The apparatus programs the subject ...
In the production and transmission of media images, different apparatuses with differing levels of technological sophistication create a network that has the effect of controlling what the viewer or the subject sees. The subject sees only what the camera sees. The apparatus, like the network of which it is a part, is generally invisible. We have also discussed (using Chapter 3 of Berger) how it is that a way of seeing can be gendered. In other words, the media image will conform in one way or another to social norms. The question now arises as to how the media reenforces, inflects, or possibly creates those norms.
There seems to me to be little possibility of dialoging with the media concerning these norms. We can turn off the set, of course, but at a minimum this much is also true: the flow of images is hierarchical and discourages conversation among those situated at the receiving end of the transmission. In this sense at least it can be said that the viewer has been programmed to accept a position within a hierarchy or power structure. That power itself is to a degree invisible and unaccountable for the norms of social practice that may be associated with the projected or transmitted images. I am touching here on the topic of ideolgy. T. J. Clark, in The Painting of Modern Life, has written that "ideology acts as a limit to discourse." In the hierarchy that makes the viewer subject to the sender of the media message, we have a reflection of how power operates in mass societies. We have a set of beliefs about power, control, and accountability that is seldom examined. Such a set of beliefs is what is generally meant by ideology. An ideology is then a set of beliefs that assigns a social position to a subject. Imagine that all of us are consumers and want to be smart consumers. Is this statement relevant to you? Do you wish to question its relevancy? With whom would you have a discussion about its relevancy? The difficulty of ans wering these questions speaks to the profound power of an ideology. In everyday life then, an ideology is a bleif that subjects the individual to a power that has the effect of controlling what he or she says or thinks.
The suggestion in the above is this: in addtion to the role of technology in the production and transmission of images and messages, one must also consider the relation of technology to ideology.
Now, consider some of the different senses of the word "program" ...