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3.4: The Propaganda Model

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    • 465px-Elvis_Presley_promoting_Jailhouse_Rock.jpg
    • Contributed by Media Hack Team
    • Hack-a-thon at University of Otago and others
    • Published by Creative Commons

    Following Smythe’s exposition of the audience and Jurgen Habermas’s (1991) elucidation of mass media as providing an apparatus whereby elite sectors of society can transform the democratising potential of the public sphere, a series of leftist academic media scholars have attempted to delineate the precise methods by which the mass media operates as a distorting lens which represents the vested interests of economic elites.

    Most prominent within this PE-centred approach has been the ‘propaganda model’ (PM) of mass media presented by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of Mass Media (1988). Chomsky and Herman begin by proclaiming that

    The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behaviour that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda. Chomsky and Herman 1988:1