By: Todd Smekens
BLOG What would the United States look like today if the Elite media in this country was truly independent and held our government actors and industry accountable? Would most Americans be on the same page and have similar beliefs? Why are news agencies like the Washington Post and New York Times writing articles calling individual alternative media sites #FakeNews?
Furthermore, when the Elite Media in this country calls Russia Today (RT) a state owned propaganda network negatively influencing our elections, how is this different from their role in our representative republic?
Believe it or not, these questions have already been answered by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in 1988. Yes, just about thirty years ago, these scholars wrote a book called the “Propaganda Model” dispelling the American myth that our press is free and independent. The media is filtered – contrived. They wrote:
The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfill this role requires systematic propaganda.
If you read their above paragraph several times, slowly, you will discover the real purpose of mass media – it “shapes the individual to fit into society’s institutions.”
Conformity. Obedience. Acceptance. Consumerism.
Some would argue, we have media options ranging from liberal to conservative along a political spectrum. In recent months, we’ve now added an Alt-Right and Alt-Left, whatever they mean.
The problem with 90% of these media sources is NONE of them hold ‘truth to power.’ The furthest they go is holding the government accountable for our problems. They slam opposing politicians. Politicians are simply ‘owned actors.’ The real power comes from their owners – the corporations, industry trade groups, lobbyists, and billionaires. Money buys political seats and then dictates policy. Period.
The ‘Mainstream Media’ – or liberal to conservative bias is a joke when it’s all propaganda. The media is playing their part by dividing up the people into targeted markets. They cater to your already ingrained false social beliefs (values, belief systems).
They aren’t asking you to change them – they reinforce what you’ve already developed. The media doesn’t want to dispel your false beliefs or tell you that your beliefs are false because you’d change the channel or drop your subscription. That’s why the “left media” blames the party on the “right” and the “right media” blames the party on the “left.”
Meanwhile, nobody touches the billionaires and lobbyists behind the scenes calling the shots. Therefore, income and wealth inequalities grow. The gap between the wealthiest Americans and poorest has never been wider.
In closing, here’s another excerpt from Chomsky and Herman:
In addition to discrimination against unfriendly media institutions, advertisers also choose selectively among programs on the basis of their own principles. With rare exceptions these are culturally and politically conservative. Large corporate advertisers on television will rarely sponsor programs that engage in serious criticisms of corporate activities, such as the problem of environmental degradation, the workings of the military-industrial complex, or corporate support of and benefits from Third World tyrannies. Erik Barnouw recounts the history of a proposed documentary series on environmental problems by NBC at a time of great interest in these issues. Barnouw notes that although at that time a great many large companies were spending money on commercials and other publicity regarding environmental problems, the documentary series failed for want of sponsors. The problem was one of excessive objectivity in the series, which included suggestions of corporate or systemic failure, whereas the corporate message “was one of reassurance.”
In other words, the media you watch on either side of the political spectrum is propaganda because there are plenty of filters keeping it that way. None more important than advertisers (money). Therefore, it’s rather comical when the Elite Media players today call any other agency #FakeNews. Many of the media sources labeled as “Fake” by the Elite Media are actually providing readers with objective critiques of not only the media but of our economic system.