Propaganda Model Essay, Research Paper
In the “Propaganda Model”, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky focus on the inequalities of wealth and power and its effects on the media at different levels. It allows the government and dominant private corporations and holdings to influence the public through a set of five filters, which make up the propaganda model.
I. The first filter: Size, Ownership, and Profit Orientation of the Mass Media
Ownership of national media by a small number of very wealthy individuals and corporations with similar mindsets, presuppositions, and political ideologies leads to a narrowing of debate, with greater positive emphasis on positions favored by media owners.
II. The second filter: The Advertising License to Do Business
Advertising allows production of media at below production cost. Therefore, the advertisers’ choice of media (being at a lower price) will sell better and prosper over those media the advertisers do not favor. This favors media with pro-corporate ideologies, as corporations are the entities with the greatest advertising resources. Large totalitarian governments have greater resources, and when they do this sort of thing, we quite correctly refer to it as propaganda
III. The third filter: Sourcing Mass-Media News
Time and monetary concerns force media to rely on official/State sources for information. Persons in official capacities are thought by the general public to provide objective news, while it is instead in their best interests to give information with a pro-establishment spin.
IV. The fourth filter: Flak and the Enforcers
“Flak” (negative responses to a media statement or program) serves to narrow coverage and debate. Powerful interests (corporations, governments) can produce powerful and influential flak-this causes their concerns to be disproportion ally regarded. The possibility of flak from the general public can also cause media to avoid controversy (such as serious criticism of corporate or government institutions).
V. The fifth filter: Anti-Communism as a Control Mechanism
Any activity or opinion, which can be construed as contrary to business interests or “soft” on Communism, puts the adherent immediately in a defensive position, which requires justification. In addition, if Communism is the ultimate evil, pragmatic politics suggest that accommodation of Fascism and other state terror can be justified if it serves the anti-communist cause.
In relating Herman and Chomsky’s “Propaganda Model” and Karl Marx’s claim in “German Ideology” that “the ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships” is an easy comparison. In this quote, “Mass of laborers, crowded into the factory, is organized like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of the officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and the bourgeois state; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself”; shows Marx’s opinion of how the influence of the upper class controls the proletarians, of how the inherent self interest of the bourgeois class leads to the domination of the proletariat class. These two views are very similar; of how capital is what rules society and affects the views of the working class in a capitalist economy.
I feel Marx would have agreed with the video “Leading Questions”, in this video it is very apparent how the influence of the upper class has been able to manipulate the media. And in turn, the overall views of the American public through the use of television and other prime media sources. Marx is a firm believer in the influence of the upper class on the working class in a capitalist economy. I agree with Marx, Herman & Chomsky in that the government and large corporations and individuals who hold large public shares of major companies, are able to influence the media with money and capital influence into showing the American public the news, information, political candidates, fashion, etc that they want the public to view. The television is the main source for news and home entertainment; it is the most direct and influential form of media today. The target audience that is generated by the program influences what is shown on television, so advertisers (corporate America) can influence, sell goods and services to viewers, and control the opinions of the viewers, to generate more capital and power at the expense of the working class in a Capitalist society.