Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: CNN: Elites Talking to Elites

Sunday, April 16, 2006

CNN: Elites Talking to Elites

Television is the primary medium through which the world becomes mediated, represented, and looked at to the majority of the public. Vincent talks about how combat was shown through images in the American television news. CNN was the key player in the coverage of the war. CNN was able to be watched in over a hundred countries, and it was in a money-making financial situation because they got advertising and cable free revenues in addition to news service fees. CNN was getting the best coverage of the war because they had access to leaders. While CNN relied on these elites for information, these elites relied on them in the same way. During the war, CNN was the highest watched network by the public. One of the topics that Vincent discusses in this article is Press briefings, Speeches, and Other Staged News events. In other words Military Technology: satellite communication and heat shield cameras. The live broadcasts by means of satellite of the bombings of Baghdad, of the Patriot/Scud duels, and of the military briefings in Saudi Arabia meant that there was little time left for the analysis and assessment of the claims being made in and by the images. This concurrence, by hurting the media's ability to take two looks at their sources, gave the military an increased power over the communication situation. Pushing this effect, was the fact that the live images, like Vincent looks at, "tend to be specifically designed and orchestrated by elites to supply information and promote a particular point of view"(Vincent pg. 186).
The concurrence of live transmission created a feeling of being there as the event is actually happening, which took away the audience's understanding need for reporter's after the fact analyses, since they already saw it with their own eyes. Images of actuality seem to be impulsive, showing "real" events, although they need no further assessment and observation. Although there was no time and no demand for the media's verbal interpretation for example mediation, of the images, and this "shifted the burden of analysis from newscasters to viewer"(Vincent pg. 184). This meant that the media's power over the interpretation and creation of images of violence was partly taken away by the military because the content of an image by determined by the military and through censorship and production, and partly given to the audience who had to interpret images on their own. The fact that briefings were shown live meant that the military, to a certain extent could sidestep the media collectively and address the recipients of their propaganda effort directly, yet in the process keep the symbolic authorization derived through the objective and unbiased news organizations which hardly showed the reality as it was.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

Quite a post. You have two key points here: The first is the role of CNN as a means of elite communication and manipulation; the second is the CNN effect, the illusion of real time coverage of the war which conveys a sense that viewer is there, really seeing what is happening at the front as it happens. Both are important.
The key news channels like CNN and FOX are elite sources of information and a way that those same elites can use the news to shape the story because they are themselves primary sources that the CNN/FOX rely on to cover and interpret the war. Thus the title of the article: Elites talking to Elites.

4/17/2006 10:54 PM  

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