the use of noam chomskys propaganda models in bill moyers buying the war

Noam Chomsky is known to be the father of linguistics. He is an American linguist and political critic who created along with Edward S. Herman a set of five filters known as the propaganda model. These five filters discuss and focus on how power along with wealth effect the media and what we as general public receive as our daily news. The five filters are consisted of Size, Ownership, and Profit Orientation of the Mass Media, The Advertising License to Do Business, Sourcing Mass Media News, Flak and the Enforcers, and Anti-Communism.

In April of 2007 Bill Moyers created a documentary called “Buying the War” in his documentary it discusses how the war was sold to us as the general public. The war was sold to us by the large conglomerates and parent companies because of their personal interest. In this paper I will discuss Chomsky’s five filters and how in Buying the War we can see how the filters are being executed. Noam Chomsky’s first filter in his propaganda model is known as Size, Ownership and Profit Organization of the Mass Media.

In this first filter Chomsky discusses how the mass-media outlets are controlled by shareholders or large conglomerates that control the financial aspect of the media outlets. With the large conglomerates and shareholders having the financial power over the media outlets they can have the media catered to their interest. This is especially apparent when large conglomerates are owned by even larger corporations these are known as parent corporations.

An example of a parent corporation is News International, CBS (now merged with Westinghouse), and Turner Broadcasting (now merged with Time-Warner) which belong to even larger corporations such as General Electric (owners of NBC). These parent corporations usually are heavily involved in other areas of some controversial issues such as nuclear power and weapons control. Sense these large corporations are involved in such controversial issues and own smaller media outlets they can control what we as the general public receive as news from the television-broadcasting stations, cable network, radio stations and newspapers.

In the documentary buying the War we can clearly see how Chomsky’s first propaganda model is being shown. In a discreet way the government officials achieved the goal of producing the same news and distributing it to companies that are owned by even larger corporations. They are trying to convey the side of the war they want the public to see. As we can see throughout the documentary the government uses media sources such as 60 Minutes, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and CNN to just name a few.

Just seeing these names tou would believe they are all different news sources, but in reality they are all owned by one company. That company being General Electric (GE). General Electric has many different areas such as being involved with nuclear power and weapons control. So when the government wanted to solidify the war they had no trouble receiving the help from GE and the media companies that they own. Chomsky’s second filter is known as The Advertising License to Do Business. This is because advertisers are a main source of the media’s revenue.

As in newspapers advertises that are run in this filter Chomsky discusses that the media has to take into consideration there advertisers opinion on news we as the public will receive. Help maintain the cost of the overall finished paper. If the media where to no comply with what the advertisers want and filter the news that we receive to their liking the advertisers would pull away from the newspaper in return leaving the paper with a high cost and leaving the newspaper behind all the others.

Where in television advertisers are the ones that pay for programs we as consumers receive. They also use a theory of what’s called the “buying mood”. The buying mood essentially means the advertisers will purchase programs that will help peruse viewers in accepting the message or messages that are trying to be sold to the viewers. In a discussion between Walter Isaacson and Bill Moyers you can see how Chomsky’s filter of The Advertising License to Do Business is clearly being established.

As the conversation between both Isaacson and Moyers continued this filter became more and more apparent. During this conversation it was brought up that when civilian casualties were being reported and being replayed, phone calls from advertisers and administration would come in. The phone calls from advertisers would say that the station would be portraying acts of being Anti-American. With the calls from advertisers we can see that Chomsky’s theory was right. If they did not cater to the needs of their advertisers they would essentially pull away and advertise somewhere else.

So after all these phone calls were being made to the station Isaacson “Ordered his reporters and anchors to balance the images of civilian casualties with reminders of September 11th”. As we can clearly see the pressure of losing advertisers had the news stations changing their way they delivered the information to the public. The third filter of Chomsky’s propaganda model is known as Sourcing Mass-Media News. In this filter Chomsky discusses how the media usually creates relationships with sources that will help or benefit them the most.

They also look to areas that will help them have the most reliable and steady amount of information they can access for their use and deliver to the general public as news. Because of the need to have a constant flow of steady news, the news channels will send their reports to places where there may be important stories that they feel will happen and need to be covered or places where there is always a steady flow of information such as in local police departments, or in even larger places such as the courts, state department and White House just to name a few.

They go to these places because the information they receive is factual and from a reliable source. If they were to go to someplace else to get there news from a smaller source or from a single person they would have to investigate the claims and statements that were made and if that is the case it can cost the news large amounts of time and money. Noam Chomsky had five filters in his propaganda model his third one being Sourcing Mass-Media. This filter is displayed in the documentary by what the New York Times had posted. This article was ran on the front pages nd confirming all the allegations made against Iraq. It was said by Bill Moyers that Saddam had chemical and biological weapons. From that statement alone started a list of questions that needed to be answered. With having that original information given by Judy Miller a reliable source to them her reports about Iraqi government were never questioned. From her comments led another reporter David Rose to express his knowledge supposed knowledge about Iraqi intelligence. As we can see from this alone it shows that the information is given by what we believe as a reliable source and never questioned.

Also because these sources go unquestioned they will give the media a plethora of knowledge and always a story to put on in the front pages of the news and on television Involved with Chomsky’s third propaganda model he states that experts are a large source of were the checking of information and backing up the information they have received comes from. These experts are considered to be the most respectable and knowledgeable in their area of expertise. They are hired to give their knowledge on their area of expertise for any given time at the disposal of the company’s needs.

Even with the expertise’s views on the area, there is a possibility that the information they give has a bias opinion. With this there is also the possibility that the bias opinion that is given could have an alternative motive if there is a possibility that the expert can receive extra funding for their research to expand their knowledge in their area of knowledge. From the documentary we can see that easily there was the use of experts in Washington and in the press. The press along with Washington D. C. we’re relying on the knowledge of a single man, his name being Ahmed Chalabi.

Chalabi was considered to be an expert for The Post, and Washington D. C. this was because he was the leader of what was known as the Iraqi National Congress. He was only the leader in this group because of the involvement of the Reardon Company who helped fund the organization along with the work of the CIA. Because of his he was considered to be an expert in Iraqi intelligence. With being an expert of this intelligence thousands of dollars were given to his organization to help fund his research and knowledge into the Iraqi intelligence. But it was soon to be found that the man that Washington D. C. he press, and along with the CIA believed to be a reliable source was found false, and he was just using his little knowledge he had as a ploy to gain a political advantage in trying to save his country that was being run by a dictator. and The Enforcers is known as Chomsky’s fourth filter. To the media flak is a potentially hazardous and company destroying aspect of the industry. Flak to the industry is the negative statements made by a single person or by a group of people. For the company’s that receive flak mail it is considered potentially dangerous because of the amount of resources that have to be used to correct the issue.

On small scales where it’s only one person and their opinions that the media source receives it’s less of an issue then if it’s from a larger scale of people having the same issue. There are two different forms of flak direct and indirect. For most of us we would be able to distinguish both types of flak, indirect flak would be the attack of the media source that is produced from anyone from stock holders to the employees working in the company that complain about the messages that were given, even if the comments were clearly stated or not.

Then there is the direct flak this would come from the people or people in high power that do not like what’s being told this can come from direct or indirect messages given out by the media. This type of flak usually takes up in two or more forms such as emails, phone calls or even letters written that convoy the message of the dislike of a program or message that was given. The flak received can eventually pose a potential risk because if not taken care of it can result in thousands of dollars being spent, the potential risk of a lawsuit and in some cases the advertisers may pull their contribution out of that company and go someplace else.

Leaving the company that they helped support with a large deficit. Flak can come in many forms according to Chomsky. In Buying the War flak is given through the form of emails. This flak was received when newspapers were putting Iraqi civilian devastations on the front pages of the newspaper. Also this flak came in a form of a phone call from Roger Ailes from The Veteran Republican Operative and Media Strategist. He placed a phone call to the White House saying that he wanted the harshest measures taken against everyone responsible for September 11th.

Chomsky had a total of five propaganda models. This last propaganda model was known as Anticommunism as a control mechanism. This idea of anticommunism was designed to be used as a way to control and to help show the fear of the mass public. Anticommunism is used to demonstrate and the manipulation moves of what are the so called “enemies”. This idea is used by the media and the people in charge to invoke the idea that the enemy is bad and that they are going to do badly on either us as a country or another country that is a viable resource to us.

It also conveys the idea the free thinkers and rioters are bad, and go against the grain of what the public thinks. In all the idea of Anticommunism is a way to control the way the public thinks and reacts to incidents that happen. There ideas are used to help grow that a sense of arms production is needed and that war and military entrance into other countries is needed. Chomsky’s last filter is known as anticommunism and in the documentary we can see how it’s used.

On February 5th 2003 at the Security Council meeting Colin Powel stated “A single drop of VX on the skin will kill in minutes. Four tons. ” When he stated his it would send a sense of fear into the American people. During the entire council meeting you can see how Colin Powel tried to invoke fear into all citizens. By saying statements with the same fearful context he instilled the thought that the American people were eventually at one point going to be put under attack by the Iraqi government.

Also this generalized fear that knowing a potential attack could happen helped with the notion that the government wanted us to have. That notion was that we needed to stop Saddam before he attacked us. Chomsky discusses that there is what’s called Dichotomization and Propaganda Campaigns. This is when the range of information that a media company receives, then from there the information is then sorted through and the decision about what will be kept and made into large news is determined.

If the media receives information about a topic that is from individuals or groups of people that contain information that does not have the interest of everyone involved in the company or difficult topics to have information verified is always either put behind the stories that may be better suited for the media or is made easily to be verified will be kept. Also there is what is known as Propaganda Campaigns. These propaganda campaigns are usually be known to be put on by either the government or the large media firms.

These are created for the purpose of the larger government institutions that either want to cover something up or have other motives behind the campaigns. Even with the campaigns they still have to go through the same filters that all the other media does. It will just be easier to complete, because the story may have the liking of government officials, and also if it sparks the interest of other media companies they will produce a version. Their version will just be modified a bit to fit the needs of their media and with so many stories being produced it will be easier to prove that all facts and statements are factual.

Involved with a propaganda model is the potential for a propaganda campaign. The government used the ideas that we already knew and grew upon them and never having a true reliable source to back up there allegations. One of the biggest examples if that is when it’s stated by Dick Cheney on August 26th 2002 that “Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. ” Even with this statement being made there were never any hard evidence that in fact this was true. Instead when it was posted in newspapers it quoted Dick Chaney.

He was then stated saying Saddam was looking for Aluminum tubes to make an atomic bomb. Once again the statements made were never backed up by hard evidence. The allegations made were to invoke the American people and have them agree that the war is needed. As we can see Chomsky’s ideas of a propaganda model are being executed by people in the media still today. Now with knowing what a propaganda model is we can see how the media alters what we receive for information and how it usually can contain a bias opinions.

So now instead of believing everything we see in the media we can formulate are own opinions. Us as citizens should be able to think on our own, and even though most say they do, they end up believing the media. My opinion is that for me to know what’s going on in the world I can listen and ask questions. The questions that I ask will only reveal the real truth about what’s going on in the world. The world that all humans share and a world we should all be curious to learn more about and question the things that make us wonder all parts of human nature.

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