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Dr. Petroski
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The Economics of Morality

on Thu May 24, 2018 9:07 pm
While much of the research surrounding the form and function of media framing tends to be situated around an assumption that different content producers have different personal and political interests, prominent media scholar Ron Tamborini proposes a slightly different approach: the economics of morality.

In his model of moral intuition in media entertainment, or MIME, Tamborini (2011) suggested that while the content in much of our entertainment and informational media is often rooted in moral issues—battles of moral right and moral wrong—the reasons behind these content productions are economic. Tamborini argues that content producers are aware that “drama sells,” but they are also aware that different audiences have very distinct moral orientations, what he refers to as morality subcultures. For a broadcaster, producing content that violates the moral orientations of the intended audiences will likely result in very unpopular, unsuccessful, and potentially troubling broadcast (for example, the program was reported to the FCC for violating community standards of decency—themselves often rooted in moral rather than legal considerations). Thus, producers are likely to create content that upholds and supports rather than violates and challenges predominant moral orientations. In fact, research applying MIME has suggested, for example, newspaper headlines in more liberal or conservative parts of the United States to generally present news in a more liberal or conservative manner, respectively, and that many popular sitcoms and soap opera programs tend to present a more conservative view on such cultural taboos as alcoholism, adultery, and spousal abuse. In addition, there is emerging research to suggest that differences in media content and preference across cultures can often be attributed to differences in the moral standards between, for example, U.S. Latino and non-Latino populations (soap opera content) and U.S. and German television audiences (the former preferring more sitcoms and the latter preferring more news programming).

Yet, as media becomes increasingly narrowcasted or tailored, how important do you think it is for producers to understand the morality subcultures of their audiences? Do you think there few or many morality subcultures? Can you identify newer programs that seem to tap into larger or smaller morality subcultures?

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Dr. Petroski
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Southern Connecticut State University
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matism1
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Re: The Economics of Morality

on Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:25 pm
I think it is important for producers to know the morality subcultures of their Audiences. I don’t believe we can move past a tribal people, by nature we will always congregate to like minded people and our own bubble. Though that doesn’t mean there is room more nuance in a tailored media. Most magazines tend to be unapologetically partisan. Though that serves a purpose though. They provide thought provoking ideas to their own side. The Nation and New Republic on the left, The weekly Standard and National review on the right. These are thoughtful publications that know their audience but tends to incite some inner conversation among partisans on were to move and new ways of thinking on the subject. It is in the pages of National review that Die hard Conservative David French thoughtfully makes arguments against president Trump. It was in the New republic that new questions were raised during the me too movement on how the left went wrong with Bill Clinton. Morality subcultures are where the dial can be moved when someone you trust and agree with can help move you on an issue.

All in the family was typical sitcom of its days in many was with a white suburban family and a curmudgeon racist main character in Archie Bunker. But it was through that traditional medium that the dial was pushed on many issues way ahead of ahead time. Race, LGBT issues, and abortion. The shows was not watched by just coastal liberals but by many Americans who may have seen a familiar face telling them something that didn’t think much about before. I am no fan of Roseanne Barr or more recent political leanings but I wonder if her show were to continue what issues would be addressed later on. would some of her better angels made it into the show . Perhaps the LGBT ally and pro choice Green party Roseanne would have been able to tackle some of the struggles evangelicals face with modern social liberalism. perhaps the trump friendly show Roseanne may have translated some tough social issues for a very conservative audience.

I think its very important for producers to know their audience not just for the market value of taste and preferences but because I think unity actually comes when someone from the other side knows their side and are willing to help take those first steps to the center.
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Re: The Economics of Morality

on Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:12 am
It is important for producers to know who they are catering to and their preferences, not just for the economic benefit they would receive by having a program that is well received, but so that they can bring forth the moral issues that the group focuses on. For an example the show The Fosters takes on radical social issues such as immigration, gay marriage, racial profiling and the foster care system in America. The show focuses on these topics because it knows who its audience is, it knows it has a younger audience who wants to fix social injustices in America, therefore it plays to what they want to hear and helps fuel the fire for the causes they support.
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Morality

on Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:39 am
To be sucessful one has to have a secure fan base, and that fan base should always be satisfied and never angered. Media sources such as television, radio , magazines and newspapers are all supposed to give information and entertain; However newspapers are held to higher standard because it is one the biggest sources for daily news. Newspapers jobs ar to be neutral and give out the information that the everyday american needs, however there are smaller newspapers that will keep a more conservative and republican tone to their writing and the same thing can be said about more liberal and democratic newspaper companies. The New York Times recently got some heat because of a profile they had published about a White Nationalist and Nazi sympathizer, many critized The New York Times in the paper trying to normalize Nazi sympathizers. Then the recent television show Roseanne, was a hot bed for controversies; race, religioin, opiod epidemic, immigration. The list wen on and on, and the show seemed to be a hit with the more conservative and republican demographic ; however in the end the show was canceled because of the stars racist and implorable words.
Media should be catered to it's audience and it should give them what they want if they plan to be sucessful, still there is always going to be criticism and adverseries that will come along the way.
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Economics of Morality

on Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:43 pm
I think it is very important that producers understand the impact of what they produce and put out into the atmosphere, as it can always have a positive or negative impact on society. I researched the different effects media has on society and one sociologist argued the fact that “media content can have a direct effect upon their audiences and trigger particular social responses in terms of behavior and attitudes”. I can agree with this because I watch some of my friend’s behaviors when playing the video game, and at one point they are calm and the next they freak out about losing the game and are upset all day long because of it. It’s selective exposure, perception and retention that allows either negative or positive thoughts to stick in our heads. Producers need to be mindful of what information they put out into the universe as it could always come back to bite them in the end.
stefanatosn1
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Re: The Economics of Morality

on Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:46 pm
Yes, I believe it is important for producers to understand the morality subcultures of their audiences, because in today’s media it is tailored to certain demographics and interest. For example, some news stations are conservative and others are not. This create a status quote for some people, where they only believe what they see on the news you watch the most. Producers definitely should know their audience to make sure they are using the best techniques for that particular morality subculture. Yes, I think there are more morality subcultures now with how are news is tailored and I believe it is a big issue.
Nasya Kampbell
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Re: The Economics of Morality

on Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:58 pm
I think it is very important for producers to understand the morality subcultures of their audiences. It also depends on the audiences they are trying to reach. Thinking of tv shows, someone more geeky, looking for something slightly funny may watch something like “the Big Bang Theory,” while someone looking to relate to the life of minorities and the streets vs. those in power from a business standpoint may watch “Power.” The job of the producers, I feel, is for him/ her to make their minds up from the beginning about who they deliberately want to reach. There are many, many morality subcultures. That is why we have so many options to choose from when it comes to television, whether it be sitcoms, or news outlet channels alike.

-Nasya Kampbell
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Re: The Economics of Morality

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