Media and Ideology
As the author states in the first paragraph media provides “models of appropriate behavior and attitudes.” For example, media defines appropriate roles of men and women, parents and children, and defines what is success or criminal activity. In a sense, media makes our and determines what we think and what we believe. As the author states, “in essence, the accumulation of media images suggests what is ‘normal’ and what is ‘deviant.’ Furthermore, media normalizes “specific social relations, making certain ways of behaving seem unexceptional.” Likewise, media determines the range of acceptable behaviors.
The question is whether or not media reflects the reality and depicts the things in right ways. There are various arguments on this matter. According to the Marxist theory, ruling class imposes their worldview on subordinated classes. Therefore subordinated classes who accept the worldview of ruling classes have false consciousness, because the worldview they adopt represents the interests of others.
Another explanation of this situation comes from Gramsci’s concept of hegemony. According to Gramsci, hegemony is exercised through cultural leadership. Also, consent is won. Ruling classes “actively seek to have their worldview accepted by all members of society as the universal way of thinking.” Social and cultural institutions such as schools, religious organizations, and media help the powerful classes exercise their cultural leadership.
Another explanation is related to nature and culture debate. Nature is something given to us. It is beyond our control and we accept it as unchangeable. If some social relations are defined as natural by media and accepted by masses in that way, then it is hard to change them. For example, racist ideology reflects the belief that one race is superior to others. Sexism rests on the belief that men and women are different by nature. If these kinds of claims are accepted as the outcome of nature then racial and sexual inequality are not challenged.
Overall, ruling classes dominates all institutions in society including media forces. They use media tools such as TV, newspapers and internet, like they use education, the court system, and similar other institutions to impose their beliefs on society which represents their interests.
However, it does not mean that media as a powerful tool is always used by the powerful classes. Media has also power to provide power to powerless classes. Media can change the outcome of culture wars. As stated by the author, media should not be seen not only the agent of powerful.