Can you tell when the media is manipulating you? Noam Chomsky, one of the more influential intellectuals in life today, has drawn up the list of 10 media manipulation strategies. How many can you recognize in the media right now?
1. The strategy of distraction
The primordial element of social control is the distraction strategy which consists of diverting the public's attention from major problems and the changes decided by political and economic elites through the flooding technique or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information. It's the oldest, most-used, and probably most effective strategy used.
Have you ever wondered why some irrelevant scandal, smear campaign, or public outrage just happens to nudge out a developing story about some economic problem or embarrassing fact that the most powerful people in the world are connected to a child rapist? It's a distraction.
The distraction strategy is essential to prevent the larger public from becoming interested in essential knowledge about science, economics, psychology, neurobiology, and cybernetics. Keeping the audience's attention deviated from real social problems keeps their eyes away from what the powerful want hidden.
2. Creating problems and then offering the solutions
This method is also called a ′′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 source of the measures they want to accept.
It's no wonder elite politicians and billionaire-backed technocrats are constantly saying "No crisis should go to waste."
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. Another example might be leaders causing death tolls to rise for pandemics by placing patients in assisted living facilities to scare the public into accepting draconian policies.
3. The Gradual Method
How do you get people to allow stuff that they normally wouldn't accept? Chip away at them slowly. To make an unacceptable measure accepted, you only need to apply it gradually, drip by drip, for consecutive weeks, months, or years so the public doesn't notice.
People are busy, distracted, and have limited memories.
Others have connected it to the concept of the ratchet effect where things are difficult to change back once they have been instituted because the fundamental conditions have shifted or expectations and perceptions have been modified in people. In this way, things that once sounded outlandish are accepted after a steady long term campaign of media propaganda. Moreover, once the public has been worked over, it's seen as more of a pain to change things back to the way things were.
Ever been told, "that's so 2018!" It's the same idea. People don't want to feel retrograde or old fashioned, so they just go along with whatever nonsense well-healed interested parties have been propagandizing.
Another way to get an unpopular decision accepted 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 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. Treating the public like children
Most advertisements directed at the large audience use speeches, arguments, characters and a particularly childish intonation, many times close to weakness, as if the viewer was a few years old creature or a moron.
The point is to get through people’s defenses. It’s a form of media control that tries to kills people’s critical thinking abilities. Politicians use these tactics too, impersonating fatherly figures.
Celebrities are reliably leaned on for this method. They're shameless, ethically pliable, and easily pressured to parrot idiotic propaganda in the most condescending way possible because their egos are so inflated. We've all cringed at the scripted celebrity commercials on social media where actors pretend to care more than anyone about a given issue with maudlin performances.
6. The emotional route
Manipulating people's emotions is the classic technique to short-circuit our brains. Humans like to think that they're really good at controlling their emotions and thinking rationally. We're not. Any good public relations professional can slice and dice a person's frontal lobe like a samurai with well-placed emotional stories.
Additionally, once you unlock people's emotional brain vault you have unconscious access to implant or inject ideas, desires, fears and fears, compulsions, or induce behaviors. Most broadcast television and movies use this type of manipulation to do an end-around your cerebral cortex and plant their obnoxious propaganda in teardrops, jokes, and clubbing you with self-hating guilt.
7. A pliable ignorant public
Keeping people ignorant is one of the main goals of those in charge. Ignorance means not giving people the tools they need to analyze things themselves. It means telling them the interesting parts, but never revealing the behind-the-scenes of what goes on.
Just giving the public enough information about a subject to feel educated is a powerful way to not only spread propaganda, but those people will often also become advocates for you. They'll act to apply peer pressure so that only the brave souls with independent thought will resist.
The quality of education given to lower social classes must be as poor and mediocre as possible as well. Powerful manipulators don't want lower classes given the tools to challenge their authority. With information easier to access than any time in history it's crucial that people cannot critically think to be able to connect data points, wisely synthesize the connection between events, or argue their points convincingly.
8. Stimulating the public to be complacent with mediocrity
Have you been binging shows on Netflix? Playing too many videogames? How many hours of YouTube have you watched instead of doing something productive? Most of us are guilty of at least one of these.
Most trends and fashions don’t just come out of nowhere. There is almost always someone setting them in motion and promoting them. They do it to create homogenized tastes, interests, and opinions.
The media constantly promotes certain fashions and trends. Most of them have to do with frivolous, unnecessary, even ridiculous lifestyles. They convince people that acting this way is just what’s in style.
The net effect is very often that people are focused on complying with social trends, what's cool, and frivolous and "hot" rather than breaking free of mediocrity and creating their own trends and creatively living.
9. Strengthening self-guilt
Another strategy of media control is making people think it’s them, and only them, to blame for problems in the world, and that the problems in the world will persist because of their insufficient intelligence, skills or efforts.
Making people feel guilty for things they are not responsible for like the color of their skin, other peoples' socioeconomic status, historical injustices, and government policies creates perpetual grievances that can never be resolved because if blame is misapplied to those who cannot affect the problem there can never be any resolution.
It's a tried-and-true scam and a multi-billion dollar industry now.
10. Knowing individuals better than they know themselves
Only a tiny bit of information ever reaches the public due to the above strategies. Meanwhile the elites have all this information and use it as they please. Once again we can see how ignorance makes it easier for the powers that be to control society.
The most powerful companies in the world have sold everyone tracking devices that listen to them (phones), create personal profiles of their behavior, thoughts, hopes, fears, spending, and most private aspects of their being. This information is bought and sold by social media companies, datamining companies, marketers, PR firms, the military, government, universities, and all corners of the corporate landscape.
The goal of these strategies of media control is to make the world into whatever the most powerful people want it to be. They block everyone’s critical thinking abilities and freedom. But it’s our responsibility to stop passively letting them control us. We must put up as much of a fight as we can.