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The Mass Media
Mass Media defined
• Mass media is defined as - interpersonal communications directed to a vast audiences.
• Mass Media include-television, radio, newspapers, the internet
Presenter Presentation Notes A comedian Fred Allen, once quipped that “we call television a medium because it is rarely well done.”
Early Critics (Gomberg, 1964)
• According to (television standardizes children’s minds and stereotypes their imaginations.
• Referrred to the television viewing as, “The Unmaking of the American child(1962)
• The term- mass media, derives from the term mass -large clump, shapeless piece of matter…
• Media…media = middle
• Some (Chomsky, 1991) mass media: • middling, • leveling, • compartmentalizing, • channelling,
Brief HISTORY of the News
• THE UNITED STATES • & • CANADA
Early Democracy US
• Free Press dynamic=liberty.. • Independent News in every city and town
• The 1850 census catalogued 2,526 newspaper titles.
The early US 20th century.
• An astounding 11,314 different papers were recorded in the 1880 census.
Radio and television
• By the 1960s Radio and Television
surpassed the Newspaper.
• By the 2000s Radio and TV were being surpassed by the Internet.
Media in Canada
• The Oldest Canadian Newpaper The Halifax Gazette
• Currently six corporations control
Canadian media compared to over 100 owners in 1900.
Timeline of To the Internet
1. 1939 First Television 2. 1945-War ends-domestic
production and consumerism begins
4. 1960-ARPA. From military use to University
5. 1980- Computer begin*** 6. 1990’s WWW 7. 2000 –capitalism and
Selectivity of the News-
• Leftist -note that news coverage of ethnic minorities is negative
1. -Unbalanced coverage
2. Street Crime vs Suite Crime
Right Wing Media Critic..
• argue that news is too negative about the economy
• i.e More people are working, output is higher.
Theoretical Perspectives on Mass Media
1. Structural Functional –integration (the town crier)
2. Conflict-ideology (bourgeois false consciousness)
3. Symbolic Interactionist- (formal rationality)
4. Post Modernism-(fragmented discourses)
1. Functionalists-Mass media
• The mass media in a democratic nation reflect varied opinions, it is fair and neutral many groups are represented.
• Media integrates human society, brings
groups together, contributes to collective consciousness.
Mass Media: A Functional Social Institution
• Mass media-newspapers, magazines, television, radio, the internet, can be considered an institution.
• One of society’s key agents of socialization
Mass Media and SF
• a. Functionalists such as T. Parsons-
media plays a vital role in the integration, adaptation society.
• The media gathers and disseminates information (It is only the town crier).
Mass Media and SF
• b. It socializes us into the on-going social order…It transmits cultural heritage, and basic norms and values.
• c. It provides pleasure and entertainment-stress management (chill out and watch the tube)
• d Reinforces shared ideals, justice, democracy, respect for the law amidst freedom and individualism
• e. Provides social integration, surveillance, reproduces a moral order (Durkheim
2 Conflict Theory on Media
• The media is an instrument of the bourgeoisie.
• The wealthy and the powerful utilize media to maintain the hegemonic status in the social order.
• The Mass Media -disseminate ideology
Box 5.1 The Number One Global Media Corporation
Chapter 5 Copyright © 2001 Harcourt Canada Ltd. Slide 10
Presenter Presentation Notes SOURCE: Time, October 21, 1996, p.2 © 1996 Time Inc. Reprinted with permission.
• Conflict theorists define ideology as a body of assumptions, ideas, and values the combine into a coherent world view.
• COMES FROM THE TOP DOWN…IDEAS OF THE RULING CLASS.
• The bourgeoisie suffer from `false consciousness’.
Mass Media: CONFLICT THEORY
• Few of us have actually sat down and thought about ideas vs. ideology
• IDEOLOGY- ideas legitimated by the RULING CLASS
Legitimacy comes to us from without in at least four ways:
Conflict Theory – Mass Media See Adorno
1. The media is a capitalist tool
2. The media is owned by the dominant class
3. -Only a few corporations in charge,
4. Television is an advertising mechanism with splatters of news and entertainment.
5. Media =mass deception 6. Media -legitimates the status
7. Disseminates a dominant ideology that cultivates production and consumption of commodities…commodity fetishism
Media -mass deception ..
8. Media for the most part is an opiate –see Marx on religion
Media +hegemony • 9. -Those on top are not
something to strive for… • Achievement is an ideology. • SEE LOTTERIES AS
• 10. -IT distracts people /prevents them from recognizing the exploitive characteristics of capitalism
IDEAS OR IDEOLOGY?
• Far beyond serving as sources of information, the media influence our attitudes towards social issues, other people, and even our self concept.
• Mass media constructs gender
• People identify with the stereotypes view on TV and the Movies.
• For example, despite attention to violence today,
• 40% of violent acts are committed by Heroes.
1. Violence is normalized
2. Violence part of masculinity.
3. Femininity-passive, compliant.
• Hegemonic Masculinity and • Emphasized Femininity
3. Symbolic Interactionism
• CW. Mills • “The media not only give us
information; they guide our very experience.
• .” –our standards, our credulity our view of reality itself…
Sociological Imagination(C. Wright Mills 1959)
• Sociological imagination helps us
grasp the relationship between history and biography.
Public influences private
• Through Mass media we can see
• how our personal lives are connected to social world
• (micro-macro connection).
SI and Conflict View
• See Herman and Chomski, Manufacturing Consent.
• The mass media constructs social reality
• Use of language, visual images, symbolic tools-
• representation of reality is a selective process-
• What is to be included and left out…. • Every representation is only one of
several ways of seeing and talking about something.
Media &the political spectrum
• “From the point of view of those on left-wing of the political spectrum, the right wing media are:
• …Not merely influential or persuasive, they are powerful!
• To those on the Political Right, such as George Bush and even Lou Dobbs, a left wing media,
• However small and tacky, however badly mimeographed and coffee stained, carry more weight than the New York Times.
Crime in the News
• We here much about STREET CRIME- crack dealer, prostitute, robbery at the grocery store.
• Little about SUITE CRIME-white collar crime is more destructive to society as a whole.
4. The Technological Perpective
• SEE MARSHAL McLUHAN
• THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE • (Theory-enhance, retrieve, reverse,
• Mass media is driven by capitalism and technological chan