Sociology G673 power and control Marxism

Marxist views of the mass media, including Traditional Marxism and Neo-Marxism



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  • Media owners know what they're doing and do it on purpose
  • Owners directly intervene in the day to day running of the media.
  • Media bosses have even been known to try to control the prime minister, threatening to switch from labour to conservative. E.g. Rupert Murdoch is sometimes known as the 'phantom prime minister'.
  • Miliband (see sociologists set)
  • Murdock and Golding (see sociologists set)
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Traditional marxism and ownership

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  • The media help maintain the unfair and exploitative system by brainwashing the public-(Miliband 'the new opium of the masses)
  • Media owners are rich and successful people who benefit from capitalism and have a vested interest in ensuring it survives.
  • The concentration of the mass media is in the hands of a few, they direct control over media content-this is done consciously.
  • Media managers can only use/run media within boundaries set by owners-this often means reports/journalists are biased or one sided. They will avoid stories that threaten the status quo or criticise the ruling class.
  • Therefore, they directly manipulate media output so it reflects their interests, upholds the values of the capitalist system and use it to spread their ideas and power. Audience is assumed to be passive and uncritical, they are given only a limited range of opinions and accept the dumbed down news and interpret issues in the way favourable to the ruling classes-Rupert Murdoch is often called the 'phantom prime minister'.
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  • Similar to traditional marxism-believe that the media provide the public with an ideology.
  • Neo-Marxists do not believe that the media is under direct control of the owners.
  • They believe that the ideology is transmitted constantly through schools, churches and the media.
  • They say no body notices that views of the ruling class become 'common sense'.
  • The broadcasters/journalists (usually white middle-class males) subscribe to a 'middle-of-the-road' perspective.
  • Anyone outside the consensus seen as extremist.
  • Other views represented but usually ridiculed.
  • Journalists shae ruling class views so provide audience with rc ideology (unconsciously)
  • Audience constantly brainwashed by rc ideas-start to see them as normal and common sense and develop a 'middle-of-the-road' perspective.
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Criticisms of Traditional Marxism

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  • Doesn't take account of media professionals
  • Conspiracy theory-it's all a big plan ignores the role of journalists and editors.
  • Feminists and Neo-Marxists critical for failing to address social inequalities beyond social class
  • Neo-Marxists say Traditional Marxists focus on economic power neglects other power structures in society, like media's role in creating negative stereotypesof some social groups.
  • Pluralists say marxists ignore range of views offered in media, including those that offer positive representation of disadvantaged social groups.
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