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December 12, 2012



Totally agree with you about Ms Anderson.

It would be interesting to see if this holds true if said TV watching populations were subjected to the Beeb... sorry I mean soley TV that portrays businesspersons/capitalists as the bad-guy vs. populations that had a more neutral social commentary.

The Thought Gang

I do not disagree... yet when TV decides to explicitly portray capitalism it rarely does so positively. At least, not as I observe it.

Leaving aside the TV news' rush to criticise banks and tax avoiders as the architects of the economic situation (rather than undertake a more detailed and balanced analysis of the various factors) look at TV drama.. how often are business's.. simple capitalist profit-driven enterprises.. presented positively? Public services all get a go (police, military, teachers.. even politicians) but when it comes to capitalists I can only think of 'Mad Men', as something which dramatises the pursuit of money and the 'boss class' positively.

(By way of full disclosure.. I should concede that I only watch the BBC, and whatever imported drama series' is presently deemed to be cool.. so I'm not a 'whole of market' consumer and might be missing a raft of ITV dramas celebrating the glories of commercial endeavour)


How come is it "hostility" if someone doesn't want higher benefits for unemployed? Even wanting to maintaining the current level of benefits, whatever it is, is "hostile"?

I mean, in the end, many people - outside the blogosphere totemland, at least - do understand that higher benefits have to be paid by someone - not necessarily a light burden - and that they have an impact on prices and therefore purchasing power of those who do work and pay taxes. This is not being "hostile", I think it's more about being sensible.

Jacques René Giguère

The Thought Gang: but those teachers etc are all hard-working ( some or all of their efforts are usually against the machine). When luck intervene, it is bad luck that they vanquish.

Tim Almond

"The point here is that the ideology that sustains capitalism doesn't arise merely (or even I suspect mainly) from deliberate attempts by evil capitalists to manipulate the masses. It might be, as Ms Hennighausen says, an unintended byproduct."

On the other hand, it can perhaps also be said that the people who only got East German TV were also more likely to buy into that.

Many people who watch the BBC buy into its worldview. It's not strongly biased and not of the "left", but it is biased in favour of the establishment, increasing the size and power of the state, anti-industrialisation, pro-conservation and anti-free markets.


Ideology isn't propaganda, so to no significant degree does it arise from the deliberate machinations of evil capitalists. The point is that they believe their own shit. Simon Cowell really does think he is an arbiter of taste.

One of the reasons why TV (and entertainment more generally) is structurally biased towards the ideological support of capitalism is that it is an industry that requires selfishness and self-absorption to succeed in. Boring corporate capitalists are usually the bad guys because as a producer/director/actor you are constantly dealing with suits who trample on your dreams. Likewise, the heroes are usually self-motivated, resourceful, talented and beautiful people, because if you work in TV, that's what you think yourself to be.

The ideological archetype of TV is a raging egomaniac with childish appetites and delusions of grandeur. This overlaps neatly with the pyschological makeup of the ideal consumer, which is why capitalism loves it.


"The head of the internet giant Google has defiantly defended his company’s tax avoidance strategy claiming he was “proud” of the steps it had taken to cut its tax bill which were just “capitalism”.' The Independent Newspaper.

May be the problem is that although people know in their heart Capitalism stinks they have a secret desire to be the money bags capitalist but just do not know how to get to the top of the money tree? Just as slave owners in America wrote the declaration of American Independence in 1776 where "all men are created equal" but that did not seem to require them to emancipate their slaves? They also went on to write the US Constitution to secure " the blessings of Liberty". Which required the states to surrender fugitive slaves to their masters if they ran away to get some of that Liberty for them selves?

Liberty and equality for me but not for thee...

George Hallam

"She [Hennighausen]found that people living in areas where they could watch west German TV were more likely to say success depended upon effort than people who didn't have access to western TV."

Yet you go on to say that TV promotes individualism.

All you can really say is capitalist TV promotes individualism.

It seems naive to say that this is just an unintended byproduct.

Chris Purnell

Considering the billions spent on advertising it is hardly a revelation that TV influences. What the influence is depends on the recipients circumstances. Chomsky has important things to say about the ubiquity of US driven propaganda which gives the impression that the US promotes 'democracy' for example.

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