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  1. #331
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Slaves helped a little bit and removing indigenous to re-education camps was highly beneficial. They didn’t ask for this but they got it nonetheless. Movement of populations is a primordial requirement for survival

    I saw something interesting the other day. Orcas are apex predators and a defining characteristic of apex predators is ‘movement’ they can be found in most major bodies of water in the world. Humans are a parallel example. They inhabit most land areas in the world. The Japanese population is on a serious decline. Perhaps they haven’t reached a point where they have issues with a lack of genetic diversity but they will. My opinion is when that happens it will be manifested in decreasing brainpower.

    This ‘cultural’ sacredness thing is a latecomer. I love my Hispanic culture and believe it is superior in some ways. But I was born in the good old USA and my everyday life is overwhelmingly American. Nothing has been lost. With the exception of a little racial purity. Does that make me want to kill my neighbor? Well sometimes but rarely
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  3. #332
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    As it is obvious that I'm hopelessly outnumbered (as usual) I'll play for a little mental exercise. By-the-by, I'll add that the following article is written from a conservative principle and I hope that will be self evident. More specifically, I will point out the notion presented of left and right as not really real. I have proposed before my sense of whence this 'perception' arises but nevertheless, here she be.

    From the 'Economist':

    How conservatives—on the left and on the right—can defeat the populists
    Oakeshott! thou shouldst be living at this hour: the world hath need of thee


    Open Future by R.C.

    MICHAEL OAKESHOTT is largely forgotten. Even at the peak of his powers, as a professor of political science at the London School of Economics from 1951 to 1969, he was overshadowed by more demonstrative talents of both right and left: Karl Popper, F.A. Hayek and Harold Laski (all more or less contemporaries at LSE). Yet Oakeshott has more to teach us about our turbulent, populist times than the others, let alone the more illustrious names in the Conservative canon.

    Oakeshott’s focus was on the conduct of politics itself, with governance. Unconcerned with the minutiae of policy proposals or manifesto pledges, his work was to articulate a praxis of politics to serve a nation. He was writing at a time when –isms dominated politics. Keynesianism, socialism and central planning had captured the politics of the West, while varying degrees of collectivism and Communism prevailed behind the Iron Curtain. But Oakeshott’s was a rare voice rejecting the received wisdom of the day.

    In his most famous essay, “Rationalism in Politics”, published in 1962, he attacked the intellectual conceit that underpins all these –isms, namely the misplaced faith in “rationalism” that stemmed from the 18th-century enlightenment. “To the Rationalist”, Oakeshott wrote, “nothing is of value merely because it exists (and certainly not because it has existed for many generations), familiarity has no worth, and nothing is to be left standing for want of scrutiny.”

    By ignoring what he called “practical knowledge”—custom or tradition, as he meant it—the rationalist, armed merely with “technical knowledge”, created the illusion that bureaucrats and governments could solve all problems, whereas, of course, they cannot.

    By contrast, Oakeshott enunciated what he called a “conservative disposition”, and this is what makes him especially relevant today. He did not articulate or argue for a particular set of policies to define Conservatism as a doctrine or creed; rather, in his impeccably stylish essay “On being conservative”, he argued that conservatism was much more a habit of mind, a practice of politics.

    Many Conservative (big C) politicians, on both sides of the Atlantic, have practised this style of politics, as have many politicians from other parties—for the conservative disposition is not confined to one party. It is, in fact, the exact opposite of populist politics. And this is why Oakeshott’s thinking should be urgently re-read by both British Tories and American Republicans before they are irretrievably consumed by precisely those conceits that Oakeshott decried.

    What is the conservative disposition?

    For a start, Oakehsott was against chasing unicorns, or just throwing out the political playbook. For a politician of this disposition “will find small and slow changes more tolerable than large and sudden: and he will value highly every appearance of continuity.” Hence his famous dictum that the conservative will “prefer the familiar to the unknown…the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible.” Not for Oakeshott the leap in the dark that is a no-deal Brexit.

    Oakeshott, like the Anglo-Irish writer and politician Edmund Burke before him, was not against change, but he was very aware that “innovation entails certain loss” and only “ possible gain”. So “the onus of proof, to show that the proposed change may be expected to be on the whole beneficial, rests with the would-be innovator.”

    Furthermore, and even more relevant to the heightened and divisive political debates of this populist era, with pseudo-conservative politicians perpetually on the hunt to find “wedge issues” to slice up an electorate, an Oakeshottian politician requires “a quite different view of the activity of governing.”

    Rather, the person of this disposition, he argues, “understands it to be the business of government not to inflame passion and give it new objects to feed on, but to inject into the activities of already too passionate men an ingredient of moderation; to restrain, to deflate, to pacify and to reconcile…And all this not because passion is vice and moderation is virtue, but because moderation is indispensable if passionate men are to escape being locked in an encounter of mutual frustration.”

    Sadly, there could no better description of Britain’s Brexit crisis, and the divisions that it has occasioned – an “encounter of mutual frustration.” Governing is described by Oakeshott as a “specific and limited activity”, but one of those very specific activities is to mediate differences, not to widen them.

    These virtues of government, as Oakeshott would have termed them, can also be described as the virtues of pragmatism, or indeed statecraft. When admirers of the British system of government and its parliamentary democracy, for instance, complain that the country has gone “mad” over Brexit, this is specifically what they mean, that they no longer discern these virtues in the conduct of British politics. Time is well overdue to rediscover them.

    And if Conservatives do not, others certainly will. It bears repeating that the conservative disposition is not confined to a Conservative Party, or to any centre- right party. It can profitably be used by others, and has been in the past.

    Clement Attlee, Britain’s post-war Labour prime minister is a perfect example. He is still scorned by the radical left for not touching (that is to say, “reforming”) any of Britain’s ancient institutions, thereby creating the classless nirvana. But this is exactly why he remains the left’s most successful “statesman”, because he understood the temper, as Burke put it, of the electorate. Only a leader who had a news agency ticker-machine installed outside the cabinet room—so that he could get the county cricket scores—could have overhauled as much as he did.

    The National Health Service, Attlee’s major project, has endured not so much because it was a “technical” innovation, a grand innovation in the Oakeshottian sense, but because it was merely an extension of an existing, successful institution, the Great Western Railway medical fund service set up in Swindon in the 1890s. “There it was, a complete health service,” acknowledged Aneurin Bevan, darling of the left and ministerial architect of the NHS; “all we had to do was to expand it to embrace the whole country!” This was the conservative disposition at its best, in the employ of the Labour Party.

    Oakeshott was the quintessential Englishman. He was born in the Garden of England, Kent, and retired to the dozy village of Langton Matravers on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, where he is buried. This is Hardy country, and it is tempting to speculate that his immersions in the shires of post-war rural England fuelled his natural distaste for innovation and thoughtless change, informing and shaping his mature political philosophy.

    “We tolerate monomaniacs, but why should we be ruled by them?” asks Oakeshott. That is the question for conservatives, and indeed for anyone in democratic politics. “Is it not”, he continues, the “task for a government to protect its subjects against the nuisance of those who spend their energy and wealth in the service of some pet indignation.”

    Me: You know I'm not going to give up my 'beliefs'/'perceptions'/'experiences' without a duel to the death.

    I TRULY believe that the 'imaginational' polarization that we see today was born of the Reagan era with a full frontal assault on labor, otherness, middle class, and especially the poor. His policies started the process and with misinformation running rampant on talk radio with the likes of Rush Limbaugh then arguably worse the Demonic One (A. Jones) supporting the effort we were well on way to "Hello, today is November 2nd, 2019 and it seems we are politically polarized" (regardless if some want to question that reality or not). Propaganda is the true villain in the war, we can fight policies with counter policies, but we can't fight magic induced ephemera, which is what propaganda does, it transforms something that is not into something that is. And, in my humble opinion...lol...this is why we look at each other now and ask, "what tha' f*ck!" And as some have rightly conjectured not always choosing the right targets, diseases spread.


    When I was a student I worked with an employee of the university I was attending. A middle-aged Hispanic dude with humble beginnings (much like my own) that had fallen in love with Limbaugh as had everyone else, I despised the professional liar from day one because I recognized his true 'nature'. In any case, I always received a thrill listening to my co-worker cite 'Ross Limbo'
    Last edited by NotAPretender, 2nd November 2019 at 14:25.
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  5. #333
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    Both Left and Right employ insidious propaganda techniques. Arguably, the Left is more subtle about it, but their propaganda is more pervasive, because it dominates almost the entire spectrum of Media and especially Academia. Right-wing propaganda on the other hand is mostly consigned to talk radio, fox news and some websites and forums in the US. In the UK, the tabloids are extremely right-wing (Looking at you, Daily Hexpress), but Newspapers and TV are dominated by the left, with one exception being the Daily Telegraph, which is Boris Johnson's mouthpiece. But even the Telegraph is mainstream conservative, rather than far-right.

    Where the mask of respectability slips down the mainstream media's face for me is where they are clearly pushing an agenda that has been coordinated behind the scenes (not least during the secretive Bilderberg meetings, by the Trilateral comission, etc...). You see this when all media outlets start pushing the same narrative from all corners. E.g. Russian is Evil, The refugee racket, the Transgender Agenda, Abortion rights, demonising nationalists as Nazis and evil, endless economic growth and government spending, etc... There is always only one side that is being pushed down mercilessly our throats and your are never, ever allowed to question the agenda, point out its shortcomings, or hear arguments from the other side. The double standards and hypocrisy are staggering.

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  7. #334
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    I don't really see that as propaganda, I see it as obvious truth...the left trades in reality and apparently the right can't compete with that for reasons that are obvious to some. the only way for the right to justify their actions is to deny the reality...it is quite the conundrum.

    It is more than a little possible that we are not referring to the same sources, of course.
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    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    I don't really see that as propaganda, I see it as obvious truth...the left trades in reality and apparently the right can't compete with that for reasons that are obvious to some. the only way for the right to justify their actions is to deny the reality...it is quite the conundrum.

    It is more than a little possible that we are not referring to the same sources, of course.
    Well, I mostly read Left-Wing news sources, though I will occasionally check in with right-wing and even alt-right news sites to see what their take is on certain issues. Though as you can see on this thread, I prefer commentators who are outside the mainstream and aren't caught up in the Left-Right paradigm. I can't really speak to the American context with authority, as I only peruse their news output sparingly. To my eyes, fox news is in a constant state of Hysteria and Breitbart are close to being proto-Nazis with some of their commentary. On the other hand, when was the last time that you read or heard on CNN or the NYT about the low-level civil war currently ongoing in Western European cities between Muslim immigrants and the authorities? If you hear it mentioned at all, it is only to disparage the idea that it even exists.

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  11. #336
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Dashed hopes boost far-right in eastern Germany 30 years after fall of Berlin Wall



    A giant Karl Marx statue towers in the east German city of Chemnitz but, 30 years after the Berlin Wall fell, another political wind is blowing here as the ex-communist city battles the image of a far-right hotbed.

    Polls suggest that Sunday the region's voters will deliver strong gains for the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), an ideological ally of nationalist parties now ruling ex-Soviet bloc countries Poland and Hungary.

    That would rattle Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government and force the other parties to team up to form majorities.

    The AfD speaks to voters like Olaf Quinger, a 62-year-old butcher who voiced his fear and anger about the arrival of more than one million migrants in recent years.

    "The main problem is that people who are launching a kind of invasion of our country are being treated the same way as Germans," he said, standing at an AfD campaign booth. "That's a huge injustice."

    Many asylum-seekers have flashy smartphones, he said, and "very few of them are really refugees ... they are here to leech off the state".

    READ ALSO: Chemnitz: Portrait of a city shaken by anti-foreigner riots

    AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland, 78 - who has labelled the Nazi era "a speck of bird shit on German history" - last Saturday spoke in Chemnitz, Saxony state.

    Outlining party policies, he demanded secure borders and immigration caps, railed against Brussels and mocked teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.

    He then complained that Saxony, whose people he said had bravely won their freedom, was now often characterized as "a right-wing extremist stronghold, a brown stain, a state trapped in the past, the embodiment of a dark Germany".

    "If you believe our politicians and media," he told supporters, then Saxony - alongside with Poland and Hungary, which helped end the Soviet empire - are now "the hearts of darkness".

    "The truth is that Poland and Hungary - and Saxony - are the beating hearts of freedom and resistance, then and now."

    Strong in the east
    The rise of the AfD has confronted Germany anew with the legacy of the peaceful revolution of 1989, which brought political freedom but also economic pain.
    Many "Ossis", slang for east Germans, complain of a continued wealth gap and of western arrogance.
    So-called "Wessis" meanwhile, often look down on the late-comers to liberal democracy and social diversity in the east where racist violence has flared repeatedly since the early 1990s.

    Chemnitz earned infamy a year ago when thousands of neo-Nazis, football hooligans and enraged citizens rallied near the 40-tonne Marx bust to vent their anger at immigrants.

    The spark that set off the days of unrest was the late-night fatal stabbing of a German man by a Syrian asylum seeker, who last week received a nine-and-a-half year jail term. An Iraqi suspect remains at large.

    n the heated protests, AfD leaders marched with the radical Pegida and Pro Chemnitz movements. They were united in their anti-immigration stance and distrust of cosmopolitan elites and "establishment" institutions, parties and media, whom they regard as "traitors to the people".

    "We are the people," is an old pro-democracy rallying cry that the AfD now levels against the "Merkel regime".

    Gauland praised Saxons for what he described as their instinctive, patriotic resistance to dictatorship and for being "a stake in the flesh of the multicultural, multi-ethnic, mentally controlled old Germany".

    Flags, Hitler salute

    The 1989 revolution swept away East Germany's one-party state with its hated secret police. Reunification a year later brought a burst of infrastructure investment and led then-chancellor Helmut Kohl to promise "flowering landscapes" of prosperity.

    But it also sparked the mass closure of ramshackle factories and state farms, massive job losses and a population flight.

    Those who stayed behind often felt left behind, and their anger and envy can easily turn against newcomers.

    "There is so much poverty among the pensioners," said Heide Haenig, 70, a retired chemical technician.

    She gestured to a nearby park where immigrants sat and claimed: "They act like they own Germany. They don't even have to pay rent. They get 200 euros per child... and then they have seven children!"

    Not everyone shares those views. Chemnitz mayor Barbara Ludwig, 57, Saturday took part in a civic discussion forum where people wrote goals like "tolerance" and "respect" on cardboard thought-bubbles.

    Ludwig has voiced dismay that many now associate Chemnitz with "the Karl Marx head, German flags and a Hitler salute" - but insisted to AFP that "the city has a lot to offer, it is quite different from the image created a year ago".

    People elsewhere in Saxony are also pushing back. On the day Gauland spoke to 400 people in Chemnitz, over 40,000 rallied in the state capital Dresden against racism and for cultural diversity.

    It was the largest rally there since the Wall fell.

    I apologize Chris but I have to make my point regarding this post. Not everyone in Germany agrees and buys in to perceptions of immigrants, one side does and unfortunately that is always the gist of my postings. It's a matter of what we want to adapt as our guiding principles and whether or not ultimately they conform to what is best for the survival and enrichment of humanity. Peace my brother.
    Last edited by NotAPretender, 3rd November 2019 at 16:03.
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  12. #337
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Well, I mostly read Left-Wing news sources.
    As usual I'm guilty of some miscommunication. What I did was conflate the notions of propaganda versus bias. CNN, has obvious bias, to use a term a righty might perceive, an egregious bias particular on their 'discussion/debate' shows, such as Cuomo. He has an annoying habit of holding his obvious bias while pretending a facade of male ingenue in the mold of the scumbag Mr. Bowtie.

    Bias, born of personal principles and worldview, yes, I'll concede. Propaganda is magnitudes more sinister and at its heart is a desire to mislead by lies. The thought leaves a nasty taste in my brain.
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  13. #338
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON MASS MEDIA PROPAGANDA
    John Jay Black Department of Communication Utah State University (Prepared for delivery before a Qualitative Division session on Philosophical Implications of the Mass Media at the annual convention of the Association for Education in Journalism, Madison, Wisconsin, August 21 - 24, 1977)

    Books, articles, speeches and conferences about journalism, whether produced by journalists or 'outsiders', almost always contain evaluations of how the media face their responsibilities. Usually,the authors launch their observations from a general point of view -- either a positive or negative one. They either hold that the media have enormous powers or that they are merely small cogs in the machinery of democracy, capitalism, education, and the myriad concepts clustered around the term 'public opinion'. The typical criticism usually starts out with a set of general statements concerning what the mass media should be and do . From there, the authors create their links between the media and the sophistication or ignorance of the voter, the rationality or irrationality of the consumer, the social adjustment or maladjustment of the child, and the involvement or apathy of the citizen.

    Why do the authors find it so easyy to make connections between the content of the media and the behavior of people? Probably because most authors, being humans themselves, hold implicit views about humanity and the types of forces and controls that make humanity what it 'is'. On the one hand, if one believes people are inherently rational and openminded, one's books and articles will reflect the 'fact' that the mass media are merely small cogs in the formation of public opinion. Such authors will 'find' that people utilize many media and outside sources of information before making purchases, voting, or entertaining and educating themselves.

    From that it follows that even when people do use the media, they use them as tentative and incomplete rather than arbitrary and absolute guides for their economic, political, cultural, and educational decisions. On the other hand, the majority of authors who criticize the media tend to believe that people in general are not completely rational or mature, and that the average citizen needs a great deal of assistance from mediated sources as he goes about the business of being a consumer, a voter, a student, and a parent. Media irresponsibility is seen by these critics (whom we may call the non-apologists, in contrast with the apologists described in the preceding paragraph) as the primary cause of consumer confusion, voter ignorance and apathy, a lessening of reading, writing and cognitive skills, and everything from violence in the streets to obscenity in and debasement of our language. Since they consciously or unconsciously picture humanity as troubled masses seeking guidance, the non-apologists have a vast arena upon which they can play the game of media criticism . . . an arena of far broader scope than that available to the apologists.

    Political, economic, and social conservatism or liberalism are not the only ideologies represented by journalism's critics . Even though the research of social scientists may be generally free from political, economic, or social bias, the research may nevertheless be tainted by the scientists' fundamental perceptions, especially their perceptions of how man fits into the grand scheme of things . Surely a behaviorist's media criticism will differ from a psychoanalyst's,just as criticism by an adherent of play theory (with his belief that people manipulate their media rather than vice versa) will differ from criticism by one who adheres to what has been called the "cultural norms" theory (with his belief that the media are powerful social forces, constantly manipulating and molding private thoughts and public behavior) . This is because most researchers, subjected as they are to the same cultural and cognitive forces that mold the layman, hold either explicit or implicit models of man -- man is basically good, or basically bad, or basically strong, or basically weak, etc. -- which might contaminate their studies of human nature.

    In short, there's a little bias in all of us. Having said this, it becomes no easy matter to propose a framework to objectively analyze the performance of the mass media. The safest approach may be to pick and choose one's way through the 'standard' arguments, sets of expectations, codes of behavior, etc ., regarding what journalism and the mass media can be and do, and couple these arguments, theories and critical approaches with as much objective evidence as possible about actual media performance and effects . The task would be overwhelming. But if one manages to utilize common orientations and empirical evidence displayed by a variety of seemingly impartial observers, social scientists, and media practitioners, the task of media analysis becomes, at least, philosophically feasible. The problem, of course, rests with the validity of the approaches, theories, and evidence utilized to produce such a mode of analysis. For the sake of the present paper, evidence mustered by students of language and semantics, students of psychology and sociology and political science, and concerned lay critics will be considered. Commonalities in these approaches will be used, especially those most obviously value-free, to propose a means whereby a layman, a media practitioner, or a media researcher might undertake a systematic and impartial analysis of mass media performance in general and journalistic performance in particular.

    PROPAGANDISTS AND PROPAGANDEES

    Media standards of performance and codes of ethics, whether established by quasi-official or official agencies (censorship bureaus, courts, or legislative organs), by pressure groups, or by media organizations themselves, seem to have had one overriding principle during the twentieth century. Usually expressed in terms of 'social responsibility', it can be reduced to the argument that free, open, rational behavior on the part of highly aware citizens is necessary for preserving an open society that accepts and operates on the principles of democracy. Media practices that violate this basic premise are usually referred to as being progagandistic, biased, subjective, slanted, sensational or otherwise irresponsible . For the sake of parsimony, the entire body of irresponsible media behaviors will be referred to as propaganda henceforth in this paper.

    Traditionally, propaganda has been considered as the manipulation of opinion toward political, religious, or military ends. The word 'propaganda' was first used in 1622 in reference to the spreading of the faith; since Catholicism was an accepted faith and therefore considered worth spreading, the word had positive connotations. However, the word got its 93 negative connotations during the early years of the present century when Americans were concerned that Axis powers were using propaganda and psychological warfare deviously. During both world wars, an important military and political role was played by propaganda. We feared that propaganda and brainwashing went hand in hand and therefore had no part to play in a democratic society unless that society was deeply engaged in a war for survival.

    Since World War Two, as social scientists have come to realize that communication in and of itself does not have the absolute 'mind '--molding power once attributed to it, the fear of propaganda has lessened. But the word has taken on a broader meaning, as it has come to be associated with many areas of social and economic life in addition to the traditional political, religious and military areas. We often hear references to 'propaganda' about various products and ideas for sale. We often use the term rather loosely to cast aspersions on ideas put out by anyone whose motives we suspect. (It may be significant that the United States has a United States Information Agency; our ideological 'enemies' have propaganda agencies.) Most recently, the term propaganda has again surfaced in the literature of journalism vis-avis the kinds of media irresponsibilities discussed above.

    What elements of the mass media lend themselves to being propagandistic? What characteristics of media-people (news reporters, public relations and advertising and film practitioners, etc.) result in some of these people sometimes behaving as propagandists? Finally, and perhaps of most importance, what characteristics of media consumers lend themselves most readily to being propagandized, and how can the inculcation of a propagandistic society be avoided? Concerns over media propaganda are based in part on the often stated assumption that one responsibility of a democratic media system is to keep the public open-minded -- that is, to keep people curious, questioning, unwilling to accept simple pat answers to complex situations, to operate as libertarians, etc. 'Mental freedom,' they assume, comes when people have the capacity, and exercise the capacity, to weigh numerous sides of controversies and to come to their own decisions, free of outside constraints . Social -psychologist Milton Rokeach, in his seminal work The Open and ClosedMind (1960), concluded empirically that the degree to which a person's belief system is open or closed is the extent to which the person can receive, evaluate, and act on relevant information received from the outside on its own intrinsic merits, unencumbered by irrelevant factors in the situation arising from within the person or from the outside. To him, the openminded individual would seek out mass media that challenged him to think for himself, rather than media that would offer the easy answers to complex problems. The open-minded media consumer seeks 'free' (i . e . , independent and pluralistic) media because he wants to remain free.
    Last edited by NotAPretender, 3rd November 2019 at 18:03.
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    For generations media critics have pointed to factors in mass media that mitigate against openmindedness . Gilbert Seldes (The New Mass Media, 1957) expressed fear that the mass media in general and television in particular had begun to inculcate in the audience a weakened sense of discrimination, a heightening of stereotypical thinking patterns, a tendency toward conformity and dependence. In the long run, Seldes argued, the mass media may discourage people from forming independent judgments. He carried his argument to the point of saying that if the mass media are brakes on the 'mental' and 'emotional' development of their followers, they are helping to make our social structure rigid. "This may help to create a people who would accept a dictatorship," he concluded.

    Seldes is not alone in this respect, although his view may be more extreme than most. Seldes was talking about the news and information aspects of the media, as was Harold Lasky, who a decade earlier had observed that: The real power of the press comes from the effect of its continous repetition of an attitude reflected in facts which its readers have no chance to check, or by its ability to surround these facts by an environment of suggestion which, often half-consciously, seeps its way into the mind of the reader and forms his premises for him without his even being aware that they are really prejudices to which he has scarcely given a moment of thought. (Lasky, American Democracy) Likewise Charles Wright (Mass Communications : A Socioloical Perspective) expressed concern over the potential cognitive damage created by the very function of news reporting and editing: When news is edited for him, the individual does not have to sift and sort, interpret and evaluate, information for himself . He is free to accept or reject prefabricated views about the world around him, as presented by the mass media.
    But at some point, it can be argued, the consumer of predigested ideas, opinions, and views becomes an ineffectual citizen, less capable of functioning as a rational man. (There is, of course, an argument that people need these predigested views, since they can't experience all of life first-hand. By definition, media come between realities and media consumers, and we are not arguing for the elimination of those media.

    But the logic of Jacques Ellul, in his seminal work Propaganda : The Formation of Men's Attitudes, seems compelling, as he argued that man in a technological society needs to be propagandized, to be 'integrated into society' by means of the mass media. Man with such a need gets carried along unconsciously on the surface of events, not thinking about them but rather 'feeling' them . Since man has a spontaneous defensive reaction against an excess of information and since man clings unconsciously to the unity of his own person whenever he is faced with inconsistencies in his news media, man's natural defense is to deny contradictions and therefore to deny his own continuity, obliterating yesterday's news and any contradiction in his own life . Modern man, Ellul concluded, therefore condemns himself to a life of successive moments, discontinuous and fragmented--and the news media are largely responsible. [Ellul may be implying that if there were no mass media to help man achieve this bifurcation, man would quickly find another means to achieve it.] The news becomes a form of propaganda, and no confrontation ever occurs between the event andthe truth; no relationship ever exists between the event and the person, according to Ellul. (The hapless victim of information overload, according to Ellul, seeks out propaganda as a means of ordering the chaos. Propaganda gives him explanations for all the news, so that it is classified into easily identifiable categories of good and bad, right and wrong, worth-worrying-about and not-worth-worrying--about, etc . The propagandee allows himself to be propagandized, to have his cognitive horizons narrowed, according to Ellul. Propaganda in the news media fits a panoramic pattern established by the media practitioners, who attempt to show propagandees that they travel in the direction of history and progress . Media propaganda thus must furnish an explanation for all happenings, a key to understand the whys and the reasons for economic and political developments. "The great force of propaganda lies in giving man all-embracing, simple explanations and massive, doctrinal causes, without which he could not live with the news, "Ellul argued, adding that man is doubly reassured by propaganda because it tells him the reasons behind developments and because it promises solution for all the problems which would otherwise seem insoluble. "Just as information is necessary for awareness, propaganda is necessary to prevent this awareness from being desperate, Ellul concluded.
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    The cognitive state of the media consumer, as depicted by Seldes, Lasky, Wright, Ellul, and others, is one in which the consumer has voluntarily exposed himself to the myriad facts, details, explanations, and exhortations about the busy worlds of economics, politics, geography, and so on to the point where, as described by Ellul, ""he finds himself in a kind of a kaleidoscope in which thousands of unconnected images follow each other rapidly." Erwin Edman was referring to newspapers in particular when he observed that they are the worst possible way of getting a coherent picture of life of our time. "It is a crazy quilt, a jazz symphony, a madness shouting in large type . " Edman suggested that the mind of the newspaper reader, if it could be photographed after ten minutes reading, would not be a map, but an explosion. (quoted in Peterson, Jenson and Rivers, The Mass Media and Modern Society) Given this model of man, it is little wonder some commentators see propaganda as an inevitability -- for if man's nature is to have a homeostatic mental set, the 'crazy quilt' patterns of information he receives from his mass media would certainly drive him to some superior authority of information or belief that would allow him to make sense of his world . At least, that is the theory that follows from all of the above sources.
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    Obviously, not all commentators share this perspective. There is at least one school of social science and philosophy that adheres to the belief that 'homo ludens' (man at play) takes an existentialistic delight in the 'crazy quilt' of pluralistic news, information, advertising, and persuasion. Basically apologists for media's inherent characteristics, they sense little of the desperation expressed by Seldes, Wright, Lasky, Ellul, and Edman. Homo ludens can either rise above the propaganda through his heightened self-awareness experiences when alone in a mass (a theory directly contradictory of Ellul's), or he doesn't take it seriously enough to be affected by it. Either way, propaganda is not much of a concern to these theorists . (A criticism of this approach is made by Gordon in Persuasion: The Theory and Practice of Manipulative Communication, 1971.) (This sounds a little suspicious to me - NAP)

    Between the pessimism of the first group of observers, and what must be described as the optimism of the second group, lies a large group of analysts who remain uncertain about the ultimate effects ofthe media, but who continue their investigations with a 'wait and see' attitude . The latter are quite unready to suggest a cause-effect relationship between media characteristics and audience reactions. (This sounds like fantasy to me - NAP)

    Unfortunately, their research findings to date, largely fragmented and lacking in comprehensiveness, do not yet lend themselves to a broad enough theoretical model of man the propagandist and man the propagandee to satisfy the needs of the present study. Obviously, each analyst's model of man -- whether he sees man as strong and rational or weak and manipulable - will determine whether he calls for more or less propaganda in the media. Those believers in democratic man, following the arguments of propaganda researchers such as Qualter (Propaganda and Psychological Warfare), would insist that the danger to libertarian man is a lack of conflicting propaganda. Those who follow analysts such as Ellul decry the present inevitability and apparently want a decrease in that propaganda -- though Ellul never advocated a major change in the status quo, but merely deplored it. Regardless of one's model of man, however, there may be a good deal of validity in the observation of Ellul that: . . . it is evident that a conflict exists between the principles of democracy -- particularly its concept of the individual -- and the processes of propaganda. The notion of rational man, capable of thinking and living according to reason, of controlling his passions and living according to scientific patterns, of choosing freely between good and evil -- all this seems opposed to the secret influences, the mobilizations of myths, the swift appeals to the irrational, so characteristic of propaganda.
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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    PROPAGANDA TECHNIQUES IN THE NEWSMEDIA

    It is appropriate at this point to investigate whatever elements of propaganda that are said to exist in the news and information media. The treatment of propaganda in the entire mass media is less possible in these pages than is the treatment of news media propaganda, but it will be noted that a great many of the thoughts about news media propaganda can be expanded readily to include entertainment and persuasion media.

    Such an investigation is surely no simple task. Many books and articles have pointed to this or that piece of 'propaganda' or 'propaganda campaigns' in the news media. Many studies of media bias are basically studies of media propaganda; most critics tend to assume an intentional propaganda or bias in the media, and some few have commented upon the possibility of unintentional bias in these media. The present investigation assumes a little of each, for the investigation focuses on the characteristics of the manifest content of those news media, and any such investigation must be careful about assuming cause (the intentional or unintentional bias of the reporters, editors, etc.) and effect (the possibility or lack of possibility of affecting opinion change or action).

    The following short review is representative of positions taken by propaganda students, and is not intended to be comprehensive.

    Qualter suggested that a student of propaganda should not limit himself to a review of the editorialor opinion pages of the newspaper (or, to project his argument, to the editorial functions of other media). At one time it was customary to distinguish the expression of opinion on the editorial pages of a paper from the straightforward presentation of facts on the news pages. With the growing appreciation of the extent to which opinion governs the selection and manner of presentation of news, it has been concluded that this division is unrealistic and it is now generally admitted that the news columns can also contain propaganda. This is especially true of news magazines such as Time and Newsweek where the selection and presentation of news items is an expression of editorial policy. Even Goebbels recognized this to be true. Doob quoted from Goebbels' diary that "the best form of newspaper propaganda was not 'propaganda' (i .e .,editorials and exhortation), but slanted news which appeared to be straight. (Principles of Propaganda, in Schramm, Process and Effects of Mass Communication)

    This need not necessarily be the result of a conscientious effort on the part of the journalist, however, if one is to believe Hohenberg's statement that: The temptation is great, under the pressures of daily journalism, to leap to conclusions, to act as an advocate, to make assumptions based on previous experience, to approach a story with preconceived notions of what is likely to happen, To give way to such tendencies is to invite error, slanted copy, and libelous publications for which there is little or no defense. (Obviously, some are better than others when making the intuitive leap - NAP) An open mind is the mark of the journalist; the propagandist has made up his mind before. The Professional Journalist)

    From Hohenberg's description, one might generalize that a journalist does not have to be consciously biasing his copy to earn the label of propagandist -- but it helps. And, some might add, the media consumer who shouts about propaganda in his media might have the same types of semantic and belief systems blockages that he is accusing the journalist of
    possessing. Syndicated columnist Sydney Harris observed that journalistic accounts of events are sometimes distorted because of ignorance, sloppiness, incompleteness, or unconscious bias . But, more often, he added, when people disagree with the report of an event they have been close to, it is less a matter of the reporter's deficiency than of the people's own foreshortened perspective. "You can't see the picture when you are in the frame, " he concluded.
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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    By and large, however, discussions of media propaganda insinuate that the journalist is aware that he is behaving in a way that will bring biases to his story, and result in his audience's having distorted views of the reality he is supposedly depicting. John Merrill has developed two different lists of ways in which this may take place. His first list dealt with biases in Time magazine; his second was a more general discussion of biases and propaganda techniques in the news media in general. In his 1965 Journalism Quarterly article "How Time Stereotyped Three U. S . Presidents," Merrill evaluated the newsmagazine on the basis of six different 'bias categories': attribution bias, adjective bias, adverbial bias, contextual bias, outright opinion, and photographic bias. His investigation was said to demonstrate clearly that Time operated with negative stereotypes of President Truman, positive stereotypes of President Eisenhower, and ambivalent stereotypes (or no stereotypes) of President Kennedy.

    In his summary, Merrill listed twelve principal techniques used by Time in subjectivizing its reports: 1) deciding which incident, remarks, etc., to play up and which ones to omit or play down; 2) failing to tell the whole story; 3) weaving opinion into the story; 4) imputing wisdom and courage and other usually admired qualities by use of adjectives, adverbs, and general context or by quoting some friend of the person; 5) dragging into the story past incidents unnecessary to the present report; 6) using one's opinion to project opinion to this person's larger group -- the "one-man-cross-section device"; 7) imputing wide acceptance, such as "the nation believed" without presenting any evidence at all; 8) transferring disrepute to a person by linking him or his group to some unpopular person, group, cause, or idea; 9) playing up certain phrases or descriptions which tend to point out possible weaknesses, paint a derogatory picture or create a stereotype; 10) creating an overall impression of a person by words, an impression which is reinforced from issue to issue; 11) explaining motives for Presidential actions, and 12) telling the reader what "the people" think or what the nation or public thinks about almost anything. (j, Autumn)

    In his more recent text, Merrill has offered a far broader compendium of propagandistic characteristics of journalists. He referred to journalists as propagandists when they 'propagate' or spread their own prejudices, biases and opinions -- trying to affect the attitudes of their audiences. Merrill's list at this point is thus of purposive, manipulatory propaganda techniques, consisting of 1) the use of stereotypes in simplifying reality; 2) the presentation of opinion disguised as fact; 3) the use of biased attribution; 4) the process of information selection or card stacking (a propaganda technique only when a pattern of selection becomes evident, according to Merrill); 5) the use of misleading headlines, based on the assumption that people come away from stories with the substance of the headline -- not the story -- in their 'minds' ; 6) biased photographs; 7) censorship or "exercising news prerogatives" through a) selective control of information to favor a particular viewpoint or editorial position, and b) deliberate doctoring of information in order to create a certain impression; 8) repetition of certain themes, persons, ideas, and slogans; 9) an emphasis on the negative, selecting targets in line with preexisting dispositions of the audience; 10) appeal to authorities, well-known and reputable sources; and 11) fictionalizing, creatively filling the gaps in a story, making up direct quotations, etc. Merrill generalized that the mass media and their functionaries generate propaganda and spread the propaganda of others to a far greater extent than most citizens believe . (Merrill and Lowenstein, Media, Messages, and Men)
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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    One of the most often cited lists of propaganda techniques is that of seven devices proposed by the Harvard Institute for Propaganda Analysis before and during World War Two. While not all of these techniques are applicable to the news function of the mass media, several of them are, and others are applicable to the entertainment and persuasion media. The list included the name calling device, the glittering generalities device, the transfer device, the testimonial device, the plain folks device, the card stacking device, and band wagon device. (Institute for Propaganda Analysis, "How to Detect Propaganda, " Propaganda Analysis, I [Nov., 1937]) All of them, to one degree or another, take advantage of people's tendencies to confuse language and its referents.

    Those most applicable to the news media may be name calling, when a reporter merely repeats the names one person or group calls another, or even resorts to creating names or labels in hopes of confusing people and distracting their attention from the reality; glittering generalities, when a reporter uses broad, sweeping statements to categorize people and events; and especially card stacking, in which the reporter either stacks the deck with information to create a certain impression, or he unconsciously passes along the stacked deck he picked up from his news sources. Reliance upon these seven techniques as a tool or weapon for the layman to use against propaganda may result in a cynical doubting Thomas, according to Hayakawa. The realization that man cannot always be rational and avoid emotionalism is bound to result in cynicism, since the layman does not tend to act 'scientifically' because he lacks the intellectual tools of the scientist and tends to automatically jump to conclusions about 'facts' when such conclusions are not warranted and would not be made by the scientist. ("General Semantics and Propaganda,"Public Opinion Quarterly [April, 1939)

    Several other listings or discussions of propaganda are available and have direct application to the news media. J.A.C. Brown's list includes 1) the use of stereotypes; 2) the substitution of names ("The propagandist frequently tries to influence his audience by substituting favourable or unfavourable terms, with an emotional connotation, for neutral ones suitable to his purpose . . . "); 3) selection ("The propagandist, out of a mass of complex facts, selects only those that are suitable for his purpose... Censorship is one form of selection and therefore of propaganda. ") ; 4) downright lying; 5) repetition ("The propagandist is confident that, if he repeats a statement often enough, it will in time come to be accepted by his audience. A variation of this technique is the use of slogans and key words... "); 6) assertion ("The propagandist rarely argues but makes bold assertions in favour of his thesis... the essence of propaganda is the presentation of one side of the picture only, the deliberate limitation of free thought and questioning . "); 7) pinpointing the enemy (It is helpful if the propagandist can put forth a message which is not only for something, but also against some real or imagined enemy who is supposedly frustrating the will of his audience... ); 8) the appeal to authority. (Techniques of Persuasion, pp. 26-28) (I'm starting to feel like a propagandist - NAP)

    Brown's list is quite similar to Merrill's, and the applications to the mass media should be apparent. A discussion limited exclusively to the media is found in Robert Cirino's Don't Blame the People, in which he offered a "catalog of hidden bias, " as his Chapter 13 is titled. Most of the examples in his thirty-six page chapter relate to biases in the news and information selection and handling; a few relate to editorial bias. His broad categories of bias in the news are: 1) bias in the source of news, including wire services and handouts; 2) bias through the selection of news stories to be printed or aired; 3) bias through the omission of news or parts of news stories available; 4) bias in the treatment and use of interviews, particularly in the selection of types of people to be interviewed, and especially on television news; 5) bias through the placement of stories on the front or back pages of the newspaper or as lead or tail stories on the air; 6) bias through 'coincidental' placement or juxtaposition of stories, headlines or pictures that subtly contrast the editors' loves and hates; 7) bias in the headlines, especially considering the tyrannies of space and vocabulary needed to summarize and attract attention to stories; 8) bias in words, however subtle, used to describe persons, thoughts, or situations; 9) bias in news images used to persuade audiences to hate, condemn, disapprove or laugh at persons representing a position contrary to the favored policies and special interests of the communicator; 10) bias in photograph selection; 11) bias in captions; 12) the use of editorials to distort facts, as covers in order to persuade the listeners to think and feel as the broadcaster wants them to; 13) the hidden editorial, found either in advertisements that appear to be news items or in the personalized opinion tacked onto otherwise 'objective' news stories . Cirino stated the great volume of news, the way it must be processed and the public's need to make some kind of order out of the chaos of news events, make bias inevitable.
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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    Finally, to conclude this brief annotation of references about propaganda in the news media, one can see in a 1977 textbook for reporting students renewed emphasis on bias and distortion in the news . Ryan and Tankard conclude a chapter on that subject with advice to reporters on how they can help eliminate bias and distortion from news copy by categorizing information as reports, inferences or judgments, and by a) verifying the accuracy of a questionable report with a second source; b) avoiding the use of personal inferences and judgments in news stories; c) using inferences and judgments from qualified sources with extreme care; d) asking a source whether an inference or judgment made by a first source seems logical and proper; e) using an inference or judgment from an unqualified source only if the person is prominent or influential and the reporter considers it important to indicate to readers what that person's state of mind about a subject is, and f) reporting the evidence on which a source bases a judgment. (Basic News Reporting)

    As noted in the introduction to this study, any attempt to offer a framework that purports to objectively analyze the performance of the mass media is fraught with dangers. The past several pages have demonstrated a broad variety of arguments, hypotheses and orientations about how the mass media supposedly operate as propagandistic agencies. Some of the arguments, etc., are contradictory. But there have been enough commonalities among them to integrate basic assumptions about propaganda into a broad-based and perhaps theoretically sound perspective, one couched in the lexicon of the social psychology of belief systems and semantic orientations.

    BELIEF SYSTEMS AND SEMANTIC ORIENTATIONS

    In an effort to understand the basic nature of how people perceive the world and how they communicate their perceptions, social psychologist Milton Rokeach spent years developing his theory of belief systems. Of significance to a student of journalism is Rokeach's basic breakdown of people into categories of relatively open- or closed-mindedness. Rokeach demonstrated empirically that the basic characteristics defining the closed-minded or dogmatic person are a) a very heavy reliance upon 'authority figures' to whom he turns for guidance in making decisions and solidifying perceptions; b) irrational forces, which bias his perceptions and communications; c) a narrow time perspective, in which he overemphasizes or fixates on the past or present or future without appreciating the continuity that exists among them; d) little cognitive discrimination between differing sets of information, beliefs, and consequent actions. On the other extreme, a non-dogmatist a) evaluates and acts on information independently on its own merits; b) is governed in his actions by internal selfactualizing forces and less by irrational forces; c) perceives the past, present and future as being intrinsically related; d) resists pressures exerted by external sources to evaluate and to act in accordance with their wishes; e) distinguishes between information received about the world and information received about the source during a communication or persuasion situation. (The Open and Closed Mind Rokeach's research has been validated in numerous studies (see especially the extensive review by Vacchiano et al .), and is of use here because it offers a relatively objective framework within which one can analyze the behavior of both media practitioners and consumers. (It is 'objective' in the sense that it is a generalized framework, unemcumbered by the socio-politico biases that pervaded earlier studies of prejudice and authoritarianism . Rokeach's 'map' of the human 'mind' resulted from a dozen years of wide-ranging experiments, freeing it from the singular bias that may exist in more limited studies.
    Last edited by NotAPretender, 3rd November 2019 at 21:22.
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