Over the past generation, it has become increasingly clear to those on the left that the U.S. mass media, far from performing an autonomous and adversarial role in U.S. society, actively frame issues and promote news stories that serve the needs and concerns of the elite. Moreover, the importance of the leading corporate mass media in contemporary politics radically transcends the role of the mass media in earlier times. Hence, the Left has begun to pay considerable attention to how the media are structured and controlled and how they operate. Nevertheless, the ideology of the "free press" has proven to be a difficult adversary for left critics; as the media's operations are central to the modern polity, their legitimacy is shielded by layers and layers of ideological obfuscation.
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