Thursday, 27 October 2011

Manufacturing Consent

Manufacturing Consent is a 1992 feature which looked at one of Noam Chomsky's theories about the way media influences people's lives. This theory is the idea that the things presented to the public by the mainstream media manipulates and influences their thoughts and beliefs.

The theory suggests that big media businesses are an efficient tool for distributing government propaganda, which influences the political thoughts and beliefs of the general public. This use of the mainstream media can persuade people into wanting the country to run in a certain way (or at least believing that they want the country to run in a certain way).

By using the media as a social institution like this, Chomsky suggests that the government could bias the media to sway voting patterns to a particular side.

Whilst Chomsky's theory suggests that the media persuades people towards a particular political belief, it can also be argued that the media can influence the public's way of thinking in other ways, such as about what things are morally right or wrong. This false influence can still be observed in the media today, such as how this gem from Fox News isn't in any way showing a one-sided viewpoint...

- HM

Monday, 17 October 2011

Roland Barthes: Enigma code/Mythologies Concepts

Here I will be exploring two of Roland Barthes' media concept theories - namely, the idea of the "enigma code" within presented media, and the idea of mythologies.

Enigma Code
Barthe's enigma code concept is when forms of media (such as television programs, novels etc.) presents the audience with a mystery within the story, which triggers a reaction with the audience by posing questions to them. This draws in their interest about the storyline of the particular piece of media, which makes them feel more involved with what is going on. An example of this use is in crime dramas where the idea of a crime having been committed is presented to us a long way before we know who the criminal is. 

The mythologies media concept covers the idea that within the media things which are usually associated together are often presented this way to satisfy the viewers expectations. This tends to fit in with the idea of stereotypical media representation in the way that someone from a particular group is often shown with something their group is stereotypically associated with, such as an older teenager being shown with an alcoholic drink.