Dissent and the Failure of Leadership

Dissent and the Failure of Leadership

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Edited by Stephen P. Banks

A timely discussion of dissent as a critical factor that differentiates leadership failures and successes. This book explores the vital but largely unrecognized connections between leadership and dissent. From interdisciplinary perspectives the author demonstrates dissent as a critical factor that differentiates leadership failures and successes and examines how dissent is implicated in problems plaguing theory development in leadership studies. By way of conclusion new proposals for legitimating dissent as a unique instrument for advancing social development and avoiding failures of leadership are presented.

Chapter 9: Press Professionalization, Corporate Rationalization and the Management of Dissent

David S. Allen

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership


David S. Allen INTRODUCTION The press has long been understood as a liberating and democratizing instrument for society’s dissenting voices. News reports often carry the most dramatic and extreme expressions of dissent, and dissenters strive to create events that will gain media attention in recognition of the influence of news reporting on public opinion. However, it is well established that certain voices, be they dissenting or not, have an easier time gaining access to mainstream news reports than other voices. And even when dissenting voices do gain access, the way the media frames those voices influences the potential impact they have. This chapter argues that two connected movements help citizens understand how the press functions to manage dissent within society: press professionalization and corporate rationalization. Rather than being a way of insuring diversity, professionalization has become a way of instituting sameness while allowing corporate values such as efficiency, profitability, popularity and individualism to be transferred from the economic sector of society to the public sphere. This process, referred to as corporate rationalization, establishes an elite, technocratic press that is more concerned with social control than allowing people to have access to dissenting voices. In doing so, professionalization tends to separate the press from the public rather than making the press a vital part of public life. In discussing the press, I refer generally to mainstream news production and distribution. Recent developments in the alternative press and new media hold promise of countering the dynamics and problems...

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