Political culture - The media and politics - Theories of the media

7 important questions on Political culture - The media and politics - Theories of the media

What are the rival theories offering contrasting views of the media’s political impact?

  • The pluralist model
  • The dominant-ideology model
  • The elite-values model
  • The market model

What is political socialization?

Process through which individuals acquire political beliefs, and values and by which these are transmitted from one generation to the next.

How does the pluralist model portray the media?

Pluralism: Highlights diversity and multiplicity generally

It portrays the media as an ideological marketplace in which a wide range of political views are debated and discussed. Their impact is neutral, in that they tend to reflect the balance of forces within society at large.

Ensuring informed citizenry and enhance the quality of democracy, and keeping government power in check.

What are the deficiencies of the pluralist model?

Weak and unorganised groups are excluded from access to mainstream publishing and broadcasting, meaning that the media’s ideological marketplace tends to be relatively narrow and generally pro-establishment in character.

How does the elite values model portray the media?

Focusses on the mechanism through which media output is controlled. It suggests that editors, journalists and broadcasters enjoy significant professional independence. The media's political bias reflects the values of groups that are disproportionally represented.

How does the market model portray the media?

It holds that newspaper and tv reflect, rather than shape, the views of the general public. This is because private media outlets are, first and foremost, businesses concerned with profit maximization and thus with extending market share.

How does this help to explain some trends in political life?

- Growing popular disenchantment with politics resulting from the trivialisation of political coverage. Fearful of losing market share, tv companies have reduced their coverage of serious political debate (abandoning the responsibility of educating citizens).

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