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  • What the Propaganda Model Can Learn from the Sociology of Journalism

    Jesse Owen Hearns-Branaman

    Chapter from the book: Pedro-Carañana, J et al. 2018. The Propaganda Model Today: Filtering Perception and Awareness.


    One major criticism of the Propaganda Model is its lack of interaction with the sociology of journalists in general. This is not an oversight on Herman and Chomsky’s part but a deliberate effort to focus on the political-economic systematic influences on media production and performance. Herman and Chomsky (2004) offer reasons for the exclusion of research involving interviews with journalists, newsroom ethnography, and other sociologically-minded perspectives: their findings simply reveal the rationalizations of journalists that cannot provide any additional insights into media performance. This chapter argues that critically examining and integrating sociological research into journalists, in fact, greatly enhances and bolsters the findings of the PM. While the PM elides such research, ‘there is plenty of empirical evidence from sociological studies of media organizations available to support the proposition that the various filters can and do shape news content’ (Thompson 2009). The author discusses how integrating research in sociology can better reveal how journalists have been assimilated into the journalistic field. The author argues that rationalizations informing media performance are not simply contradictions, but further evidence of the five filters as central to journalistic professionalism itself. The chapter includes a critical review of previous studies that examine the sociology of journalism and notions of sourcing, effects of the profit imperative, the hierarchical nature of media structures, and the ideology of journalistic professionalism. [Peter A. Thompson, ‘Market Manipulation?: Applying the Propaganda Model to Financial Media Reporting,’ Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 6(2) (2009)]

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    Hearns-Branaman, J. 2018. What the Propaganda Model Can Learn from the Sociology of Journalism. In: Pedro-Carañana, J et al (eds.), The Propaganda Model Today. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book27.c

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    Published on Oct. 25, 2018