Archive for November, 2010

The Propaganda Model and Limited Freedom Within the Mass Media

Chomsky, through his paper expresses the limited freedom within the mass media and its confines, or rather its weaknesses, through a number of examples such as the shooting of Libyan planes, civilian casualties and human rights, Chomsky exposes the media for what it is, a buyable resource. That is, usually to produce mass media the price of the media would cover production, but as advertisements became introduced the cost lowered as the media source was compensated by a corporate sponsor who wanted more of their advert/message to be seen/read.
The paper then continues that this not only applies to adverts but to stories as well, where a story that could be seen as harmful to a corporate is not shown due to the negative bias it would create in viewers, therefore it makes more sense for the corporate to try and control what

is released to the public through the mass media. This is summed up as the propaganda model, which sets out a list of ‘filters’ set into the media by the corporate or rather than the corporate, the highest bidder.

To quote, Chomsky describes the roots of the propaganda model as;

  1. ‘size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth and profit orientation of the mass-media firms’ (size, ownership, and profit orientation os the mass media)
  2. ‘advertising as the primary income source of the mass media’ (the advertising license to do business)
  3. ‘the reliance of the media on information provided by the government, businesses and “experts” funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power’ (sourcing mass-media news)
  4. ‘”flak” as a means of disciplining the media’ (flak and the enforcers)
  5. ‘”anticommunism” as a national religion and control mechanism’ (anticommunism as a control mechanism)

That sounds quite fancy doesn’t is? So I thought I would break it down with my own interpretation. Rather then describing the roots of the propaganda model as a set of news ‘filters’ I think it is best to say that; Chomsky argues that the every day form in which media is presented is constantly being altered, the original purpose of spreading something as simple as news has been tailored to the tastes of the corporate so as to shape the opinions of the general

public. The five ways in which Chomsky says the media is being altered is through;

  1. Commercial gains of the Corporate, with the larger and more corporation having more say over how the media is represented
  2. The fact that the largest profits for networks lies in their advertisements heavily influences them to show more adverts and less time for programs
  3. The disassociation from the “truth” by fabricating sources and evidence as approved of by the corporate so as to create bias within the viewer
  4. Strict criticism by the viewer is the only means any body has to discipline the media, in retrospect, this is an extremely weak form of discipline, as over time the effects of a criticism against a network fades
  5. Through discourse a hegemonic bias is created within viewers so as to allow easier control over the audience.

Reference; Chomsky, N 2002. ‘A propaganda model’ in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Random House, NY, pp 1-35


Sextuality and what it means within the cyber world

A little while ago a ‘digital friend’ asked me ‘How does the integration of human lives into the medium of cyber convergence of space impact/influence the formation, nature and authenticity of human relations?’ Now this question went unanswered and fell into the treacherous caverns of ‘my documents’ only to be discovered in a cleanup, so I thought I would answer the question, I have no idea whether the person in question is still online, but either way felt compelled to answer the question and post it. So here is my answer:

The introduction of the cybernetic environment into an otherwise physical one allows people to express themselves in ways they were unable to do before due to the anonymity provided by the use of the internet. In this way people are able to follow one of two paths;

a- they may express themselves without fear of embarrassment

b- they may take on a completely different persona

In the case of A we find that the internet has offered new possibilities in regards to human relations as fear, the typical element that keeps us from communicating is removed, however in the case of B it is seen that the internet gives people the notion that they can revert to an almost childish state, slinging verbal insults and acting in an uncouth matter not for any justifiable reason, but purely as an attention seeking joy ride.

In summary the formation of relationships has become more convenient to perform online due to the impracticalities of allocating time within ones day to going to a bar or pub to potentially meet someone. But rather it is a more attractive option as the stereotype of members of the opposite sex located in such facilities is set at a low standard.

In regards to nature, relationships are no longer based on finding the ‘perfect’ physical mate, but the intellectual one, as there is less time face to face, society has begun to shift more towards the similarities of mind rather than of body. An advancement to some but a drawback for those with mental or physical handicaps.

Authenticity is the real question as there have been a number of frauds reported from online relationships, where one party is not truthful to the other. In the end authenticity comes down the one thing that both cybernetic and face to face relationships require; trust. If one cannot trust the other in a relationship then it should become apparent as their lies turn inward, as a result the use of webcams and images has started circulating within online dating communities, and while this does open pathways to extortion and yet more fraud people still continue down it, so for the time being all that can be offered to those going down the path of cybernetic relations are words of caution.