Propaganda in American Media





One of the greatest revolutions in the twentieth century was not political in nature, however, it aided in many different political revolutions. This revolution was the communications revolution. The twentieth century has experienced one of the greatest changes in means of communication including technologies such as radio, motion pictures, the Internet, advanced communications and most importantly the television. Sadly, political leaders and the government to convince or persuade the masses that their ideas supercede those of others have utilized these technologies.
Television, more so than any other form of communication, has been the ultimate tool of the propaganda effort. It is the trustworthiest medium to give us the subjective validity of our beliefs which can not be proven physically. It is the ultimate source from which we get evidence about objective reality, motivated by our desires to form an accurate view of this reality and to act correctly. United States is the biggest economical power in the world today, and consequently has the largest media and news industry. The gatekeepers of the American news industry control all the information, and decide what to publish or broadcast, based on the ideology and the structure of the institution. Therefore, whatever is presented in the news would probably be a part of the popular culture (created by the entertainment industry) or would serve it since the popular culture itself is created for the growth of the capitalist economy and the homogenization of the society, which are essential elements for a stable system. That is why the American media is terribly bias in many respects, especially in the matters of foreign affairs, driven by self benefiting causes they present a distorted view of reality to the American public.
Any capitalist regime, not considering a dictatorship, needs the private enterprise for survival, and that is why the television lives with advertisement and sponsorship, rather than the audience. Therefore, what we mostly see on the screen is what the sponsors promote, which are usually mechanisms to keep society stable. This exactly what American media was doing from the muckrakers of the 20’s to the war in Kosovo in the 90’s. Let us now look at some examples of the use of TV as a mean of control over society. Before January 1991, public opinion polls showed that the American public was split into two groups, 50% each, about whether the U.S. should attack Iraq or not. Historians say however, if any anti-war voices had been heard in the mass media at this time, the outcome could have been completely different. The second example turns out to be a tragic one, when we talk about the freedom of speech. After the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the pictures of the irradiated Japanese were not made available to the American public until the 1980’s. In both cases we see the control of society through TV, by those who control it, and directing society toward a certain destination, which is found to be the “way forward for the humanity”, and keeping the system together by creating a popular culture based on consumerism; turns out to be a modern way of practicing authority in our lives.
Unites States government is by far not the only organization that has utilized methods of propaganda for self righteous causes. One of the most influential and powerful organizations in the world –NATO has carefully fed the news media lie upon lie, attempting to rally support for U.S. intervention, and the media has faithfully broadcast those lies without any investigation into veracity of the claims. Together they have painted the picture of innocent Albanians who were minding their own business when suddenly ruthless Serbians, led by the evil tyrant Slobodon Milosevic, began forcing them out of their homes, killing the men and raping the women. This is a severely distorted image, from which some important information has deliberately been omitted. One of NATO’s most important lies was that Serbian police massacred Albanian civilians. In mid 1999 there was a shootout between the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) and the Serbian police at Racak, Kosovo. The battle was filmed by a French journalist, and witnessed by OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), an independent organization present to observe the situation. The