do the mass media engage in government propaganda? – 1

3 December, 2007

the administrators of medialens came up with an interesting thought experiment in one of their alerts in 2006 about how corporations do their best to keep the public ignorant about the contradictions between corporate profits and public environmental concerns. paraphrasing, this is the thought experiment, which i also posted on the helium forums:

some time ago, bbc radio advertised a phone-in discussion on iraq with the following line:

are 100 british soldiers’ lives too high a price to pay for democracy in iraq?

the stated intention of the us and uk administrations, ‘to bring democracy to iraq’, was now being presented as an actual goal. imagine if the same programme had suggested:

are 100 british soldiers’ lives too high a price to pay for us corporate control of iraqi oil resources and to maintain global us hegemony?

this would undoubtedly have drawn intense flak for being unbalanced and unfair. similarly, the financial times published an article last year which reported that warnings on the consequences of climate change

have prompted tony blair, the prime minister, to make tackling climate change a priority for world leaders in the coming year’

which is another instance of turning a stated intention into an assumed actual objective.if the mass media find it acceptable to present government communications as fact, are they not simply reporters of the official view? does that mean that they engage in government propaganda?


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