Hegemony and the Canadian newspaper industry's portrayal of the Oka crisis
Skea, Warren H.
The Canadian newspaper industry possesses considerable freedom over how it reports and portrays news events. The intention of this thesis is to examine how the Canadian daily newspaper industry, an industry that professes and prides itself on being objective and professional, portrays one such situation, the Oka crisis. Specifically, this thesis analyzes the ideological function of the newspaper industry during the Oka crisis when extensive public relations campaigns were employed by both the government and the army to prepare and manage their media releases. The literature suggests that the portrayal of news events in Canadian newspapers is based on four variables: i) the editorial nature of a newspaper, ii) the region in which a newspaper is published in Canada, iii) the corporate structure of the newspaper, and iv) the type of sources utilized in a particular article. A thematic analysis of all articles and editorials within a one week time frame found in fifteen major daily Canadian newspapers is provided as well as tests of significance of the four independent variables. The statistical analysis suggests that three of the four independent variables the literature suggests are important, in fact are not significant in the thematic portrayal of Oka crisis by the Canadian newspaper industry. Alternatively, this thesis employs the theoretical concept of hegemony, which proposes that the ruling class is able to coerce subordinate groups or classes into consenting to their best interests by suggesting the interests they promote are in everyone's best interest. The ruling class then receives mass popular support of their agenda from the subordinate groups. Hegemony, when successful, is undetectable. Similarly, in liberal democratic societies, like Canada, the newspaper industry relies on the concepts of objectivity and freedom of the press so that ideology sustaining the political and economic status quo may be latently published in newspapers without any scepticism by the reading public.