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Todd Gitlin Mass Media Summary

Gitlin emphasizes that individuals don’t understand part of their lives. He focuses on individuals and factors that affect them, how low income people not having enough information. If the low income people are involved in interest groups like unions, things will be different. However, low income people are not in unions. They don’t have regular employment. As economy has pushed people out of stable employment, they pushed people out of being in unions. “Media specialize in orchestrating everyday consciousness…their accessibility, their centralized symbolic capacity.

To put it simply: the mass media have become core systems for the distribution of ideology” (Gitlin, 2). Media frames are routines of journalism. They shape the publics understanding of situations through legitimate discourse. Gitlin argues that mass media plays important role in our lives. The way that it is packaged is the interest of owners of means of production. The local and national news would create a spokesperson role, that has an agenda and point of view and become unquestioned. Oppositional movement extends reach through mass media. Mass media can also warp messaging of social movement.

Social movements can create factors that are news worthy. 1New York Times accuses Caterpillar on participating in tax fraud. The company is believed to be involved in overseas tax affairs and did not adhere to U. S tax laws. However, according to the article written by Jesse Drucker, no charges have been made nor has there been any allegations against Caterpillar. It is noted that this company is accumulating billions from “offshore affiliates” but are not paying any sort of taxes, nor have they complied with the financial reporting regulations. There is a report on file, but it has not been available to the public as of March, 2017.

There has been a report on file against Caterpillar in 2014 in regards of collaborating with PricewaterhouseCoopers to “set up its swiss tax-cutting strategy”. Caterpillar, and other major companies like Google and Apple, has trillions of dollars on offshore accounts in independent areas where taxes are at a much lower rate. 2There are Allegations towards UnitedHealth Group noting that for years, they have robbed Medicare for millions, if not billions of dollars. A lawsuit against UnitedHealth had been made in February, 2017. These accusations are currently on a program that grants people ages 65 and older to join H. M. O. s, for which the government reimburses the charges.

The lawsuit identifies that the health insurers company overcharged Medicare for over a decade. Originally, Medicare gave the H. M. O. s a fixed rate for every insured member regardless of their conditions. This convinced private insurance companies to pick and choose its members. This later alternated in 2003 when Medicare and Medicaid added a “risk adjustment factor” to prevent this action from going further. However, this also gave the H. M. O. s an idea to further overcharge Medicare by making the member’s conditions more severe than it already is.

There was a failure in an attempt to make the rules “tighter”, but failed in 2014. In conclusion, UnitedHealth was ultimately sued. 3Journalists have and create these “routines” that structure themselves as they grow up, reach recruitment, and move upward; they organize how news is defined, what parts are crucial for display (Gitlin, 11). News is manipulated, as reporters configure what’s “newsworthiness”, “reporters make decisions about what to cover and how, rarely do they deliberate about ideological assumptions or political consequences” (Gitlin, 12).

By bringing into light the fraud both companies committed, will bring awareness to its viewers and potentially speed-up the process for its court case. The journalists are organized to deliver political and economic elite meaning of “reality”. However, there are circumstances when these periodic circumstances no longer obey hegemonic ideal, or when there is a difficult situation of agreement when the elites decide the content of what’s newsworthy. During these situations, the elites will involve themselves in journalistic routines in order to manipulate journalism. Gitlin concentrated on CBS news and the New York Times, because they were powerful, crucial to mainstream media and reachable.

Both, UnitedHealth and Caterpillar’s case are written in the New York Times, to provide awareness to the schemes both companies have been doing. After bringing notice to these kinds of fraud, attention will be brought to both companies and judgment may be passed by the court of law. News coverage particularly for TV broadcastment, is limited to twenty-two minutes, whereas newspapers are flexible if a particular event needs more coverage. News is one component of popular culture; the study of news should ultimately be enfolded within a more ample study of all the forms of cultural production and their ideology” (Gitlin, 17).

UnitedHealth overcharging Medicare for billions over a decade, is not something to be brushed off. The journalist who wrote the UnitedHealth article, chose to bring this attention exploitation into the public. The media excel in spreading newsworthy events efficiently and quickly to form new predicaments for movements whose motives are to reconfigure society. People are so dependent on mass media for comportment in a transitioning world.

The media draws the public into a more special space, “From within their private crevices, people find themselves relying on the media for concepts, for images of their heroes, for guiding information, for emotional charges, for a recognition of public values…” (Gitlin, 1). The company Caterpillar, has been using these taxing strategies continuously overtime and is publicly defending its method. Gitlin argues that one way information can be overcome is through an increase in contacts with others who has more or less identical problems.

Most people still get their news from TV, which relies on big corporations (Enriquez, 3/16). There is still a digital divide, one in five US adults does not use internet, which is associated with income and level of education. Statistics note more men than women are using online content. Age as well as color also plays a big role, such as blacks are less likely to be online but create more blogs than whites. Social movement organizations tend to care less about their presence on the internet. Most media outlets will not provide their agenda to the public.

The younger generation relies more internet than older people. Financial status also plays a role in whether some people rely more on internet than others. 6Gitlin notes that Gramsci concept of hegemony, defines itself as the dominant class’ manipulation over the subordinate class through displaying the ideology into their consciousness. “It is a systematic engineering of mass consent to the established order…Hegemony is, in the end, a process that is entered into by both dominators and dominated” (Gitlin, 10).

Todd Gitlin emphasize that his version of hegemony is running through a organization of social activities and institutional procedures. “Hegemony is done by the dominant and collaborated in by the dominated” (Gitlin, 10). Hegemony does not always side with dominance; this has to be reconfigured, objectified, and renewed constantly…so the legitimacy of hegemonic news rests on its claim to objectivity” (Gitlin, 51). This is dependent on the public’s view of legitimacy and should not be looked down upon for its survival.

Hegemony is a routine that needs to be continually renewed, defended, and preferred over others for its survival. “The work of hegemony…consists of imposing standardized assumptions over evens and conditions that must be covered by the dictates of the prevailing news standards” (Gitlin, 264). In the media are key institutions within society that informs people of what’s going on. “Media are mobile spotlights, not passive mirrors of the society; selectivity is the instrument of their action” (Gitlin, 49).

The media reinforces the dominant ideology or reproduces ideology, family, education, political parties, and churches. Mainstream news media are not independent entities, rather they form part of corporations. Gitlin argues that, “mass media is a social force in forming public assumptions, attitudes, moods of ideology” (Gitlin, 9). Political and economic managers do not regularly intervene and manipulate news media, but only intervenes in moments of turmoil. News media reproduces dominant ideology by media framing.

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