‘Smooth operator?’ The propaganda model and moments of crisis

Freedman, Des (D. J.). 2009. ‘Smooth operator?’ The propaganda model and moments of crisis. Westminster Papers in Communication, 6(2), pp. 59-72. ISSN 1744-6708 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The propaganda model is a powerful tool for explaining systematic flaws in media coverage. But
does it explain the cracks and tensions within the commercial media that are capable of arising at
moments of political crisis and elite disagreement? To what extent does the model privilege a
flawless structuralist account of media power at the expense of focusing on contradictory
dynamics inside the capitalist media? This article looks at a key moment where critical media
content was generated by a mainstream media organization: the coverage of the run-up to the
Iraq War in the British tabloid paper, the Daily Mirror in 2003. It reflects on the consequences of
such a moment for resisting corporate media power and asks whether it suggests the need for a
revision of the propaganda model or, rather, provides further validation of its relevance.

Item Type:


Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies > Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre



Item ID:


Date Deposited:

14 Oct 2011 07:59

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:30

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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