Relationship between media and politics

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False consciousness and related concepts

In Marxist political theory, false consciousness is the idea that the bourgeoisie can manipulate the proletariat into accepting their oppression by distracting them from it – that is, instilling a false class consciousness. It is usually used in reference to capitalist ownership of the press, though it could describe any other “superstructure”.

Similar theories include the propaganda model articulated by Herman and Chomsky. Some things in this section are not explicit works of false consciousness theory but touch on similar subjects.

  • A Gramsci. 1916. “Newspapers and the Workers”.
    • Advocacy of a boycott of bourgeois papers — ridicule of workers paying, thereby funding, for newspapers which advocate against their rational interests
  • E Herman and N Chomsky. 1988. Manufacturing Consent.
    • Propaganda model of the mass media — the “five filters” — concentrated media ownership — advertising as source of funding — reliance on “experts” — “flak” — anticommunism and/or fear of a constructed enemy
  • C Maza. 2019. “Why Tucker Carlson pretends to hate elites” in Strikethrough (Vox) .
    • “Culture war” cable news stories as a source of false consciousness — example of coverage of “racist trees” during tax cuts debate
  • K Rudd. 2021. The Case for Courage: OCLC 1245954724
    • Criticism of News Corp and Nine control of Australian media — such control is toxic for ALP electoral prospects and for abating climate change — such control shows a lack of diversity in opinion in press — suggestions for ALP in overcoming such control — advocacy of negative campaigning to counteract Liberal influence — Murdoch Royal Commission advocacy
    • Critique of The Case for Courage

Advice for covering extremists