The Impact of Changes in Media and Communications in the Twentieth Century
Part A: How far do these sources support the view that developments in
mass communications in the period c1890-1939 distorted and misled
rather than educated and informed, 'the masses' about the 'events
which make history' (source 3)?
Both sources 1 and 2 represent a politically and class biased
interpretation of historical events. The intentions of the article in
source 1, slating the initiative of 'Mr. Lloyd George' are clear. It
attempts to distort the purposes of the National Insurance Bill.
'The ways of the Bill are dark and devious'
This statement offers neither information nor education. Its nature is
highlighted as it misinforms on the Chancellor's intentions.
'(S)et out to make mischief'
The biased, partisan character is illustrated with its indication of
various levies that are to be applied.
'The householderâ€¦. is required â€¦.to stickâ€¦. stamps on each of his
servant's cards, at his own expense.'
The key word 'servant's' shows the author to be of financial means and
high stature. This article is aimed at informing the middle to upper
class minorities of the detrimental effect the Bill will have on their
finances, for political gain. Rather than informing 'the masses', who
will benefit from such legislation, it misinforms the minorities.
Source 2, a satirical illustration published following the General
Strike of 1926 has a political slant similar to that of source 1.
Using cartoon cleverly emphasised the serious point being made. Source
2, entitled 'Business as Usual', depicts a lion as the epitome of
'Britishness'. It trivialises the occurrence of the General Strike as
a slight interruption and of little importance to the social order.
'Now where were we, miss, when that fellow interrupted us?'
The strike, seen as a Socialist Revolution at the time, has been
belittled in order to maintain the established order and values of
society. Source 4 reveals the view of the establishment towards
Source 5, an extract by Aldgate details the systematic and calculated
distortion of events and use of propaganda in the news broadcasting on
the Spanish Civil War. It indicates the purposeful failure of
producers to educate 'the masses' on the realities of the event.
The advent of the Cinema made the media of film, in particular
newsreels on significant events accessible to the working class.
Selective and highly edited coverage of the Civil War diminished the
educative value of the newsreels.
'If pictures were limited and partial, then they were deliberately
It follows that this brand of political bias was rampant throughout