Book: Media Control

AboutMedia Control vis

Through a rearticulation of previous media studies research and empirical inquiry, Media control: News as an institution of power and social control (Bloomsbury) argues that the journalistic community aligns itself so closely with the power elite that journalists operate as police agents, conduct surveillance for both governments and business, and, through the news, promote white ideologies – all under the mandates and guise of the Fourth Estate. The book includes artwork from Jared Rodriguez who creates for



– The press operate within a system of surveillance and violence in ways that meet the needs and expectations of their own organizations and promote those of The Power Elite.

– Media serve to subjugate individuals and collectives by applying dominant ideologies of white supremacy and justifying the violence of ‘virtuous war.’

– News explanations are intentionally presented with a lack of context to make room for explanations that increase consumerism, anti-intellectualism, and a dedication to ‘Americanized’ ideologies of militarization.


Release & Reviews

You can order it here.

Book review: Journal of Communication Inquiry, 2o16


“As the battle to control information in a digital world intensifies, this book places front and center the media’s ability to shape meaning in our everyday lives and its relationship to the ‘Power Elite.’ Through notions of propaganda, controversy, conspiracy and place-making, this book won’t just rattle some journalism cages that seek to preserve classical notions of news media and power – it will shatter them. The book also addresses a paucity of scholarly work on the local press by examining issues of media control closest to home. This is a timely and valuable contribution to the field. A must read.” – Kristy Hess, journalism and media scholar, Deakin University, Australia


“In a reflexive account of media control, Robert Gutsche revives the news-as-propaganda model of journalism. He argues that news of fear today justifies government surveillance and militaristic force, reifies power structures that privilege the rich and well positioned, and establishes stark and helpful good-evil demarcations in society. Whether or not you agree with his assessments, Gutsche’s work is a radical statement about the complicit role the press has in promoting fear, violence, and social control. Media Control offers an alternative perspective about the role of journalism reminiscent of Noam Chomsky, and represents a conversation piece that would be useful in journalism classes and among those interested in assessing media, journalism education and their function in a democratic society.” – Sue Robinson, Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA


“This brave and groundbreaking book in critical journalism throws a devastating blow to the myth about the media and police neutrality. Far from it, Robert Gutsche posits, these two centers of power share the same objective: social control of local communities. Local ‘news’ about crime, the argument goes, create the local community in its own image; in such capacity, ‘news’ about crime acts as a symbolic police force patrolling the very space it has created and owns, as its own beat. To the extent that Gutsche takes a cue from Chomsky’s and Greenwald’s scrutiny of the global media, and shifts the critical focus onto local media and its coverage of a crime, Media Control is a must read for every student studying journalism.” – Dušan I. Bjelić, Professor of Criminology, University of Southern Maine, USA


Media Control is a rare, critical look at the power of news at a time of increased surveillance and policing. It’s a must read for journalists, citizens and scholars who are concerned about the future of a free society – and their role in it.” – Thom Hartmann, progressive commentator and New York Times best-selling author of The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America and What We Can Do to Stop It


“Although not explicitly stated by the founding fathers, but clearly explicated here, is that ultimately what the media has today (and perhaps has always had) is power; specifically, the power to inform, the power to persuade, and the power to help steer the opinions of vast swaths of the population on topics ranging from perceptions of war to their perception of politicians. In this clearly elucidated book, Robert Gutsche helps readers understand how the media wield power. It is a must-read for scholars, laypeople, and anyone who is just interested in knowing about the workings of the media, the construction of news, and ultimately what effect the media does, and does not have, on people’s perception of reality.” – Lanier Holt, Assistant Professor, School of Communication, The Ohio State University, USA


Related Papers


Refereed Articles

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2015). Boosterism as banishment: Identifying the power function of local, business news and coverage of city spaces. Journalism Studies, 16(4), 497-512. (DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2014.924730). PDF

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. & Salkin, E. R. (2015). Who lost what? An analysis of myth, loss, and proximity in news coverage of the Steubenville rape. Journalism: Theory, Practice, and Criticism. (DOI: 10.1177/1464884914566195). PDF

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2014). News place-making: Applying ‘mental mapping’ to explore the journalistic interpretive community. Visual Communication. 13(4), 487-510. (DOI: 10.1177/1470357214541754). PDF

Gutsche, Jr., R. E., Naranjo, C. & Martinez-Bustos, L. (2014). ’Now we can talk’: The role of culture in journalistic boundary work during the boycott of Puerto Rico’s La Comay. Journalism Practice. (DOI: 10.1080/17512786.2014.963358). PDF

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2014). There’s no place like home: Storytelling of war in Afghanistan and street crime ‘at home’ in the Omaha World-Herald. Journalism Practice, 8(1), 65-79. (DOI: 10.1080/17512786.2013.778602) PDF

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2013). Zombies, drugs, & Florida weirdness: ‘Imaginative power’ & resonance in coverage of Miami’s ‘Causeway Cannibal.’ Journalism Studies, 14(4), 555-567. (DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2013.779106) PDF


Refereed Presentations

Salkin, E. & Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2015). Behold the monster: Mythical explanations of deviance and evil in news of the Amish school shooting, Association for the Education of Journalism & Mass Communication, Cultural and Critical Studies Division, August 6-9, San Francisco, California.

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. & Shumow, M. (2015). Nocturnal geosemiotics of forced migration: The gentrification of Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, International Communication Association, Ethnicity and Race in Communication Division, May 21-25, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2013). Location matters: A critical reading of place-based apps-as-business and as-news, The Future of Journalism Conference 2013. Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, September 12-13, 2013, Cardiff, Wales, UK.


Invited Presentations

Gutsche, Jr., R. E. (2015). Government influence & journalism, Digital Future Forum Mobile Journalism Round Table, Miami, June 25, 2015