Mass Media Influence
How the Mass Media Influence Public Opinion
"Media manipulation currently shapes everything you read, hear and watch online. Everything."
-- Forbes magazine article on mass media influence, 7/16/2012
The influence of the mass media on public perception is widely acknowledged, yet few know the incredible degree to which this occurs. Key excerpts from the rare, revealing mass media news articles below show how blatantly the media sometimes distort critical facts, omit vital stories, and work hand in hand with the military-industrial complex to keep their secrets safe and promote greedy and manipulative corporate agendas.
Once acclaimed as the watchdog of democracy and the political process, these riveting articles clearly show that the major media can no longer be trusted to side with the people over business and military interests. For ideas on how you can further educate yourself and what you can do to change all this, see the "What you can do" section below the article summaries. Together, we can make a difference.
U.S. Suppressed Footage of Hiroshima for Decades
2005-08-03, New York Times/Reuters
In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, U.S. authorities seized and suppressed film shot in the bombed cities by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams to prevent Americans from seeing the full extent of devastation wrought by the new weapons. It remained hidden until the early 1980s and has never been fully aired. "Although there are clearly huge differences with Iraq, there are also some similarities," said Mitchell, co-author of "Hiroshima in America" and editor of Editor & Publisher. "The chief similarity is that Americans are still being kept at a distance from images of death, whether of their own soldiers or Iraqi civilians." The Los Angeles Times released a survey of six months of media coverage of the Iraq war in six prominent U.S. newspapers and two news magazines -- a period during which 559 coalition forces, the vast majority American, were killed. It found they had run almost no photographs of Americans killed in action. "So much of the media is owned by big corporations and they would much rather focus on making money than setting themselves up for criticism from the White House and Congress," said Ralph Begleiter, a former CNN correspondent. In 1945, U.S. policymakers wanted to be able to continue to develop and test atomic and eventually nuclear weapons without an outcry of public opinion. "They succeeded but the subject is still a raw nerve."
Note: As this highly revealing Reuters article was removed from both the New York Times and the Reuters websites, click here to view it in its entirely on one of the few alternative news websites to report it. And to go much deeper into how the devastating effects of the bomb were covered up by various entities within government, click here.
Misinformation campaign targets USA TODAY reporter, editor
2012-04-19, USA Today
A USA TODAY reporter and editor investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites. Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names. The timeline of the activity tracks USA TODAY's reporting on the military's "information operations" program, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan – campaigns that have been criticized even within the Pentagon as ineffective and poorly monitored. For example, Internet domain registries show the website TomVandenBrook.com was created Jan. 7 – just days after Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook first contacted Pentagon contractors involved in the program. Two weeks after his editor Ray Locker's byline appeared on a story, someone created a similar site, RayLocker.com, through the same company. If the websites were created using federal funds, it could violate federal law prohibiting the production of propaganda for domestic consumption. Some postings ... accused them of being sponsored by the Taliban. "They disputed nothing factual in the story about information operations," Vanden Brook said.
Note: For more on a proposed amendment to a U.S. bill which would make it legal to use propaganda and lie to the American public, click here.
Media as lapdog
2007-04-27, Los Angeles Times
In an e-mail uncovered and released by the House Judiciary Committee last month, Tim Griffin, once Karl Rove's right-hand man, gloated that "no [U.S.] national press picked up" a BBC Television story reporting that the Rove team had developed an elaborate scheme to challenge the votes of thousands of African Americans in the 2004 election. Griffin wasn't exactly right. The Los Angeles Times did run a follow-up article. But ... most of the major U.S. newspapers and the vast majority of television news programs ignored the story even though it came at a critical moment just weeks before the election. In fact, not one U.S. newsperson even bothered to ask me or the BBC for the data and research we had painstakingly done. The truth is, I knew that a story like this one would never be reported in my own country [the U.S.], because investigative reporting ... is dying. Again and again, I see this pattern repeated. Back in December 2000, I received two computer disks from the office of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Analysis of the data ... indicated that Harris' office had purged thousands of African Americans from Florida's voter rolls as "felons." Florida now admits that many of these voters were not in fact felons. Nevertheless, the blacklisting helped cost Al Gore the White House. I reported on the phony felon purge in Britain's Guardian and Observer and on the BBC while Gore was still in the race, while the count was still on. Yet the story of the Florida purge never appeared in the U.S. daily papers or on television ... until months later, that is, after the Supreme Court had decided the election.
Note: The American-born author of this article, BBC reporter Greg Palast, has repeatedly exposed major corruption in the British media, yet the U.S. press often ignores his well-researched stories. For possibly the most amazing story he wrote which got virtually no U.S. media coverage, click here.
Whistle-blower Had to Fight NSA, LA Times to Tell Story
2007-03-06, ABC News
Whistle-blower AT&T technician Mark Klein says his effort to reveal alleged government surveillance of domestic Internet traffic was blocked not only by U.S. intelligence officials but also by the top editors of the Los Angeles Times. Klein describes how he stumbled across "secret NSA rooms" being installed at an AT&T switching center in San Francisco and later heard of similar rooms in at least six other cities. Eventually, Klein says he decided to take his documents to the Los Angeles Times, to blow the whistle on what he calls "an illegal and Orwellian project." But after working for two months with LA Times reporter Joe Menn, Klein says he was told the story had been killed at the request of then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and then-director of the NSA Gen. Michael Hayden. Klein says he then took his AT&T documents to The New York Times, which published its exclusive account last April. In the court case against AT&T, Negroponte formally invoked the "state secrets privilege," claiming the lawsuit and the information from Klein and others could "cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States." The Los Angeles Times' decision was made by the paper's editor at the time, Dean Baquet, now the Washington bureau chief of The New York Times. As the new Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, Baquet now oversees the reporters who have broken most of the major stories involving the government surveillance program, often over objections from the government.
Note: So after the NY Times has the guts to report this important story, the man who was responsible for the censorship at the LA Times is transferred to the very position in the NY Times where he can now block future stories there. For why this case of blatant media censorship isn't making headlines, click here.
Behind the Eavesdropping Story, a Loud Silence
2006-01-01, New York Times
The New York Times's explanation of its decision to report, after what it said was a one-year delay, that the National Security Agency is eavesdropping domestically without court-approved warrants was woefully inadequate. And I have had unusual difficulty getting a better explanation for readers, despite the paper's repeated pledges of greater transparency. For the first time since I became public editor, the executive editor and the publisher have declined to respond to my requests for information about news-related decision-making. My queries concerned the timing of the exclusive Dec. 16 article about President Bush's secret decision in the months after 9/11 to authorize the warrantless eavesdropping on Americans in the United States. I e-mailed a list of 28 questions to Bill Keller, the executive editor [of the New York Times], on Dec. 19, three days after the article appeared. He promptly declined to respond to them. I then sent the same questions to Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, who also declined to respond. They held out no hope for a fuller explanation in the future. The top Times people involved in the final decisions [are] refusing to talk and urging everyone else to remain silent.
CNN and the business of state-sponsored TV news
2012-09-04, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
[CNN] is seriously compromising its journalism in the Gulf states by blurring the line between advertising and editorial. CNN International (CNNi) [has refused] to broadcast an award-winning documentary, "iRevolution", that was produced in early 2011 as the Arab Spring engulfed the region and which was highly critical of the regime in Bahrain. The documentary ... documented the brutality and violence the regime was using against its own citizens who were peacefully protesting for democracy. CNNi has aggressively pursued a business strategy of extensive, multifaceted financial arrangements between the network and several of the most repressive regimes around the world which the network purports to cover. Its financial dealings with Bahrain are deep and longstanding. CNNi's pursuit of and reliance on revenue from Middle East regimes increased significantly after the 2008 financial crisis, which caused the network to suffer significant losses in corporate sponsorships. It thus pursued all-new, journalistically dubious ways to earn revenue from governments around the world. Bahrain has been one of the most aggressive government exploiters of the opportunities presented by CNNi [which produces] programs in an arrangement it describes as "in association with" the government of a country, and offers regimes the ability to pay for specific programs about their country. These programs are then featured as part of CNNi's so-called "Eye on" series [or] "Marketplace Middle East", [which are] designed to tout the positive economic, social and political features of that country.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable sources on corruption in the major media, click here.
Correspondence and collusion between the New York Times and the CIA
2012-08-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The rightwing transparency group, Judicial Watch, released [on August 28] a new batch of documents showing how eagerly the Obama administration shoveled information to Hollywood film-makers about the Bin Laden raid. Obama officials did so to enable the production of a politically beneficial pre-election film about that "heroic" killing, even as administration lawyers insisted to federal courts and media outlets that no disclosure was permissible because the raid was classified. The newly released emails [were] between Mark Mazzetti, the New York Times's national security and intelligence reporter, and CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf. The CIA had evidently heard that [NY Times columnist] Maureen Dowd was planning to write a column on the CIA's role in pumping the film-makers with information about the Bin Laden raid in order to boost Obama's re-election chances, and was apparently worried about how Dowd's column would reflect on them. This exchange ... is remarkably revealing of the standard role played by establishment journalists and the corruption that pervades it. Here we have a New York Times reporter who covers the CIA colluding with its spokesperson to plan for the fallout from the reporting by his own newspaper ("nothing to worry about"). Beyond this, that a New York Times journalist – ostensibly devoted to bringing transparency to government institutions – is pleading with the CIA spokesperson, of all people, to conceal his actions and to delete the evidence of collusion is so richly symbolic.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable sources on corruption in the major media, click here.
US plans to fight the net revealed
2006-01-27, BBC News
A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations". The declassified document is called "Information Operations Roadmap". It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act. Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed it. The operations described in the document include a surprising range of military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists, psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks. The military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans. "Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public. Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," it reads. The document recommends that the United States should seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum". US forces should be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum". The fact that the "Information Operations Roadmap" is approved by the Secretary of Defense suggests that these plans are taken very seriously indeed in the Pentagon.
Pentagon sets sights on public opinion
2009-02-05, MSNBC/Associated Press
The Pentagon is steadily and dramatically increasing the money it spends to win what it calls "the human terrain" of world public opinion. In the process, it is raising concerns of spreading propaganda at home in violation of federal law. An Associated Press investigation found that over the past five years, the money the military spends on winning hearts and minds at home and abroad has grown by 63 percent, to at least $4.7 billion this year, according to Department of Defense budgets and other documents. That's almost as much as it spent on body armor for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2006. This year, the Pentagon will employ 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising and public relations – almost as many as the total 30,000-person work force in the State Department. The biggest chunk of funds – about $1.6 billion – goes into recruitment and advertising. Another $547 million goes into public affairs, which reaches American audiences. And about $489 million more goes into what is known as psychological operations. Staffing across all these areas costs about $2.1 billion, as calculated by the number of full-time employees and the military's average cost per service member. That's double the staffing costs for 2003. Recruitment and advertising are the only two areas where Congress has authorized the military to influence the American public. Far more controversial is public affairs, because of the prohibition on propaganda to the American public.
Note: For more revealing reports from reliable sources on the realities of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, click here.
Buying the War
Four years ago on May 1, President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln wearing a flight suit ... in front of a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner. He was hailed by media stars as a "breathtaking" example of presidential leadership in toppling Saddam Hussein. Despite profound questions over the failure to locate weapons of mass destruction and the increasing violence in Baghdad, many in the press confirmed the White House's claim that the war was won. How did the mainstream press get it so wrong? How did the evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein to 9-11 continue to go largely unreported? In the run-up to war, skepticism was a rarity among journalists inside the Beltway. The [PBS "Buying the War"] program analyzes the stream of unchecked information from administration sources and Iraqi defectors to the mainstream print and broadcast press. While almost all the claims would eventually prove to be false, the drumbeat of misinformation about WMDs went virtually unchallenged by the media. "Buying the War" examines the press coverage in the lead-up to the war as evidence of a paradigm shift in the role of journalists in democracy and asks, four years after the invasion, what's changed? "More and more the media become ... common carriers of administration statements," says the Washington Post's Walter Pincus. "We've sort of given up being independent on our own."
Note: You can view the highly revealing documentary "Buying the War" or read the transcript at the link above.
Homosexual prostitution inquiry ensnares VIPs with Reagan, Bush
1989-06-29, WantToKnow.info/Washington Times
A homosexual prostitution ring is under investigation by federal and District authorities and includes among its clients key officials of the Reagan and Bush administrations, military officers, congressional aides and US and foreign businessmen with close social ties to Washington's political elite. Reporters for this newspaper examined hundreds of credit-card vouchers, drawn on both corporate and personal cards and made payable to the escort service operated by the homosexual ring. Among clients who charged homosexual prostitutes services on major credit cards over the past 18 months are Charles K. Dutcher, former associate director of presidential personnel in the Reagan administration, and Paul R. Balach, Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole's political personnel liaison to the White House. Members of major news organizations also procured escort services from the ring, credit card documents show. These include Stanley Mark Tapscott, who was an assistant managing editor of The Washington Times. Before joining The Times, Mr. Tapscott worked for the Office of Personnel Management in the Reagan administration. A major concern, said the former official with longtime ties to top-ranking military intelligence officers, was that hostile foreign intelligence services were using young male prostitutes to compromise top administration homosexuals, thus making them subject to blackmail.
Note: How is it possible that this major story was not covered by any major media other than the Washington Times? For answers to this question, click here. For more on this astonishing case, don't miss the excellent, reliable resources and the powerful, suppressed Discovery Channel documentary available here. For an insider's story of how prostitution was regularly used to compromise politicians, click here.
Experts Urging Broader Inquiry In Towers' Fall
2001-12-25, New York Times
Saying that the current investigation into how and why the twin towers fell on Sept. 11 is inadequate, some of the nation's leading structural engineers and fire-safety experts are calling for a new, independent and better-financed inquiry that could produce the kinds of conclusions vital for skyscrapers and future buildings nationwide. Experts critical of the current effort ... point out that the current team of 20 or so investigators has no subpoena power and little staff support and has even been unable to obtain basic information like detailed blueprints of the buildings that collapsed. Some structural engineers have said that one serious mistake has already been made ... the decision to rapidly recycle the steel columns, beams and trusses that held up the buildings. Interviews with a handful of members of the team, which includes some of the nation's most respected engineers, also uncovered complaints that they had at various times been shackled with bureaucratic restrictions that prevented them from interviewing witnesses, examining the disaster site and requesting crucial information like recorded distress calls to the police and fire departments. Members have been threatened with dismissal for speaking to the press.
Note: Our website has over 30 full articles posted from the New York Times. This is the only article for which the Times threatened to sue us if we didn't remove it. We were allowed to replace it with this short summary. For more on this, click here. For more reliable news articles suggesting a major cover-up of 9/11, click here.
Letter to Thomas Kean from Sibel Edmonds
2004-08-05, AsiaTimes ('Asia's most trusted news source')
Your commission ... has now issued its "9/11 Commission Report". After [9/11] we, the translators at the FBI's largest and most important translation unit, were told to slow down, even stop, translation of critical information related to terrorist activities. This issue has been confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committe. Melek Can Dickerson, with the assistance of her direct supervisor, forged signatures on top-secret documents related to certain 9/11 detainees. Not only does the supervisor facilitating these criminal conducts remain in a supervisory position, he has been promoted. In April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset ... received information that: 1) Osama Bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting 4-5 major cities, 2) the attack was going to involve airplanes [and] the attack was going to be carried out soon. No action was taken. After 9/11, the agents and the translators were told to 'keep quiet' regarding this issue. The translator who was present ... reported this incident to Director Mueller in writing. Why did your report choose to exclude the information ... despite the public confirmation by the FBI, witnesses provided to your investigators, and briefings you received directly? As you are fully aware, these issues and incidents were found confirmed by a Senior Republican Senator, Charles Grassley, and a Senior Democrat Senator, Patrick Leahy. Even FBI officials 'confirmed all my allegations and denied none' during their unclassified meetings with the Senate Judiciary staff. However, neither your commission's hearings, nor your commission's five hundred sixty seven-page report ... include these serious issues, major incidents, and systemic problems.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. Sibel Edmonds is one of the great heroes of our day. She has been gagged directly by the U.S. Attorney General from telling what she knows. The above letter was not published in any major U.S. media, though widely reported in alternative new sources. To understand how such vital information is hidden from the public, click here. For lots more on Ms. Edmonds, click here.
The CIA and the Media
1977-10-20, Website of Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Carl Bernstein
In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America's leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA. Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services–from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America's leading news organizations.
Note: To understand how the CIA and others manipulate the major media is in its news coverage, see the brilliant summary of the work of 20 award-winning journalists on this key topic at this link.
Washington's press is the cabin boy of the political class
2012-08-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The Washington press corps ... is too caught up in its own self-importance and petty competition to understand it has become the cabin boy of the political class. Washington reporters are co-conspirators in an ongoing fraud. The epidemic of blind quotes is a standard way of giving a platform to officials speaking in an official capacity, yet with zero accountability. The practice is also supremely manipulative, giving the most banal information the allure of forbidden fruit. At its worst, the game can allow the vice president of the United States to leak phony intelligence to the New York Times and later refer back to the leak as independent journalistic confirmation, leading to invasion and hundreds of thousands of deaths and a trillion dollars in squandered treasure. The Iraq disgrace aside, obscuring official sources might be understandable if this journalistic worst practice were in the service of earth-shaking news. It almost never is. The blind quotes, though, are not even the worst of it. The New York Times recently revealed that reporters are not merely working on background, they negotiate after interviews what comments may be used and send them to sources for prepublication approval. The sources routinely edit those quotes before turning them back over to news organisations. As media ethicist Edward Wasserman so aptly put it, "At this point you're no longer talking about an interview; you're talking about a press release ... And what happens is Washington becomes no different from Beijing, in terms of reporting what authorities want reported".
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable sources on mass media corruption, click here.
What is Media Manipulation? A Definition and Explanation
Media manipulation currently shapes everything you read, hear and watch online. Everything. In the old days, we only had a few threats to fear when it came to media manipulation: the government propagandist and the hustling publicist. They exploited the fact that the media was trusted and reliable. Today, with our blog and web driven media cycle, nothing can escape exaggeration, distortion, fabrication and simplification. Media manipulation is the status quo. It becomes, as Daniel Boorstin, author [of] The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, once put it, a "thicket ... which stands between us and the facts of life." Today the media -– driven by blogs -– is assailed on all sides, by the crushing economics of their business, dishonest sources, inhuman deadlines, pageview quotas, inaccurate information, greedy publishers, poor training, the demands of the audience, and so much more. These incentives are real, whether you're the Huffington Post or CNN or some tiny blog. They warp everything you read online. Everyone is in on the game, from bloggers to non-profits to marketers to the New York Times itself. And when everyone is running the same racket, the line between the real and the fake becomes indistinguishable. Media manipulation exploits the difference between perception and reality. This all happens because of the poor incentives. When readers don't PAY for news, the creators of the news don't have any loyalty to the readers. To combat these manipulations, we must change the incentives. If we want loyalty to the truth, we must be loyal to the people who provide us with it. This probably means paying for information in one form or another.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable sources on mass media cover-ups and distortions, click here. Thanks to the generous support of our readers and our lack of advertising, WantToKnow.info is one of the few news sources not subject to pressure from financial incentives which drive news manipulation for others. To support our work so that we can continue to be free of these market pressures, click here.
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