American writer Gertrude Stein uses “There is no there there” in the book Everybody’s Autobiography to describe Oakland. She spent her girlhood in Oakland, but she perceived that Oakland was inauthentic. When she mentioned France, where she lived most of her life, she said: “It is not real but it is really there” (Stein 1970: 2). France is more tangible to her than her nation. What does the nation mean to Stein? What is the essence of nation? Watson posits that “a nation is a community of people, whose members are bound together by a sense of solidarity, a common culture, a national consciousness” (Watson 1997: 1). A more familiar definition was coined by Anderson: “It is an imagined political community and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign” (Anderson 1991: 6). If Anderson’s definition is rigorous, why did Stein fail to perceive the intimate connection with America? Stein could not maintain the identification of the US according to the memory of her girlhood. On the contrary, her real life is in France, it is not the imagination. Robins regards the people like Stein as the “empirical people” (Robins 2003: 196) in his book. The imagined community is not distinct to them because it is far away from the real life. The imagined community cannot surpass the reality all the time. Thus it can be postulated that the nation bases on a sense of belonging to an imagined community, but it is not a compulsive ideology; the sense of belonging may become vague when the individual lack the interaction with the nation.
Then how to maintain the sense of belonging of the population becomes a pivotal question to the nation. This is the reason why the nation has been aiming at building an intimate relationship with media. Actually, media has played an important role in strengthening the national consciousness. Media are usually doubted not entirely independent and neutral. “The press always takes on the form and coloration of the social and political structures within which it operates” (Siebert 1963: 2). However, the influence of the nation differs from different media systems. Hallin and Mancini, in their book, lay out a framework for comparing media systems. They select four major dimensions: the media market, the political parallelism, the journalistic professionalism and the state intervention system. (Hallin & Mancini 2004: 21). In order to analyse how ideas of the nation can be related to media systems, this paper selects two dimensions from the frame: the political parallelism and the journalistic professionalism. By looking at different relationships between the nation and media system in these two models, this article elaborates the latent national framing of media system and the possible professionalism of media. Whereas, the practical circumstances are far more complicated than two models; in order to be specific, the paper just select two perspectives.
Media are magnifiers?
In order to illustrate how media maintain the...