The propaganda model, originally laid out by Herman and Chomsky, focuses on the inequality of wealth and power and its multilevel effects on mass-media interests and choices. (Herman & Chomsky, p144) It traces the routes by which money and power are able to filter out the news fit to print, marginalize dissent, and allow the government and dominant private interests to get their messages across to the public. (Herman & Chomsky, p144) There are 5 factors involved in shaping the media: ownership, advertising, sourcing, flak, and anticommunist ideology. These factors work as “filters” through which information must pass before it reaches the general public. (Notes, p16)
Today mass media isn’t run by many individual firms and companies as it was in the past. Instead the media has suffered a concentration from the year 2000 to the year 2010. This concentration happened because the wealthiest firms in the media world (Comcast, National Amusements, Disney Paramount pictures, Time Warner, and News Corp.) bought out most other companies working alongside them however, they didn’t manage to pull in integrated firms such as Sony. (Notes, p16) This small ownership of such a large empire only adds to the control that the mass media has over shaping the views and beliefs of its consumers. (Notes, p16)
Most of the funds that these corporations receive come from advertisers who want their ads to appear in a supportive selling environment. (Herman) A great example of this would be corporations who sell children’s toys. These corporations know that in order to sell their product that have to reach out to the intended audience, which in this case would be younger children up to age 9 or 10. Since young children generally watch only cartoons, the toy company’s best bet would be to advertise their product on a network that only airs cartoons intended for younger children. They do this either with 30 second long ads that go on during the show, or through product placement. Product placement involves incorporating companies product, logo, catch phrase, etc. into almost anything that can be seen on television, movies, sports, etc. (notes, p17) A great example of this is seen in the television series Hawaiian 5-0, a show about police officers in Hawaii. Knowing that the show was getting popular apple signed a contract with the producers saying that all officers on the show will use an iPhone 4 as their mobile device. They did this because big businesses know that when consumers see famous/important people, or groups of people, using a product it makes their brain think that they “need” that product because it is what is currently “in” or “cool” and if they want to be a part of that group they must own that product. (Notes, p17) Being as the iPhone 4 had just been released, and was considered a “hot” product, this even further increased people’s false desires to own one, generating more revenue for apple and for the broadcaster.
This cycle presents a major problem to other smaller media producers such as newspapers and magazines. The reason being simply put is because people are buying less and less print based news, mostly due to advancements in technology. (Ex: computers, smart phones, tablets, etc.) This in turn takes revenue away from the print companies because the advertisers don’t want to try to sell their product somewhere that people aren’t looking, which can really hurt the print companies since most of them run off of ad revenue. (Herman & Chomsky, p150) In order to keep their revenue they even go so far as to remove articles in order to place ads in to generate more revenue. (Notes, p18)
Among other things, the media serves the people with two main purposes: To entertain us, and to inform us. Generally most broadcasters and publishers do one or the other, but some major firms do both. To entertain people is easy, but to produce credible information that is also