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July 16, 2013 / C H Thompson

Marxist view of media owners

The traditional Marxist approach argues the concentration of ownership of the mass media in the hands of a few corporations enables owners to control media output and send out ideas/ideologies which benefit ruling-class interests. This approach sees the media as an instrument of the ruling-class. Marxists identify several key features to their approach:

  • owners have direct control of media content
  • owners can and do interfere with media content
  • owners use the media to spread ideas (dominant ideology) which justify the position and power of the ruling-class
  • media managers have to follow the wishes of their owners
  • journalists depend on owners for their jobs so are unlikely to run stories which challenge the status and authority of the ruling-classhypodermic syringe model
  • audience is assumed to be passive who consume media messages without thought – hypodermic syringe model best explains audience behaviour

Weaknesses

  • pluralists argue there’s a wide range of media with differing views
  • state regulates media ownership so companies don’t dominate
  • audiences aren’t passive and actively challenge what they’re informed about – eg Twitter

Return to power and politics overview

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