“The ideological fight is a struggle to capture language.” We see this battle in the abortion debate. The media seems to favor those with “pro-choice” beliefs. How I wish we could even the debate by having news announcers use “pro-life” instead of anti-abortion. This would be a sign that at least pro-life groups are being seen as reasonable, positive people. Yet, this group doesn’t seem to be successful in capturing positive language. The media does give an ideological spin to the abortion debate by its very use of language and its connotations.
Usually I think The Record, our school newspaper, is pretty good. It covers big events on campus, has great quotables, and lets you know who's going up the tower to get engaged. They do a good job of covering world events and talk about things that aren't always status quo. Last week, however, the Wheaton College Women's Soccer Team found out that even The Record was capable of "functin[ing] to maintain the dominance of those already in positions of power." I am not a pessimist, but I am a realist and I know that male athletes tend to be put on the highest of pedestals around here. The football team, whether because of size or the fact that they outnumber every other team, seem to be particularly dominant. Last week I realized that some things never change though. Our women's soccer team had just won our regional in the NCAA tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals—further than we'd ever gone before. It was a great weekend but it was not without its losses. One girl broke her leg, another sprained her ankle, and a third got knocked out. There were 600 people at Saturday's game. Any of these facts I think are considered newsworthy. However, all that appeared in the paper was the scores of the 2 games in tiny print on the back page. But you know what was covered—men's football that is about .500 this year and men's soccer who placed so low in the tournament that they had to play a mid-week game. I'm not saying The Record never covers us. In fact, they've always done a nice job. But last week proved that some still like men in sports, and men are still dominating society.
When I went to Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim culture, last spring, the media demonstrated what Hall describes as a power relationship of the 60% Muslims controlling 100% of the media. Hall suggested that we should put the spotlight directly on the ways media representations of culture reproduce social inequalities. This, I believe, would involve highlighting how only a Muslim voice is heard in their media despite the fact that around 40% of their country is not Muslim. Malaysia is not as extremely capitalistic as America, but nonetheless, a power difference is encouraged and reinforced by the media. The fact that the president and all other Muslims were praised or viewed very positively while other groups of people such as local Chinese or Indians that often practice Christianity, Buddhism, or Hinduism, were nearly unmentioned shows how the media perpetuated the predominantly cultural belief that Muslims are the most important people in their culture, while the other powerless people don't really matter.