Ideologies are systems of claims. Claims are manipulated images. Images are forms of action.

Ideology At It's Finest

Ideology is like all the other forms of image manipulation, it involves meanings or stories that embody claims about whether things are of positive or negative value.

Like the other forms of image manipulation, the claims of ideology are embedded and implicit in communications, in addition to being made explicit. In part, they take the form of justifications for whatever is being communicated.

Using the news media, ideology is embedded in everything it does like implicit claims it makes about the nature and validity of its enterprise, and the reasons it has for various actions taken. All these claims form a “layer” that protects the news media’s prerogatives and position.

The claim that the news media focuses on getting the story right is one part of its ideology. The justifications that are given for acts of credit and discredit are another part of the ideology. Collectively, all these claims form a coherent system, which journalists and others draw from to decide how to act, to explain and justify action, to respond to action, and to criticize it. In other words, they are part of cultural value systems.

Here are some elements of news ideology:

The idea that public figures have an obligation to answer to journalists and answer their questions, as part of their public accountability to the public.

The idea that the news media is the fourth estate, playing a watchdog role on government and power.

The idea that the most important thing journalists cover are the arenas of government and politics.

The idea that journalists are the messenger only; that they report, rather than acting.

The idea that there is an objective account of events that all reasonable observers would agree with.

The idea that journalists are not beholden and should not be beholden to the business side of the organization and to management and ownership.

The idea that journalists should tell both sides.

The idea that journalists can and should leave their biases out of their stories.

The pretense that there is no staging or conspiring to improve on stories between journalists and those they cover.

The idea that progress is good. All the ideas about what audiences accept as good, which can then be presumed in stories.

Ideology permeates the entire realm of journalism. Ultimately, we can describe the entire system of thought embodied in these, mostly implicit, claims and we can do the same thing for political groups, corporate marketing programs, and so on. We can also do it for society at large. Ultimately we end up describing what some refer to as the social construction of “reality.”

Ideologies are systems of claims. Claims are manipulated images. Images are forms of action.

Can you make an image to back up an ideology you hold? By ideology I mean something you truly believe in, whether other people share your belifs or not.


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