Media Manipulation Techniques

Let's now review some of the most used media manipulation techniques. But to make the topic as interesting as possible, we will consider how the techniques have been used to color the reporting of American foreign policy. However, in order to see behind the foreign policy smoke screen, a few initial perspectives may help.

Perspectives for Interpreting Foreign Policy

Firstly, the elite's foreign policy actions become more transparent when one recognizes that practically all foreign policy is designed to assist the elite in modern day colonialist exploitation, which can be categorized into five basic tasks.

  1. 1. Protecting their existing foreign investments (e.g., Kuwait, Panama, etc.)
  2. 2. Setting up new exploitation opportunities (e.g., Mexico, former Soviet Union countries, etc.)
  3. 3. Giving support to another colonialist ally (e.g., England with the Falklands, France with Vietnam, etc.)
  4. 4. Trying to prevent the total loss of a country's exploitation potential by preventing the country from adopting either a socialist or communist system of government (e.g., Guatemala, Chile, El Salvador, etc.)
  5. 5. Attempting to destabilize and overthrow anti-American or existing left-wing governments to install puppets who will reestablish exploitation opportunities (e.g., Iraq, Nicaragua, Cuba, Angola, etc.)

Because it is becoming more difficult to exploit either the land or the human resources in America due to increasing pressure from concerned citizens, corporate America invokes chess-like strategies to make the human and natural resources of Second and Third World nations available for their use.

For example, countries such as South Korea, which have a Communist counterpart, have had billions of dollars pumped into their economies, in an effort to produce Capitalist showcases to serve as ideological bait for enticing less developed nations to form relationships with the Western elite.

Successfully wooing foreign countries for this purpose is akin to sending out marriage proposals. Seeing as the American Dream has turned out to be an illusion, fewer and fewer countries are falling in love with capitalism nowadays, a sign of the times, and many more marriages of convenience are being arranged.

For a personal share of the profits, selfish and greedy dictators have traditionally shown an eagerness to allow Western capitalists to take advantage of their country's unorganized human resources, and to exploit their natural resources, with scant concern for ecological or long term repercussions.

The World Bank is often called in on these joyous occasions to supply the engagement presents, usually some grants, or low interest loans. Mention is often made at this time, of the lavish wedding presents to follow, which normally include at least one air force base and/or a naval installation. This is a particularly attractive scenario for dictators who use the American backing to maintain their anti-democratic dictatorial controls.

Occasionally however, a foreign country which possesses a resource, strategic geographical position, a cheap unorganized labor pool, or some other such advantage does not wish to do business with the Western elite. Perhaps they feel capitalism would not provide the optimum in long term development for their country, or they think they can get a better deal elsewhere. In such cases, the Western elite may secretly offer a lucrative proposal of support to other powerful elements within the country. Almost always, a willing partner can be found who is eager to take a shot at being the country's new dictator in exchange for the necessary military support to stay in power long enough to personally benefit from the co-venture.

The planning required for the more serious International social functions is handled by the National Security Advisor, or by such little known, but immensely powerful organizations as the Trilateral Commission, and various other right-wing think tanks like the John Birch Society and the Brookings Institution in Washington.

The catering for many of the functions is normally handed over to the CIA, the operational arm of these various think tanks, which then has the means at its disposal to covertly organize and fund whatever paramilitary groups or individual operatives (like Oliver North), that may be required to carry off the function. The inherent covert nature of the CIA makes it a formidable tool in the hands of the elite who wish to carry out strategies that would not stand up well to public or legal scrutiny. Some of the events especially the marriages of convenience previously mentioned can turn out to be rather socially unpleasant events, because proceeding with the relationship usually involves snubbing the country's current leaders. And that invariably leads to bad blood between the rival forces.

Enough of perspectives.

Let's now review some of the techniques used to report actual past foreign policy adventures in order to appreciate the media's invaluable role in making cover-up excuses to sell the elite's unethical and immoral conduct.

Restricting News Coverage to the Elite's Version

First of all, diversity of news coverage perspective is killed simply by reducing the number of newspapers per city, ...mostly to one. With TV, the variety of channels is superficial and misleading when it comes to news coverage, and especially when Official Government News Releases are involved.

Officially prepared government accounts of events are normally characterized by a government spokesperson usually standing behind a podium with a round seal of the United States mounted on it, and a flag or two serving as a backdrop framing the speaker. Seated in front of the spokesperson, there is normally a room full of reporters who ought to be "on the spot", covering the story in person. Where military actions are involved, a general or two usually accompany the speaker complete with their charts, diagrams, and a specially prepared 30 second video clip. We've all seen it. They do it all the time. Absent is the "on the spot film footage" taken by freelance photographers, as there invariably is if the action were taking place 5000 miles away in some remote corner of China, or Russia.

The coverage of the Panama invasion was a classic example.

For nearly three days, Americans were shown the same two snippets of government supplied film footage. The American news crews had been flown into Panama by the Pentagon, but had been virtually held captive on one of the American bases and fed with government approved news releases, at government arranged news conferences. In reality, for the first two days at least, there was a "news blackout" coverage of the Panama invasion!! The elite refused to allow the American media to report that whole blocks of the city had been bombed flat, and that Panamanians had been rounded up and held in what amounted to concentration camps to prevent them from defending their own country against the invasion forces. We saw more of the Tiananmen Square action than we ever did of the Panama invasion, and Panama is only an hour away!!

At will, the government can, and periodically does, impose a moratorium on "freedom of the press" at times when freedom of the media is most required. This degree of censorship has the undeniable stamp of a feudal oligarchy!

Did the press complain? Hardly! They're an integral part of the cover-up. Protests by the media were conspicuous by their absence! In any case, protests jeopardize jobs and therefore family security. Restricted coverage is done primarily to control the first impressions.

Controlling the "First Impressions"

Most people form long lasting, if not permanent appraisals of strangers based on their "first impressions" The same thing happens with news stories, and this is the secret behind "photo opportunities" and "30 second sound bites". The technique becomes especially valuable where information is restricted to official news releases, as was done with Panama. In order to maximize the effects of restricted news coverage, another equally important tactic is used, ...the opinion polls.

Reinforcing Public Approval Using "Opinion Polls"

When the media team has to relate news that is potentially embarrassing to the elite or their government functionaries, the media team uses the power punch which consists of giving information exclusively through one or more carefully prepared official news releases, followed by newspaper and TV station editorials, thereafter followed immediately by opinion poll surveys.

In addition to the "official pollsters (like the Harris or Gallup polls) taking their surveys, both TV and radio stations ask their viewers and listeners to call in right after their brainwashing sessions to register their reactions to the news story.

Supportive reactions are fed back to viewers and listeners almost immediately. The ease with which these polls can be rigged may not be obvious. For example, if only three callers phoned in, two supportive and one in disagreement, the station could announce that the poll showed that twice as many viewers supported the President, the policy, etc., as opposed it.

Not only that, in order to maximize the effects of gerrymandering, the elite have spent great sums of money canvassing the country from door to door to learn how particular households vote. In other words, it would be relatively easy to call specific households and obtain consistently predictable responses for opinion polls. This type of information would also provide invaluable assistance in selecting jurors as well.

In America, opinion poll results help to persuade people who have not yet made up their minds. A good percentage enjoy the security of agreeing with the majority. Thought-conditioning using opinion polls works, perhaps a little too well.

In any event, the secret of success of this technique is to solicit public reactions immediately after serving up either misinformation, or a specially sanitized or colored version of the event specially written to evoke feelings of patriotism and loyalty to country. In this way, the elite can get public support for practically any action or policy they care to carry out.

The technique was used very effectively with respect to Panama, to gain widespread public support and approval for what amounted to not only an invasion of another country's sovereign territory, but more importantly, for an aerial assassination attempt to kill the head of a foreign country.

The fact that America installed a puppet government to ensure its continued control over the Panama Canal, was a topic of discussion conspicuous by its absence. The fact that the treaty (allowing American troops to occupy Panama) was in a few short years going to expire, didn't get mentioned much by the press corps either.