Marxism Theory on Mass Media


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  • Created on: 29-05-12 20:00
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Marxists theories sharply contradict pluralism.
Karl Marx states the rulings ideas are the ideas of the ruling class (the bourgeoisie). Contemporary
Marxists believe the media are the means by which the ideas of the ruling class maintain their
dominance as the ruling class.
Marxists argue that ruling ideas are very apparent in advertising: adverts help promote good by
stimulating aspirations about lifestyles and ways of behaving generally. They attach `connotative
codes' to material objects.
Miliband (1969) argued that the ruling class uses the mass media to control society by creating a
false picture of reality that presents capitalism in a positive way. Politically, the ruling ideas set the
agenda, excluding some possibilities and normalizing others so they become `just common sense'.
Ruling ideas control the information we have about the world and even shape our leisure
activities. Marxists claim this is largely because the capitalists' class has access to the
resources which enable its members to present their ideas as `normal'. Consequently, there is a
striking lack of diversity within media messages. Although media sources and messages
appear diverse, in reality there is centralized ownership: a few media corporations own and
operate most media.
These media corporations are huge and they dominate the industry. The many businesses
within these corporations support and promote each other's operations.

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Huge corporations are able to capitalize on the following advantages to achieve
domination of the media market:
1. Levels of expenditure and economies of scale: Only global corporations have access to
levels of investment capital to mound projects like Titanic. Vast resources are available to
market and promote products as well. Producing huge volumes of merchandising for sale
worldwide means profit levels are higher. There is no market competition in this elite area.
2.…read more

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Four major trends in media ownership can be identified over the last decades:
1. Concentration of Ownership
Bagdikian (1997) has pointed out that if each of the USA daily newspaper, magazines, radio
and television stations and book publishers, there would be 25000 owners. In fact, only 10
corporations dominate ownership of daily newspapers, magazines, broadcast and cable
television, books and films.
There is evidence also to suggest that the process of monopolization described my Marx has
taken place in the media industry.…read more


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