Published on February 2, 2009
Manufacturing Consent Exploring Media Bias
Personal Bias • Every person has a unique perspective and sees things a little differently. • Different people can see the same event and describe it very differently.
Ways Personal Bias Appears • Bias through selection and omission • Bias through use of names and titles • Bias through statistics and crowd counts • Word choice and tone
Organizational Bias •Organizations have needs distinct from the needs of their members •When people are members of a group, they often act to promote what’s best for the group •Former CBS president Richard Salant once said, “Our job is to give people not what they want but what they ought to have.”
Ways Organizational Bias Appears • Bias by headline • Bias through placement • Bias by source control • Bias by photos, captions and camera angles
Looting or Finding?
Corporate Media quot;In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests… got together 12 men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select the most influential newspapers in the United States and sufficient number of them to control generally the policy of the daily press. … They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers.quot; Oscar Callaway • (1872-1947) U.S. Congressman, TX-D (1911-1917) Congressional Record of February 9, 1917, page 2947
Many Outlets, Few Owners • According to some estimates, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, News Corporation, Bertelsmann AG, and General Electric together own 90% of all media holdings in the United States • Other major corporations include: AT&T, Vivendi Universal, Sony, Liberty Media Corporation, and Clear Channel
The Hidden Agenda
Birth of a New Culture • “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Edward Bernays - Inventor of Public Relations • quot;We must shift America from a needs to a desires culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. We must shape a new mentality. Man's desires must overshadow his needs.” Paul Mazur - Lehman Brothers Banker • “Our enormously productive economy…demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption…we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.” Victor LeBeau - Retail Analyst
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