Mainstream papers and broadcasters provide a hugely distorted picture of our world

arcadeparade

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The increasingly centralised, corporate nature of the media means that it acts as a de facto propaganda system for corporate and other establishment interests. The costs incurred as a result of this propaganda, in terms of human suffering and environmental degradation, are incalculable.

I am not saying that the mainstream media is some kind of a giant conspiracy to keep the public ignorant.

The inevitably corrupting effects of ‘market forces’ operating on, and through, media corporations seeking profit in a society dominated by corporate power are what distort the balance of the media in favour of big business.

I am also not saying that mainstream journalists are generally guilty of self-censorship and conscious lying; it is the all-too-human tendency to self-deception accounts for their conviction that they are honest purveyors of uncompromised truth. We all have a tendency to believe what best suits our purpose; highly paid, highly privileged editors and journalists are no exception. In any case, professionals whose attitudes and opinions most closely serve the needs of corporate power, whether in media institutions or elsewhere, are more likely to be filtered through to positions of authority within such institutions.

Because much modern suffering is rooted in the unlimited greed of corporate profit-maximising - in the subordination of people and planet to profit - it seems to us to be a genuine tragedy that society has for so long been forced to rely on the corporate media for 'accurate' information. Obvious conflicts of interest mean it is all but impossible for the media to provide this information. We did not expect the Soviet Communist Party's newspaper Pravda to tell the truth about the Communist Party, why should we expect the corporate press to tell the truth about corporate power?

But surely our major authoritative media, such as the BBC/RTE, are more or less neutral in their reporting and analysis?

Media 'neutrality' is a deception that often serves to hide systematic pro-corporate bias. 'Neutrality' most often involves 'impartially' reporting dominant establishment views, while ignoring or marginalising non-establishment views. In reality it is not possible for journalists to be neutral; regardless of whether we do or do not overtly give our personal opinion, that opinion is always reflected in the facts we choose to highlight or ignore.

This was an excerpt from the website medialens - correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media - corporate media issues, which undertakes media monitoring covering both broadsheet press coverage and terrestrial broadcasting in the UK.

Their full FAQ is at faq

Manufacturing Consent

The propaganda model


Using the propaganda model, Manufacturing Consent posits that corporate-owned news mass communication media—print, radio, television—are businesses subject to commercial competition for advertising revenue and profit. As such, their distortion (editorial bias) of news reportage—i.e. what types of news, which items, and how they are reported—is a consequence of the profit motive that requires establishing a stable, profitable business; therefore, news businesses favoring profit over the public interest succeed, while those favoring reportorial accuracy over profits fail, and are relegated to the margins of their markets (low sales and ratings).

Editorial bias: five filters

Herman and Chomsky's "propaganda model" describes five editorially-distorting filters applied to news reporting in mass media:

1. Size, Ownership, and Profit Orientation: The dominant mass-media outlets are large firms which are run for profit. Therefore they must cater to the financial interest of their owners - often corporations or particular controlling investors. The size of the firms is a necessary consequence of the capital requirements for the technology to reach a mass audience.

2. The Advertising License to Do Business: Since the majority of the revenue of major media outlets derives from advertising (not from sales or subscriptions), advertisers have acquired a "de-facto licensing authority". Media outlets are not commercially viable without the support of advertisers. News media must therefore cater to the political prejudices and economic desires of their advertisers. This has weakened the working-class press, for example, and also helps explain the attrition in the number of newspapers.

3. Sourcing Mass Media News: Herman and Chomsky argue that “the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access [to the news], by their contribution to reducing the media’s costs of acquiring [...] and producing, news. The large entities that provide this subsidy become 'routine' news sources and have privileged access to the gates. Non-routine sources must struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers.”

4. Flak and the Enforcers: "Flak" refers to negative responses to a media statement or program (e.g. letters, complaints, lawsuits, or legislative actions). Flak can be expensive to the media, either due to loss of advertising revenue, or due to the costs of legal defense or defense of the media outlet's public image. Flak can be organized by powerful, private influence groups (e.g. think tanks). The prospect of eliciting flak can be a deterrent to the reporting of certain kinds of facts or opinions.

5. Anti-Communism: This was included as a filter in the original 1988 edition of the book, but Chomsky argues that since the end of the Cold War (1945–91), anticommunism was replaced by the "War on Terror", as the major social control mechanism.

[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_Consent:_The_Political_Economy_of_the_Mass_Media"]Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:Manugactorinconsent2.jpg" class="image"><img alt="Manugactorinconsent2.jpg" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/ce/Manugactorinconsent2.jpg/200px-Manugactorinconsent2.jpg"@@AMEPARAM@@en/thumb/c/ce/Manugactorinconsent2.jpg/200px-Manugactorinconsent2.jpg[/ame]

More info: The Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model Twenty Years On
The Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model Twenty Years On


Under corporate capitalism, this is what the media looks like. It reflects the views of the various powerful institutions which exist in our society, in the case of Ireland and the West in general, those powerful institutions are big business.
 
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arcadeparade

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For anyone who is interested, here is the Irish version of the MediaLens website mentioned above:
MediaBite / A Shot at Bias in the media

MediaBite post some good articles, although they are a lot smaller than their English counterparts.

THeir latest article is called A curse on the zombie establishment

A compelling narrative of Ireland’s crisis of capitalism is very difficult to find. Those provided by economists, contemporary philosophers and mainstream documentary makers rely heavily on figures, graphs, ominous stringed instrumentals and thunderous voiceovers. But the transfer of economic and social wealth orchestrated by the government and banks in the last few years is not simply a consequence of state policy and intricate financial market formulae; it is also a story of primal greed and connivance.
Continued here: MediaBite / A Shot at Bias in the media
 

Cael

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Great post a chara. The function of the media in capitalism is hide reality from the masses and enforce a fantasy world on them.
 

Sean O'Brian

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What about starting your own paper/magazine? Or would the cost of producing/maintaining it be prohibitive?
 

arcadeparade

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What about starting your own paper/magazine? Or would the cost of producing/maintaining it be prohibitive?
There were plenty of alternative newspapers in the past, such as a lot of Labour based ones up to the 60s in Britain, but because newspapers rely so heavily on advertising to survive, if they publish news that is in conflict with business opinion, those advertisers choose to do business elsewhere and the papers go out of business, even when they have millions of readers in Britain as they did in the past.

This is the problem of the interests of big business not usually being the same as the interests of the general public.

In the modern day the Internet has the potential to be a way to be a useful tool to put forward an alternative view of the world, but right now most people who get their news online still get it from sources which started off offline, such as the new york times, BBC etc.
 

arcadeparade

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The greatest lesson I took from "Manufacturing Consent" is that I, a member of the public, am not the market that a newspaper is aimed at.

I am the product that they sell to their advertisers.
Exactly, and why would a paper write about the need for say, stronger regulations and taxes on fuel and private transport which is causing climate change, when they get so much advertising from airlines and car companies?
 

jsmill

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And the effect on people of ingesting main stream media tripe year in year out is distressing to behold. It's depressingly insidious.
 

arcadeparade

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And the effect on people of ingesting main stream media tripe year in year out is distressing to behold. It's depressingly insidious.
It's a vicious cycle. Nowadays people are so quick to insult and dismiss people who come along with any alternative to the status quo without stopping to think for themselves about it. So many just parrot what they hear without thinking for themselves, not that I can blame most people when they are lied to by most people with a bit of power.

Public opinion is mostly what the media tells people, and when the media represents the powerful interests and the status quo and diffuses people anger, how can we we expect change to ever happen?
 

jsmill

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I agree it's not helpful to blame people too much for being quite effectively brainwashed. We are social creatures and it's understandable that we generally absorb the prevailing attitudes around us.

It's a difficult one. I'm not a huge fan of Michael Moore but recently heard him make the point that one thing "they" have never had much control of is really credible creative talents and their product. That which is considered cool. So one place for potential hope is if artists and musicians become ever more radically opposed to the commercialisation of society, to really represent the struggle between freedom and control by commercial interests. This is already prevalent, but I see scope for more rallying power from these sources. If I was a hip producer of ghettotech funkstep disco sounds it would all be about power to the people. Alas.
 

arcadeparade

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I agree it's not helpful to blame people too much for being quite effectively brainwashed. We are social creatures and it's understandable that we generally absorb the prevailing attitudes around us.

It's a difficult one. I'm not a huge fan of Michael Moore but recently heard him make the point that one thing "they" have never had much control of is really credible creative talents and their product. That which is considered cool. So one place for potential hope is if artists and musicians become ever more radically opposed to the commercialisation of society, to really represent the struggle between freedom and control by commercial interests. This is already prevalent, but I see scope for more rallying power from these sources. If I was a hip producer of ghettotech funkstep disco sounds it would all be about power to the people. Alas.
True. The problem is that if influential people became dissident voices they would most likely just be ignored by the mainstream media.

Just as a simple example, take these two films:
The Hurt Locker (2008) - IMDb
Redacted (2007) - IMDb

Two well known directors, and obviously there is a difference between every film, but the one critical of the war and media was nowhere to be seen, the one 'supporting the troops'? Centrestage at the Oscars.
 

Cael

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In the USSR there used to be a joke that the only way you could have a free thought was to go into a dark room, get under the blankets, pull the pillow over you head, and then have your thought. What luxury. In today's capitalist societies, nothing is less free than fantasy. Moulding our fantasies is big business - particularly our deepest sexual fantasies.
 

Sean O'Brian

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Moulding our fantasies is big business - particularly our deepest sexual fantasies.
Yes and we're told to like horrible-looking women like Angelina Jolie whose only 'appeal', if you could call it that, is that her oversized lips remind some men of a particular sex act.
 

Sean O'Brian

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I'm not a huge fan of Michael Moore but recently heard him make the point that one thing "they" have never had much control of is really credible creative talents and their product.
I don't like him either. He's a terrible filmmaker. Yet he's right there and one of the reasons for that is because nobody with poetic instincts wants to write about free markets.
 

SevenStars

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I don't like him either. He's a terrible filmmaker. Yet he's right there and one of the reasons for that is because nobody with poetic instincts wants to write about free markets.
Funny how he never criticizes Israel though....Strange that.
 

SevenStars

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Michael Moore also seriously annoyed Chavez by lying that he helped him write a speech over a few bottles of Vodka when Chavez for his faults doesnt drink.
 

jsmill

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don't mention the war

True. The problem is that if influential people became dissident voices they would most likely just be ignored by the mainstream media.

Just as a simple example, take these two films:
The Hurt Locker (2008) - IMDb
Redacted (2007) - IMDb

Two well known directors, and obviously there is a difference between every film, but the one critical of the war and media was nowhere to be seen, the one 'supporting the troops'? Centrestage at the Oscars.
The Quiet American - a great film I stumbled upon in a cinema years ago. Was shocked by the fact that the goodie and baddie roles did not follow the party line at all, yet it was a big production with top actors. I never heard a word about it before or since.

Surely there's an easy article topic for a journalist - good movies ignored for political reasons. Actually scratch that, make it a film festival!
 

junius

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The increasingly centralised, corporate nature of the media means that it acts as a de facto propaganda system for corporate and other establishment interests. The costs incurred as a result of this propaganda, in terms of human suffering and environmental degradation, are incalculable.

I am not saying that the mainstream media is some kind of a giant conspiracy to keep the public ignorant.

The inevitably corrupting effects of ‘market forces’ operating on, and through, media corporations seeking profit in a society dominated by corporate power are what distort the balance of the media in favour of big business.

I am also not saying that mainstream journalists are generally guilty of self-censorship and conscious lying; it is the all-too-human tendency to self-deception accounts for their conviction that they are honest purveyors of uncompromised truth. We all have a tendency to believe what best suits our purpose; highly paid, highly privileged editors and journalists are no exception. In any case, professionals whose attitudes and opinions most closely serve the needs of corporate power, whether in media institutions or elsewhere, are more likely to be filtered through to positions of authority within such institutions.

Because much modern suffering is rooted in the unlimited greed of corporate profit-maximising - in the subordination of people and planet to profit - it seems to us to be a genuine tragedy that society has for so long been forced to rely on the corporate media for 'accurate' information. Obvious conflicts of interest mean it is all but impossible for the media to provide this information. We did not expect the Soviet Communist Party's newspaper Pravda to tell the truth about the Communist Party, why should we expect the corporate press to tell the truth about corporate power?
Brilliant post. I wish I had found this a few months ago when the Oral Hearing was still proceeding into the contentious Corrib Gas Project. Spells out in excellent terms the despair experienced by the victims of corporatism in North Mayo.

For the last number of years at various Oral Hearings we look in disbelief around us at the corporate 'zombies' swearing blatant untruths and appearing to be in a state of 'unrealness', so entrenched in their money oriented world that they are unable to see out and see reality on the ground.
When Pat O'Donnell's boat was sunk by masked men with guns in Broadhaven Bay, these idiots looked gobsmacked and out of their mouths came statements like, "Well, of course, good insurance job", "Of course, he sunk it himself". I remember looking at these otherwise decent individuals and thinking 'Are they unable to see the truth?' What on earth is wrong with them?

Well sorry, O'Donnell didn't sink his own boat. He's not a corporate liar. He lives in the real, nasty world brought to North Mayo by corporate Ireland and policed with the corrupt forces of I-RMS infiltrated with Eastern European killers who will do anything for payment.

The Paul Williams, Gerry Greggs and similar criminals of this world make big money through falsely criminalising others. Making and showing that outrageous film about North Mayo for TV3 should have ensured they spent a long time in prison. But did they? No, hell, they're still out there looking for other easy target victims.


THE FILM 'THE PIPE' ON GENERAL RELEASE IN CINEMAS NATIONWIDE FROM DECEMBER 3RD.
 

Cailleach

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The O'Reilly Press

The O'Reilly family interests own, control and/or manage approx 87% of the print media in this state.

The O'Reilly family own/control Providence Resources plc, an oil and gas exploration company which has lucrative licensed blocks in Irish waters.

The coverage of Corrib news through this family/vested interest controlled media outlet had been rabid, vis Myres, Cusack etc.

QED
 


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