The final Portfolio Project for this course requires that students select and critically evaluate a research topic. The purpose of this assignment is to provide an opportunity to synthesize many of the issues about the sociology of media discussed throughout the modules and in the textbook.
For the portfolio project, analyze this media text: ‘The Weekly Standard’ (a conservative print and online political and current events magazine)
The purpose of your final paper is to critically evaluate a mass media text by applying at least three or more of the major issues or concepts explored by the textbook and course content. These issues or concepts include:
Economics of the production and distribution of the media text
Laws and policies that regulate the production and distribution of the media text
Ways in which structural power constrains individuals and institutions that produce the media text
Ways in which dominant ideologies are transmitted by the media text
Opportunities that exist for individuals and audiences to use the media text in unintended ways
Influence of technology in the production and distribution of the media text
Issues that arise when the media text is distributed globally
Sociology of Media
The media is an institution that plays a significant role in the day-to-day running of a state. However, some constraints significantly affect its operation, and the last product majority of our media texts produce. The limitations stretch from the political, social and economic domains hence it is crucial to examine independently how each of the mentioned section affects the productivity of our media platforms. The paper aims at dissecting these issues through reflecting on the structural composition of one renowned news and entertainment-publishing site, which is the Weekly Standard. With regard to this, the concept of how primary power impact media texts will be analyzed and possible solutions given on the same. Technology and its transitional effect will also be examined regarding the positive contribution it has made possible.
The Weekly Standard
The weekly standard is an American based magazine, which is published 48 times every year. Currently, The Anschutz Corporation under the arm of Clarity Media Group and Media DC owns the magazine. Conversely, the magazine maintains an ideological perspective of neoconservative opinions. News cooperation is regarded as its founding publisher, and the magazine is believed to have made its first debut on September 18, 1995. Most of the subscribers of the text know that it is considered a neo-con bible and it is described as a redoubt of neo-conservatism (Randle, 2001). Consequently, some of the products from the Weekly Standard include regular online commentaries accompanied with other products. Some of the key personnel who have written for the magazine include:
John R. Bolton
Other participatory organization that participates in the writing of the articles include:
The Ethics and public policy Center
The Hudson Institute
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
The American Enterprise Institute
Amongst some of its notable staff personnel include:
The Editorial staff, William Kristol who is the editor and Fred Barnes, the Executive Editor. On the other hand, the contributing editors are comprised of Tucker Carlson, Brit Hume, Max Boot and Mary Katharine Ham.
The magazine faced a compromising scandal in 1997 following what they reported as an error in one of its publication involving Dr.Deepak Chopra. However, the general tone of the situation was readjusted and appropriate compensation credited to the affected party.
In contemporary society, the media is an institution that has been termed as an independent body. However, the institution has some constraints that impact is general potentiality that has been known to be a problem to an inclusive of grand magazine publishing organizations. The problem, in this case, revolves in not only an individual perspective but also in other central bodies such as a country’s ideology on political, economic and social matters. As a result, it is crucial to analyze such situational occurrences and examine how deeply rooted such phenomena are in our cultures (Randle, 2001). The focus of this paper is to comprehensively dissect through issues related to media sociology and how they impact contemporary society. An analysis of that will be made through covering essential areas such as ways in which structural power plays a role in regulating the voices of individuals and institutions that produce the media text and ways in which dominant ideologies are transmitted by the press text in today’s society. Other key factors to be examined by the paper include opportunities that exist for individuals and audiences to use the media text in ways that they do not intend and the influence of technology in the production and distribution of the press book. Consequently, technology is one crucial area that has impacted the kind of global communication we have today (Van, 1995). With the description of the issues, the paper will showcase some possible solutions to the mentioned problems and discuss some of the long term and short term ways of implementing the alternatives. Because this is a broad issue, contemporary counter arguments may suggest that globalization and technology are some of the phenomena that humans may not necessarily comprehensively understand, hence is it crucial to articulate specific measures in handling it. For most media text, the availability of technology has been of great help, and it is through the same channels that it is possible to access so many people within a short time frame.
The issues or concepts to be explored include:
How does structural power constraints individuals and institutions that produce the media text. In the contemporary society, social power is a fabricated result of the social relationship between different social formations such as groups and classes or between the various persons as social members. In connection, we may think of personal forms of power; however, this individual power is less compelling and relevant for our regular account of the responsibility of authority in discourse as social interaction may be.
A deeper analysis of social power relationships show that they are randomly manifested in interaction. In relation, the situation can be directly referred to as members of group A being in a tight race with members of group B. In this case, when the potential actions of group A exercise social control over B it is clear that more power will incline towards their side. Thus, this can be since the thought of activity freely includes the idea of conceivable control by accessible operators, the social control over B by the activities of A instigates an impediment of the poise of B. At the end of the day, the action of force by A outcomes in the restriction of B’s social opportunity of activity
In what ways is dominant ideologies are transmitted by the media text
The term ideology provokes mixed reactions amongst most of us when we encounter the term. For some, being ideological is perceived as having rigid thoughts even in the face of incriminating evidence in support of the contrary. Conversely, the school of thought from Marxism defines ideology as a rigid belief system that manipulates and justifies the actions of those in power by contradicting through distorting and misinterpreting reality. On the other hand, ideology is under the media umbrella defined as a comprehensive system of meaning that helps in explaining the context of the world and aid in making value judgment about the world itself.
In addition, ideology is intertwined with the concept of belief system, worldview and values. For many scholars, ideology is much more than politics but rather provides a broader perspective of fundamental connotation. In this case, the media text is responsible for defining the social and cultural issues by its motherland’s customs. It is crucial to analyze how accurately media contents applies to the real world take for example the image of Black Americans or women and how exactly they have changed over time. In understanding this concept, we get to understand exactly the roles played by each group and how the media ascribe to the contributions of the respective groups.
The important question, however, is pegged on what exactly acts as the determining factor of what is perceived by the media text as real or not, the underlying options in this category include the options of the most visible, the most influential or the most common? In such a case, it is easier to allocate more credit to power at the expense of all the other categories. Consequently, it is important to understand exactly what can be implicated with such an impeccable act that is so common amongst most of our media texts.
In relation, most politicians use media platforms as sites for dissemination of the ideologies they personally advocate for and the same is reflected in most of the contents of the weekly standard. Consequently, the media is regarded as a key instrumental tool and the same explains why it is always debated on most parliamentary proceedings. In the past, extreme cases of violence have been associated with media text contents with some state officials attributing this to the toxic disposal of inappropriate content to viewers and inclusive of young children.
The media also faces challenges over battles for superiority in terms of which content gets exclusive coverage at the expense of others (Van, 1989). In relation, this brings about the concept of Dominant ideology versus Cultural Contradictions. Additionally, Christianity can be used as the leading historical example for this case study. The same can be explained by analyzing the number of legal systems that adhere to Christian moral values and social norms as their foundational basis. Another relevant example is the magic coverage behind football at the expense of other sports. Some very significant ideological discourse that forms the foundation of societal practices and rules include:
Left wing/right wing politics
In most cases, the article an individual opts for will by 70% influence the outcome of his/her final verdict on the issue at hand.
Impact of technology on the production and distribution of the media text
The estimated global world population is at 6.5 billion but it is only 16.7% of this population is said to have access to the internet. However, this has not really affected the performance of technology in the production and distribution of media texts. In relation, as per now the top global web properties include Microsoft, Google and Yahoo while the top web brand includes AOL, Yahoo, MSN and eBay. In relation, technology has brought up a new phrase of communication; this is a transitional break from the coffee days to updates in sites like Facebook. Personal gain from networking has been credited to sites such as LinkedIn, which create provision for professional communication and networking.
Technology has succeeded in expanding social circles; this is evident in the changing roles of mediums such as televisions. Today, TV’s are used as channels for interacting examples including live tweets and calls, matchmaking endeavors and live texts (Chen, 2012). In relation, Facebook is not only used as a medium through which an individual can communicate with friends but also a platform for marketing products, following certain TV shows and celebrities. It is true to say that technology should be credited for the tremendous effort it has played in the distribution of media texts, the two concepts are inseparable and in relation require to be systematically analyzed in terms of independent survival. However, it is equally necessary to identify the technological gap between different generations and determine how exactly the situational crisis can be encountered.
The crisis faced by the ideological aspect can be diminished through several joint full channels especially across the political arena. In relation, it is important for Americans to subscribe to the notion that only independent thinkers can create the provision to free and liberal articles (Chen, 2012). Regardless of the side of the coin, it is important to understand that large changes must be made in our systems straight from the coverage of the content we have on our screens to the active participation of all Americans during the critical national crisis. The media as an independent institution should also be allowed to exercise her freedom in terms of national politics and economic situations is concerned. The same does not imply that excessive freedom should be awarded to this bodies but rather, focus should be made towards ensuring that they are emulated towards a democratic position.
It is crucial to note that political liberation begins with you as an individual and politicians using media platforms for personal gains should be scrapped off altogether. The ruling class on the other hand should be considerate when it comes to power transition and distribution. In most class struggles, the upper class may have power over the other classes, but this does not directly impact the allocation of resources and political domination. Legal measures can be implemented to ease the pressure caused by the intensified battles for power. Technology, on the other hand, is a complex issue that requires particular attention. In relation, most media text sites should efficiently maximize the potentiality of technology. Rather than just focusing on communication transmission, emphasis should be articulated towards transmitting relevant moral and cultural related information for the benefit of the globe as a whole.
Chen, G. M. (2012). The impact of new media on intercultural communication in global context.
Randle, Q. (2001). A historical overview of the effects of new mass media: Introductions in magazine publishing during the twentieth century. First Monday, 6(9).
Van Dijk, T. A. (1989). Structures of discourse and structures of power. Annals of the International Communication Association, 12(1), 18-59.
Van Dijk, T. A. (1995). Power and the news media. Political communication and action, 9-36.