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The Park of Culture
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Slovenian TV, Made in Slovenia programme, 22.1.1997

For a less developed society, a more developed one represents the image of its own future.
Karl Marx
Thinking About Media Power:Who Holds It? A Changing View

The industries that manufacture the messages and imagery that create the national and international cultural atmosphere have grown greatly in size, breadth, and productive capability in the years since World War II. Expanding, merging, and transnationalizing, these industries now represent an awesome concentration of cultural power and influence, at home and in the world at large. Additionally, they increasingly constitute a significant component of the general economy. Number of workers employed, value of output, connection to industrial processes and management, and exports as a growing share of the balance of trade attest to the cultural industries’ greater importance in national life.

Actually, reliance on information and data may be the most salient characteristic of capitalist enterprise and governance in the current period. This largely accounts also for the evolution of the legal status of commercial and corporate speech. This status has changed in half a century from near-prohibition to almost full constitutional protection.

Given these far-reaching and structural changes in the economy and the transformations of legal doctrine that facilitate the full utilization of communication power by the corporate order, it is puzzling, if not astonishing, to note the prevailing assessment of media’s capability to influence people and events. While the actual holders of economic and political authority resort increasingly to one or another form of communication to further extend or at least reinforce their influence, current theorists writing about communication find media influence highly overrated. For the most part, they view the media as more subject to audience preferences than to its own material interests and imperatives.

Herbert I. Schiller

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