Mass Media Today a Summary

Topics: Mass media, Sociology, Propaganda Pages: 5 (1550 words) Published: January 9, 2011
The thesis written by Teun A. Van Dijk talks about how the western media takes a one sided view- portraying minorities, immigrants etc in a negative light while still trying to prove itself independent of any bias. He explains that although neo-liberal discourse may now be prevailing, but it also exhibits conflicts and contradictions. The optimistic rhetoric of a New World Order after the Cold War is replaced by deep-seated doubts about how to manage current world problems. While the deeper causes of various political events in the south and the East also affect the North, we are also facing an Increasing ethnocentrism and racism in Europe and North America as people are escaping to this part of the world. Wild capitalism thus combines with wild ethnicism and racism in a frightening mixture of policies and social practices that result in keeping many people or even whole countries and continents, down and out- this is manifesting in the phenomena of ethnic cleansing with immigration restrictions.

What is the role of the media in this complex contemporary framework of social, economic and cultural forces? Markets, politics, policies, exploitation, and marginalization all need an ideological basis. Such ideologies require production and reproduction through public text and talk, which in our modern times are largely generated or mediated by the mass media. The fortresses of Europe and North America are not merely socio-economic palaces of the rich, but also mansions of the mind, that is, ideological constructs. The fundamental question is are the mass media siding with the force that thrives on racism and ethnocentrism, where or is it really trying to work towards real democracy. Most mainstream media will reject extremism, violence, and blatant discrimination and exclusion. Though they claim to follow the official ideology of equality propagated by national Constitutions in actual practice the role of the media is quite contradictory. It has frequently been documented that ethnicism and racism are exacerbated by at least some of the media. On several occasions in history radio and television was used as a mode to incite ethnic hatred among the people. Prejudices in the media are used to create the collective states of mind which puts Us the strong and rich against Them the poor and weak. .Though violently denied, racism has reached the top, both in politics and the media. Unemployment among minorities is two to four times higher than among majorities. Bias against immigrant communities settled in the west stems from the stories splashed in the media about crime, violence, terrorism ethnic conflicts, fundamentalism and other forms of uncivilized backwardness in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and large parts of Asia.

As long as they are overlooked, ignored or denied, ideologies are most devastating while all sensible people are against violence, terrorism, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and fundamentalism they conveniently ignore the deeper causes of such evils by the same ideologies that have given rise to them. Public discourses, and public opinion, are unimaginable without the presence of a proactive media. Hence, our first impression seems to suggest that the media with its dominant news values, headlines, stories, op-ed articles, topics, metaphors, and descriptions that could be used as the basis for the legitimisation and naturalisation of ethnic and social inequality has proved media to be far from innocent or impartial. The media blatantly ignores other relevant stories in rich countries about racism, especially among the elites; cultural ethnocentrism; the position of women in our societies (and not only in Muslim society); the consequences of imbalances in world trade; and the legacies of colonialism and ongoing forms of neo-colonialism.

The writer then moves to describe about Media power and mind control. Control of...
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