In the words of the late, great Malcolm X – “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
There are many examples of the media’s methods of manipulation coming into practice. Lesser examples are situations where people may be made to believe by corporations, in the form of advertisements, that they need to buy the new iPhone, or to get a brand new Toyota car. In our modern day society, we can observe certain newspapers or broadcasters demonizing immigrants or people on benefits. A much more significant and damaging example is the manner in which Jews were portrayed in Germany in the early-mid 20th century.
Often more widespread examples, such as the last one I just provided, are used to divert the public’s attention away from the more sinister intentions of the establishment.
Yet how does the media manage to hold such an imposing dominion over the general public’s thought process? Today, I will be assessing one of the main methods in which the media manages to achieve this.
A religious scholar from the United States, by the name of Reza Aslan, made a fantastic statement a while ago, when discussing Islamic suicide bombers in America. He said – “the media only report the planes that DO crash”.
This above quotation beautifully sums up the exact method in which the media fool people. However, allow me to go on a brief analogy to make this idea more clear.
Let’s start with assuming that you have never been on an aeroplane, ever seen one take off, or barely even understand the concept of an aeroplane. This is the starting point. You’ve never heard of situations of planes taking off for their journeys or arriving safely at their destination.
Now assume, being completely new to the idea of an aeroplane, that you see read or hear about many stories from the media about aeroplanes crashing; there have been about thirteen recorded crashes in the last year according to AirSafe.
Next, assume that the media is your only source of information. As the media does not report the overwhelming majority of planes that do arrive safely , then BOOM, you have developed an irrational perception that all aeroplanes are highly dangerous and you should never board one if you have a right mind.
With the above analogy past us, it shows that falling for the fabricated picture painted by the media, and not being aware of the truth indistinctly hidden behind this significantly larger picture that causes brainwashing.
I’ll lay out a few real world examples of this, the principals outlining it are parallel to the analogy above. First of all, you might come across an article in the newspaper describing a group of Eastern European crooks who have been involved in a string of car thefts. If you were unaware of the large majority of hard-working, modest, law abiding Eastern Europeans that come to the UK and contribute to society, this could spark in you an irrational prejudice.
The next week, you read about an Islamist hate preacher who had migrated to the UK from Pakistan, and who has advocated terrorism. Again, the other articles are showing no sign of praise towards peaceful, altruistic Middle-Easterners.
In another instance, you may be a regular reader of The Sun. If you read the relentless flow of articles of theirs which have describing a family or couple of “welfare scroungers”, and you watch Benefits Street, this may give you a negative perception of people on benefits and make you believe that most of them sit around and do nothing with their lives, whilst claiming their benefits fraudulently. This is likely to be the case even more if you are unaware that only 0.6% of benefit claimants claim them fraudulently. And that 60% of claimants are in work, and claim them because their jobs are not providing adequate wages.
If one simply takes this media coverage at face value, and isn’t made aware of the reality of the situation – it is likely that they dislike all immigrants and perceive them all to be crooks or terrorists of some variation, and that they are made to believe that all benefits claimants should have their money taken away as they are clearly claiming them fraudulently.
Of course – this campaign of demonizing a certain group, if consistent, will keep hammering home the message and reinforce the desired view into people’s minds.
However, if one was aware of the truth which hides behind this warped version of society that the media was presenting to you, it’s conceivable that you would not be so angry about the situation.
This shows us that the media needs people to be uninformed about the truth, before it casts out the bait for the public to latch onto, and to absorb every word of it. They don’t want people to know the truth. This is how it insidiously operates. Normally, the media works in favour of the government or the corporations, who need to start a ruse to divert society’s attention away from the sinister acts that are being done in their name i.e. taking away people’s welfare, cutting back on public services, starting illegal wars.
The solution to this is to take everything you hear from the media with a pinch of salt, don’t believe any of it at face value, and to actively question any beliefs or prejudices which you may have gained as a result of reading/hearing from the media.