Blog Assignment #2. Manipulative media techniques (Due before 9/14)

“The homeyness of her recipes — baked sea bass with rosemary, mashed potatoes, chicken stew with couscous and the like — are in direct contrast with her overtly sensual style. On TV, she tastes constantly, licking a mashed-potatoed finger with gusto. Lawson will test a dish by tilting her head way back and dangling a noodle or string bean into her open mouth. At the end of most shows, while the orange ice cream is freezing or the pistachio soufflé is rising, she will change into a pale blue satin robe, make herself a big bowl of pasta and climb into bed.” (Lynn Hirschberg, “Hot Dish,” New York Times, 11/18/01)

In the Klosterman reading assigned for 9/12, the author argues that laugh tracks are used to convince audiences that they should laugh at things that aren’t really funny. Whether or not they are effective, the use of laugh tracks is widespread.  Similarly, in the article “Debbie does salad: The Food Network at the frontiers of pornography,” Frederick Kaufman identifies ways that food television consciously appropriates the stylistic conventions of pornography.

However, these are not the only manipulative techniques that are embedded in mediated communication. Whether they are attempting to persuade or to entertain, communicators often use subtle strategies in the hopes of shaping and influencing audience reactions.

In a short (4-5 paragraph) blog posting, discuss another manipulative technique that can be found in mediated communication. What are some examples of this technique? Is it always effective? Is there anything that audience members can do to immunize themselves against this technique?

Be sure to thoroughly proofread your posting for writing mechanics. Your posting should also include some sort of image (e.g. a screenshot or still that displays the manipulative technique) and at least one annotated hyperlink. This posting is due no later than 1:59 a.m. on the morning of Friday, 9/14. (Note: The syllabus suggested that this assignment was due on 9/10, but I have shifted the due date to 9/14.)

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