Assess the role of the media
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Assessing The Role Of The Media In society the media is, arguably, one of - if not the - most powerful of institutions however some sociologists would argue, for example Baudrillard, that its' power is diminishing or weak. The media is debated widely both assessing its' influence and functions, or in some cases dysfunctions. The media's primary function is to inform the masses which is the origin of its' overwhelming power in society because obviously through manipulating what the masses are informed of - censorship - and the altering the portrayal of parts of the news the media - propaganda - they are able to control our thoughts - ideological control. The media is associated with not only informing the public but furthermore representing the public and bringing up moral, political and social issues on behalf of the public. Also the media gives the public freedom to express and broadcast their views and opinions; take Youtube for example, Youtube allows anyone to broadcast online videos, newsfeeds and blogs it enforces freedom of speech and Youtube along with other independent media sources, such as The Independent, ITV etc.
Bagguley adds saying that there is now a class deallignment - people no longer vote on class based issues but rather vote on moral issues and global issues - in summary class is no longer important in politics, which is mainly the doings of the media and New Politics which again without the media would be difficult. The emergence of New Social Movements and Pressure Groups too, which Dianni talks about, would be difficult without the support of the media. The media itself is a form of democracy, it represents a large proportion of the public The PostStructuralist view, by Foucault, doesn't directly address the roles of the media but can be linked as Foucault says that "knowledge is power" and that power comes from experts and intellects. Obviously the primary role of the media is to transmit news and knowledge to the masses - giving them power which obviously is similar to Dahl's ideas. So another role of the media would be to act as an extension to democracy. There is obviously the parallel argument to this that the media shapes the public opinion, controls what the public is interested in and serves only its' own needs.
These higher classes maintain control through the media, as Althusser says the media is an ideological state instrument, supported by Neo Marxist Milliband who says the media alongside other institutions are instruments of the ruling class. They both talk of concepts such as the myth of democracy and hegemony which the media externalizes , both of which I mentioned earlier. All of these critical theories agree that the media serves the interests of a higher supreme class though the name of this group of puppeteers varies among which theory you're talking about - Feminists: Men, Marxist: Bourgeoisie, Neo-Marxist: Ruling Class, Radical Elite: Elites. Then there are the more optimistic views such as the Pluralist, Postmodernist and Functionalist view. Which also seems to have much truth in it despite being parallell to the critical theories which too have elements of truth in them. Weber and Foucault offer more detailed explanations into each side of the argument, but from what I've assessed in this essay I would say that within the vast mass media and all of its sub-institutions all of these roles are performed and it mostly depends on what elements of the media you're looking at. ?? ?? ?? ??
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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
this essay has moments of great clarity in describing some very complex theories. However, the theories are too often jumbled together and not sufficiently evaluated or criticised. To get higher marks the candidate should have made a plan which would have helped him/her to structure this better.
Marked by teacher Lesley Clark 27/02/2012
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