Thursday, January 05, 2006

Corporate Media Promote Doubt & Apathy

Though focused on Britain, the group Media Lens regularly puts out interesting work deserving a look by Americans. This interview [Interview with David Edwards and David Cromwell, editors of Medialens, UKWatch Interview, December 16, 2005, last updated December 29, 2005] is worth reading in full. Here's an excerpt:

Phil Lesley, author of a handbook on public relations and communications, advises corporations:

"“People generally do not favour action on a non-alarming situation when arguments seem to be balanced on both sides and there is a clear doubt. The weight of impressions on the public must be balanced so people will have doubts and lack motivation to take action. Accordingly, means are needed to get balancing information into the stream from sources that the public will find credible. There is no need for a clear-cut '‘victory'. ... Nurturing public doubts by demonstrating that this is not a clear-cut situation in support of the opponents usually is all that is necessary."

This is the main function of 'professional' news reporting. The main function of the '‘liberal'’ arm of professional journalism is indicated by Australian media analyst Alex Carey:

"There is evidence from a major wartime study that, for the best results, one side only of an issue or argument should be presented to poorly educated people. Two-sided presentations, however, are more effective in influencing better educated people and those initially opposed to the desired view."” (Alex Carey, p.159)


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