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Teddy Chan

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Does our mass media act as propaganda?

Hey guys,

Do you agree with the Propaganda Model? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_model

Personally I think it is right and that corporate bias is out of control; we see this with Occupy Wall Street. These news media outlets, controlled by large companies, are stating that the wall street movement is a bunch of weed smoking hippies and that the 30 people of the tea party rally were not.

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  • Nov 9 2012: Time-Warner is more interested in protecting their stockholders than in dispensing news. They chose Albert Einstein as Person of the Century because it improved their bottom line; they would have not made nearly as much money putting Franklin Roosevelt on the cover as "Person of the Century".

    Media giants are driven by the profit motive. If good news is a by product---so much the better. If propoganda can get you good ratings and drive up revenue then propoganda is what you will get.

    When we lose real news outlets like Knight Ridder, the only news outlet that told the truth about the Iraq War, then the propogandists will spin the media.
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    Nov 7 2012: It depends on how broadly you define propaganda. Some people would argue that propaganda only occurs when government is trying to sway public opinion, in which case mass media is rarely propaganda. Others argue that propaganda is something that people in power use to sway public opinion. If you are like me, and believe that government and big business share power in modern society, then advertisement and public relations are a form of propaganda. That definition gets very murky though, how big does a corporation have to be before its considered capable of propaganda? Is a lone individual engaging in ideological rants participating in propaganda?

    Others argue that propaganda is in the subject matter. The message must be political or ideological to be considered propaganda. That gets murky too, what is considered political and what is not? Is politics only about politicians, or do debates about the economy, environment, and education also count as political messages?


    In general I consider public relations campaigns by powerful entities to be propaganda. As far as Chomsky's propaganda model that you link to, it is not necessarily a reflection of the media as a whole, but instead a long series of case studies and a general "how to" of propaganda. Remember, that book was written in 1988 and things have changed a lot since then. Nevertheless it can be seen in action in the real world. It is important to know that despite increasing centralized ownership of mass media outlets the message is not that well controlled. There are PR wars going on all the time and the end result is somewhat chaotic, all of which is peppered with a much larger variety of independent media than existed when Herman and Chomsky wrote Manufacturing Consent.
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    Nov 6 2012: First I agree that mass media is a propaganda machine.

    Second: The OWS example was a poor choice. The article was actually that the OWS movement did not have the central leadership and it was joined by other factors with other agendas and that become the focus of the media. The comparison was the Tea Party to the OWS. The Tea Party was a better organized protest in that it followed all the guideline and cleaned up after the alloted time where the OWS did not and agin the media focused on that.

    I would expect disagreement as this would be a matter of perception on each of our parts. By your photo it would not be hard to determine where your heart is.

    All the best. Bob.
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    Nov 4 2012: Adolph Hitler said QUOTE: "Propaganda must not serve the truth, especially in so far as it might bring out something favorable to the opponent."
    It's a big world and I can't possibly know much about what is happening unless someone tells me. Enter mass media, print, radio, TV, and the internet. Only in a perfect world would the people who tell me stuff be careful not to slant the information in one way or another to serve their own agenda. So, I say yes, always and absolutely, mass media acts as propaganda.
    Critical thinking is dead, long live critical thinking!
  • Nov 4 2012: Of course, but can we still formulate our individual opinions?
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    Nov 2 2012: Yes it does. Always has and always will.
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    Nov 2 2012: i believe that this is minuscule in importance. the mass media sells what sells best. they don't care what it is. any kind of active propaganda is a baggage they would have to carry. any such burden is a disadvantage in the competition, therefore either gets abandoned or go down together with said media.
  • Nov 2 2012: "Does our mass media act as propaganda?"

    Yes, but there's no media conspiracy behind it, rather spindoctors know how the media will always try to maximize ratings and try to show two sides of a debate (except faux news) and this is exploited to trick the media into acts of propaganda. The media are very reluctant to call bullsh*t on anything because they are afraid to be accused of partisanship, this makes them vulnerable to manipulation.
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    Nov 2 2012: Mass media is shapes opinions and perspectives. Which is not a necessarily a bad thing because being influenced is not a bad thing. It is a fact of life. If the media does not influence, society would do, friends would.
    But when the media is not run by people of integrity and character, they would use their influence to promote lies or to embellish the truth.
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    Nov 2 2012: It's either billdoard for advert or machine for propaganda....that's what my feeling is.