Some authors suggest that mass media is a reflection of the current political and social economic state of the public (McQuail and Deuze, 2020). This is supported by Jenkins (2016) who suggests that there is a distinction between highbrow and lowbrow culture; lowbrow (mass) culture being the prime site were media spread happens. This blog will explain the different avenues taken by past media and present media to assess lowbrow culture and analyse whether these two different approaches to media are successful.
For past media to be successful in accessing the lowbrow market, there needs to be a consideration of nationalism. Reading the newspaper or going to a public house to access the news was seen as an alternative for other morning rituals with a collection of people that may not affiliate with one another (Athique, 2016). With this knowledge, news companies were built around the idea of nationhood, while also entertaining the viewer (Rowe, 2004, Hutchins and Rowe, 2013; Whannel, 2013). This becomes very apparent when considering the sporting context. Lanigan (2019) suggests that media consumption is very polarised, and sport news has a national cultural bias.
This bias is perpetuated by the mechanism of how the news spreads itself throughout society. However, due to there only being a select few news outlets, media could easily lead to polarisation – the media having a lot of power over people (McQuail and Deuze, 2020). Marwick and Lewis (2017) state that this control meant that white supremacist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic ideas became more mainstream. The degree of what was true however was less questioned at that time (Madden at al., 2017). This was also true for sport, as the media had influence over consumers and people started supporting clubs not in their geographical location. This was due to how a club’s ethics were portrayed, leading people to have polarised views about clubs, depending what news source they had read (Vale and Fernandes, 2018).
Present media ecology poses the same issues around polarisation and sources of news, even though the news sector has a lot more outlets (Marwick, 2018). With the explosion of social media, and in particular Twitter, fans of clubs have been able to keep up-to-date with current issues and latest news. However, the landscape of news has changed due to the abundance of places where people access it. McQuail and Deuze (2020) state that the key change is that viewers now have greater autonomy. This is leads to audiences becoming more individualised. Publishers who regulate the news are now using social media apps to inform the public of mainstream sports news. This can cause potential issues for two reasons: the polarisation of fans has increased due to each club having their own source of news, and the regulation of social media companies not being as strict as the ISPO is on newspapers.
These two ways past and present, in which sport news is consumed, has regurgitated the same issue, that if there is a monopoly in the sports-news market, the same issues of white supremacist, xenophobic, and anti-Semitism are raised. This though only highlights bigger issues within British society as a whole.
Alice E. Marwick & Rebecca Lewis, Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online, DATA & SOC’Y RES. INST. 107 (May 15, 2017),
Athique, A. (2016). Post-industrial Development and the New Leisure Economy. In Globalisation and the Challenges of Development in Contemporary India (pp. 61-76). Springer, Singapore.
Hutchins, B., & Rowe, D. (Eds.). (2013). Digital media sport: Technology, power and culture in the network society. Routledge.
Lanigan, R. L. (2019). Perelman’s phenomenology of rhetoric: Foucault contests Chomsky’s complaint about media communicology in the age of Trump polemic. Semiotica, (229), pp. 273-328.
McQuail, D., & Deuze, M. (2020). McQuail’s media and mass communication theory. SAGE.
Jenkins, H. (2016). Youth voice, media, and political engagement. By any media necessary: The new youth activism, 3(1).
Rowe, D. (2004). Antonio Gramsci: Sport, hegemony and the national-popular. In Sport and modern social theorists (pp. 97-110). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Vale, L., & Fernandes, T. (2018). Social media and sports: driving fan engagement with football clubs on Facebook. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 26(1), 37-55.