Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: More Viewing, Less Knowledge

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

More Viewing, Less Knowledge

"More Viewing, Less Knowledge" is written by Michael Morgan, Justin Lewis, and Sut Jhally talks how popular the medias role in the Persian Gulf War was. The passage continues by saying that the public was fooled by media because only "good" news was reported instead of all the news of the war, and that the media were more like "cheerleaders" for the war rather then giving a nonbais look on the war.

This was one of the most watch television events of the time period and most watch war ever. One of the reasons the war was so popular was that there were defined "good" and "bad" guys in America and Iraq respectively. The authors didn't know if the more the public watched, if they would learn more about the war. To see if the public learned they conducted a survey. First they discovered most Americans supported President Bush, therefore, they supported his need for the war and some Americans said they would even pay higher taxes. Other then President Bush, most Americans could not name any of the other major players in the war besides Saddam. The survey in the end showed that the more television the public watched of the war, the more they supported it. Therefore, the less television they watched the less supportive they were. They also discovered that the less education the public had, the more they supported the war in Iraq.

In conclusion, it seems many Americans were fooled by the medias roll of the war. They made it seem like America had no other motives besides freedom. I completely agree with the authors of this chapter and strongly believe if more of the dark side of the war was shown on television, the less support the American public would of had. The public basically just repeated what they were told and weren't thinking for themselves.


Blogger Hezellig said...

Is this a new phenomenon?

4/05/2006 10:24 PM  
Blogger A. Mattson said...

It is hard to say if this is a new phenomenon because we don't have the survey data to compare. But it is frightening that the more people watch television news the less they seem to know about foreign affairs and the world in general. More Viewing Less Knowledge is a strong indictment of a population that increasingly relies on TV for its news of the world.

4/06/2006 12:40 AM  
Blogger Hezellig said...

Indictment? I'd say we've been found guilty and sentenced already.

4/06/2006 10:47 AM  
Blogger Mike Moore said...

I think the failure of media to properly inform citizens has to be shared by the people. There is very little demand for "hard" news or information of international affairs. Remember, it took 9/11 to stop the 24/7 coverage of the search of Chanda Levy (if only for a few months).

4/06/2006 6:09 PM  
Blogger A. Mattson said...

Yes, if there was more demand for news of the world the supply would increase. The ratings of programming that cover world affairs in depth are tiny. This would also be a failure of an educational system that does not teach geography or world history, let alone current events.

Edward Bernays would say that the public is simply too ignorant, just too stupid to handle the complexity of foreign affairs, which are best left to the educated elite. I prefer to think that he is wrong and that the public is capable, but just not that interested for many reasons.
A news media that worries about ratings and seeks to attract a mass audience will always choose Chandra Levy over Michelle Bachelet or Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. What does that mean for a democratic foreign policy? Only during wartime does interest in foreign policy briefly spread from the elite to a broader swath of the electorate.

4/06/2006 10:37 PM  
Blogger Hezellig said...

Thank you for citing the complete lack of effort by our educational system. That is a very important point. You want to discuss propaganda, let's talk about "state sponsored" education. The only thing more dangerous is state sponsored religion. You will notice that Karl Marx listed a "free and public education for all" as part of the ten important steps toward establishing a communist government.

In general, people ARE stupid. But it's not always their fault. In grade school we are taught science that is based on assumption, not fact. We are taught selective portions of history; and the economic knowledge of today's youth is horrendous. How's that for propaganda?

Entertainment media is just another candy coated tool to keep people dumb.

4/08/2006 10:00 AM  

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