Digging Deeper: Politico-Corporate Media Manipulation, Critical Thinking, and Democracy [Project Censored / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]]

The following is a chapter from Project Censored 2014 written by Elliot D. Cohen

+ The Myth of the Lemmings +

In 1958, the Disney Corporation, which now owns ABC, produced a film, White Wilderness, as part of its “True Life Adventure” series. The film showed lemmings, small mouse-like rodents, supposedly committing mass suicide by leaping into the sea. According to Disney’s narrator, “a kind of compulsion seizes each tiny rodent and, carried along by an unreasoning hysteria, each falls into step for a march that will take them to a strange destiny.” The Disney documentary is the source of the common belief that lemmings voluntarily march to their deaths.

Disney filmmakers faked the lemming scene, throwing them off the cliff. There is no evidence that blind compulsion ever moves lemmings in their natural habitats to commit suicide en masse. 1

But we cannot blame the motion picture industry for such deceptions unless we are prepared to confront our own complicity in deceit. Mass deception by corporate media is possible because we, the “masses,” are deceivable. It is difficult but necessary to recognize our own collusion.

…The power of corporate media to propagate myth and present it as reality is a major factor in the evisceration of American democracy. American corporate media and government have done their utmost to propagate and sustain an image of America as a beacon of freedom, the world’s leading democracy and a majority of Americans have, in turn, embraced this comfortable, mythic view as their own. The truth about America — both its past and present — is less palatable and more inconvenient than the popular myth. 2

It is important to note that the primary motivation of gigantic media conglomerates like Disney is the amassing of profit, not truth. As a general rule, only if truth pays will they report it. Likewise, a government seeking power and control over its citizens…is likely to censor and whitewash the information it provides to its citizens, and even worse, to propagate disinformation, especially when the facts get in the way of implementing its own agenda. For example, the latter was the case in the lead-up to the Iraq War when the George W. Bush administration attempted to “make the facts fit the policy” in order to justify the war. 3

So it would be naïve to expect a government that seeks power and control over its citizens not to use its influence over the corporate media in order to spread self-serving propaganda. Inasmuch as the corporate media need government to maximize their bottom line — through tax breaks, military contracts, relaxed media ownership rules, access to its officials and spokespersons, as well as other incentives and kickbacks — government has incredible power and leverage over the corporate media. Thus, instead of blaming the government for having lied to and deceived its citizens, better not to allow ourselves to be suckered into believing such propaganda in the first place. As this chapter argues, our liberties [sic] are most vulnerable to faulty thinking and best defended by sound logic…

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.projectcensored.org/digging-deeper-politico-corporate-media-manipulation-critical-thinking-democracy/


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