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Lecture 3

Week 3 - Chomsky.docx

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Philosophy 2730F/G
Ryan Robb

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What is the Media Doing? 9/25/2012 2:01:00 PM Lecture 3 What Media is Doing What Media Should be Doing Fourth Branch of Most people Chomsky Government Most People Propaganda Machine Chomsky Philosophy  Philosophy and the accumulation of knowledge is a collective undertaking that involves presenting arguments, then criticizing and defending those arguments  McLuhan: the very study of human nature requires that we understand the message conveyed by the medium/tools/technology humans construct as a means of helping themselves o The message of any particular technological innovation is determined by assessing the extent to which human life is changed with its introduction o In order to understand the message that is the modern mass media, we need to reflect creatively about the way human existence changed sine the innovations were introduced o Mass media has led to the introduction of democracy Norms, Rules and Principles  In order to properly inform citizens, so the citizens can make the best informed choices in respect of political decisions o Objective/independent – not under direct control of the government o Critical – not willing to simply accept the statements/information provided by government sources o Neutrality – not biased in favour of any competing political groups competing for dominance  The media needs to be a fourth, independent and critical branch of government Noam Chomsky  The two most important things in understanding the propaganda model o The mass media serves as a method of communication, and is there to amuse, inform and make good citizens of the people o In countries that don’t have a free press, there is monopolistic control over the media (one media outlet) and it is often supplemented by censorship – everyone knows that the media is only used for control  There are five characteristics of the Mass Media in the US that limit the number of possible stories that will be reported and the manner by which they are reported o The profit motive – stories that undermine profits won’t be published  The mass media is big business  Media corporations are interconnected with all other forms of business  All businesses are designed to generate a profit  The control over business is in the hands of a wealthy few – a very small part of the population controls a large part of the wealth  The wealthy and government share the same interests – the wealthy like to use their wealth to try and gain power over the government  In the end, it is extremely unlikely that new stories opposing the common interests of the powerful and wealthy elite will be published, owning to the potential danger such stories present to profits  Thought there will be exceptions because a good propaganda machine doesn’t look like one – they have to throw a few big stories in  People are pulling out the freedom of speech card more often  We now see riots and hear of bankruptcies  Campaigns against other political leaders when running for office, if they had so much money, why don’t they stop these from happening?  Still don’t hear of the extremely devastating stories of fraud and corruption until after the fact o Advertising as the source of revenue  Advertising is a form of subsidy for the mass media, but this forces new outlets to emphasize stories that will:  Increase reader/viewership to attract advertising revenue  Avoid airing controversial pieces that might offend advertisers o Official sources subsidize news-gathering costs  Governments and business spend billions of dollars annually on public relations, dollars that no other groups in society have  Governments and business just hand media the stories they’ve already written  They prepac
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