A mass media revolution is unfolding at this very moment. McChesney describes this moment in history has a critical juncture. In order a critical juncture to occur, two out of three things must occur:
1) Revolutionary communication technology.
2) Dissatisfaction with the media system
3) Political Crisis
In 2011, all three of these criteria are evident. A notable event that is shaping the future of media is the Occupy Wall Street protests. Activists have lined the streets in protest of Wall Street and have gained significant support through social media. The Economist believes that these events that are unfolding right now are the first, genuine social network driven cause. The article gives shows a group on tumblr, We Are the 99 Percent, holding up written posters of how economic hardships have personally effected them. We Are the 99 Percent group is a prime example of the effectiveness of a revolutionary communication technology: the internet.
The internet is a revolutionary communication technology for so many reasons. It lets users actively voice their cause, support, and thoughts on a particular topic. No other technology has given the public an active voice. The radio, television, and newspaper simply gave the facts. The internet features videos, blogs, and internet groups that allow people to get involved with a story instead of simply listening to it.
The second factor for a critical juncture is also evident. People are very dissatisfied with the current media system. Journalism has been a steep decline since the Iraq War scandals. People simply don’t buy or read newspapers. Many blogs and news websites provide news for free, quickly, and accurately as possible. If there is a mistake, it can be updated in an instant. Advertisers and people realize that the newspaper is a dying enterprise. The benefits of a newspaper are diminishing as blogs become more prominent and preferred.
The third and final factor is a political crisis. Wall Street is a major political crisis. Protestors are fighting for less corruption and wasteful spending by people that lead the country. Corporations are notorious for lobbying in Congress for laws and policies. Citizens of the United States are become fed up with this mass corruption. George W. Bush’s administration made the public distrust government. Barack Obama was supposed to bring hope and change and get America out of the economic hole it’s in. So far, he hasn’t delivered his promise, and people are growing very upset.
The Wall Street activists have every right to be angry and demand a better system. The United States is slowly losing it’s grip, and the activists are trying prevent this from happening. A critical juncture may seem scary, but it has the potential to yield excellent results. America has survived three critical junctures: the Progressive Era, the Golden Age of Radio, and protests in the 1960s and 70s. Without the activists and the new media, social change may not have happened. The United States is great because it usually adapts to change and listens to what the people want. 2011 is just another bump in the road that needs to happen in order to ensure that this country maintains it’s glory and strength.