What Power Resides in the Mass Media? Typology of Media´s Power – a Proposal
In this article author has taken into consideration the potential meanings of power which media seem to possess. Understanding the notion of the fourth estate (as media used to be named) has been connected with distinguished typology of media power (in a proposal form): power as a mediatisation; power as an impact; power as a function; and, last but not least, power as a control. First type of power (mediatisation) concerns the essence of media – process of getting to know surrounding world via media by mass audience. From this perspective, media become our window on the world and their power consists in creating frames of our perception. Second type of power (impact/influence) is based on an expected relation between media and their recipients. This relation assumes that media with their facts, opinions and entertainment can in some cases possibly change mass audience’s definite point of view. However, we have to bear in mind that this type of media power depends on intentional, not accidental influence of mass media. Third type of power (function) seems to be the most obvious one. Every object – according to philosophical logic – which is attributed to a specific function acquires definite power as a part of this function. Finally, fourth type of power concerns the control idea of media, or the so-called: watchdog. This is a crucial aspect of media power, i.e. media as a great controller of governments. Media as a Fourth Estate ought to control political elite, judge them for their promises. That is a source of media’s power.
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