Propaganda 101 – The Tight Focus Media

A few years ago I attended a function for a controversial political figure who was being targeted by Latino rights groups for his hard-line stance on immigration rights. I wanted to hear what this boogeyman said and make up my own mind about him.

When I got there in addition to the crowd attending the event, the driveway of the hotel was jammed with television trucks from all of the major Los Angeles television stations as well as a large number of national Spanish language stations.

Few of them were covering the event inside. Rather they were focused on a small crowd of perhaps 20 protesters outside. It was a symbiotic relationship. The media were there for the protesters. The protesters were there for the media. 20 news crews were broadcasting this protest into the living rooms of millions of Spanish-speaking families along with the 11:00 o’clock news on every major English language channel in Los Angeles.

By the look on the screen when I got home that night, one would have thought there were hundreds of outraged protesters. In fact, it was only when the klieg lights came on that it was anything but a very casual affair. The protesters joked and smoked with the news crews and reporters, and then went home before the event ended. They had made their point and sent their message to the masses.

Yesterday morning, it was reported that MSNBC had altered another video of a Romney/Ryan rally showing the Republican candidates in an unfavorable light.This is the second time the network has been caught.

On September 22, the major media including the networks, the Wall Street Journal, and other outlets reported a crowd on 18,000, Obama’s largest yet, in Milwaukee. Unfortunately, the BMO Harris Pavilion where it took place seats only 5,000, and video images taken by attendees showed large swathes of empty seats. The video from the major media naturally was tight focus.

It’s an old trick from the 60’s. Visual media feeds off of motion and noise. It’s the shiny object theory. It is also a pack of lies.

This morning, the ombudsman for the Washington Post challenged the paper to recognize its left-wing bias and a recent Pew poll found that only 46 percent of the population feels that the news coverage of the candidates by the media is fair.

When the Obama administration tried to enlist the National Endowment for the Arts to develop a media campaign to promote the President’s health care bill, it was not the mainstream media but alternative media that blew the whistle on a clear violation of the law.

Camera phones and iPads are challenging the received narrative. Breitbart, the bete noir of the Left repeatedly caught the farce on video, shutting down ACORN and “exposing” the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal. It wasn’t that the major media had no interest in these stories. They didn’t fit the political narrative, so they said nothing. Same thing with the John Edwards scandal. It was the National Enquirer that broke the story. A major presidential candidate was cheating on his dying wife and engineered a criminal coverup, and the media knew and said nothing.

The decisions on what to report, and what not to report, and how it is framed are made by a handful of editors and executives, almost all of whom have cast aside any measure of objectivity.

But when there is a clear pattern of propagandizing for one side or the other, a Rubicon of our freedoms has been crossed. A fair and impartial press is vital to our democracy. The media themselves claimed that people sitting at home in their pajamas were creating a false narrative but today, it is those same citizen journalists who have been catching the media in their lies.

There is a growing cry against this propaganda machine but sometimes it is hard to find since the machine is intent on self-preservation. But when 46% of the audience no longer believes what it reads in the paper or sees on TV, the death knell has rung.

Punch Sulzburger died yesterday. He was an iconic figure to many in the East Coast media posse. But he and his successors failed to realize that by catering to a left-wing audience they lost 50% of their subscribers in a nation that is relatively moderate.

The propaganda machine is self imploding while it blames free content and 100 other causes other than its own alienation of its audience. Propaganda works when it is government subsidized but not in a capitalist economy.

We may differ on our ideas, but we cannot afford to differ on the facts.

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