The quote is from the book Mass communication, popular taste, and social action. This book is among the texts that focused on the foundation of American media studies. Lazarsfeld and Melton wrote the texts in response to the social concern with mass media (Lazarsfeld & Merton, 1957). Many people were concerned by the power of mass media since it was believed that individuals could use it for both significant and dangerous aspects. Additionally, people in power control have more impact on the media. Such people dictate the kind of advertisements and messages portrayed in the media. Through the statement, we get to see that the rising concern on the role of social media is valid since it has taken more effect on the social and economic status rather than passing information.
The quote shows that media power has affected society’s economics and social status quo. Since influential individuals have more say on what is presented or advertised, it is easy to corrupt the idea and thoughts of the public. These groups adopt techniques that manipulate the mass public through various propaganda, controlling the social and economic state (Lazarsfeld & Merton, 1957). The easiest way to control society’s opinion is to focus on mass persuasion since the public is full of conformists. Therefore, using the media changes how other people think or believe and ultimately their social and economic status.
Agenda setting is one of the theories discussed, showing that issues that may contradict the interest of the media controllers get omitted. This attempt shows that most people conform to the standards set by those in power, thus influencing their social and economic status in general. Additionally, we get to see the impact of popular taste where the media sets the base of what is considered esthetic (Lazarsfeld & Merton, 1957). Through monopolization, we understand that the opposition sets the media authority at a higher advantage in spreading propaganda on what should sell. This step brings out the media hegemony where specific ideas are more critical while people decide what is useful.
We see that the media plays a significant role in mass conformity as it persuades people into a particular belief or system. Through consistent visualization of a given concept, it is easy for individuals to get used to and accept the given norm. As with agenda theory, the media or people in control decide what individuals consume in the media. Those in power set the plan that gets followed and thus decides society’s social and economic status (Lazarsfeld & Merton, 1957). The media hegemony relates since there is the dominance of what is portrayed and control from those in power. Social conformity and dominance are among the essential principles that drive the media, which ultimately affects society.
The theories and quotes learned are essential to communication scholars and human beings at large. First, it is essential to understand the background and theories that are associated with media and communication. By learning the impact of media on society, we find better ways of improving society through media use. Understanding the theories helps learn how to integrate different societal issues and develop ideas that promote social and economic well-being. Through the knowledge of media and communication, it is also possible to minimize the misuse of power by those in control and be open to controversies that help bring light to other important aspects of the community. All these aspects help provide better strategies for impacting the social and economic status of a society.
Lazarsfeld, P. F., & Merton, R. K. (1957). Mass communication, popular taste and organized social action. Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, College Division.