Sunday, October 20, 2019

How Mainstream Media Censors Readers And Viewers

Censorship is in many ways a reverse form of propaganda. It is not a mistake or oversight that many mainstream media outlets give their audience little ability to give feedback. They go out of their way to avoid anything that might dispute their narrative. While it could be argued the lack of a comment area or feature linked to an online format was an omission I often see this as something more sinister. The lack of a feedback loop is a tool that tends to reinforce the idea there is no objection or criticism of the article or statement and everyone accepts its conclusions. 

They Don't Want Our Opinion
Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information, on the basis that such views or material have been deemed objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by governments, private institutions, or corporations. This does include mainstream media.

By its nature censorship often implies those being silenced are trying to say something very wrong. I consider censorship and mainstream media's role in it as part of the self-feeding propaganda loop that plays such a huge role in shaping public opinion. This tends to result in those in leadership positions and controlling the media to slowly hack away at our individual rights by furthering the idea it is all "for the greater good."

The idea of having a press that is free to cover the news is generally linked to the idea they will be fair because such a freedom generally comes with a degree of responsibility. A common example is how freedom of speech should give someone the right to speak their mind but not scream fire in a crowded theater. This can slip into an argument as to the duty of the media in presenting as unbiased a view of events as possible. This is complicated by the fact many news outlets have moved more towards an entertainment format rather than presenting the cold hard facts and in that regard, sensationalism draws viewers.

In many ways, mainstream media has become a polarizing force that stirs the pot of social unrest. By promoting polarization America's media has made it impossible for the people to unite and regain any control over Washington. I would not be surprised if those in control are not giddy over this and the problems Facebook has created by playing fast and loose with data from its followers. Facebook by crossing the line and abusing the trust of those with accounts and information posted on  its platform has taken a great deal of pressure off of the mainstream media to do a better job.  

The sad reality is that "Power To The People" is dead because we are unable to agree on anything. Still, even more unsettling is the alliances' companies like Amazon have made with the government. This is evidenced by the massive contract Amazon's cloud division has with the CIA and NSA. Anyone who doesn't believe that countries use psychological warfare and propaganda to sway the opinions of people both in and outside of their country is naive. The fact Amazon's CEO also owns the Washington Post, which stands as America's most influential newspaper, should send shivers down the back of those believing in freedom and limited government.

Propaganda is a powerful tool that has resulted in many wars that enrich those who make weapons at the expense of those called upon to give their blood. The fact that behemoth Amazon has intertwined business interests with the CIA, NSA, and several other "Deep State" government agencies is a monument to our having lost control of the massive part of our government that spies on us and spins the narratives to which we dance. This tangled mess includes the influential Washington Post which is owned by the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. Simply put, this has unleashed a propaganda force to which none of our institutions can resist.

Today many people get the majority of their news over the internet. While this has made a huge difference in how news is distributed and how we receive the news, much of the content remains controlled by a few strong players that often are driven by an agenda of self-interest. I contend the subtle omission of a comment section online is often an effort to quell dissenting voices rather than because it to simplify the format. It could be argued that the media has a moral obligation to provide such a public forum if they want the right to call themselves "free and balanced."

Many of us out beyond the beltway in the backwaters and wilds of America have grown to feel the media has a casual relationship with the truth. In many ways, the media has become viewed more as a tool of the establishment than the protector of the people and defender of our rights. This could explain why the press is often held in such low esteem by the very public that relies on them for information. Coverage filled with subtle digs or comments and even subliminal messages taint the premise media is fair. During interviews, we often get an opportunity to witness examples of just how badly you can treat a guest invited to answer questions when they alter the narrative being pushed. 

This often results in over the top efforts to put words in someone's mouth and take statements out of context. These words are then spun in the most harmful ways. If the guest represents views differing from the interviewer what we often see is an ambush. If a guest is favored or their views are endorsed it is often as though they had written the softball questions asked of them or as if they had been given the questions in advance or controlled the interview. All this can then be backed up by a series of scripted statements that all loop back around to support a hard or subliminal message.

With the biased coverage of current events being very common, it is little wonder that Americans question the honesty of the media whose ranks appear to have become filled with opportunists and bums dressed as journalist. The fact is we often don't agree with everything we view or read so "implied agreement" is not valid. Even including a simple thumbs up or down box at the end of an article would at least give readers a place to weigh in. Next time you are boiling mad or disagree with how an article is characterizing an event I urge you to take the time to see if the source has provided you with an opportunity to present your view. I would not be surprised if they have not.

Footnote; For more on this subject see the article below which delves into the free press and their responsibility to be fair.

1 comment:

  1. From Wikipedia: US broadcast media are not required by law to be balanced, leading to the issues you observe:
    The fairness doctrine of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, was a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was—in the FCC's view—honest, equitable, and balanced. The FCC eliminated the policy in 1987 and removed the rule that implemented the policy from the Federal Register in August 2011