Technology and the media is everywhere we go and has changed they way we are viewing different aspects. Media, in Dictionaries.com, retrieved from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/media, is the means of communication, as radio and television, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. Media is something that almost everyone may have access to or know how to use using devices such as computers/laptops, tablets/Ipads, Smartphones, and even Smart TV’s. Media has evolved over the last years and is becoming more and more involved with what people do. Social media is another aspect of media that has changed as well with the different sites where people can communicate with others, posts picture, blogs, videos, and virtually anything.
Along with social media, the media itself takes a major impact on how people view certain topics with media that includes major films, commercials, tv shows, and short films, such as YouTube videos and other video sources. The focus for this media analysis is going to be the TV series Scandal on the ABC network. The word scandal means a certain action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing a general public outrage, and that is basically what the show is about.
A brief summary of this show is a former secretary of state, Oliva Pope, has an affair with the President, Fitzgerald Grant. The series is based off of this affair and how it was kept a secret for a very long time until the media had found out about their affair. Besides the main event from this series, the other main aspect of this show is politics, from the election process, the hidden secrets with every character, and the time being in office. Just like the elections we see in our world, they always have their secrets and this show shows a great aspect of what our elections can look like as well. This paper will be analyzing the show Scandal based off the main concept of politics and the love affair of a scandal.
Frank W. Baker’s article, Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom, breaks down how teachers should teach media literacy to their students with the 5 core concepts of media literacy. When talking about the show Scandal, we can use the 5 core concepts to give a media analysis of the show. Authorship refers to what is being created in the media message shown. There are several various elements that are used to produce the message that is being portrayed throughout this series. With the political aspect of the show, the media plays a big role as well. The candidates uses the media to help enhance their chances of becoming elected into presidency. The media can also play the negative impact as well when it came to commercials about their candidate and the negative aspects of them. They use the media to almost bash their opponent with how they would not be fit to be the president to help enhance their chances. Even though this is the show, like stated before, this is something we see when it comes to our elections. The presidential candidates use the media to help enhance their chances of being elected over their opponent with the negativity the media can bring for them.
When talking about who created this message, the characters in the show create the message based off of the type of character they are. There are both good characters and bad characters that are in the show, just like there is in any show that we watch. They create the messages by showing how dark secrets will come back to haunt you and that is not always a good aspect. The whole message of the show is don’t do something that you wish others would not want to find out about. Especially when it comes to politics, nothing is ever a secret.
The format of Scandal is the obvious of a television show to be shown on a television. But when Baker is referring to the format of media is based on how the message is being constructed through colors, shapes, sizes, sounds, the words they use, props, sets, etc. Since the main concept of Scandal is based on the politics, the set of the show takes place in different Washington D.C., including the White House. The message being constructed through this show has to show the viewer that the show is about politics and is shown by where the show takes place and they type of vocabulary that is being used. Viewers would have to understand the meaning of the vocabulary that is used throughout the show in order to understand what is being said and how they are portraying the vocabulary being used. Some vocabulary used throughout the show include republican, democrat, president, vice president, secretary of state, media press secretary, government, district attorney, and many more.
The story that is being told is not on a certain character’s viewpoint, it’s more of a general viewpoint of when shooting the show. Since the main character of the show is Olivia Pope, (played by Kerry Washington), the shows focuses more on her and what she goes through throughout the show. A lot of the events that happen throughout the show are based on what Olivia has gone through, such as the love affair with the president, her kidnapping from a secret service, BX-13, along with several others. Besides the events that happen to her, the other events that happened in the show she is somehow involved in it or has to solve the problem to the situation.
What makes this show seem “real,” based on Baker’s question is the concept of show which is politics. Everywhere we go and see, whether it is in the newspaper, the television, on our smartphones, or tablets, we see what is going on in politics. More recently because of the recent election that had just happened in the beginning of the month. When going through an election on the show, they do the same process that we see with our politics. There is campaigns the candidates attend, debates, and messages they are sending to their voters. Another concept that makes the show “real” is a scandal love affair can happen in the presidency and everyone has their secrets.
The third key question speaks to the audience of the show and can connect to the second question as well. Baker wants to know about the audience if they have experienced something like this, how close they have experienced something like this in real life, what can you learn from it and about yourself, etc. The audience can connect to the show as stated before because it is something we see in “real” life and they experience something like this with politics. With this show, it may be harder for the audience to experience what the characters in the show experience because it is not something they are apart of unless they are in office or involved in politics. What they can possibly learn about themselves can be they are learning new concepts of politics for their own knowledge and may have a better understanding of it.
Baker’s last few key question focus on the content of the media, and the overall purpose of the media. With his fourth questions, one of the questions involves the political ideas that are communicated in the message being sent. Since this show is based off of politics, the communication of the messages can show the viewer what politics is about. Finally with his last question about the purpose is along the line of what was the purpose of showing this media and what is it sending to the viewers. As stated before, the message of this show is based of politics and seeing what can go on behind closed doors in the what the director of show had created. The media that is creating this message can show their viewers things that we don’t see if we are not involved in politics and gives us a different point of view of what people who work for the government or the White House go through everyday.
As an overall, Scandal is a great source of media if you are someone who wants to see politics in a different aspects and see what can possibly happen that we don’t physically see. Even though with the election and how the White House and government works is not like the show portrays it, in a sense, this show can be very interesting and intriguing for people to watch. The media of the actual television show is a good example, the media that we see throughout the show plays a big role as well. This show shows us that during the election, the media can either help your or break you when it comes to campaigning. For myself, I know this sho helped me understand politics and how the government works and show me all the secrets that politics can possibly entail. The media is always there to help you but can show you something different than what you expect it to be.
Baker, Frank W. “Pedagogy and Principles of Teaching Media Literacy.” Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom. International Society for Technology in Education. 2012.