McQuail's Reader in Mass Communication Theory states, "Social responsibility theory is one response to the perceived impasse of classical liberalism in the twentieth century....social responsibility theory takes seriously many of the accusations of critics of a laissez-faire media system. These critics contend that there are tendencies toward monopolization in the media, that the people or the public are inattentive and are not concerned with the rights or interests of those unlike themselves, and that commercialization produces a debased culture and a dangerously selfish politics" (184). The idea of Social Responsibility Theory within the American and International Media today is something of great importance, there is a great deal of concern, even now with our failing economy that there is going to be more monopolization within the media. By looking at areas such as radio, Sirius has recently merged with XM, creating a monopoly on satelite radio, one of the largest radio organizations in the country, Clear Channel, has been letting people go, however they are not losing any of their stations because they have such a stronghold on the market.
This short article from an NBC affiliate in Rochester, NY explains why the cutbacks are happening and how the "nation's largest owner of radio stations" is dealing with the problem. (http://www.whec.com/article/stories/S754956.shtml?cat=0)
If there was not an economic problem within the United States today, there would be no meantion that Clear Channel is making cutbacks in the news because the general public is not interested. There is only a small portion of people not in the media or music industry that would care of clear channel is going under, there is actually a comment from a site which I found that states, "Who cares what Queer Channel does. If they fail, the nation will be a better place...so perhaps I should say, who cares what Queer Channel does....as long as it dies a well deserved death!(longstaff, http://www.topix.com/forum/com/ccu/T34ORBRU488UGTHNH).
However, while Social Responsibilty Theory has a large stake in the media of America at this time, the media is also slowly moving away from social responsibilty theory, as stated in an article entitled Fifty Years of Community News (http://www.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/2/0/3/8/3/pages203835/p203835-1.php). This article "suggests that modern America journalism has evolved away from the Social Responsibility Theory, toward an Entertainment Theory of the Press. A case study of news coverage of a mid-sized community over time illustrates this premise, using a secondary analysis of content-analysis projects describing the community’s media since 1956." The relevince is that it backs up what we have been saying in class, the media industry is becoming more focused on entertainment, and more interested in what the "general public" wants to know about than what is acutally going on in the world.
Do you think that the media is moving away from Social Responsibilty Theory towards a more entertainment driven news media? Is media really more interested in showing the entertainment value than the straight news?
How does social responsibilty theory relate to what we have been talking about in class?