The mass-manipulative model argues that the content of the mass media is largely controlled and determined by members of ruling class, with the object of using the mass media to maintain their control over the proletariat. The do this either by diverting them from seeing the class relations of a capitalist society for what they are, or by portraying any groups who challenge bourgeois control as sinister, dangerous and misguided. For example, Silvio Berlusconi’s others holding include a major daily newspaper, a leading news magazine, a large publishing house and the country largest media buyer.
And as prime minister, he has indirect control over RAI (Radiotelevisione Italiana) – enough to pull the strings necessary to put that broadcasters “fairness doctrine” into effect. According to Argia Big Namy, a Rome attorney specializing in intellectual property issues, said that flawed cases are eventually thrown out, but the process is very slow and expensive. A public figure can bleed a media outlet through legal fees. Besides, the hegemonic approach argues that the bias that is evident in political reporting emerges as a result of the class culture of journalists and the news values which emerge from it.
This is the main argument of the Glasgow University Media Group (GUMG) to be found in a series of books that have emerged since the publication of Bad News in 1976. For instance, using content analysis, the GUMG argues that the reporting of industrial relations, for example favours the employers over the employed. This can be found in the way journalists are willing to use information supplied by the employer’s side in a dispute uncritically ; the use of language that describes employers in a strike as making ‘offers’ and ‘pleas’ while strikers make ‘demands’ and ‘threats’.
Furthermore, according to pluralist theories, the content of media is largely dictated by market demand rather than by ruling ideas and the interests of the affluent. Thus, control rather than ownership is the important factors in determining the output of the media. Market share and profitability are of main interest to managers not social or political influence. For example, although Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation bought Fox Television in the mid-1980s, it became successful by broadcasting anti-establishment programmes like Married… with Children and The Simpsons.
The series challenged ‘traditional’ family values, in sharp contrast to bland programmes on other channels such as The Cosby Show. Profit rose and Fox did well, beating the powerful and well established CBS on viewing figures for 18-49 years old in 1993. Assess the view that the media reflect the interests and values of all groups in society. In this essay, I will explain and assess the view that the media reflect the interests and values of all groups in society through pluralist, hegemonic, mass manipulative and feminists perspectives.
The pluralist perspective (sometimes also called the ‘market model’) does not see the mass media as representing any one point of view in society but instead focuses on the diversity of views, opinions and representations to be found in the mass media, the multiplicity of forms they take, the range of opportunities the public has to influence their content. The mass media are therefore seen mainly as a vehicle for public opinion. For example, a pluralist author who is also a media professional is Nicholas Jones, a correspondent on BBC radio news.
Jones (1986) argues that radio news is neutral, fair and balanced: in other words, taken as a whole, radio news reporting does not take sides but reports all relevant views about an event it gives such views equal emphasis. Jones examined the media’s reporting depends on how successful workers or management are in obtaining suitable media coverage of their argument. Thus, the pluralist views show that the media reflect the interests and values of all groups in society. However, this view is criticizes by hegemonic model by Antonio Gramsci.
The Glasgow Media Group has made many studies of television news. It has concluded that the worldview of journalist serves to predetermined and structure what is to be taken as important or significant and what interpretation in to be placed upon it. This fundamentally affects the character and content of the news. For example, some news story is prioritized (agenda setting) and some are deliberately ignored or ridiculed. Media professional sets the agenda about the most important issue of the day. For instance, the effects of strikes are more likely to be reported than their causes.
Picket line violence is emphasized rather than police violence and intimidation. Such dominant themes are likely recur in the news and served to reinforce each other. Hence, this shows that pluralist is not entirely correct as the media does not reflect the interests and values of all groups in society. Feminist believes that gender representation in the media is an aspect of patriarchy. They believe that the media suggests these roles are natural and normal and this is an example of patriarchal ideology – a set of believes which distort reality and support male dominance.
Women remain nearer the bottom of the pyramid of power and influence in the media. For instance, Croteau and Hoynes (2001)show that in the USA in the mid 1990s, women occupied only 6% of top newspaper management positions, wrote only 19% of front page stories, occupied only 20% of news director post in television stations, and presented only 20% of television news report compared to men. Hence, this shows that the media only represent patriarchal values in society as argued by the feminist.
In addition, this is further supported by Angela McRobbie (1991). She believes that the media often present women as cleaners, housewives, domestic servants providing comfort and support for men, a man’s sex object to service man’s sexual needs. She notes how women’s magazines have to attract advertising – as popular magazines in to feature women with bodies that are unattainable for the average women, and to focus on stories related to either catching or pleasing a man as a route to success and happiness.
For example, the Media Awareness Network, a Canadian research advocacy organization, found that women’s magazines are ten times more likely to contain articles and advertisements related to dieting than men’s magazines, and three-fourths of women’s magazines covers feature articles about overhauling ones physical appearance. So, this proves that the feminists view may be acceptable as the media does not entirely reflect the interests and values of all groups in society.
The mass-manipulative model argues that the content of the mass media is largely controlled and determined by members of ruling class, rather than journalists or the public, with the object of using the mass media to maintain their control over the proletariat. From this perspective, the State is seen as merely the executive arm of the ruling class, with governments maintaining good relations with the media barons, offering knighthoods and peerage in return for sympathetic treatment in the press. In the 1980s, for example, Rupert Murdoch’s influence with Mrs Thatcher was such that he was described by one of his own editors as ‘Mr Prime Minister, except that it is no longer much of a joke.
In many respects he is the phantom Prime Minister of the country’. Hence, this shows the view that media reflect the interests and values of all groups in society is not entirely correct. However, this is criticize by the pluralist perspective. This approach does not discount the influence of owners, journalists, advertisers, the State or the law, but the most important force is the public. For instance, John Whale (1977) said that the strongest influence has undoubtedly remained the reader, listener and viewer. This reader in particular, has again been shown to wield more power over the content.
Listeners and viewers are less directly influential, but audience sizes are carefully computed, and nothing else is so important in determining a programme’s place in the schedules. Thus, this shows that media reflect the interests and values of all groups in society. In conclusion, the media does not entirely reflect the interests and values of all groups in society as proven by feminists, mass manipulative and hegemonic perspectives. However, the pluralist perspective have shown that the media reflect the interests and values of all groups in society as the mass media are seen as the vehicle for public opinion.