[Solution]Media narratives and Politics

Altheide – the mass media operates as a social institution. – What is the mass media? • Refers to the information technologies and actors that…

Altheide – the mass media operates
as a social institution.

– What is the mass media?

• Refers to the information
technologies and actors that communicate and broadcast news, ideas, and
entertainment to large audiences.

• Paradigm shift since the advent of
smartphones and social media. Mass media is now instantaneous, visual, and

Altheide – the mass media operates
as a social institution because it is a “critical carrier and definer of
popular culture” (Althiede 2017)

• Mass media formats wield enormous
social power (i.e. the capacity to define a situation for oneself or others).

• Operates according to certain
media logics that go on to influence other social fields according to those
same logics.

Mass media and narratives

– Goebbels’ “The Big Lie”:

• People can come to believe
anything if it is reduced to black and white terms and repeated often enough.

– Historical or contemporary
examples of successful “Big Lies”?

• WMDs in Iraq; Obama is wasn’t born
in the US; Vaccinations cause autism; 9/11 was an “Inside Job”; Gluten is evil

Altheide’s “Media Logic(s)”

• The process through which mass
media outlets present and transmit information in familiar ways.

• Includes how material is
organized, the presentation style, the focus or emphasis on certain things.

• Often sensationalistic: emphasis
on provoking emotional response over substance – Satire of this phenomenon by
The Onion


Problems with media logic,
idealnorms, and entertainment formats?

– “Complex and often ambiguous
events and concerns are symbolically mined for ‘moral truths’… presumed to be
held by the audience, while the repeated presentation of similar scenarios ‘teaches’
the audience about the nature and causes of ‘disorder.’” (Atheide)

– Mass media tend to reinforce for
audiences, what they already think they know

• Mass media and communication is an
interactive process between media communication and media audiences.

• Brings us to “Securitization
Theory” which helps us understand how something comes to be seen as a security

Process of Securitization

Issue Speech act by authorityAccepted by receiving audiences
Now a security issueFelicity conditions must

• Securitization occurs through

• Relies on discourses and

• Significance?

– Securitization takes things out of
the realm of ‘normal politics’ and puts things into the realm of ‘exceptional

 – Exceptional politics imply exceptional
measures. Like what?

 – Back to Schmitt: The Sovereign decides the
exception and decides who is friend/foe

• Security politics- part of the
creation and maintenance of state identity

• The state actually relies on security
politics/fear narratives (Hobbes, Schmitt, Foucault again)

• (Perceived) threats to the state,
counterintuitively strengthen state identity.
The post Media narratives and Politics

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