Playing the victim, or blaming the victim?

By Daniel Williams

Mainstream media is a catchphrase that has gotten a lot of traction recently. It’s use tries to coalesce a sense of ‘Big News’, similar to Big Pharma or Big Oil. The concept is that there exist a large number of major news media formats and organizations that are intertwined, promoting messaging that benefits all of them through sensationalizing stories, building up dangerous messages, and keeping the general public in the dark by only ever displaying one side of the story.

This is the focus of Populism and media policy failure. In this article, the news is portrayed as having effectively been complicit in the rise of major populist figures. It suggests that structural conditions within news media have effectively established requisite conditions to cause populist figures to use fake news, half-truths and conspiracy theories to fuel their rise.


2 Replies to “Playing the victim, or blaming the victim?”

  1. I agree with your argument that mainstream media has become a catchphrase and attempts to paint large news organizations with a general brush. I wold take this a step further and argue that this is purposefully done by populists as a way of ‘othering’, as well as, labeling all the news that negatively covers their groups as ‘corrupt’. What I find kind of ironic is that these populist groups rely on mainstream media coverage and the claim to fight against these corrupt fake news organizations.

  2. In you think of the “mainstream” it may be worth a discussion of what constitutes new and old media – traditional media from alternative. Is one given more legitimacy in public discourse and how does that give alt-right platforms a further platform?

    As Freedman wrote that “communications policy is a highly political, value-laden, interest-driven field of decision-making. Since the 1980s, this has generally followed ‘the logic of the marketplace’.” Just as populists use the narrative that the ‘elite’ keep the ‘common’ hardworking folk out of the equation while they benefit media mirrors the conditions of the marketplace that it operates within.

    The divisions created give rise to populist rhetoric in media by favouring the ‘common’ aided by traditional news outlets who continuously delegitimize them as Stuart has mentioned.

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