Political Economy Theory: Does the structure of the media industry influence its content?

Essay by GeorgiamarieUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2008

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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...