Drip Drip Model – Media

Lesson objectiveTo explore the Drip Drip Model
Lesson outcomes• This model to others and assess its significance
• The impact
• What the Drip Drip is

Explaining the theory

The Cultural theory emphasises on the dominant ideologies control of the media and thus confirms agenda setting takes place. Neo-Marxists state that the way that individuals interpret the dominant ideologies message depends on a range of factors: social class, gender, ethnicity and their own experiences. The term “Drip Drip Effect” is based on the concept that the dominant ideology is spread not all at once, but over time. People’s thoughts and ideas are changed gradually in the form of brainwashing. The impact of which is that after a long period of time society view the dominant ideology as common sense (cultural hegemony). There is much debate surrounding the cultural effect and to what extent audiences are active or passive. The image below shows the debate.

Encoding/ Decoding

Reception analysis is the investigation into how audiences receive and interpret media texts. Hall, another Neo-Marxist, states that the dominant ideology owners encode its messages to create cultural hegemony. Audiences decode these messages in a variety of ways depending on their social situations

Morley (1999), studied how individuals respond and decode media messages in the popular Nationwide BBC program between 1969 and 1983. He suggested that people might read, decode and interpret media texts in one of three ways:

  1. The preferred dominant reading. The audience interpret or decode media texts in the same way they were encoding in the first place. E.g. seeing people who do not work as a strain on society.
  2. A negotiated reading. The audience acknowledges the dominant ideology, but can choose to accept or reject is. For example, they might know someone who is unemployed and disagree with the media’s message because of this.
  3. The oppositional reading. Readers actively reject the media’s message and see it as creating a moral panic. See the file (right) for more reading on this.

Again, Morley insists that the reading individuals take depends on their social characteristics and experiences.

Selective Filtering – An Interpretivist approach

In 1960, Klapper accepted Morley’s notion that people’s experiences can impact how they decode media messages. He stated that there were three filters individual could use:

  1. Selective exposure – Individuals choose what they want to watch. Some individuals will watch reality TV whilst others the news. This in turns impacts what messages are being encoded and what they are decoding.
  2. Selective perception – This filter means that people will react differently to the same message (agreeing with Morley)
  3. Selective Retention – Individual’s memory will not record all the key facts and will isolate those facts they agree with the most and forget the rest.

Glasgow Media Group

Philo (2008) is very critical of the encoding and decoding idea. He states that whilst it is important to acknowledge that audiences can interpret the media’s message in numerous ways, this is a small part of the process. In fact, the media is the biggest influencer in this relationship and has the ability to agenda set and manipulate the way people think. If individuals have access to the same type of media and do not challenge this view, they tend to believe it (think about the fact that individuals usually only watch one news channel, or buy one newspaper. In 1990, Philo studied the Miners strike that took place in 1984/5 through a content analysis. He found that people generally agreed that the miners were the cause of the violence. However, people who have been part of a strike or knew someone in the strike had the opposing view. He, therefore, concluded that the decoding and selective filtering model within the cultural effects model severely underestimates the media’s ability to mould public influence. Philo emphasises that the media does agenda set through either including or excluding what it wants its readers to view. Unless it is political, most newspapers are there to make a profit. Therefore, most newspapers will have the same slant offering little ability to challenge the information.

This proves evidence support Philo and concentrates on the miners strike. The image right demonstrates how people were integral in creating violence and in was the miners who were responsible for being aggressive.

The above is an actual photo of the incident – can we be clear who is the violent perpetrator? Why would the newspapers create this title?

Let’s take a modern look as to how this takes place. These images were taken from the Daily Star

To summarise:

  1. The media spreads the dominant ideology, which is also shared by most journalists.
  2. It confirms that individuals can accept or reject these media representations.
  3. Audiences respond to message based on a variety of things such as social class, ethnicity etc.
  4. The media converts people’s opinions over time, gradually, not all at once.

Criticisms of the Cultural Effect Model

  1. Reception analysis and selective filtering overestimate the significance of the audience. Philo demonstrates that whilst the audience can actively reject or accept information, the GMG shows that the media can easily manipulate people. How can this be measured accurately?
  2. It assumes all journalists agree and conform to the dominant ideology. Some journalists are independent and do not conform.
  3. It supports the fact that audiences can have some control, but this isn’t always the case. People can have an illusion of choice. e.g. listening to a range of different political figures on BBC debate, unbeknown that they have been filtered to exclude the BNP for example.

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