NOTES ON: Heck, M  'The ideological dimension of media messages' in Hall S et al (eds) Culture Media and Language pp: 122 - 82. 

This piece discusses the  'ideology effect' in Poulantzas. Ideology is not a matter of false consciousness but an imaginary relation, and this is coded. These are structures, in the sense that Althusser says ideologies are structures, or sets of rules  (Heck derives this from a Spanish reference) . Eco too talks of the need to code knowledge in communicative intentions. Ideology is often 'latent' so we need to study these mechanisms of organization -- what is said and 'what is not said but could be said'.

There can be aberrant decodings, especially at the level of denotation of meanings  rather than connotative -- decoding the latter is often limited to certain groups  (page 124)  [presumably those with cultural capital -- academics, semioticians, media professionals?]. 

Heck also discusses Barthes on the process of secondary signification -- for example, the word  'pig' signifies as an animal, which then comes to stand for a policeman, or a male chauvinist. Myth can be seen as a special case of connotation, a more universalised set of meanings which have become dominant and hegemonic. 

Denotation is not a natural or neutral process of meaning [compared to the ideological developments of connotations]. Ideology involves all the operations of the sign  (this refers specifically to a dispute with one of Terry Lovell's articles in Screen).  Denotation is simply a set of naturalised meanings but a  'superior myth', according to Barthes in S/Z.  In this case, Baudrillard is also right to say that denotations are the more ideological of the two operations. (page 127).

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