The Hidden Power of Media Discourse and the Capacity of the Capitalist Class to Exercise this Power

2091 Words9 Pages
ASSIGNMENT 5

“The hidden power of media discourse and the capacity of the capitalist class and other power-holders to exercise this power depend on systematic tendencies in news reporting and other media activities” (Page 25). Explain and exemplify.

Zulfiqar Ahmad

ID # 4025

Submitted to:

Dr. M. Umer Farooq

1. Introduction

Hidden power, according to Fairclough (1995a), is the “power behind discourse” and entails how and to what extent the holders of powers exercise their influence. Discourse being a social practice (Fairclough 2001) and an element of a communicative event (van Dijk 1997) becomes a strong determinant that impacts culture and distributes power in society. This approach to discourse makes media a very influential mediator, and the discourse itself becomes a source of not only defining the power but also naturalizing it for the benefit of the power-holders. This media hegemony is manifest in the use of language, ordering of news, prioritizing the topics, and predetermining the content.

2. Power in media discourse

Power and dominance are normally organized and institutionalized (van Dijk: 1993). Media, through its discursive practices exercise power and dominance but it is goes unnoticed unlike practiced by other social institutions such as judiciary and politics. Media discourse naturalizes the notions of power and dominance to the extent they are internalized and therefore, legitimated.

Media discourse possesses several characteristics that make it distinctive from other types of communicative events. According to Fairclough (2001), media discourse is an event of “one-sidedness”; it is permanent; reproducible; and multifaceted in use and function. Media discourse also exemplifies a sig...

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