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Power Struggles in Society Mills Schudson and Gitlin show different approaches to society and the role of mass media Each approach helps illustrate a different focus on society They each hold special relevance in a discussion of the history of societal beliefs The Mass Society refers to the overall belief C Wright Mills held in relation to the type of society he believed we live in Mills began The Power Elite with a bold statement saying The powers of ordinary men are circumscribed by the everyday words in which they live yet even in these rounds of job family and neighborhood they often seem driven by forces they can neither understand nor govern Mills 1956 p3 This opening sentence helps describe the attitude and beliefs of the entire book A power elite exists in a society that is made up of three spheres They are divided into economy political and military with the same group of people interchanging between the three This large group of elite is at the top making all the decisions while the masses are at the bottom unaware of the process that molds public opinion Masses within this view of society are irrelevant and do not have any type of influence The media functions as an entertainment source keeping the masses entertained while the elite is taking care of all the important matters It helps keep the reality and truth of the world obscured from the masses Mills explained what the media does for the masses as they distract him and obscure his chance to understand himself or his world by fastening his attention upon artificial frenzies that are revolved within the program framework usually by violent action or by what is called humor Mills p315 This helps illuminate how the mass media guides tries to control and manipulates the masses Mills describes the effect of mass media as a sort of psychological illiteracy to the extent that we often
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