The assumption of media hegemony is that the ideas of the ruling class become ruling ideas in society. According to this approach, the mass media are controlled by the dominant class in society which uses it as a vehicle for exerting control over the rest of society. Media hegemony is rooted in the Marxist economies.They argue that media contents in USA are shaped to suit the interests of the capitalists. While commenting on media hegemony, Adelheid says that it seems to involve at least three assumptions that could be treated with evidence:
- The socialization of journalists involves guidelines, work routines and orientations replete with the dominant ideology.
- Journalists tend to cover topic and present news reports that are conservative and supportive of the status quo.
- Journalists tend to present pro-American and negative coverage of foreign countries, especially Third World nations.
According toWerner J. Severin and James W. Tankard Jr., Adelheid argues that evidence can be found to cast doubt on each of these propositions. In connection with proposition, Altheide cites studies showing that foreign affairs reporters take very different approaches while covering detente, depending on their individual backgrounds. In addition, other studies of journalists, backgrounds and attitudes show considerable diversity rather than homogeneity
As regards proposition , Altheidecites numerous examples, including but not limited to Watergate, in which the reporting done by journalists did not support the status quo. A study of press coverage of the 1971 Indian-Pakistan War (Becker, 1977) provides another example when the U.S. government shifted its policy to support for West Pakistan, the news coverage by the New-York Times actually shifted the other way.
So far as proposition 3 is concerned , surveys of journalists indicate that they tend to agree with the Third World position on many issues. Furthermore, research on television coverage of Nicarague during the Sandinista revolt showed that television presented the rebel case repeatedly and in some detail not exactly the kind of content that supports the status quo.
Two researchers who attempted to find studies testing the media hegemony idea found only three )Shoemaker and Myfield, 1984). Two supported the media hegemony idea while one did not.
Finally, if the mass media are in general giving support,to the status quo and corporate values, someone should inform Senator Jesse Helms, and his Fairness in Media group, of this fact.Senator Helms has been involved in efforts to buy the CBS television network because he thinks CBS News is too liberal.
The existence of fairness in media may be one of the best arguments that the mass media are ideologically neutral, since they are criticized by the left for presenting a conservative point of view and by the right for presenting a liberal point of view.