The Mass Media and Social Construction Essay
The Mass Media and Social Construction
The mass media industry is implicated in social construction. There are “Ways of Seeing” which serve state-corporate interests at the expense of the interests of the people. This is because there is a direct relationship between the mainstream press and the political economy of state-corporate capitalism in the construction of the false reality. The system of capitalism heavily indoctrinates the population through the mainstream press. The mass media fulfils this duty, because it is owned and controlled by the corporate class. In other words, economics and media are inter-linked.
Herman and Chomsky provide evidence for this reality in Manufacturing Consent. (Herman and Chomsky) They show how the mainstream press is run by the political economy and how the viewer is made into a pawn. The two authors build a propaganda model in which they reveal how the U.S. government exploits the media to enforce control over the people. The mass media, therefore, is a corporate tool that is used to indoctrinate the population. The viewer is told what kind of desire he should have.
If a person watches the media carefully, he will be able to see that certain programs have hidden messages and assumptions that reveal a certain bias against certain groups. Even the language that is used is based on certain premises that the corporate order wants people to think is normal. Yet all of these messages shape values. To a large extent, this process is about how people give approval to their own domination without even knowing it.
Herman and Chomsky reveal how the language of the U.S. mass media is actually very limited. The parameters of debate are very narrow. What this basically means is that people think they are having a free-for-all discussion, but in fact it is the negation of discussion. Herman and Chomsky demonstrate how the marketplace and the economics of publishing try to shape the news we receive. A certain message is sent out that tries to limit the way people think about things. In this way, people are brainwashed.
Thus, the corporate-run media basically shapes the desires and opinions of the majority of people. This is because producers and advertisers have an interest in reinforcing certain ideologies. This is, therefore, a political battle. Economic elites retain their power by shaping and moulding social reality through the means of mass media. As Chomsky and Herman reveal, for example, American media employs a double standard in the ways it treats the crimes committed by enemy countries and the crimes committed by friendly countries. (Chomsky, pp.30-33) This serves a certain political agenda.
Thus, it becomes clear that there is a direct relationship between the mainstream press and the political economy of state-corporate capitalism in the construction of social reality. The system of capitalism hides behind the scenes of this manipulation, but it is really pulling the strings. There is a propaganda model which we are a part of. The mass media serves as a corporate tool in this manipulation of what we are. That is why John Berger has told us about his issue of “Ways of Seeing.” (Berger) It turns out that what we see is not necessarily what we are seeing.
Berger makes an important point when he says that publicity falsely proposes that purchases of things will change the consumer. Yet we know that this is a lie. Nonetheless, people but into the lie of advertising. People are simply led to believe that they are making a choice, when in fact all that is happening is the negation of choice.
This is where Berger’s point also becomes relevant, since Berger shows how advertising promises to change the consumer. But only sameness results. Thus, he r reveals that advertising actually steals something from the consumer and then sells it back at a certain price. Berger writes that, “The spectator-buyer is meant to envy as she will become if she buys the product. She is meant to imagine herself transformed by the product into an object of envy for others, an envy which will then justify her loving herself.” (Berger, p.134)
This is the way that people are made to believe that they simply have to be consumers in order to be accepted by the society in which they live. If they do not buy what they are told, and if they do not want to own certain things, then they are simply not a part of the society that is deemed to be normal. In this way, we see how the mass media industry is implicated in social construction. There are “Ways of Seeing” which serve state-corporate interests at the expense of true freedom for people.
Berger, John. Ways of Seeing (Pelican)
Herman and Chomsky. Manufacturing Consent (Pantheon)