Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: The Propagation of "Useful" Information

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Propagation of "Useful" Information

In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of Mass Media, by Edward S Herman and Noam Chomsky, there was a passage I found particularly interesting:

For stories that are useful, the process will get under way with a series of government leaks, press conferences, white pages, etc., or with one or more of the mass media starting the ball rolling...If the other media like the story, they will follow it up with their own versions, and the matter quickly becomes newsworthy by familiarity. If the articles are written in an assured and convincing style, are subject to no criticisms or alternative interpretations in the mass media, and command support by authority figures, the propaganda themes quickly become established as true even without real evidence. (pg 34)

The reason I find this passage so interesting is because it seems to be the tactic used in preparing the country to enter war with Iraq. We were first told that we were going to war because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and even without evidence of this, a good deal of the country bought into this idea. When it was proven that there were no weapons of mass destruction, the new message made a connection between Bin Laden and Hussein (which also had no supporting evidence). Was the formula highlighted by Chomsky and Herman used intentionally to gain support for the War in Iraq?


Blogger carlos said...

thank you for taking time to look at my blog.

2/02/2006 3:12 PM  
Blogger A. Mattson said...

Understanding the importance of offical sources is key to understanding Chomsky & Herman's propaganda model of the mass media. The reliance on offical sources for the majority of war news limits the kind of stories produced. This is not new. The ability of the administration to shape the debate over key issues like the WMD debate is mad possible by the key role of highly placed sources in setting the terms of the debate.

2/13/2006 11:01 PM  

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