information
widely available and privilege those perspectives that serve their interests, while marginalizing or
even censoring other information and perspectives. This affects our ability to make good decisions
about our own lives, and reduces opportunities to participate in making decisions about our
government and society.
22. Changing the media system is a justice issue. Our media system produces lots of negative,
demeaning imagery, values and ideas. It renders many people invisible. It provides too little funding
and too few outlets for people without money, privilege, influence, and power to tell their stories.
23. We can change our media system. More and more people are realizing how important it is to
have a media system that is open to new people and new perspectives, that elevates human values
over commercial values, and that serves human needs in the 21st century. All over the world, people
are taking action to reform our media system and create new alternatives.
24. Media literate youth and adults are media activists. As we learn how to access, analyze and
interpret media messages, and as we create our own media, we recognize the limitations and
problems of our current media system. Media literacy is a great foundation for advocacy and activism
for a better media system.
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 5
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Text & Subtext
Text
We often use the word “text” to mean “written words.” But in media literacy, “text” has a very different
meaning. The text of any piece of media is what you actually see and/or hear. It can include written
or spoken words, pictures, graphics, moving images, sounds, and the arrangement or sequence of all
of these elements. Sometimes the text is called the “story” or “manifest text.” For most of us, the text
of a piece of media is always the same.
Subtext
The “subtext” is your interpretation of a piece of media. It is sometimes called the “latent text.” The
subtext is not actually heard or seen; it is the meaning we create from the text in our own minds.
While media makers (especially advertisers) often create texts that suggest certain subtexts, each
person creates their own subtext (interpretation) based on their previous experiences, knowledge,
opinions, attitudes and values. Thus, the subtext of a piece of media will vary depending on the
individual seeing/hearing it
Example
Magazine ad: “got milk?”
The text of this media message includes:
 An image of musician Sheryl Crow holding a guitar case and a
glass of milk in a room with a lamp, bed, open door, etc. behind
her.
 The logo “got milk?” and the words “Rock hard.”
 The short paragraph: “To keep the crowd on their feet, I keep
my body in tune. With milk. Studies suggest that the nutrients in
milk can play an important role in weight loss. So if you’re trying to
lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, try drinking 24 ounces of
lowfat or fat free milk every 24 hours as part of your reducedcalorie
diet. To learn more, visit 2424milk.com. It’s a change that’ll
do you good.”
 Another logo that reads “milk. your diet. Lose weight! 24 oz. 24
hours”
 A small image of Sheryl Crow’s album Wildflower.
Possible subtexts include:
 Sheryl Crow drinks milk.
 Sheryl Crow can only perform well by drinking milk.
 Sheryl Crow wants to sell her album.
 Milk renders great concerts.
 If you drink milk you will lose weight.
 Beautiful people drink milk.
 If you drink milk, you’ll be beautiful and famous, too.
 Sheryl Crow stays at cheap motels.
 Rock stars like ripped jeans
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 6
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The Language of Persuasion
The goal of most media messages is to persuade the audience to believe or do something.
Hollywood movies use expensive special effects to make us believe that what we’re seeing is real.
News stories use several techniques – such as direct quotation of identified sources – to make us
believe that the story is accurate.
The media messages most concerned with persuading us are found in advertising, public relations
and advocacy. Commercial advertising tries to persuade us to buy a product or service. Public
relations (PR) “sells” us a positive image of a corporation, government or organization. Politicians and
advocacy groups (groups that support a particular belief, point of view, policy, or action) try to
persuade us to vote for or support them, using ads, speeches, newsletters, websites, and other
means.
These “persuaders” use a variety of techniques to grab our attention, to establish credibility and trust,
to stimulate desire for the product or policy, and to motivate us to act (buy, vote, give money, etc.)
We call these techniques the “language of persuasion.” They’re not new; Aristotle wrote about
persuasion techniques more than 2000 years ago, and they’ve been used by speakers, writers, and
media makers for even longer than that.
Learning the language of persuasion is an important media literacy skill. Once you know how media
messages try to persuade you to believe or do something, you’ll be better able to make your own
decisions.
Advertising is the easiest starting point: most ads are relatively simple in structure, easily available,
and in their original format. Media literacy beginners are encouraged to learn the language of
persuasion by examining ads. Keep in mind that many media messages, such as television
commercials, use several techniques simultaneously. Others selectively employ one or two.
Political rhetoric – whether used by politicians, government officials, lobbyists, or activists – is more
difficult to analyze, not only because it involves more emotional issues, but also because it is more
likely to be seen in bits and fragments, often filtered or edited by others. Identifying the persuasion
techniques in public discourse is important because the consequences of that discourse are so
significant – war and peace, justice and injustice, freedom and oppression, and the future of our
planet. Learning the language of persuasion can help us sort out complex emotional arguments,
define the key issues, and make up our own minds about the problems facing us.
NOTE: We’ve divided our list of persuasion techniques into three levels: Basic, Intermediate and
Advanced. Basic techniques are easily identified in many media examples, and they are a good
starting point for all learners. Identifying many intermediate techniques may require more critical
distance, and they should usually be investigated after learners have mastered the basics. More
abstraction and judgment may be required to identify the advanced techniques, and some learners
may find them difficult to understand. However, even media literacy beginners may be able to spot
some of the intermediate or advanced techniques, so feel free to examine any of the persuasion
techniques with your group.
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 7
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Basic persuasion techniques
1. Association. This persuasion technique tries to link a product, service, or idea with something
already liked or desired by the target audience, such as fun, pleasure, beauty, security, intimacy,
success, wealth, etc. The media message doesn’t make explicit claims that you’ll get these things;
the association is implied. Association can be a very powerful technique. A good ad can create a
strong emotional response and then associate that feeling with a brand (family = Coke, victory =
Nike). This process is known as emotional transfer. Several of the persuasion techniques below, like
Beautiful people, Warm & fuzzy, Symbols and Nostalgia, are specific types of association.
2. Bandwagon. Many ads show lots of people using the product, implying that “everyone is doing
it” (or at least, “all the cool people are doing it”). No one likes to be left out or left behind, and these
ads urge us to “jump on the bandwagon.” Politicians use the same technique when they say, “The
American people want…” How do they know?
3. Beautiful people. Beautiful people uses good-looking models (who may also be celebrities) to
attract our attention. This technique is extremely common in ads, which may also imply (but never
promise!) that we’ll look like the models if we use the product.
4. Bribery. This technique tries to persuade us to buy a product by promising to give us something
else, like a discount, a rebate, a coupon, or a “free gift.” Sales, special offers, contests, and
sweepstakes are all forms of bribery. Unfortunately, we don’t really get something for free — part of
the sales price covers the cost of the bribe.
5. Celebrities. (A type of Testimonial – the opposite of Plain folks.) We tend to pay attention to
famous people. That’s why they’re famous! Ads often use celebrities to grab our attention. By
appearing in an ad, celebrities implicitly endorse a product; sometimes the endorsement is explicit.
Many people know that companies pay celebrities a lot of money to appear in their ads (Nike’s huge
contracts with leading athletes, for example, are well known) but this type of testimonial still seems to
be effective.
6. Experts. (A type of Testimonial.) We rely on experts to advise us about things that we don’t
know ourselves. Scientists, doctors, professors and other professionals often appear in ads and
advocacy messages, lending their credibility to the product, service, or idea being sold. Sometimes,
“plain folks” can also be experts, as when a mother endorses a brand of baby powder or a
construction worker endorses a treatment for sore muscles.
7. Explicit claims. Something is “explicit” if it is directly, fully, and/or clearly expressed or
demonstrated. For example, some ads state the price of a product, the main ingredients, where it
was made, or the number of items in the package – these are explicit claims. So are specific,
measurable promises about quality, effectiveness, or reliability, like “Works in only five minutes!”
Explicit claims can be proven true or false through close examination or testing, and if they’re false,
the advertiser can get in trouble. It can be surprising to learn how few ads make explicit claims. Most
of them try to persuade us in ways that cannot be proved or disproved.
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 8
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8. Fear. This is the opposite of the Association technique. It uses something disliked or feared by
the intended audience (like bad breath, failure, high taxes or terrorism) to promote a “solution.” Ads
use fear to sell us products that claim to prevent or fix the problem. Politicians and advocacy groups
stoke our fears to get elected or to gain support.
9. Humor. Many ads use humor because it grabs our attention and it’s a powerful persuasion
technique. When we laugh, we feel good. Advertisers make us laugh and then show us their product
or logo because they’re trying to connect that good feeling to their product. They hope that when we
see their product in a store, we’ll subtly re-experience that good feeling and select their product.
Advocacy messages (and news) rarely use humor because it can undermine their credibility; an
exception is political satire.
10. Intensity. The language of ads is full of intensifiers, including superlatives (greatest, best, most,
fastest, lowest prices), comparatives (more, better than, improved, increased, fewer calories),
hyperbole (amazing, incredible, forever), exaggeration, and many other ways to hype the product.
11. Maybe. Unproven, exaggerated or outrageous claims are commonly preceded by “weasel
words” such as may, might, can, could, some, many, often, virtually, as many as, or up to. Watch for
these words if an offer seems too good to be true. Commonly, the Intensity and Maybe techniques
are used together, making the whole thing meaningless.
12. Plain folks. (A type of Testimonial – the opposite of Celebrities.) This technique works
because we may believe a “regular person” more than an intellectual or a highly-paid celebrity. It’s
often used to sell everyday products like laundry detergent because we can more easily see
ourselves using the product, too. The Plain folks technique strengthens the down-home, “authentic”
image of products like pickup trucks and politicians. Unfortunately, most of the “plain folks” in ads are
actually paid actors carefully selected because they look like “regular people.”
13. Repetition. Advertisers use repetition in two ways: Within an ad or advocacy message, words,
sounds or images may be repeated to reinforce the main point. And the message itself (a TV
commercial, a billboard, a website banner ad) may be displayed many times. Even unpleasant ads
and political slogans work if they are repeated enough to pound their message into our minds.
14. Testimonials. Media messages often show people testifying about the value or quality of a
product, or endorsing an idea. They can be experts, celebrities, or plain folks. We tend to believe
them because they appear to be a neutral third party (a pop star, for example, not the lipstick maker,
or a community member instead of the politician running for office.) This technique works best when
it seems like the person “testifying” is doing so because they genuinely like the product or agree with
the idea. Some testimonials may be less effective when we recognize that the person is getting paid
to endorse the product.
15. Warm & fuzzy. This technique uses sentimental images (especially of families, kids and
animals) to stimulate feelings of pleasure, comfort, and delight. It may also include the use of
soothing music, pleasant voices, and evocative words like “cozy” or “cuddly.” The Warm & fuzzy
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 9
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technique is another form of Association. It works well with some audiences, but not with others, who
may find it too corny.
Intermediate persuasion techniques
16. The Big Lie. According to Adolf Hitler, one of the 20th century’s most dangerous
propagandists, people are more suspicious of a small lie than a big one. The Big Lie is more than
exaggeration or hype; it’s telling a complete falsehood with such confidence and charisma that people
believe it. Recognizing The Big Lie requires “thinking outside the box” of conventional wisdom and
asking the questions other people don’t ask.
17. Charisma. Sometimes, persuaders can be effective simply by appearing firm, bold, strong, and
confident. This is particularly true in political and advocacy messages. People often follow charismatic
leaders even when they disagree with their positions on issues that affect them.
18. Euphemism. While the Glittering generalities and Name-calling techniques arouse audiences
with vivid, emotionally suggestive words, Euphemism tries to pacify audiences in order to make an
unpleasant reality more palatable. Bland or abstract terms are used instead of clearer, more graphic
words. Thus, we hear about corporate “downsizing” instead of “layoffs,” or “enhanced interrogation
techniques” instead of “torture.”
19. Extrapolation. Persuaders sometimes draw huge conclusions on the basis of a few small
facts. Extrapolation works by ignoring complexity. It’s most persuasive when it predicts something we
hope can or will be true.
20. Flattery. Persuaders love to flatter us. Politicians and advertisers sometimes speak directly to
us: “You know a good deal when you see one.” “You expect quality.” “You work hard for a living.”
“You deserve it.” Sometimes ads flatter us by showing people doing stupid things, so that we’ll feel
smarter or superior. Flattery works because we like to be praised and we tend to believe people we
like. (We’re sure that someone as brilliant as you will easily understand this technique!)
21. Glittering generalities. This is the use of so-called “virtue words” such as civilization,
democracy, freedom, patriotism, motherhood, fatherhood, science, health, beauty, and love.
Persuaders use these words in the hope that we will approve and accept their statements without
examining the evidence. They hope that few people will ask whether it’s appropriate to invoke these
concepts, while even fewer will ask what these concepts really mean.
22. Name-calling. This technique links a person or idea to a negative symbol (liar, creep, gossip,
etc.). It’s the opposite of Glittering generalities. Persuaders use Name-calling to make us reject the
person or the idea on the basis of the negative symbol, instead of looking at the available evidence. A
subtler version of this technique is to use adjectives with negative connotations (extreme, passive,
lazy, pushy, etc.) Ask yourself: Leaving out the name-calling, what are the merits of the idea itself?
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 10
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23. New. We love new things and new ideas, because we tend to believe they’re better than old
things and old ideas. That’s because the dominant culture in the United States (and many other
countries) places great faith in technology and progress. But sometimes, new products and new ideas
lead to new and more difficult problems.
24. Nostalgia. This is the opposite of the New technique. Many advertisers invoke a time when life
was simpler and quality was supposedly better (“like Mom used to make”). Politicians promise to
bring back the “good old days” and restore “tradition.” But whose traditions are being restored? Who
did they benefit, and who did they harm? This technique works because people tend to forget the bad
parts of the past, and remember the good.
25. Rhetorical questions. These are questions designed to get us to agree with the speaker.
They are set up so that the “correct” answer is obvious. (“Do you want to get out of debt?” “Do you
want quick relief from headache pain?” and “Should we leave our nation vulnerable to terrorist
attacks?” are all rhetorical questions.) Rhetorical questions are used to build trust and alignment
before the sales pitch.
26. Scientific evidence. This is a particular application of the Expert technique. It uses the
paraphernalia of science (charts, graphs, statistics, lab coats, etc.) to “prove” something. It often
works because many people trust science and scientists. It’s important to look closely at the
“evidence,” however, because it can be misleading.
27. Simple solution. Life is complicated. People are complex. Problems often have many
causes, and they’re not easy to solve. These realities create anxiety for many of us. Persuaders offer
relief by ignoring complexity and proposing a Simple solution. Politicians claim one policy change
(lower taxes, a new law, a government program) will solve big social problems. Advertisers take this
strategy even further, suggesting that a deodorant, a car, or a brand of beer will make you beautiful,
popular and successful.
28. Slippery slope. This technique combines Extrapolation and Fear. Instead of predicting a
positive future, it warns against a negative outcome. It argues against an idea by claiming it’s just the
first step down a “slippery slope” toward something the target audience opposes. (“If we let them ban
smoking in restaurants because it’s unhealthy, eventually they’ll ban fast food, too.” This argument
ignores the merits of banning smoking in restaurants.) The Slippery slope technique is commonly
used in political debate, because it’s easy to claim that a small step will lead to a result most people
won’t like, even though small steps can lead in many directions.
29. Symbols. Symbols are words or images that bring to mind some larger concept, usually one
with strong emotional content, such as home, family, nation, religion, gender, or lifestyle. Persuaders
use the power and intensity of symbols to make their case. But symbols can have different meanings
for different people. Hummer SUVs are status symbols for some people, while to others they are
symbols of environmental irresponsibility.
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 11
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Advanced persuasion techniques
30. Ad hominem. Latin for “against the man,” the ad hominem technique responds to an
argument by attacking the opponent instead of addressing the argument itself. It’s also called
“attacking the messenger.” It works on the belief that if there’s something wrong or objectionable
about the messenger, the message must also be wrong.
31. Analogy. An analogy compares one situation with another. A good analogy, where the
situations are reasonably similar, can aid decision-making. A weak analogy may not be persuasive,
unless it uses emotionally-charged images that obscure the illogical or unfair comparison.
32. Card stacking. No one can tell the whole story; we all tell part of the story. Card stacking,
however, deliberately provides a false context to give a misleading impression. It “stacks the deck,”
selecting only favorable evidence to lead the audience to the desired conclusion.
33. Cause vs. Correlation. While understanding true causes and true effects is important,
persuaders can fool us by intentionally confusing correlation with cause. For example: Babies drink
milk. Babies cry. Therefore, drinking milk makes babies cry.
34. Denial. This technique is used to escape responsibility for something that is unpopular or
controversial. It can be either direct or indirect. A politician who says, “I won’t bring up my opponent’s
marital problems,” has just brought up the issue without sounding mean.
35. Diversion. This technique diverts our attention from a problem or issue by raising a separate
issue, usually one where the persuader has a better chance of convincing us. Diversion is often used
to hide the part of the story not being told. It is also known as a “red herring.”
36. Group dynamics. We are greatly influenced by what other people think and do. We can get
carried away by the potent atmosphere of live audiences, rallies, or other gatherings. Group dynamics
is a more intense version of the Majority belief and Bandwagon techniques.
37. Majority belief. This technique is similar to the Bandwagon technique. It works on the
assumption that if most people believe something, it must be true. That’s why polls and survey results
are so often used to back up an argument, even though pollsters will admit that responses vary
widely depending on how one asks the question.
38. Scapegoating. Extremely powerful and very common in political speech, Scapegoating
blames a problem on one person, group, race, religion, etc. Some people, for example, claim that
undocumented (“illegal”) immigrants are the main cause of unemployment in the United States, even
though unemployment is a complex problem with many causes. Scapegoating is a particularly
dangerous form of the Simple solution technique.
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 12
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39. Straw man. This technique builds up an illogical or deliberately damaged idea and presents it
as something that one’s opponent supports or represents. Knocking down the “straw man” is easier
than confronting the opponent directly.
40. Timing. Sometimes a media message is persuasive not because of what it says, but because
of when it’s delivered. This can be as simple as placing ads for flowers and candy just before
Valentine’s Day, or delivering a political speech right after a major news event. Sophisticated ad
campaigns commonly roll out carefully-timed phases to grab our attention, stimulate desire, and
generate a response.
Deconstructing Media Messages
All media messages – TV shows, newspapers, movies, advertisements, etc. – are made or
constructed by people. One of the most important media literacy skills is deconstruction – closely
examining and “taking apart” media messages to understand how they work.
Deconstructing a media message can help us understand who created the message, and who is
intended to receive it. It can reveal how the media maker put together the message using words,
images, sounds, design, and other elements. It can expose the point of view of media makers, their
values, and their biases. It can also uncover hidden meanings – intended or unintended.
There is no one “correct” way to deconstruct a media message – each of us interprets media
differently, based on our own knowledge, beliefs, experiences, and values. Just be prepared to
explain your interpretation.
Key concepts for deconstructing media
• Source. All media messages are created. The creator could be an individual writer, photographer
or blogger. In the case of a Hollywood movie, the scriptwriter, director, producer, and movie studio
all play a role in creating the message. Ads are usually put together by ad agencies, but the
“creator” is really the client – the company or organization that’s paying for the ad. The key point
is: Whose message is this? Who has control over the content?
• Audience. Media messages are intended to reach audiences. Some – like primetime TV shows –
are designed to reach millions of people. Others – like a letter or email – may be intended only for
one person. Most media messages are designed to reach specific groups of people – defined by
age, gender, class, interests, and other factors – called the “target audience.”
• Text. We often use the word “text” to mean “written words.” But in media literacy, “text” has a very
different meaning. The text of any piece of media is what you actually see and/or hear. It can
include written or spoken words, pictures, graphics, moving images, sounds, and the arrangement
or sequence of all of these elements. Sometimes the text is called the “story” or “manifest text.”
For most of us, the text of a piece of media is always the same.
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 13
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• Subtext. The “subtext” is an individual interpretation of a media message. It is sometimes called
the “latent text.” The subtext is not actually heard or seen; it is the meaning we create from the
text in our own minds. While media makers often create texts that suggest certain subtexts, each
person creates their own subtext (interpretation) based on their previous experiences, knowledge,
opinions, attitudes, and values. Thus, two people interpreting the same text can produce two very
different subtexts.
• Persuasion techniques. Media messages use a number of techniques to try to persuade us to
believe or do something. If we can spot the techniques being used, we’re less likely to be
persuaded, and more likely to think for ourselves. See the Language of Persuasion handout for a
list of persuasion techniques and definitions.
• Point of view. No one tells the whole story. Everyone tells part of the story from their point of
view. Deconstructing a media message can expose the values and biases of the media maker,
and uncover powerful ideological and value messages.
Deconstruction questions
You can use the following questions to quickly deconstruct any media message.
Use the basic deconstruction questions with beginners or younger learners, or when you only have a
short amount of time. Use the intermediate or advanced deconstruction questions with other groups
or when you have more time.
Basic deconstruction questions
1. Whose message is this? Who created or paid for it? Why?
2. Who is the “target audience”? What are the clues (words, images, sounds, etc.)?
3. What “tools of persuasion” are used?
4. What part of the story is not being told?
Intermediate deconstruction questions
1. Whose message is this? Who created or paid for it? Why?
2. Who is the “target audience”? What is their age, ethnicity, class, profession, interests, etc.? What
words, images or sounds suggest this?
3. What is the “text” of the message? (What we actually see and/or hear: written or spoken words,
photos, drawings, logos, design, music, sounds, etc.)
4. What is the “subtext” of the message? (What do you think is the hidden or unstated meaning?)
5. What “tools of persuasion” are used?
6. What positive messages are presented? What negative messages are presented?
7. What part of the story is not being told?
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 14
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Advanced deconstruction questions
1. Whose message is this? Who created or paid for it? Why?
2. Who is the “target audience”? What is their age, ethnicity, class, profession, interests, etc.? What
words, images or sounds suggest this?
3. What is the “text” of the message? (What we actually see and/or hear: written or spoken words,
photos, drawings, logos, design, music, sounds, etc.)
4. What is the “subtext” of the message? (What do you think is the hidden or unstated meaning?)
5. What kind of lifestyle is presented?
6. What values are expressed?
7. What “tools of persuasion” are used?
8. What positive messages are presented? What negative messages are presented?
9. What groups of people does this message empower? What groups does it disempower? How does
this serve the media maker’s interests?
10. What part of the story is not being told? How and where could you get more information about the
untold stories?
Creating Counter Ads
You can “talk back” to deceptive or harmful media messages by creating counter-ads. These are parodies of
advertisements, delivering more truthful or constructive messages using the same persuasion techniques as
real ads. By creating counter-ads, you can apply media literacy skills to communicate positive messages, in a
fun and engaging exercise.
The simplest way to create a counter-ad is to alter a real ad (magazine or newspaper ads work best) by
changing the text or adding graphic elements; just write or draw over the original ad, or paste new materials
onto it. A counter-ad can also be created by drawing a new image, copying the design and layout of a real ad.
Collage techniques work well, too. You can also write scripts for radio or TV counter-ads, and read them to the
class. Or take it a step further and record or videotape your counter-ad.
Here are a few tips on making effective counter-ads:
• Analyze. Look at several real ads and try to figure out why they’re effective. The best counter-ads use the
same techniques to deliver a different message.
• Power. Your message has to break through the clutter of all the real ads that people see or hear. Think
about what makes an ad memorable to you. What techniques does it use to grab your attention? Use
them.
• Persuade. Use the same persuasion techniques found in real ads – like humor, repetition, or flattery — to
deliver your alternative message.
• Pictures. Visual images are incredibly powerful. People often forget what they read or hear, but
remember what they see. The best counter-ads, like the best ads, tell their stories through pictures.
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 15
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• Rebellion. Advertising targeted at young people often appeals to a sense of youthful rebellion. Effective
counter-ads expose misleading and manipulative advertising methods and turn their rebellious spirit toward
the corporate sponsors who use them.
• “KISS” – Keep It Short & Simple. Use only one idea for your main message. Focus everything on
getting this message across.
• Plan. Try to think of everything – words, images, design — before you begin production. Make a few
sketches or rough drafts before you start crafting the final product.
• Practice. If you’re going to perform a radio or TV script (and especially if you’re making an audio recording
or video) your cast and crew will need to rehearse. Then, rehearse it again.
• Teamwork. Working in a team can lighten your workload and spark creativity. Brainstorm ideas as a
group. Make sure all members share responsibility for the work.
• Revise. When you think you’re finished, show your counter-ad to uninvolved people for feedback. Do they
understand it? Do they think it’s funny? Use their responses to revise your work for maximum impact.
• Distribute. Your ideas are meant to be seen! Make copies of your counter-ads and post them around
your school. Get them published in your school newspaper. Show your videotape to other kids and adults.
Your counter-ad can stimulate needed discussion and debate around media and health issues.
• Have fun! Making a counter-ad is a fun way to learn about media and health, to be creative, and to
express your views. Enjoy it!
Looking Beyond the Frame
The ability to analyze and evaluate media messages is an essential first step in becoming media
literate. Deconstructing individual media examples, identifying the persuasion techniques used, and
applying the media literacy concepts discussed earlier in this section are important skills that can lead
us to a deeper understanding of the media messages that bombard us every day.
But this is just the beginning. True media literacy requires “looking beyond the frame” of the media
message – the individual TV commercial, news story or website, for example – to examine its context.
This involves four interrelated concepts and skill sets:
1. Media messages reflect the social, political, economic, and technological environment of the media
system in which they are created. They either reinforce that environment -– by perpetuating
stereotypes, for example — or they challenge it. For example, big-budget Hollywood blockbusters are
produced by media conglomerates seeking to maximize short-term profits. They often rely on familiar
character types, storylines, and genres because old formulas create a safer investment. In contrast,
films made by independent filmmakers — particularly those with little access to money and power —
are often more original, covering subject matter and featuring characters we haven’t seen before.
Instead of appealing to the lowest common denominator, independent films often challenge
audiences’ assumptions and beliefs. Looking beyond the frame to consider the context of both kinds
of films enriches one’s understanding of our media culture. This involves deconstructing our media
system to examine issues of media ownership, power and control, and to recognize how these issues
influence media content.
Introduction to Media Literacy – p. 16
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2. Examining the relationship between media and society raises the issue of media justice. Our media
system produces a lot of negative, demeaning imagery. It privileges some people and some
perspectives, and ignores or silences others. It renders entire groups of people invisible. The
dominant media system – consisting almost entirely of private corporations producing and distributing
media for profit – provides too little funding and too few outlets for people without money, privilege
and power to tell their stories. The media system is unjust, and it perpetuates and strengthens
injustice throughout society. The media justice movement works to create a fairer and more just
media system that serves everyone, particularly communities that have been historically underrepresented
and misrepresented in the mainstream media, including indigenous communities, people
of color, the LGBTQI community, people with disabilities, working class people, and others. The
media justice movement believes that communication is a human right and that media should belong
to the people.
3. Just as literacy is the ability both to read and write, media literacy involves both understanding
media messages and creating media. We all create media. We write notes and send email. We draw
and doodle. Some of us play and compose music. Some take photos or make videos. Many people
blog and use social-networking websites. High-tech or low-tech, our own media creations contribute
to the media landscape. Learning how to express oneself in a variety of media is an important part of
being media literate.
4. Media literate individuals are active participants in our media culture. While many people analyze
and criticize media messages, and others focus on creating their own media, more and more people
are also becoming media activists. They are changing the way they use media, challenging media
messages and media institutions, supporting independent media, and working for media justice and
media reform. Since media create so much of our culture, any social change will require significant
change in our media environment, in media policies and practices, and in media institutions.
Becoming an active agent for change in our media culture is a natural result of being media literate.
Media Literacy Project
The Media Literacy Project, founded in 1993, cultivates critical thinking and activism. We are
committed to building a healthy world through media justice. As a nationally recognized leader in
media literacy resources, trainings, and education, MLP delivers dynamic multimedia presentations at
conferences, workshops and classrooms across the country. Our media literacy curricula and action
guides are used in countless classrooms and communities and our training programs have
empowered thousands of people to be advocates and activists for media justice.
Our organizing campaigns such as Siembra la palabra digna, and our role as an Anchor Organization
for the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) center communities of color, poor communities,
rural communities, and immigrant communities in the creation of local, regional, and national media
policy.

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