Thursday, September 06, 2007
When Herbert Schiller wrote The Mind Managers, he focused his attention on the particular apparatuses of mind manipulation used by American communication media for the ulterior motive of business interests. The media as an ideological apparatus controls the mind in such an effect that the American mind is set to fulfill the corporate motives of the media. In Manipulation and the Packaged Consciousness, he underscored five fundamental myths that framework what is contained in the corporate-regulated information media.
The “myth of individualism and personal choice” structures freedom in entirely individualistic labels and argues that individual liberty and welfare cannot be attained if private property is absent in the means of production. This implies the indispensability of private corporations in the lives of people and the necessity of capitalists in human societies. Meanwhile, new liberal ideology moves a notch higher by pointing out that freedom is threatened by any interference with market forces and corporate requirements. This suggest that with the private ownerships’ indispensability, individual freedom is subordinated to the higher need to gratify the private businesses present in the society.
The “myth of neutrality” promotes the notion that main ideological apparatuses like the government, the academe and the scientific institutions as well as the information media are neutral forces and beyond warring social interests. This manipulative approach strips away the social responsibility of these apparatuses over the people whom they intend to serve.
The “myth of unchanging human nature” renders expectations at the barest minimum by stressing the rash and corrupt aspects of human behavior and justifying these as inherent and inescapable parts of the human realities. If this is so, then it becomes rational that humans encourage social inequalities of classes, gender, races, as well as make the inevitability of these injustices a legitimate character of the human condition.
The “myth of the absence of social conflicts” shows conflict almost unchangeably as an individual matter, and defies the theory of its social order beginnings. This gives a denial to class clashes, racial discrimination, battle between the sexes, as well as other conflicts that are elevated in the social dimension.
The “myth of media pluralism” continues the illusion of alternatives and variety in information sources, whereas there is only a tiny diversity of opinion owing from the common material and ideological motives of media owners. The creation of false choices and pluralistic structures perpetuate the pursuit of the media’s corporate interests.
The issues mentioned above call for a radical change because it is misleading to assume that technology has the solutions to poverty, political problems and social inequalities. In fact, the growing number of educated knowledge workers creates a movement that pushes for the development of critical sensibility, with their critique of the status quo, the possession of income, leisure and skills. The hope is alive that the industrial working class may be forced to withdraw its support for the system, assume a critical stance and pursue its own protection. The elevating affordability and availability of communications technology like the geography-challenged Internet would make the media familiar to an important number of people and would create a standard for a new group of nation builders.