The 5 Propaganda

The propaganda model is a conceptual model in political economy advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky to explain how propaganda and systemic biases function in mass media. The model seeks to explain how populations are manipulated and how consent for economic, social and political policies is "manufactured" in the public mind due to this propaganda. The theory posits that the way in which news is structured (through advertising, concentration of media ownership, government sourcing and others) creates an inherent conflict of interest which acts as propaganda for undemocratic forces.

We have already touched upon the fact that corporate ownership of the media can - and does - shape editorial content. The sheer size, concentrated ownership, immense owner wealth, and profit-seeking imperative of the dominant media corporations could hardly yield any other result. It was not always thus. In the early nineteenth century, a radical British press had emerged which addressed the concerns of workers. But excessive stamp duties, designed to restrict newspaper ownership to the 'respectable' wealthy, began to change the face of the press. Nevertheless there remained a degree of diversity. In postwar Britain, radical or worker-friendly newspapers such as the Daily Herald, News Chronicle, Sunday Citizen (all since failed or absorbed into other publications) and the Daily Mirror (at least until the late 1970s) regularly published articles questioning the capitalist system.

The second filter of the propaganda model is advertising. Newspapers have to attract and maintain a high proportion of advertising in order to cover the costs of production; without it, the price of any newspaper would be many times what it is now, which would soon spell its demise in the marketplace. There is fierce competition throughout the media to attract advertisers; a newspaper, which gets less advertising than its competitors, is put at a serious disadvantage. Lack of success in raising...