Generation Like Examines The Impact, Consequences Of Corporate Marketing In Social Media

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS has announced that it will release the latest episode of its hugely acclaimed series Frontline on April 29th.

Frontline: Generation Like investigates the ever growing link between social media and corporate marketing. It is the follow-up to Frontline’s 2001 documentary, The Merchants of Cool. Author Douglas Rushkoff takes the reins once again on this latest documentary from PBS’ hugely lauded series. Rushkoff examines in this feature, how major companies are increasingly taking advantage of teens social media usage to push their products. Rushkoff said of how the corporations in question are exploting teens in their social usage, “Today’s teens don’t need to be chased down by corporations. They’re putting themselves online for anyone to see. They tell the world what they think is cool—starting with their own online profiles. Likes, follows, retweets, and favorites are the social currency of this generation.”

One marketer explained in an interview how said companies are in fact exploiting teens, rather than trying to sell products to them. The anonymous marketer noted in an interview that “Companies know how to take that data and turn it into money. The people who are handing over the data—because they’re hitting ‘I like this’ or ‘I like that’ or they’re telling all their friends, ‘Will you please come like me?—they have no idea what the value of that is.”
Generation Like takes an in-depth at how America’s youth is increasingly becoming an unwitting tool of the country’s biggest companies in its marketing efforts, and how those behind those marketing efforts manage to grab teens among other topics. It will be available on DVD for an SRP of $24.99 and will also be available for download. It can be pre-ordered now via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=32224926&cp=&sr=1&kw=generation+like&origkw=Generation+Like&parentPage=search.

More information on this and other episodes of Frontline is available online at http://www.facebook.com/frontline, http://www.pbs.org/frontline/view, http://twitter.com/frontlinepbs, and http://ow.ly/lXRQM. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

League of Denial Is A Shocking Look At NFL Injuries

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

When one thinks of PBS, one doesn’t typically associate the network with football. But in one of the latest episodes of its news program Frontline, PBS “tackles” the NFL’s recent scandal centered on the battle over whether current and former NFL players suffer from a condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE. This shows how big the scandal had become ever since the discovery of CTE in the late 1990s. Whether one is a PBS fan or a fan of the NFL, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis is a program that both audiences will want to watch. Audiences on both sides will want to watch this as it provides an in depth discussion on the scandal showing where it started and the eventual effect of the findings on the league as a whole. Audiences will find interesting, the interviews with both medical professionals and those with the league that paint the whole picture. The addition of vintage video of games helps to illustrate the subject matter even more.  Audiences are also presented with visual imagery of the brains that were studied by the noted medical professionals.   The imagery in question may be unfamiliar to most audiences.  But in its own way, it helps to illustrate the arguments made by those arguing that CTE does in fact affect NFL players.  This video, along with the vintage NFL game footage and the interviews on both sides make this episode of Frontline all the more intriguing for anyone with any interest in either the medical field or just the NFL.

PBS doesn’t typically delve into the world of professional sports with its programming.  So when producers decided to take on the issue of CTE in NFL players, one knew instantly that the subject was far more wide ranging than just what was going on with the players.  Audiences will see through the interviews culled for this episode of Frontline that CTE affects both current NFL players and those hoping to one day reach the ranks of the NFL.  The interviews provide a clear, unbiased look at the situation and how important it is as not just a sports issue, but a health issue, too.  Viewers will see how medical science was used to break open a scandal that continues to play a role in the NFL even today after the league paid out almost $800 million to former players and the families of former players that were found to have suffered from CTE as a result of their time in the NFL.  Dr. Bennett Omalu is the first medical professional interviewed during the program’s two-hour run time.  It was his autopsy of former Steelers legend Mike Webster that started the ball rolling in the case against the NFL covering up brain injuries to players.  On the other side, an interesting argument is made that if CTE does in fact affect players, why is it that it only affects some players and not others.  That’s not to say that it’s a strong argument.  But it is an interesting one nonetheless.

The interviews used throughout this program are hard hitting to say the least.  No pun intended.  Just as powerful is the companion video used to illustrate the arguments being made.  PBS uses footage from NFL films to show just how hard football players hit one another in the course of a normal game.  One interviewee shares that when players hit one another in a normal game, it’s equivalent to hitting a brick wall at thirty-five miles per hour.  This illustration combined with the provided footage from NFL Films puts quite well into perspective just how hard players hit one another again and again throughout just a single game.  One can’t help but lean more towards the side of CTE as a cause of players’ brain injuries over their careers, despite what certain groups might have people believe.  The footage of the dissected brains may not be the easiest thing for some viewers to handle.  That should be noted right now.  But much like the other video that accompanies the program’s interviews, it helps to illustrate even more the arguments being made by those that investigated them.  Not everybody will fully comprehend or appreciate what is shown.  Even this critic views the dissections as Latin so to speak. But for those that have any interest or experience in the medical field and/or forensic science, they play an extremely large role in the grand scheme of the program.  In simple terms, they add that much more value to the presentation.  And that added value makes this piece even more worth watching whether one is a hardcore NFL fan or not.  League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis is available now and can be ordered direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=24432136&cp=&sr=1&kw=league+of+denial&origkw=League+of+Denial&parentPage=search.  More information on this and other releases from PBS is available online at http://www.pbs.org and http://www.facebook.com/pbs.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Syria Behind The Lines A Powerful, In-Depth Investigation Of The Syrian Civil War

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

Tensions in the Middle Eastern nation of Syria seem to be at an all-time high. Allegations recently came to light that President Bashar Al Assad’s regime used chemical weapons on its own people.  This is just the latest black eye for the war ravaged nation.  As the unrest in the country continues, PBS examines what is at the heart of this bloody feud and the effect of the conflict on both sides in the latest episode of Frontline, Syria Behind The Lines.

Frontline: Syria Behind The Lines is a deep and powerful look at a conflict that has raged for years in this Middle Eastern nation.  It shows the devastation brought on by both the Syrian rebels and those fighting for the Al Assad regime in the war.  Just as interesting to note as the human cost of the war, is the view that people on both sides of the war have towards involvement in the war by Westerners.  One side notes that it wants the country to be the way it used to be although it fights on the side of Assad’s regime.  On the other side, viewers are presented with those fighting for freedom and democracy in Syria.  The juxtaposition of the peaceful Syrian countryside to the devastated city streets and walls is just as powerful a statement made by film maker Olly Lambert.  Both sides obviously want peace.  Yet neither side wants to work toward peace.  This can only mean that the only way the city will be as peaceful as the countryside is for no one to remain in Syria’s Orontes River Valley.

The revelation of the seeming price of peace in Syria is painful.  And the sentiment regarding intervention by Western nations is sure to generate just much discussion among viewers as the topic of the war itself and whether the United States should be involved in this conflict.  The recent allegations that the Al Assad regime used chemical weapons on the rebels will only heighten that discussion along with the consideration of political tensions on Capitol Hill.  Seeing the violence firsthand that has ravaged Syria brings home just how much pain and loss has been created as a result of the ongoing war.  It is made obvious that the war is rooted deeply in religious and political beliefs much like so many conflicts throughout human history.  This adds one more angle for discussion among both casual viewers and experts and talking heads.  Keeping all of this in mind, viewers can’t help but agree that those behind Frontline have succeeded once again in maintaining the program’s positive reputation with this feature.  Frontline: Syria Behind The Lines will be available next Tuesday, June 25th.  It can be ordered online direct from the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=20299416&cp=&kw=syria+behind+the+lines&origkw=Syria+Behind+The+Lines&sr=1.

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New Frontline Feature Examines The AIDS Epidemic In Black America

Courtesy: PBS/WGBH/BlackPublicMedia.org, Ford Foundation, MAC AIDS Fund, Corporation For Public Broadcasting/MacArthur Foundation/Reva & David Logan/Park Foundation/Frontline Journalism Fund

AIDS has devastated America since it first began appearing in the early 1980s.  When it first became known, it was thought to be a disease only of homosexual males.  Since that time though, knowledge of the disease and how to treat it has broadened.  Despite that knowledge, AIDS continues to ravage one group more than any other.  And it isn’t the gay community.  As presented by PBS’ Frontline, the community that is still being ravaged by the AIDS epidemic is the African American community.

In its new special, Frontline examines in an unbiased manner, the spread of AIDS in the black community.  It examines the factors that have led to the spread of the disease and the stigma attached to those who have contracted it, both straight and homosexual.  The stories told firsthand by those who contracted the disease are both powerful and moving.  And learning how widespread the disease is in the Black community is just as eye opening.  Through the program’s near two-hour run time, there is a message of hope that it can at least be reduced and slowed if not wiped out.

The stories told firsthand by those who contracted the AIDS virus come from members of every walk of the African American community.  On one hand, there is Nel.  Nel is sixty-three years old and a grandmother.  Nel married a deacon in her church who it turned out had lied to her about being HIV positive.  Even upon being confronted by her, he still lied about it.  Another story is that of a young woman who ended up contracting the disease from a man after having unprotected sex with a man she thought was Mr. Right.  And in another, audiences are presented the case of Jovante.  Jovante is a football player who ended up contracting the disease from his partner.  It shows the far reaching impact of the disease and the personal emotion felt by each victim. 

The feeling that each victim experiences illustrate the stigma still attached to the disease even three decades after it first appeared.  That stigma crossed lines of straight and gay.  Even more interesting is that the stigma itself was more self-imposed than having been placed on them by those around the subjects interviewed.  That is one of the most interesting aspects of this documentary.  That victims regardless of straight or gay would self-impose the stigma is a powerful statement.  Some claimed that they didn’t talk about it because they believe the stigma.  But the vibe of the general public was not one of subjugation, but of acceptance.  That comparison is subtle.  But it’s more than enough to generate lots of discussions.

Also sure to create is a segment of the program highlighting former President George W. Bush’s pledge to send aid to Africa to help fight the AIDS epidemic there, too.  It provides the clip from Bush’s State of The Union address in 2003 in which he publicly pledged millions in aid to fight the disease throughout Africa’s nations.  Whether political or otherwise, this is a moment that is certain to lead to discussions, too.  The inclusion of interviews with NBA Magic Johnson will lead to just as many discussions.  It’s interesting the view that some developed on AIDS after seeing that Johnson recovered.  It actually created a hope.  And that sense of hope is what viewers are left with by the program’s end.

While there is still work to be done in terms of education and other aspects, there is hope that cases of AIDS can be vastly reduced if not wiped out with proper education among America’s Black communities.  The education must be spread to African Americans of all ages.  From education about abstinence and contraception to general knowledge about AIDS, it can combine to finally lead to the endgame in question for Aids in Black America.

Endgame:  Aids in Black America is available now on DVD.  It can be ordered direct via PBS’ online store, http://www.shoppbs.org.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Frontline Special Offers In Depth Unbiased Look At America’s Recent Economic Crisis On New DVD Set

Courtesy: PBS

PBS’ news program, Frontline, has always been a leader in delivering true hard hitting investigative journalism.  Its most recent program, “Money, Power, and Wall Street” is no exception.  It follows the course of events beginning in the early 2000’s that would eventually lead to what would be known as the “Great Recession” at the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency.  This special is especially recommended for anyone who has any interest in economics or politics.  While it will be interesting to those who have an affinity for politics, the irony is that it strives to not let itself get muddled in political finger pointing.  It manages to stay relatively balanced, making sure to state without stating that the blame for the country’s economic mess goes all the way around, from the banks to the politicians.  It’s an in-depth and scathing look at everything that led to what is one of this nation’s worst economic crises ever. 

The entire program starts with a group of young JP Morgan Chase employees who came up with an idea as to how to reduce risk in the banking business in the early portion of the 2000’s.  It follows the crisis as it gets progressively worse, from issues with predatory lending to the impact of the crisis on the then brand new Obama administration.  The crisis forced the new President to make very difficult choices that he perhaps might not have entirely agreed on.  To others, those choices might be rather eye opening.  But that is the point of this special.  It is meant to offer audiences the facts and nothing but.  It is an unbiased special that gives every side of the crisis, thus allowing viewers to make their own conclusions and discussions about the direction of the crisis.  The discussions in question would be perfect for any college level poly-sci and/or accounting/economics course, or even for those who are in the professional realm.  PBS has made things even better with this set, dividing all four hour long segments of the special onto two discs.  So whether inside or outside the classroom or even in the halls of government and business, this special can be taken in and discussed at the viewer’s own pace.

“Money, Power, and Wall Street” is available now.  It can be ordered online at http://www.shoppbs.org.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.