Media manipulation is a series of related techniques in which partisans create an image or argument that favours their particular interests. Such tactics may include the use of logical fallacies, psychological manipulations, outright deception (disinformation), rhetorical and propaganda techniques, and often involve the suppression of information or points of view by crowding them out, by inducing other people or groups of people to stop listening to certain arguments, or by simply diverting attention elsewhere.
In Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, Jacques Ellul writes that public opinion can only express itself through channels that are provided by the mass media of communication – without which there could be no propaganda. It is used within public relations, propaganda, marketing, etc. While the objective for each context is quite different, the broad techniques are often similar.
Activism is the practice or doctrine that has an emphasis on direct vigorous action especially supporting or opposing one side of a controversial matter. It is quite simply starting a movement to affect or change social views. It is frequently started by influential individuals but is done collectively through social movements with large masses. These social movements can be done through public rallies, strikes, street marches and even rants on social media.
Advertising is the action of attracting public attention to something, especially through paid announcements for products and services. This tends to be done by businesses who wish to sell their product by paying media outlets to show their products or services on television breaks, banners on websites and mobile applications.
These advertisements are not only done by businesses but can also be done by certain groups. Non-commercial advertisers are those who spend money on advertising in a hope to raise awareness for a cause or promote specific ideas. These include groups such as interest groups, political parties, government organizations and religious movements. Most of these organizations intend to spread a message or sway public opinion instead of trying to sell products or services. Advertising can not only be found on social media, but it is also evident on billboards, newspapers, magazines and even word of mouth.
A hoax is something intended to deceive or defraud. When a newspaper or the news reports a fake story, it is known as a hoax. Misleading public stunts, scientific frauds, false bomb threats and business scams are examples of hoaxes. A common aspect that hoaxes have is that they are all meant to deceive or lie. For something to become a hoax, the lie must have something more to offer. It must be outrageous, dramatic but also has to be believable and ingenious. Above all, it must be able to attract attention from the public. Once it has done that then a hoax is in full effect.
Propagandizing is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is commonly created by governments, but some forms of mass communication created by other powerful organizations can be considered propaganda as well. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes. Propaganda uses societal norms and myths that people hear and believe. Because people respond to, understand and remember more simple ideas this is what is used to influence people’s beliefs, attitudes and values
Psychological warfare is sometimes considered synonymous with propaganda. The principal distinction being that propaganda normally occurs within a nation, whereas psychological warfare normally takes place between nations, often during war or cold war. Various techniques are used to influence a target’s values, beliefs, emotions, motives, reasoning, or behavior. Target audiences can be governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.
This tactic has been used in multiple wars throughout history. During World War II, the western Allies, expected for the Soviet Union would drop leaflets on the US and England. During the conflict with Iraq, American and English forces dropped leaflets, with many of the leaflets telling the people how to surrender. In the Korean War both sides would use loud speakers from the front lines. In 2009 people in Israel in the Gaza war received text messages on their cell phones threatening them with rocket attacks. The Palestinian people were getting phone calls and leaflets warning them that they were going to drop rockets on them. These phone calls and leaflets were not always accurate
Noam Chomsky, one of the most important intellectuals in life today, has drawn up the list of the 10 strategies of manipulation through mass media.
( Translated by Paolo Marini )
1-The strategy of distraction
The primordial element of social control is the distraction strategy that consists of diverting the public’s attention from major problems and the changes decided by political and economic elites, through flooding of continuous distractions and insignificant information.
Distraction strategy is also essential to prevent the public from becoming interested in essential knowledge in the area of science, economics, psychology, neurobiology and cybernetics. Keeping the audience’s attention deviated from real social problems, imprisoned by themes without real importance.
Keeping the public busy, busy, busy, with no time to think, back to the farm like other animals (quoted in the text ′′ Silent weapons for quiet wars ′′).
2-Creating problems and then offering the solutions.
This method is also called the ′′ problem-reaction-solution “. It creates a problem, a ′′ situation ′′ planned to cause a certain reaction from the public, with the aim that this is the mandate of the measures they want to accept. For example: letting urban violence intensify or intensify, or organize bloody attacks, with the aim of the public being those requiring security laws and policies to the detriment of freedom. Also: create an economic crisis to make social rights demotion and dismantle public services accept as a necessary evil.
3-The Strategy of Graduation.
To make an unacceptable measure accepted, you only need to apply it gradually, to dropper, for consecutive years. This is how radically new socioeconomic conditions (neoliberism) were imposed during the decades of the 80 s and 90 s: minimum state, privatisation, precariousness, flexibility, mass unemployment, wages that no longer guarantee dignified incomes , so many changes that would have brought about a revolution if they were implemented at once.
4-The Strategy of Deferring.
Another way to get an unpopular decision to accept is to present it as ′′ painful and necessary “, gaining public acceptance, in the moment, for future application. It is easier to accept a future sacrifice than an immediate sacrifice. First, because effort isn’t that taken immediately. Second, because the public, the mass, always tends to naively hope that ′′ everything will be better tomorrow ′′ and that the required sacrifice could be avoided. This gives the audience more time to get used to the idea of change and accept it resigned when the time comes.
5-Reach to the public like children.
Most publicity advertising uses speeches, topics, characters and a particularly childish intonation, many times close to weakness, as if the viewer was a few years old creature or a mental moron. When you try to deceive the viewer the more you tend to use a childish tone. Why? Why? ′′ If someone addresses a person as if they are 12 or under, then based on suggestionability, they will probably tend to a response or reaction even without a critical sense like that of a 12 person. years or less ′′ (see ′′ Silent Weapons for quiet wars ′′).
6-Using emotional aspect much more than reflection.
Take advantage of emotion it’s a classic technique to provoke a short circuit on a rational analysis and, finally, the critical sense of the individual. Additionally, the use of emotional register allows the unconscious access door to implant or inject ideas, desires, fears and fears, compulsions, or induce behaviors.
7-Keeping the public in ignorance and mediocrity.
Making the public incapable of understanding the technologies and methods used for their control and slavery. ′′ The quality of education given to lower social classes must be as poor and mediocre as possible, so that the distance of ignorance that plans between lower classes and upper classes is and remains impossible to fill from the lower classes “.
8-Stimulating the public to be complacent with mediocrity.
Pushing the audience to think it’s fashionable to be stupid, vulgar and ignorant…
Making the individual believe that he is only the culprit of his disgrace, because of his insufficient intelligence, skills or efforts. So, instead of rebelling against the economic system, the individual devalues himself and blames himself, which in turn creates a depressive state, one of whose effects is the inhibition of his action. And without action there is no revolution!
10-Knowing individuals better than they know themselves.
Over the past 50 years, science’s rapid progress has generated a growing gap between public knowledge and those possessed and used by dominant elites. Thanks to biology, neurobiology, and applied psychology, the ′′ system ′′ has enjoyed advanced knowledge of the human being, both in its physical and psychological form. The system has managed to learn better about the common individual than he knows himself. This means that, in most cases, the system exercises greater control and greater power over individuals, greater than that which the same individual exercises over himself.