Monday, 05 April 2021 17:14

An Example on Media's Molding Public Opinion and Perception Management: a TV Series Named “Eskiya Dunyaya Hukumdar Olmaz/Grand Family”

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“...The audience, who distanced itself from the reality of the world on television, gradually begins to perceive the fantasy emanating from the television as a reality. Moreover, these fantasies emanating from television gain their reality in storytelling, and television provides this with its most realistically dramatized narrative. This situation worsens for those who watch television a lot, and by this means, the audience is increasingly imprisoned in the conditions they are in...”

 

An Example on Media's Molding Public Opinion and Perception Management: a TV Series Named “Eskiya Dunyaya Hukumdar Olmaz/Grand Family”

As it is known, the “Cultural Indicators Project”, or “Cultivation Theory” as it is prominently known, is the product of a process initiated by George Gerbner and his friends in the late 1960s and introduced in the early 1970s. The remarkable feature of the theory lies in explaining not only the production, message and consumption dimensions of the media, but also the “holistic role” of the media, especially television. Within this context, Ömer Özer says that Gerbner’s theory can also be seen as a holistic criticism of the period of strong effects of communication research conducted up to the 1940s in general and the period of limited effects from the 1940s to the 1960s. Looking at Gerbner’s conceptualizations of communication, the audience, and mass culture will make the theory much easier to understand.

Saying that communication, especially mass communication, is the only "humanization" tool, Gerbner draws attention to the fact that mass communication provides this through signs and representations. Therefore, looking at the media itself brings with it a process in which the “human condition” is recreated, and the perception of the reality of life through these symbols and representations. The “human condition” is hidden in revealing the function of the mass media in determining what the values, relationships, priorities shared simultaneously by the masses or what they exclude. Therefore, Gerbner uses the concept of “public designing” instead of “public opinion”. Because, according to him, public opinion is actually the sharing of ideas that have been made common by the mass media, especially television. In order to clarify, public opinion is ultimately the result of the masses forming public opinion through symbols emitted from television. The cultivation process does not show itself suddenly, it reveals itself slowly and exponentially. So much so that when the cultivation takes place, all these things that are watched and perceived become the reality itself. At this point, Gerbner, who states that the most important element of television is to tell a story, takes this as far as the stories of parents that come from oral culture and are passed down from generation to generation. Asking the question “What were we doing before television” to reinforce this issue, Gerbner draws attention to the dominant position television occupies in socializing and learning about life.

Contrary to popular belief, the functional dimension of the stories on television is hidden not in telling us “what we should do”, but in making deterministic views on “what most people think/do” immanent. Although this may seem like an agenda-setting comment at first glance, Gerbner's emphasis is on the difference between those who watch television more or less: A given message does not play the same role for everyone, the cultivation function manifests itself mainly in those who watch a lot of television. In other words, Cultivation Theory emerges in the “difference” of the data between those who watch less and more television. Because those who watch television a lot are more exposed to its “symbolic environment,” and this “symbolic environment” is increasingly replacing real priorities. Gerbner defines the widespread view that emerges as a result of the symbolic environment as “collective consciousness”.

When we look at Cultivation Theory methodically, the holisticity of the theory is much better understood. According to Omer Ozer; Cultivation analysis, which is based on the questions of “What are the processes, pressures and constraints that affect and form the basis of content production of mass media?”, “What are the dominant patterns of images, messages, facts, values and lessons presented by media messages?”, “What is the relationship between the interest in these messages and the audience's perceptions of social reality?” rests on three pillars:

1) Institutional Process Analysis: In this first part of the analysis, ownership relations in the media are revealed. It is tried to reveal how the internal structures of media companies work, how the message itself is formed in this context, under what decisive conditions the employees in the institution/institutions produce their media texts, and in short, what kind of power relations the production dimension is and the role of the “economic elites”.

2) Message System Analysis: In this second part, which focuses on the message itself, it is examined whether the “economic elites” encoded in the Institutional Process Analysis encode the message for their own interests. It is discussed what the message covers and what it excludes, what has become a widespread opinion.

3) Cultivation Analysis: Cultivation analysis, which focuses on “growth and the total consequences of living with television”, is the component in which “dominant and repetitive phenomena, values and ideologies of the television world” are analyzed. The “systematic differences” between those who watch television a lot and those who watch less in the world/life interpretation are determined in this section. If the answers reflecting the reality in the television world between those who watch television a lot and those who watch less television show a significant difference between the two groups, this indicates the cultivation role of television.

With the introduction of television into our lives, storytelling is gathered in a single center, namely television. Information, values and images about life are immanent in the stories told on television, and for this reason, television is both the only tool of socialization and the dominant instrument of homogenization of the population by revealing massiveness.

Cultivation itself is the cultivation of similar/analogical themes and traditions as a result of mass enculturation that occurs with the presentation of already popular contents by television, by editing them. The message is not fixed but fluid, always incomplete and half, therefore it must be repeated continuously, coded with reference to the previous cultivation and it should be cultivated again and again. The “cultural environment” should be constantly patterned and the audience should be cultivated.

The audience, who distanced itself from the reality of the world on television, gradually begins to perceive the fantasy emanating from the television as a reality. Moreover, these fantasies emanating from television gain their reality in storytelling, and television provides this with its most realistically dramatized narrative. This situation worsens for those who watch television a lot, and by this means, the audience is increasingly imprisoned in the conditions they are in. Thus, mainstreaming, as demonstrated by televised stories, doubles their message in harmony, resulting in much stronger cultivations.

In the light of all this information, we can move on to the evaluation of the ongoing “Eskiya Dunyaya Hukumdar Olmaz/Grand Family” (EDHO) series on ATV:

Hizir Cakirbeyli, whose father is also a gun smuggler and climbing to the top of the mob world he entered at a young age, is known as a fair person in the mafia. Hizir, who also attracted the attention of the state, received an offer for the mafia to carry out the illegitimate activities of the state. From the first episode of the series, we see that the “cultivation theory” has been put into action. Moreover, the emphasis that he is known to be a person who loves his country and that he was therefore chosen to cooperate with the state is expressed by the intelligence officer Nevzat, reinforcing to the audience how selflessly and patriotically the mafia can work, even for the state. However, the fact that the series director has chosen Oktay Kaynarca as the lead actor of the series reveals that it is a very skillfully designed project. Because Kaynarca played a similar character with the nickname “Cakir” in the TV series “Kurtlar Vadisi” long years ago. Knowing that the character in that series is loved and adopted by the audience shows that the cultivation theory is carried out successfully. In any case, we learned that “Cultivation itself is the cultivation of similar/analogical themes and traditions as a result of mass cultivation that occurs with the presentation of already popular contents by television, by editing them.”

There is a council formed by those engaged in the manufacture and trade of illegitimate weapons in the series. From the head of the council, Unal, to senior intelligence officer Nevzat, in front of the audience, by saying “if I don't sell weapons to organizations and states, bombs will explode all over the country, I'm an arms dealer, I will sell weapons to anyone who has money...”, the idea that these weapons must be sold in order to prevent terrorism and bombing within the borders of country is masterfully crafted and cultivation method is carried out. Again, in another part of the series, there is a dialogue that we can call ‘two-way cultivation’. While the head of the council, Unal, states that the state intelligence actually has great ideals in the region, it is emphasized that the Western imperialists will not allow this: “You want to rule the Middle East, my friends would not allow it…”

Another remarkable point in the series is Hizir Cakırbeyli, whose private life is as complicated as his business life, has fallen in love with the architect Nazli and she is pregnant. (Here, the fact that an architect woman falls in love with a mafia leader, and moreover, knowing that she is married, legitimizes all the facts and draws attention as the application of a complete cultivation theory.) However, Hizir's wife Meryem does not want this child to be born. In the EDHO series, which sets out with the themes of the state, the mafia, the baron, betrayal and revenge, we also witness the “man” struggle between two women. Married spouses are soulless, emotionless, unjust, commit all kinds of evil, but on the other hand, their love for their spouses is brought to the fore. Hizir Cakirbeyli, who belongs to a family from the Black Sea region, which both the mafia and the state cannot give up on him and struggle to keep on its side, is caught in the middle of the love struggle between the two women. Although he complains that “I'm stuck between women”, he loves to be loved is the most distinctive feature of that character. By his mother, wife, daughter, lover, that is, the person most loved and trusted by all the female characters in the series, is Hizir. However, while his honesty is clearly underlined, it is Hizir who betrayed his wife. The important point is here, in the series, betrayal is cleared with different thesis. The ideas of “if there is love, there is no betrayal”, “everything is permissible for love” are impressed on the audience. In the same way, it is seen that the series is trying to legitimize the second marriage, which some viewers call ‘mistress’, by crowning love with having children. Moreover, while Hizir's mother strongly opposes this relationship at first, the effort to take the relationship on a legitimate basis is tried to be placed in the perception of the audience, although she loves her daughter-in-law Meryem very much, with the motive of owning the child which is expected to be born. Along with all this, we understand that the violent mafia series aimed at male audiences aims to attract women to the screen through this kind of intrigues. In order to be in the field of interest of the female audience, the conflict between the two women and the man is featured in almost half of the episode in each episode. It was added with magnificent details so that the audience would not react to Hizir and that the man is too quick to fall in love would be understood under the affection for children.

Hizir Cakirbeyli, who said in the mafia council “You asked me to do this knowing that a man like me would do anything but never betray”, is a man who betrayed his wife and marriage, but he never sees it as betrayal. This situation is reflected to the audience in this way, and it is expected to be affirmed by the audience.

In the EDHO series, not only in the triangle of Meryem-Hizir-Nazli; When it comes to the male-female relationship, every issue criticized in the media and the public over violence and femicide has been included in the script from a flawed point of view. As in the example of Hizir's brother Ilyas (role names have been chosen carefully, the legend of Hazrat Hizir (Khidr) and Hazrat Ilyas/Hıdırellez) and his lover Esra's birthday. While he is about to leave the house for his birthday celebration, the gift sent to Esra by Ilyas's archenemy Mahmut triggers the events. Ilyas, who says that the ring he gave as a gift is only a birthday gift and insists that it is not a pre-engagement ring, threatens the girl who intends to leave the house after the gift sent intentionally by his archenemy Mahmut, and says, “If you go out of this door, I will kill you”. When the girl gets in her car and moves, he stops the girl by shooting the tires. He puts the ring on the girl's finger, saying, “Now we are engaged”. Unfortunately, we wake up every morning to the news of violence against women because of those who do not perceive the violence on TVs and are attracted to fake romance, whether they are living or watching.

There are many “Contemporary Mainstream Communication Theories”, consciously or unconsciously, in the series. In the beginning of the article, we talked about the “Cultivation Theory”. It is possible to see that the “Agenda Setting Theory” is also being operated through the messages given to create public opinion. In addition, it is possible to see that the EDHO series created the “Technological Determinism and Media Theory” based on McLuhan's thesis that “The tool is the message”. The fact is that McLuhan divides the media and mass media into hot and cold tools. If the tool appeals to only one sense of the person, it is a hot tool. Cold tools are tools that appeal to more than one sense and have a high participation of the person receiving the message. In the TV series, it is tried to form public opinion through the cultivation theory by trying to convey the message to the audience with cold tools, ignoring the generally accepted social culture. In its last aired episode, “Molding Public Opinion” and “Agenda Setting” were revealed so clearly that it shocked the audience: Meryem goes to prison and is met there by Deniz Seki, who is really in prison. During the mutual dialogues, it was seen that public opinion was being formed and thus an agenda was being set by emphasizing that the execution law should be amended and the sentence should be reduced. As a matter of fact, the next day, it was raised in the media how much longer Deniz Seki would serve in prison and that the prisoners would be given a sentence reduction.

Read 506 times Last modified on Friday, 17 June 2022 09:46
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