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The Impact of Changes in Media and Communications in the Twentieth Century.

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Introduction

The Impact of Changes in Media and Communications in the Twentieth Century Part A: How far do these sources support the view that developments in mass communications in the period c1890-1939 distorted and misled rather than educated and informed, 'the masses' about the 'events which make history' (source 3)? Both sources 1 and 2 represent a politically and class biased interpretation of historical events. The intentions of the article in source 1, slating the initiative of 'Mr. Lloyd George' are clear. It attempts to distort the purposes of the National Insurance Bill. 'The ways of the Bill are dark and devious' This statement offers neither information nor education. Its nature is highlighted as it misinforms on the Chancellor's intentions. '(S)et out to make mischief' The biased, partisan character is illustrated with its indication of various levies that are to be applied. 'The householder.... is required ....to stick.... stamps on each of his servant's cards, at his own expense.' The key word 'servant's' shows the author to be of financial means and high stature. This article is aimed at informing the middle to upper class minorities of the detrimental effect the Bill will have on their finances, for political gain. ...read more.

Middle

Implicit in his philosophy is the need for 'the masses' to be educated through a 'universal medium of communication'. Reith depicts the BBC as being on a moral crusade to improve the worldly awareness of the majority. Their intention is to remedy the recognised 'problem' by bringing the 'best of everything into the greatest number of homes'. However, source 4 shows this na�ve and patronizing ideology to be flawed. The underlying implication of the ideology is the informing and educating of 'the masses' according to political agendas. Guidelines in source 4 from the British Board of Film Censors imply a design to promote value consensus; a range of media, which is highly selective, vetted and edited so as not to contain anything, which could be interpreted as anti-establishment. Subversive content such as 'propaganda against the monarchy' or the use of 'Bolshevik propaganda' was therefore outlawed. Governmental control over the media limited the freedoms of media producers and most probably reduced the educative value of news coverage. Patriotism and jingoism were used within the media as a form of political and social control over 'the masses'. Through the media, they were educated only to accept the social order, thus maintaining upper class supremacy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Political and social factors that curtailed these liberties came in the form of censorship as shown in source 4. Propaganda highlighted in sources 1, 2 and 5 rendered information given in news coverage of little value. Ironically, the development of the 'free press' left news coverage subject to a new confinement on the broadening and civilizing capacity. Editors and journalists were now slaves of capital, every section of the publications engineered to make maximum profit. John Reith's ethical mission to rid the majority of their cultural ignorance was supplanted by a tabloid culture, which was set to permeate into all media genres. Source 3 remains the only evidence to show an intention of media producers (namely John Reith) to educate 'the masses'. John Reith, however, was hardly representative of those he wished to educate and could be described as 'middle-aged, middle-class and middle-minded.' Sources 1, 2 and 5 show an intention of the media, influenced by politicians, to misinform and miseducate the public. Sources 6 and 7 show the cheapening and devaluing of media coverage. In contrast to sources 1, 2 and 5 (which show rampant distortion) sources 6 and 7 do not show a deliberate design to distort or mislead 'the masses', but a complete lack of interest in educating and informing them. 1270 words Laura Swain History C/W Part A ...read more.

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