Essay On The Power Of Power In Public Discourse

989 Words4 Pages
In one sense, the word ‘power’ refers to the power of dominant institutions within our society, and how these institutions maintain their dominance through the use of language: media (newspapers, television), advertising, etc. The public institutions of our society have powers of various sorts. One important power is to control the flow of information: what gets into the press, and how it is presented. The public media is the primary means of shaping public opinion. And if one can shape public opinion, one can change the power structures that exist. Fairclough (2001, p3) uses the term ‘manufacture of consent’: if one can convince the people to accept your right to act in specific ways, then you can so act. A second sense of ‘power’ is more personal, referring to the power of individuals to influence interactions with others: allowing individuals to be more ‘powerful’ in the sense of being able to achieve their personal goals. Part of the power of an individual is personal, stemming from their mastery of linguistic skills: knowing when to speak, and how to speak.

The Power of Language in Public Discourse
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The owners of the media have their own ideologies. They also respect the ideologies of their advertisers. On another level also, the advertising revenue is based on their readership/viewing levels, so they also want to respect the ideologies of their potential readers/viewers. The ideology that wins is typically that of the owners or the advertisers. Whichever ideology is in control, the result is that the news we receive is selected news, and expressed in such a way as to sway us towards their way of looking at events, and thus to share their ideology. One aim of this article is to make you aware of the strategies used in public media to shape opinion, and thus to ‘immunize’ you from their
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