Neo-Marxist view of media owners
Neo-Marxists’ develop the traditional Marxist view of media ownership by arguing media owners don’t have direct but indirect control of influence on media content. This indirect influence is more subtle as any ruling-class ideology is shared by the journalists and media managers – this process fits well with Lukes 3rd face of power. By already sharing ruling-class ideological values, neo-Marxists argue the media is able to establish a dominant ideology (hegemony) over issues. Some sociologists have researched how this media power helps establish a moral panic over selected issues by initiating a deviancy amplification spiral.
Neo-Marxists identify several key features:
- owners don’t get actively involved in controlling content on a day-to-day basis. Instead control and content is left in the hands of journalists and managers
- as managers and journalists want to protect their jobs they seek to attract advertisers and audiences by publishing suitable content. Sometimes audiences are attracted by media criticism of ruling-class, but such criticism is never threatening or damaging
- journalists and managers don’t tend to criticise dominant ideology because of their background. Journalists tend to be white, well-educated, middle-class and male therefore they’ve already been socialised to accept and value the ruling-class ideology, thus their media messages tend to support the established social consensus
- this common-sense consensus is promoted within the range of view and opinions transmitted in media products
- the cultural effects model best explains this effect on audiences