Media Propaganda Part 1

All of these points are from Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.

First off, it is difficult to identify propaganda in a private media with no formal censorship.

Because the media is so filtered, the journalists feel they are objectively presenting the news.

If you want to own a media outlet with a large reach, you need to be extremely wealthy.

In summay, the dominant media firms are quite large businesses; they are controlled by very wealthy people or by managers who are subject to sharp constraints by owners and other market-profit-oriented forces;40 and they are closely interlocked, and have important common interests, with other major corporations, banks, and government. This is the first powerful filter that will affect news choices.

Obviously, the wealthy owners of the media want to maintain the status quo. They are also more likely to have close relationships with the mainstream of corporate America by serving on boards of directors and other social links.

The media has a dependency on the government.

The radio-TV companies and networks all require government licenses and franchises and are thus potentially subject to government control or harassment. This technical legal dependency has been used as a club to discipline the media, and media policies that stray too often from an establishment orientation could activate this threat.

The media also depends on the government for daily content.

Advertising helped squeeze out dissident voices by becoming the de facto licensing authority.

Without advertisers, newspapers ceased to be economically viable. Before advertising became the major deciding factor in a newspaper’s success, it was a free market where the public had the choice to buy or not. Advertising changed the game. Their ads helped offset the costs of the paper. Thus, a paper used to cost a couple dollars before advertising. With ads, the paper could sell for much cheaper. If a newspaper had trouble getting advertisers, it would be forced to sell the paper for a loss or continue selling it for a couple of dollars.

The media (and advertisers) prefer an audience with buying power.

The idea that the drive for large audiences makes the mass media “democratic” thus suffers from the initial weakness that its political analogue is a voting system weighted by income! The power of advertisers over television programming stems from the simple fact that they buy and pay for the programs—they are the “patrons” who provide the media subsidy.

Therefore, it is unlikely that corporations would support a television program critical of the corporate world.

With the rise in the price of advertising spots, the forgone revenue increases; and with increasing market pressure for financial performance and the diminishing constraints from regulation, an advertising-based media system will gradually increase advertising time and marginalize or eliminate altogether programming that has significant public-affairs content.58 Advertisers will want, more generally, to avoid programs with serious complexities and disturbing controversies that interfere with the “buying mood.” They seek programs that will lightly entertain and thus fit in with the spirit of the primary purpose of program purchases—the dissemination of a selling message.

The media has symbiotic relationship with powerful sources of information by economic necessity and reciprocity of interest.

The media likes these powerful official sources of information because it is seen as being objective. It is also an inexpensive source since it is already considered credible by the public. Thus, there is no fact checking or research to do in order to verify the source. When you have a source that is not presumed credible, you must do more work to verify the information to protect yourself from criticism and threats.

The government and large corporations have huge public information operations that serve as primary sources for the media and allows them special access.

In effect, the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access by their contribution to reducing the media’s costs of acquiring the raw materials of, and producing, news.

This close relationship with the media allows the powerful to coerce the media through personal relationships, threats, or rewards.

It is very difficult to call authorities on whom one depends for daily news liars, even if they tell whoppers. Critical sources may be avoided not only because of their lesser availability and higher cost of establishing credibility, but also because the primary sources may be offended and may even threaten the media using them.

These corporations also try to shape the public debate by hiring “experts” that are behind the desired message. The corporation may establish a think tank to hire the “expert” and disseminate such messages

Back in 1972, Judge Lewis Powell (later elevated to the Supreme Court) wrote a memo to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urging business “to buy the top academic reputations in the country to add credibility to corporate studies and give business a stronger voice on the campuses.”90 One buys them, and assures that—in the words of Dr. Edwin Feulner, of the Heritage Foundation—the public-policy area “is awash with in-depth academic studies” that have the proper conclusions.

The corporate funding and clear ideological slant of these experts does not seem to make them any less credible to the media. In many cases, it catapults them into the press.

to be continued….

America and You

Americans feel powerless to make any substantial changes in their own society. Our Constitution is over 200 years old. It was ratified to govern 2.5 million people at the time. It now governs over 300 million people. It has been amended from time to time, but such amendments are rare. As a society, everyone seems afraid of every other person. We have random people pulling guns and shooting people up. People work more and more hours for less and less money.  Yet, we are numb to it.

A Kindergarten class is shot to death. It wasn’t you or your child being shot, so who cares?

Our banks bring us to the edge of economic collapse. For the most part, no one is held accountable. But all that happened on Wall Street, so who cares?

Wal-Mart moves into town and wipes out small businesses and all the mom and pop stores. Then it pays its own employees the bare minimum. But it isn’t you working for Wal-Mart, so who cares?

We allow to people to go to jail over such little things such as possessing/selling a small amount of a particular herb. But it doesn’t affect you, so who cares?

We have militarized police shut down one of the biggest cities in America in search for a single individual. Despite all the armor, manpower, and high-tech equipment, it takes a citizen to notice that a tarp on his boat had been moved. It wasn’t your city, so who cares?

Out of all industrialized societies, we imprison the largest percentage of its population. But you aren’t in prison, so who cares?

It is harder to climb the socio-economic ladder here than in Europe. You are doing okay, so who cares?

Our government manages to afford a sundry of military contracts and has the ability to collect all kinds of information on its citizens. But it goes mostly unseen, so who cares?

Our education system is falling behind, especially in math and science. But hey, we have great football games on Saturdays, so who cares?

Our healthcare system is among the most expensive, yet does a poorer job than those in other countries. You don’t tend to get sick, so who cares?

Mental health goes largely ignored until someone snaps and begins shooting. You seem sane enough, so who cares?

A large percentage of children in this wealthy country of ours goes to bed hungry every night. But it isn’t you, so who cares?

We should all care. It’s our country. We have to come together and see through sweeping changes. We should be willing to take risks as a nation. At least then, we will be the ones in control and not the banks or some other entity.

The current system is not working. America can do better. It has to do better if it wants to remain significant in the world. What will it take to make significant lasting changes in this country of ours? I’m afraid of the answer.  My prediction is that change is inevitably coming in one way or another. Why not help make America better for you and me on our time before we are forced to try and scale a mountain after an avalanche.

So ask yourself: Do you care about any of these issues?  You should. It’s your country. It’s your neighbors and family. It’s you.

And it’s up to you to make a change.