I’m not talking about plots by aliens to take over the world or the Iluminati adding nanobots to your kid’s milk cartons at school.
Less fancy, but very real and something worth taking into consideration.
First, lets start by accepting a few facts. We need this to understand why this is done in most cases.
1)In most cases, the main purpose of a media groups (paper, TV, radio, internet) is to make money.
2) In some others, like state(or politician) owned channels, they are biased by the agenda they are trying to push.
3) An indirect variation of point #2, is the one the Argentine government is trying to achieve now with the “K media law” (Ley de Medios K): Change the law so that they have indirect control over privately owned media groups. They achieve this by making sure channels wont be profitable enough and will need of government advertisement or sponsorship to survive. Either that or direct power to decide what content is allowed or not.
Making money is achieved by having the greatest amount of sponsors and advertisers, and advertisers are interested in the greatest amount of audience. This means, news have to be presented in a dramatic, catchy manner. Everything you see must catch your attention better than the following channel, doesn’t matter if its some bloody image, Janet Jackson’s boob… or a lie.
“Greenville neighbor investigated by the local police: His firearm collection was taken away by the police” doesn’t sell as well as “Greenville survivalist arrested: Hidden Arsenal found at his home”.
Arsenal? What’s an arsenal these days? 2 hunting rifles and a couple boxes of ammo? Hey, that may as well be two high powered, long range sniper rifles and 200 rounds of ammunition, each round capable of killing a polar bear or going through both sides of a car!
If three neighbors say he was a nice guy but one says he didn’t knew him, but that he never caused trouble, some reporter will interpret that as: “Neighbors said he was a man that kept to himself” (implying “weirdo” “looner”), and simply not mention the other three that spoke favorably of him.
“Greenville Survivalist caught: He may have connections with terrorist cells” or “Greenville Survivalist caught: Possible connection with terrorist cells”. This means that after the word “may” you can put anything you feel like writing, your saying it but you are still covering your butt. The reader’s brain registers: –Greenville survivalist-arsenal-terrorist- and makes an unconscious associating, the word “may” or for that matter “possible” is lost.
So, this is all ways in which the media sells more, but its also the way in which type 2) or 3) achieve the political agenda of altering public opinion.
What does the government-owned, “Public TV” channel has to say? It never mentions the economic problems, or crime. Not once. Ever. Doesn’t matter if those two are by far the greatest problems we face. I kid you not, not ONE SINGLE mention ever of the dozen murders, or the thousands of violent crimes that go on each day. Inflation? That word simply isn’t in their vocabulary.
Recognized journalists and public figures also have a role. Many will have a “price” for their point of view, like Argentine journalist Bernardo Neustad, who was known among the political and financial circle for having a favorable or negative opinion about others depending on a brown paper envelope full of money.
If that doesn’t work, there’s always direct threats, but why go there if buying enough positive opinions by celebrities is far less troublesome?
I’ve learned to take everything I see or listen to on the media with a big grain of salt.
Why do I say that the crime situation in Argentina is out of control?
Because you see it in channels that are not yet under the government control, but mostly because you hear it and see it yourself on the street, when talking to store owners and neighbors. Because you can’t listen to a police scanner for a couple hours without learning about dozens of armed robberies, violent muggings, people getting shot or even unidentified corpses to be picked up.
Its more important than ever to know the source of the information, if it can be trusted or not, if its biased.
Its important so as to know what’s really going on all around you, if you should be more careful regarding crime, if the economy is doing worse than you’re being told and you should be taking other measures.
Take care guys,