Liberal Media, A Myth That Lives on Like the Leprechaun and Tooth Fairy

Discussing politics can frustrate you to the point of screaming. You assume some of the old cliches and myths have finally been debunked, or they are so obvious everyone should realize the facts, but no, talking to this friend or acquaintance it becomes obvious they are alive and well. Somehow they just seem to live on forever and odds are clarity will never dominante, so we are frequently required to revisit issues for the sake of debate, or at least, to remove the mud from our own thinking. The “Myth of the Liberal Media” is a perfect example, as impossible to eviscerate from our political landscape as many of our favorite mythical creatures.

The “Myth of the Liberal Media” idea is so hard to counter, because it is consistently reinforced by the most powerful pieces in our political game. About 1997 an “assumption-shattering film (The Myth of the Liberal Media: The Propaganda Model of News) from Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, and Justin Lewis will have you thinking again.” The discussion travels through a myriad of issues that question basic preconceptions of the argument, such as whether a liberal bias could even exist in today’s media. Together they present “the common-sense case that mainstream news media are more committed to their bottom-line interests as large corporations than to left-wing advocacy, they dissect how news content gets shaped within a narrow, and ultimately conservative, institutional frame that marginalizes the progressive perspectives of a broad cross-section of the American public. The film, made before the rise of Fox News, has become only more relevant with time.”

Getting liberal media believers to listen to or read anything on this is impractical at best, so it is up to the liberal minority to solidify arguments and build a base of talking points that may be used as support. The pdf of the video and a YouTube version below were both created by the Media Education Foundation. Read the pdf for a full picture and/or watch the video itself.

  • Noam Chomsky says: “If you want to understand the way a system works, you look at its institutional structure. How it is organized, how it is controlled, how it is funded.”
  • Edward Herman says: “The Mainstream media really represent elite interests, and what the propaganda model tries to do is stipulate a set of institutional variables, reflecting this elite power, that very powerfully influence the media.”
  • Justin Lewis says: The interests of business and big money are inscribed within the routines of news reporting. The stock market, the NASDAQ, they’re reported on a daily basis. But labor only appears really when they’re doing something that inconveniences people. So, when they’re on strike for example.

Chomsky sums it up beautifully or rather sadly:

“It’s long been understood, you know, hundreds of years, that unless people are controlled, they are going to challenge power. They will not willingly accept subordination, domination, hunger, and so on. No one is going to accept that if they have choices. So it is therefore necessary for those who are in the positions of a controlled decision-making, monopolized-wealth, etc. necessary for them to somehow keep the population from their throats, as they put it. And that can either be done by force, or as that capacity declines, by control of opinion. There’s no other method.

Discussion Sections:

The Propaganda Model & Agenda Setting | The Ownership Filter | The Advertising Filter | The sewsmakers Filter | The News Shapers Filter | The Flak Filter | The Attack on the Welfare State | The Attack on Social Security | The Attack on Health Care | Labor & Business | Anti-Communism & The Free Market | Anti-Communism & The Free Market: Russia | Anti-Communism & The Free Market: Cuba | Dictators & Democracy | Dictators & Democracy: Saddam Hussein | Dictators & Democracy: Suharto


 


Read whole interview as pdf

Film on YouTube

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