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The basic pluralist argument is the content of the mass media reflect what the public
or a section of it wants. It simply responds to market demand. It reflects reality rather
than creates reality.
Pluralism is a view usually supported by media professionals. Pluralists argue that
society is made up of many interacting but competing sections. It also argues that
there is diversity and choice of media products.
According to pluralists, the media reflect society: just as there is diversity within society,
there is diversity within in media content. Because the media reflect society in this
way, they are unlikely to have much effect in changing society.
The media is seen to have an influence and may well be biased in certain ways. However,
its influence is seen as reflecting and reinforcing generally held attitudes and
beliefs. The views it broadcasts are those that most people sympathise with and wants
Media professionals are regarded as making professional judgements and acting
responsibly to produce good-quality media products. They must ensure that they work
they produce attracts large audience.
JONES (1986) (who is a pluralist author and a media professional) argues that radio news
is neutral, fair and balanced. Radio news reporting does not take sides but relevant
views about an event and it gives such views equal emphasis.
Jones examined the media's reporting of industrial disputes and claimed that any bias
depended on how successful workers or management are in obtaining suitable media
coverage for their argument. He therefore, believes industrial disputes are
increasingly about publicity: Each side tries to gain media approval in the hope that
this will help it win its case.
WHALE (1980), (a former newspaper reporter) supports the pluralist position and argues
that `the broad shape and nature of the press is determined by no-one but its readers'.
In terms of control, pluralists see the AUDIENCE as having power because the success
of media products lies in the hands of those consuming them. The audience uses the
media to fulfil its needs and desires in a `free market'.
`FOURTH ESTATE' A concept used to describe the positive role that the media can
have in protecting democracy. Pluralists see the media as acting as a check on the other
three estates, powers in society (e.g. Government, Parliament and the Judiciary).
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E.g.:- MP EXPENSES SCANDAL = The Telegraph published expenses claims made by
members of the United Kingdom Parliament over several years. Investigative journalism
can act to expose problems within these powerful institutions in society.
Pluralists believe the trends in media ownership can bring positive benefits to the
consumer. The concentration of ownership can bring the resources to enhance the
quality of media products and the finance to invest in developing new products and
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Harrison with selective access to transcripts of its news coverage and used him in its own
2. Pluralists claim that the media are generally diverse and neutral is criticised in terms of Blumler
and Gurevitch (1995) call the `emergent shared culture' of politicians and press and television
3. Blumler and Gurevitch claim journalists and politicians depend on one another and adapt to
one another's requirements.…read more