Watching today’s news, you don’t have to go far to find instances of political manipulation. The most egregious examples can be found, of course, in the USA, where the major news corporations regularly run slanted stories or “debate” shows, and voices positing an alternative viewpoint are few and far between – when they are not being presented as the “comic relief”. But of course no nation’s news media is free of political manipulation – how could they be when the mass media is such a powerful tool for directing thoughts and manufacturing consent?
Political influence on the media worldwide
Al Jazeera is a good example of politically directed news media outside the USA. Seen by many as a trustworthy alternative to the mainstream networks, mainly because of its reporting of the “war on terror” and the Egyptian uprising, it should not be forgotten that the broadcaster is owned by the state-owned Qatar Media Corporation – making it a mouthpiece of the undemocratic Qatari regime. Similarly, Russia Today, while showing admirable honesty in its reportage on events in Europe, the USA and the Middle East, is strangely reticent to discuss the many problems and shortcomings facing the Russian government – maybe the fact that it was founded by state-owned RIA Novosti had something to do with it?
USA – home of media manipulation
But perhaps nowhere in the non-totalitarian world is political manipulation in the news more apparent than in the USA, the land where money talks. Big business has captured both parties in American politics, and it has already been calling the shots in the US media for a long time. We can see this in the current election cycle: there are scarcely any discussions of policy detail, merely emotive terms and “pledges”, aimed at fooling the viewer into thinking they are somehow being informed. The politicians are doing their umost not to say anything – and their tame media is aiding and abetting this.
Read between the lies
With mainstream news reporting behaving as if serious political issues are no more than a sports match between two teams, then where for those of us who want to know what is going on? Thankfully, there are dedicated sites out there on the Web that are trying to provide a safe port in this storm of disinformation and distraction.