Political Economy Theory: Does The Structure Of The Media Industry Influence Its Content?

1059 words - 4 pages

Political Economy Theory: Does the structure of the media industry influence its content?The political economy in mass media theory argues that "the structure of the industry influences content." (Andrejevic M, 2007). This theory will be demonstrated by analysing an article entitled '"Sky's the limit" for MySpace', published on News.com.au on August 10th 2007. The presumption of the theory is that media content is influenced by a combination of the media owners (individuals or corporations), advertisers, competitors/other media, government regulations and viewers or readers. In the case of media ownership, "Private individuals decide what information should be provided to the public based on what earns them the most money." (Andrejevic M, 2007)The News.com.au article on MySpace appears in the National News section and describes the firm grasp and incredible influence the social networking site, established in 2003, has on the internet and throughout the business world. The article is saturated with references to the innovations and stunning success of MySpace. For example the opening sentence reads "Social networking website MySpace has more than 115 million members around the world and already plays a key role in launching music careers, political campaigns and the way people communicate in general." (Gadd M, 2007) At this point a discerning reader should recall that News Corp bought MySpace from its co founders Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe in July 2005. (Malick O, 2006)The propaganda model developed by Edwards S Herman and Noam Chomsky asserts that information presented to the general public via mainstream media outlets will be biased in relation to the interests of the multinational organisations or media conglomerates that own them. (Herman & Chomsky, 1988) By publishing an article promoting the dominant discourse that MySpace is a popular, thriving production with unlimited potential, News Limited are encouraging awareness of the website, which in turn provides it with traffic and publicity. Since News Corp owns MySpace and is a holding company for News Limited, this is a chief example of the propaganda model and reinforces the political economy theory that media content is affected by media owners.The positive language used in the article demonstrates the power of linguistic controls in promoting a discourse. The writers of the article use phrases such as "it's just the tip of the ice berg" (Gadd M, 2007) to imply there is a wealth of possibilities for MySpace to accomplish. The website is described as "a platform for individuals to express themselves and socialise." (Gadd M, 2007) This quote is relevant to today's society as ideas of non-conformity, individuality and creativity are attractive to today's youth. Of all the quotes available from the interviews with the co founders, there is a deliberate choice on behalf of News.com.au to feature words such as 'emerging', 'prominent', 'innovate', and 'evolve' that connote ideas of...

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