Marxist Analysis of Social Media in Guatemala

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The 14th of January of 2014 the president and vice-president of Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina and Roxanna Baldetti, presented the annual report on the advancements made by the government on violence, child malnutrition and other problems that affect Guatemalan society. When the vice-president was leaving the building, a woman throw flour at her as a demonstration of discontent (Associated Press, 2014). Both the president and vice-president of Guatemala have been accused of corruption and having ties with organized crime (Zamora & Arana, 2013). Although they officially report that they made significantly advancements on matters such criminality and health, there are still 15 homicides per day in Guatemala and many children die due to acute malnutrition. After the flour incident, different media outlets did not pay attention on the government report; instead they focused on the story of how the vice-president had been assaulted. The latter story dominated all social media. This is and excellent example on how mass media is capable of shaping what people talk about and how it distract the public of important matters. In the next few lines will use some of the Marxist analytical tools to understand this type of example. One of the most important aspects of the mass media that we have to consider through the lenses of the Marxist theory is the pattern of ownership. Ott and Mack (2013, 28) distinguish between four types of patterns: concentration, conglomeration, integration and multinationalism. The documentary BEHIND THE BIG NEWS: PROPAGANDA AND THE CFR (2011) shows how in 1917 J.P. Morgan acquired 25 newspapers after a think tank created by him concluded that owning that many media outlets would allow him to control the public opin... ... middle of paper ... ...t/segundo-informe-de-gobierno-una-invitacion-sonar El Universal. (2007, January 17). ¿Quién es el empresario Ángel González, el fantasma. El Universal. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/400749.html Gow, T. (Project Manager). (2011). Behind the Big News: Propaganda and CFR. United States: Wisconsin. Available at http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/behind-the-big-news-propaganda-and-the-cfr/ Gutiérrez, A. (2012, April 12). Encabronados. Plaza Pública. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://www.plazapublica.com.gt/content/encabronados Zamora, J. & Arana, A. (2013, April 8). elPeriódico. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://elperiodico.com.gt/templates/especiales/investigacion2013/un-cuento-de-hadas-sin-final-feliz.html Ott, B.L. & Mack, R.L. (2013). Critical Media Studies: An introduction (2nd ed.) Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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