Earlier this week I was listening to a news radio program where the commentator, former New York Governor David Patterson, was interviewing a columnist from the Newark Star-Ledger about the recent demise of the New Jersey Network. NJN had been a staple of New Jersey investigative reporting, news and other educational content for the past 40 years. Affiliated with the Public Broadcasting Service, NJN had suffered budget woes in recent years. On June 30, 2011, New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie pulled the financial funding plug and New Jersey Network went dark as broadcast operations ceased and the station was turned over to New York’s WNET Channel 13.
Yesterday evening I came across a well-written article by Dr. Cynthia Boaz from Truthout.org entitled the 14 Propaganda Techniques Fox “News” Uses to Brainwash Americans.” This document explained how the “world’s largest, most profitable and most popular news channel” uses the following techniques to misrepresent, misinform and mislead audience members about what is really happening in the world today.
Techniques 1 through 5: (1) Panic Mongering—terrorizing the audience into thinking irrationally; (2) Character Assassination—attacking opponents intelligence, motives, credibility, character or sanity in order to discredit them; (3) Projection/Flipping—using underhanded tactics to accuse your opponent of doing what they are accusing you of doing; (4) Rewriting History—creating “facts” out of fiction to fit the propagandists world view and then repeating it with authority so that others are not tempted to question it; (5) Scapegoating—finding a group to blame for all the worlds social or economic problems, dehumanizing them and then justifying violence against them.
Techniques 6 through 10: (6) Tying Violence to Power and Opposition of Violence to Weakness—glorifying a “show of force” (i.e., violence) as patriotic and pious; (7) Bullying—exploiting a guest’s lack of confidence in his grasp of particular subject matter by berating him into submission or compliance; (8) Confusion—rewriting the “logic” of an argument to fit their worldview by confusing the issues and insisting that those who do not agree with their way of thinking are out of touch or too stupid to follow their reasoning; (9) Populism—identifying themselves as the “real Americans” while positioning liberals as elitists regardless of the fact that liberals advocate for non-elite groups; (10) Invoking the Christian God—the use of morality politics by identifying themselves and their allies as “patriots” and “Christians” appointed by God to speak on behalf of all “real Americans.”
Techniques 11 through 14: (11) Saturation—preaching political, religious and other messages that are repetitive, ubiquitous and consistent; (12) Disparaging Education—positioning the highly educated as elitists who lack credibility and are anti-American (direct threats to the hive-minded mentality that Fox cultivates); (13) Guilt by Association—using the six degrees of separation concept to destroy the lives and careers of many good people; (14) Diversion—avoiding personal accountability by deflecting the issues and steering the debate in a strange but predictable direction.
Given the degraded 24/7 news environment we live in today, Gugelplex TV believes that you cannot be a serious consumer of current events if your viewing is limited to the Fox News political fiction and entertainment channel. The fact that PBS and its affiliates across the country are suffering at the hands of so-called “fiscal monitors” in the U.S government while Fox garners record ratings for saturating us with misinformation is a testament to how far the American Fourth-Estate has fallen in the past three decades. Only if American journalists once again take up the cause and become the government and corporate watchdogs that they once were will U.S. viewing audiences be served by what once was an independent press.
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