To what extent is the Propaganda Model applicable to Western Corporate Media? Discuss this in relation to ownership of the media and give appropriate examples. For the purposes of this essay, I will initially define the term Propaganda and Propaganda Model, its origins and meaning with reference to the critical works of Edward Bernays, Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman. I will then define Western Corporate media in relation to the Propaganda Model in today’s society, incorporating the role of Public Relations, with reference to the works of again, Bernay’s, Pilger, Chomsky, Herman and Marx. As a case study I will refer to the role of News Corporation within modern media and how it can be argued that the propaganda model can be related to this, as a large conglomerate with a controlling share of both western and worldwide media. The term ‘propaganda’ dates back as far as 1622 to the Vatican, when it’s connotations were much purer than the term as we use it today. Originally taken from the latin Congregatio de propaganda fide (The Office for the Propagation of the Faith), Bernays and Miller (2004: Pg 9), it was coined by Pope Gregory XV in relation to the ‘Church’s missionary efforts in the New World’. (Bernay’s and Miller 2004 : Pg 9), in essence to bring the straying protestant flock back to the order of the Catholic Church. The essence of which, was well meaning. From such innocent beginnings though, the term ‘propaganda’ has come to imply a much more sinister and dark meaning within western society. Arguably one of the biggest turning points in public perception of the term, and perhaps the beginning of the western hegemonic society’s realisation of the power of propaganda as a tool to sway public opinion, came in the aftermath of the First World War. Propaganda was utilised fully by both American and British governments to swing public opinion in favour of the war effort with unprecedented success, however in the subsequent decade, public awareness of the propaganda used on the people, by governments and the press, became common knowledge - much to the chagrin of the American and British people as they watched their troops come home, disfigured and disabled (if alive) from the glorious war, and it began to become apparent that the public had been somewhat hoodwinked. The pressing reasons to go to war became less apparent when faced with its aftermath. As Bernays and Miller comment in their work Propaganda; ‘there had been a gradual, disorienting revelation of just how systematically, and how ingeniously, the Allied governments had fooled the peoples of two great democracies, Great Britain and, in particular, the USA. (2004 : Pg 28). This had not gone unnoticed by the ruling classes, who saw a new tool in “public relations as an "applied social science" that uses insights from psychology, sociology, and other disciplines to scientifically manage and manipulate the thinking and behaviour of an irrational and "herdlike" public”. http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Public:relations.html (accessed 18/12/08) ‘Propaganda Model’ is a theory originating from Herman and Chomsky’s work, ‘Manufacturing Consent : The Political Economy of the Mass Media’. Published in 1988, it argues that freedom of the press is subject to five main filters of influence In Western Society; Ownership, Funding, Sourcing, Flak and Anti-Ideologies. This model they argue, constricts freedom of speech within journalistic media and directs popular cultural tastes, thus censoring what information the general population are privy too, but also allowing hegemony of the ruling classes sway over mass public opinion by first; controlling the avenues of information available to the general public and secondly by adding bias and spin to suit their own economic, financial and political ideology. The first of these five filters concerns the ownership of the media. “The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general...
Bibliography: Bernays E. L., Miller, M. C., Propaganda: with an introduction by Mark Crispin Miller, 2004, Ig Publishing, New York.
Herman E. S., Chomsky N. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. 2002, Pantheon Books, New York.
Chomsky N. Necessary Illusions, 1989, Pluto Press, London.
Tuccille, J., Rupert Murdoch: Creator of a Worldwide Media Empire, 2003, Beard Books, New York, USA.
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