How far was media, popular culture and British society 'Thatcherised' after 1979?

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Mind Map on How far was media, popular culture and British society 'Thatcherised' after 1979?, created by willo118_murphy on 04/19/2014.

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Created by willo118_murphy over 5 years ago
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How far was media, popular culture and British society 'Thatcherised' after 1979?
1 The political and economic context: what was Thatcherism?
1.1 Although Thatcher resigned in 1990, no government since then, including the Labour government s of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has seriously challenged the general thrust of Margaret Thatcher's policies.
1.2 Thatcher promoted the free market and individual wealth.
1.3 On average, the British people became wealthier, the gap between the rich and the poor became even larger. Average disposable income rose by 37% during her reign.
1.4 She use regressive tax - a tax which takes a higher percentage of a person's income the richer they are. She increased VAT by 7%.
1.5 British people became more used to borrowing to pay for consumer goods. There was a rise in public debt went to 1.3 trillion - by far the highest in Europe. Around 20% of total families faced problems with debt. This was made worse by the launch of the credit card.
1.6 The were fewer people who were genuine members of the old working class. Trade unions were weakened severely. The number of miners fell from 200,000 to 10,000. many local communities were affected by the end of a major local industry.
2 How far did Thatcherism affect mass media?
2.1 Television
2.1.1 Thatcher introduced a number of changes that sought to promote competition in the media industry. This was at the expense of the BBC, which she saw as a wasteful organisation.
2.1.2 The launch of channel 4. This would be subsidised by ITV advertising, and would have legal instructions to educate, innovate and provide for minority tastes.
2.1.3 Cable and Broadcasting act in 1984. This allowed cables to carry as many television channels into the homes of subscribers as possible. Independent production companies made up 25% of programmes.
2.1.4 Acquisitions and mergers were allowed between franchises, this led to significant cross-media ownership. Dumbing down of programmes and the rise of commercial advertising to as many viewers as possible had fuelled greater consumerism.
2.2 Radio
2.2.1 The 1990 Broadcasting Act led to the establishment of many more local and regional commercial stations.
2.3 Cinema
2.3.1 Sometimes the Thatcher years are called the 'renaissance' of cinema. Thatcher did much to undermine the British media industry. Increased audiences were primarily driven by the popularity of American blockbusters made up 85% of British films shown in cinemas.
2.3.2 Here too, she tried to remove subsidies and promote the free market. Thatcher privatised the finance corporation for film and removed 25% of investments on film. Many film directors, such as Ridley Scott, went to work in America and made films such as Blade Runner and Gladiator
2.3.3 Many British film makers made films with American financial backing to attract mass audiences.
2.3.4 After the mass successes of films such as four weddings and a funeral, the government set up the UK film council to stimulate a competitive film industry.
2.4 Press
2.4.1 The tough line taken against trade unions allowed newspaper owners to modernise their printing operations. Journalists could put together he newspaper and print it electronically without having to use specialist print workers.
2.4.2 For a whole year, many of the redundant workers demonstrated outside the newspaper HQ of Rupert Murdock, there was a full police presence there too when it turned violent. Over 1000 arrests were made.
2.4.3 Thatcher used the law to restrict the media reporting on issues of national security far more than previous governments.
3 How far did mass media promote Thatcherism after 1979?
3.1 Thatcher encouraged people to make as much money as they could. Many television shows were glamorising wealth and materialism
3.2 Shows focused on the lives of rich, selfish characters, but also catered for viewers with increased disposable income who wanted to improve their lifestyles. This began with Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson on cooking programmes, gardening was also extremely popular and encouraged people to improve their gardens.
3.3 Television suggested ways in which ordinary people could obtain or replicate the sophistication and luxury that had previously been preserved for the rich. Shopping itself became a leisure activity with cafes in garden centres, 'Lifestyle' programmes grew quickly because they were cheep to produce.
3.4 How far did Cinema promote Thatcherism?
3.4.1 Films did not have a direct link with Thatcherism, unlike press or television, films are rooted in action, escapism and allegory. But they were seen to criticise or react to values that Thatcher stood for.
3.4.2 Thatcher's economic views were derived from American attitudes to business and economy.
3.4.3 Individualism, freedom and ambition were hugely reflected in American films. British films reacted to Thatcherism in two different ways, referred to 'us' and 'them' films
3.4.3.1 'Us' films were by smaller companies who overwhelmingly attacked Thatcherism, either through realist depiction or social tension that resulted in the increased gap between the rich and the poor.
3.4.3.2 'Them' films depict a romanticised, historical image of Britain to appeal to American perceptions of Britain and maximise profits.
3.5 How far did the press promote Thatcherism?
3.5.1 Around 70% of British newspapers in circulation backed the conservative party, with only the Daily mirror backing the labour party on a large scale.
3.5.2 The Sun switched sides to the conservative party.
3.5.3 The process of 'tabloidization', front covers contained fewer words and increasingly larger headlines. Travel and finance sections all attracted target advertising and promoted consumerism
4 Investigative journalism and the government after 1979
4.1 Thatcher did not just promote competition to undermine the BBC, she also tried to directly intervene by banning some programmes and appointing people who sympathised with her views. She disliked the way the BBC reported on Northern Ireland.
4.2 ITV was not immune from attempted interference.ITV listed a show that investigated the killing of three members of the IRA earlier that year, where it was claimed that the SAS shot them in cold blood. Thatcher tried t ban the show.
4.3 The media and the Falkland's war
4.3.1 The Falklands islands represented no real value, the British said they would only withdraw when the inhabitants of the island voted for this to happen, but seeing as the island was British, this was not likely to happen.
4.3.2 The Falklands war began when Argentinian forces occupied the islands. Argentina wanted a quick military victory to distract people from the domestic problems, Britain sent a task force to attack them. Thatcher ordered the sinking of the Belgrano, which was subsequently torpedoed and sunk .
4.3.3 Some approved of this action to protect British troops, whilst some say the ship was outside of the Total Exclusion Zone. But the attack still boosted Thatcher's popularity
4.3.4 This led to a huge surge of pride and patriotism for Britain, the argument on how the media reported on the Belgrano dragged on . Clive Ponting, a civil servant at the ministry of defence, leaked tw documents that confirmed the ship was outside the Total Exclusion Zone. The government arrested Ponting and charged him with breaking the official Secrets Act
4.3.5 Clive Ponting was found not guilty by the jury who felt that the documents were in the public interest
5 Dr David Kelly and the 'Dodgy Dossier'
5.1 Dr David Kelly was found dead in woods near his home in Oxfordshire. He had apparently committed suicide by taking painkillers and cutting his left wrist. many people did not believe the report and saw it as part of a government cover-up.
5.2 Dr Kelly was an expert in biological warfare and played a major role in uncovering biological weapons in Iraq after the gulf war. These were a key claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and no such weapons were found after the war.
5.3 Dr Kelly met with a reporter on the assurance that Dr Kelly would not be named in the news stories. Dr Kelly told the reporter the dossier for the Iraq was was fake. The Ministry of Defence confirmed that he was the source and put him under enormous stress.
5.4 The government were found innocent of any involvement into Kelly's death or the 'sexing up' of the dossier. The government blamed wrong reports and mismanagement of the BBC. The General of the BBC resigned.

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