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University of Windsor
ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS/PRESENTATIONS (as Scheduled)
First Night of Conference (Tues. May 15, 2007)
6:00pm-7:25pm WELCOMING COMMENTS & PLAY [in CAW Auditorium]
UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH STUDENTS: (Play) "Haiti Held Hostage/The Noam Chomsky Lectures"
Abstract: Haiti Held Hostage is an adaptation of The Noam Chomsky Lectures, a play by Daniel Brooks and Guillermo Verdecchia. This University of Guelph student performance addresses Canada’s role in Haiti. What the media fails to reveal and what our project aims to demonstrate with this play is that Canada’s actions in Haiti are contributing to horrendous bloodshed and human rights abuses. This revised and updated version of The Noam Chomsky Lectures premiered at War Memorial Hall at the University of Guelph in March. For questions or comments please (e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
7:30pm-9:30pm KEYNOTE ADDRESS [in CAW Auditorium]
AMY GOODMAN: "Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders and the People Who Fight Back"
Abstract: (not available)
9:00am-10:15am 1ST BREAK-OUT PANEL DISCUSSIONS [in TOLDO Building]
Session 1A [in Toldo #100]
Theme: Race, Resistance, and the Propaganda Model
AUGIE FLERAS: "Mis(news)casting Minorities: Biased Coverage or Coverage That is Biasing? Towards a
Systemic Propaganda Model"
Abstract: Few would deny the salience of Herman and Chomsky’s ‘propaganda’ model as a powerful explanatory framework. This model has proven invaluable across a broad range of media domains, including a blueprint for analyzing newsmedia coverage of minorities as troublesome constituents – little more than problem people who have problems or who make problems. However valid and valuable this model of newsmedia as discourses in defence of dominant ideology, a propaganda model is not beyond criticism, especially in its equivocation over the nature of news information processing in general, the processing of news information about minorities in particular. Put bluntly: Is newsmedia misrepresentation of minorities a case of a systematic (deliberate) bias? Or is it more accurate to frame these misrepresentations as systemically (inadvertent) biasing insofar as they reflect the normal functioning of newsmedia in constructing newsworthiness? This paper argues that because of prevailing news values, norms,and frames, newsmedia misrepresentation of minority women and men constitutes coverage that is systemically biasing rather than biased coverage. That is, no one sets out to demean or discriminate against minorities; nevertheless, there is a biasing effect because of the logical consequences that flow from mainstream news values whose norms embrace both conflict frames and an aversion to deep diversity. The paper concludes accordingly: In drawing attention to some aspects of reality as natural or normal, away from others as inferior, irrelevant, or threat, the concept of systemic propaganda demonstrates how a conflating of minorities with conflict and negativity exerts a controlling effect, regardless of intent or awareness. Data for this paper are drawn from a variety of sources, but primarily based on analyzing mainstream news coverage of Canada’s aboriginal peoples, immigrants and refugees, and racialized minorities.
ROBERT HARDING: "Framing Aboriginal Self-Governance in Canadian News Discourse"
Abstract: The production of meaning in news discourse is not value neutral, but rather part of a larger process of presenting a hegemonic understanding of the world to audiences or what Gramsci (1980) refers to as the “production of consent.” Using a case study approach, the author analyzed 128 news stories about two prominent modern day treaty events in British Columbia. The first case under analysis is the Nisga'a Treaty, the province's first modern treaty, which came into effect with its formal ratification by the Canadian Senate on April 13, 2000. The second case is the 2002 referendum on the tripartite treaty process involving BC's First Nations, the federal government and BC's provincial government. This province-wide referendum was widely criticized as a poorly constructed attempt to lend legitimacy to the provincial government's political agenda, specifically its desire to impose limitations on the BC treaty process. One of the themes of this paper is the extent to which the Propaganda Model accounts for the ways Aboriginal people and issues are framed in Canadian newspapers. The dominant news frame that emerged in this research was that of Aboriginal People as a Threat to Euro-Canadian Values. Aboriginal people are situated as at odds with representative democracy, individualism, private ownership, family values, and equality (seen as synonymous with "identical treatment"). News stories emphasized the negative consequences of treaties and other Aboriginal self-governance initiatives for "other" Canadians. Indeed, these initiatives were constructed as a threat to the lifestyle of “ordinary” British Columbians, the economic vitality of corporate interests, and the democratic fabric of “our” society.)
DEEPA KUMAR: "Why Collective Stuggle Matters: The Case for a Dominance/Resistance Model of the Media"
Abstract: The Propaganda Model does an excellent job of exposing the structural limitations of the corporate media system. Though their discussion of the five filters, Herman and Chomsky have shown how and why the media exhibit a status-quo bias.
In my book, Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization, and the UPS Strike I draw extensively on the Propaganda Model to explain how strikes and labor actions are covered by the mainstream media. However, I also point to a limitation of the model. I argue that it is one-sided in that it fails to adequately address the mechanisms by which elite propaganda can be countered, particularly through the actions of collective agents such as organized labor. Thus, I put forward a case for a more dialectical understanding of consent formation, and for a model that allows us to explain both how the interests of the elite dominate in the media and how that domination may be collectively resisted. One filter than can address dissent is the “flak” filter. Herman and Chomsky argue that flak includes “letters, telegrams, phone calls, petitions, law-suits, speeches and bills before Congress, and other modes of complaint, threat, or punitive action.” However, they add that when individuals with substantial resources organize flak, it can have a significant impact on the media. Such a definition could be used to encompass the actions of social movements or organized labor, but Herman and Chomsky focus almost exclusively on flak-producing institutions like Accuracy in the Media and Center for Media and Public Affairs that are supported by big business and politicians. The other mechanism for dissent that they discuss is disagreement among elites, such as during the Vietnam War or with regard to Central America. Writing in 1988, during the height of the backlash against the sixties’ movements, when Reaganism, neoliberalism, and US imperialism were not challenged to the extent that they were in the previous decade, Herman and Chomsky understandably fail to address the power of organized resistance. Furthermore, the case studies that they present on media coverage of US foreign policy prove the strength of the propaganda model. However, precisely for these reasons, the model is undialectical. It is important to recognize that during particular historical periods, the US government and the business class can win consent for their policies and programs but this consent is not won for all time and must be re-negotiated. When re-negotiated in the context of increased social struggle, there is no guarantee that elite opinion will triumph in the battle for “hearts and minds.” My analysis of over 500 news media reports of the 1997 UPS strike, shows that the Teamsters were able to both win public opinion and force the mainstream media to cover the problems of the working class more sympathetically. From national newspapers to television and the even the business press, there was real discussion about the growth of class inequality in the era of globalization. Once the strike was over, however, the media returned to business as usual. Yet, the strike served to demonstrate the power of organized resistance in challenging corporate hegemony. This dynamic is not unique to the UPS strike, there several examples in US history where collective struggle has impacted the media in progressive ways. Drawing on these examples, I make a case for a “dominance/resistance” model of the media.
Session 1B [in Toldo #102]
Theme: Ideology Today, and the Propaganda Model 1
CHRIS FLOOD, STEPHEN HUTCHINGS, "The Ideological Dimension of the Propaganda Model: A Case
GALINA MIAZHEVICH & HENRI NICKELS: Study of Public Service Broadcasting and the War on Terror"
Abstract: This paper engages with a number of the conference themes. It examines the ideological dimension of the Propaganda Model, analysing television news coverage of Islamism and the War on Terror in public service broadcasting. The focus of the analysis has particular relevance and pertinence to the current geopolitical context of extreme tension and upheaval characterised by asymmetrical warfare, civil disturbance and international terrorism in many parts of the world. A linking thread between many of these conflicts is the presence of Islamism and religiously sanctioned violence as factors which interact with other sources of civil and political upheaval. Much political and media discourse in the West is phrased in terms of an Islamist Threat, accompanied by an implicit assumption of a clash of civilisations. The research carried out in this paper emerges from a larger project examining television news representations of Islam as security threat in Britain, France and Russia. Each of these countries has strong historic connections with Islam, is host to large Muslim populations, has been involved in military campaigns defined as part of the “War on Terror” and experienced Islamist terror at first hand. Against this backdrop, the question arises as to whether, or to what extent, public service broadcasting news coverage manages to remain impartial in this heavily securitised context. Thus, the central research objective of the paper is to examine the extent to which the domestic and international contexts of the War on Terror give an ideological colouring to the broader representation of Islam, both in the domestic and international spheres. For methodological reasons the paper focuses on the news product rather than on production processes or reception. The paper concludes with an assessment of an anti-Islamism ideological filter identified in BBC news coverage of Islamism and the War on Terror.
GHADA CHEHADE: "Strategic Demons & Ubiquitous Enemies In The Post 9/11 Propaganda Model: A Case Study of Anti-Terrorism as the New Anti-Communism"
Abstract: In the draconian atmosphere of the post-9/11 “war on terror,” Chomsky and Herman’s Propaganda Model is more relevant than ever. In their propaganda model the scholars identify five main ingredients. The fifth ingredient, "anti-communism" as a national religion and control mechanism, is the focus of my case study. When we hear the never-ending “anti-terrorist” rhetoric of the Bush Administration it sounds eerily familiar and it is hard not be taken back in time to the era of paranoia and propaganda about the “evil empire” of the Communist bloc. My case study will demonstrate that, at the present juncture, “anti-terrorism” has loftily replaced “anti-communism” as the fifth ingredient in this propaganda model. In the rhetorical and geo-political after math of the events of 11 September 2001 one cannot help but feel that we have been here before. When one hears the never-ending “anti-terrorist” rhetoric of the Bush Administration it sounds eerily familiar and it is hard not be taken back in time to the era of paranoia and propaganda about the “evil empire” of the Communist bloc. I will conduct a comparative content analysis of US administration speeches concerning “anti-communism” and contemporary “anti-terrorism.” For my artifacts I chose eight political speeches from each era. The first group is drawn from the 1950s-1980s Cold War years, and the second group is from the post-9/11 years till the present. A comparative content analysis of administration speeches from the two periods suggests that the pretext for war and hyper-militariztion in the McCarthy era, communism, is today being fulfilled by a new bogeyman-- the ubiquitous yet ever elusive “Muslim terrorist.” The essay will demonstrate that while the bogeymen or the “evil doers” have new names and darker faces, the social, geo-political and foreign policy purposes they serve are almost identical. Through a cultural studies analysis of the speeches I have identified three common themes and/or functions of the rhetoric of both periods. They include instilling fear and complacency in the American public; the creation and demonization of a strategic enemy; and most importantly, perpetuating the myth of America as the saviour of the world. Part of this last theme involves presenting America as altruistic victim of freedom hating savages. The media’s role is to uncritically reproduce these messages in a way that shields government and the power elite, in order to reaffirm their hegemony.
ISRA ALI: "Keeping Ideology Alive? Exploring the Role of Radical/Fundamentalist Islam in the Propaganda Model"
Abstract: This study, commissioned by the Toronto-based Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation (NECEF) , builds on a previous study conducted by the California-based media-monitoring organization If Americans Knew (IAK) that examined The New York Times ' coverage of deaths in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (for details see: Off the Charts - http://www.ifamericansknew.org ). Both studies are statistical examinations of the comparative prominence given in news coverage to Israeli and Palestinian deaths during the first year of the current conflict, and subsequent coverage in 2004. Whereas Off the Charts examined coverage in the New York Times, our study looks at Canada's three largest print-media outlets respectively – i.e. The Globe and Mail , The National Post , and the Toronto Star. The categories examined in our study of relative prominence given to Israeli and Palestinian deaths in print-media coverage include mentions of deaths in headlines or first paragraphs and, as a subcategory, children's deaths. This study also expands the scope of Off the Charts by looking at deaths covered in photos or photo captions that appeared in the National Post and Toronto Star (no comparable data sets were available for The Globe and Mail at the time of this study) as well as the frequency of front-page coverage accorded to stories reporting on conflict-related Israeli and Palestinian deaths. These indicators were chosen as additional yard-sticks by which to measure prominence of coverage given to these topics. Finally, in order to provide a more rigorous report we also produced a study of deaths covered in complete articles for a sample month-long sub-study in 2005 that examines where in articles Israeli and Palestinian deaths are most frequently reported. The findings of Off the Charts indicated significantly distorted coverage by The New York Times based on the identity of the person who was killed. Therefore, in the first study period ranging from 29 September 2000 to 28 September 2001, The Times reported Israeli deaths at a rate 2.8 times higher than Palestinian deaths, and in 2004 this rate increased by almost 30%, to 3.6. Furthermore, the author's of the study found that The Times' coverage of children's deaths in the conflict was even more skewed. In the first year of the current uprising, Israeli children's deaths were reported at 6.8 times the rate of Palestinian children's deaths. In 2004 this differential also increased, with deaths of Israeli children covered at a rate 7.3 times greater than the deaths of Palestinian children. This occurred despite the fact that in all cases Palestinians were being killed at a greater ratio than Israelis. The findings in this study also found significantly distorted coverage of such deaths among all Canadian print-media outlets. Therefore, all three major Canadian newspapers reported on Israeli deaths at a higher ratio than Palestinian deaths (although there was considerable variation in ratios between the different papers under review) .
Session 1C [in Toldo #104]
Theme: Media Ownership Today and the Propaganda Model
MEERA KARUNANANTHAN: "Media Ownership and Partisan Bias in Canadian Daily Newspapers"
Abstract: This paper argues that media ownership was a key factor in determining a newspaper’s likelihood to favour the Conservative Party through editorial endorsements in the 2006 Federal election campaign. Given the high concentration of media ownership in Canada, the concern is not only whether individual newspapers express partisan bias, but whether or not there is uniform bias among newspapers belonging to the same chain. It is the premise of this paper that if the Canadian media were free of systemic bias, we would find a range of endorsements reflecting the plurality of views held by the Canadian public. While the McGill Observatory on Media and Public Policy’s study on media bias found little evidence of newspapers making “a purposeful effort to convey information in a way that helps or hinders a party” during the 2006 election, this paper demonstrates that in their editorial endorsements, newspapers belonging to media conglomerates with broadcast and/or telecommunication interests tended to favour the Conservative Party of Canada. These newspapers were much more likely to endorse the Conservative Party than those of other newspaper chains. The author argues that while the Liberal party has always received strong support from the business elite in Canada, the Conservative Party, which strongly supports deregulation in broadcast and telecommunication policies, was more likely to receive endorsements from newspapers belonging to media conglomerates that would benefit from this position. This study highlights the impact of media concentration and media convergence in limiting the diversity of opinions in the Canadian media.
THOMAS BAGGERMAN: "Ownership/Technology/Content: Revisiting Herman & Chomsky’s Ownership Filter"
Abstract: In describing the factors which underlie the ownership filter of the Propaganda Model, Herman & Chomsky identify the advent of new technologies as one of several important and interdependent catalysts for ownership mediation of news content. In Manufacturing Consent, they demonstrate the filter using several national case studies, undeniably proving the importance of ownership-related market forces in determining news content. However, in that work they choose not to specifically address the influence these forces play in local television news content, a locale where the propaganda model is equally as valid. This topic is especially timely given the recently unearthed 2003 FCC study which shows a correlation between local ownership and local content in television news. Two decades later, technology plays an even greater deterministic role in news content with increased consolidation of both ownership and operations in local television. This paper details the influence of technology on news content made possible by consolidated ownership, providing both historical context and present day detail of the interplay between ownership, technology, and local news content. Historically, the paper addresses itself to the overall question of consolidation in local television, and specifically to the technologies which made the acquisition of additional stations both viable and desirable for station owners. In the present day, the paper examines several large station groups, detailing the strategies and technologies which influence local news content and providing examples of that influence. Finally, the paper anticipates the potential in the near future for new technologies to further influence consolidation and news content. In conclusion, the paper suggests that it may be time to update the propaganda model to provide a larger role for technology in the discussion of how ownership of local television stations (and other media outlets) affects news content.
First Full Day/Night of Conference (Wed. May 16, 2007)
ALEXIS HUDELOT: "The 'Fundamentalism' Dimension of the Ownership Filter"
Abstract: In their analysis of the ownership Filter, Herman and Chomsky have put an emphasis on the interconnected interests of the mainstream media and their parent companies. But it could be argued that this apparent conflict of interests is only one aspect of that particular filter. Each press group has its own founding principles that are intended to be respected through time. One of those is the “Ochian fundamentalism” at the New York Times, a doctrine that has been respected by the different publishers ever since Adolph Ochs bought the newspaper in 1896. Stipulating that the NYT should always align itself with the American political “center”, the Ochian principle could be interpreted as an institutional bias in its editorial coverage, since it would not so much be interested in reporting events rigorously, as much as presenting them in such a way as to be acceptable to both “liberal” and “conservative” readers. In order to test this hypothesis, all the editorials commenting on the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua between 1979 and 1990 were analyzed, with special attention given to the representations (either positive or negative) of the different actors implicated in the revolution or counter-revolution. Through the evolution of these representations, what is the most striking is how a majority of the actors see their representation in the editorials continuously fluctuate from positive to negative, throughout that period. This presentation will therefore elaborate on how these variable representations can be seen through the “fundamentalism” dimension of the ownership filter. It should be interesting to see if this new approach can be extended to other media groups, or if the New York Times, a recurrent theme in communications and political sciences, is in a category of its own, since the literature on its history is quite large.
Session 1D [in Toldo #203]
Theme: International Media and the Propaganda Model 1
ANDREW MULLEN: "British Press Coverage of European Integration: Applying the Herman-Chomsky Propaganda Model"
Abstract: This paper employs the Propaganda Model advanced by Herman and Chomsky (1988) to understand and explain British press coverage of European integration. It specifically compares two periods: the early 1970s, which witnessed Britain’s entry to the European Union (EU) in 1973 and the popular ratification of that decision in the national referendum in 1975, and the early 2000s, which saw a national debate on whether or not Britain should adopt the European single currency (the euro) and endorse the European Constitution. The Propaganda Model suggests that where there is consensus among the business and political elite on a particular issue, the media tend to reflect this, to the exclusion of rival perspectives. A similar point was made by Ferguson (1995), who argued that where the major investors in political parties agree on an issue, the parties will not compete on that issue, no matter how strongly the public might want an alternative. This paper presents an empirical analysis of the editorial line adopted by Britain’s national newspapers during these periods so as to test the utility of the Propaganda Model. It also evaluates the role of the five filters identified by Herman and Chomsky to help explain any changes in reporting over time. The evidence confirms the Herman-Chomsky-Ferguson thesis. In the early 1970s, the business sector, the Civil Service and the leadership of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal parties overwhelmingly backed Britain’s entry and called for a Yes vote in the 1975 Referendum. During this period, with the exception of the Express titles and the Morning Star, all of the national newspapers adopted a pro-EU editorial line, thus confirming the efficacy of the Propaganda Model. By contrast, in the early 2000s the business sector was divided on the question of the euro and the European Constitution, as were political parties – with the Conservative Party officially opposed to both. Consequently, the national newspapers were evenly divided on these questions, as the Propaganda Model would predict.
ANDREW MONTI: "The Propaganda Model and Public Service Broadcasting: The Case of RAI, Italy"
Abstract: The Propaganda Model (PM), as originally developed by Herman and Chomsky, is an analytical framework, which, in its various and multiform applications, has been overwhelmingly dedicated to the analysis of private, commercial media. There are reasons, however, to believe that the PM, in its original form, can also aid in the analysis of public media, and particularly of RAI, Italy’s public service broadcaster. The PM is principally useful in examining RAI’s role in Television, for it operates three national television channels out of seven national licensed channels, its only “real” competitor is Mediaset, which operates three national private television channels, and it commands the largest share of any comparable western European public television broadcaster, forty-three per cent. The peculiarity of RAI Television regards the regulations and public policies that govern the appointment of its management; policies which give political parties complete control over RAI’s executive body, a practice referred to in Italy as the lottizzazione, a spin-off of the 19th century North American “spoils system”. When La Casa delle Libertà, the right-wing coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi, won the elections in 2001, its leader became Italy’s Prime Minister, and found himself in a twofold position: de jure and de facto controller of RAI’s executive board, and the owner of Mediaset, RAI’s main private broadcaster competitor. The analysis thus highlights the repercussions of changes in RAI’s management on the content of the broadcaster’s output. The “media filters” utilized in the analysis are: “Ownership and Control”, “Flack” and “Ideology” as they apply to Berlusconi’s control over RAI and the “cleansing” of its workforce, the number of lawsuits and charges laid against RAI journalists critical of government policy, and the propagandized “equation” of government critic to communist, respectively. This application of the PM will, hopefully, reinforce the model’s relevance in contemporary media analysis, underline its inherent flexibility, and above all confirm its unique explanatory potential in the political economy of mass media.
SCOTT LOVAAS: "Thought Control in Democratic South Africa"
Abstract: While the end of Apartheid in South Africa brought the end of state repression and formal apartheid censorship of the press, new mechanisms have come to replace the old. Market-driven English daily newspapers continue, through a series of new filters, to limit, shape, and censor ideas for the benefit of the elite private and public sectors. The manufactured, one-dimensional, pro-market world view that results restricts both freedom and democracy. As South Africa enters its second decade of democracy, with new freedoms and civil liberties, further evaluation of this relationship between the media, the state, and the market becomes increasingly vital. The “Propaganda Model” as laid out by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky, in their book, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988, updated 2002) represents a significant analysis of media performance in a democracy. The authors question basic premises of democracy and the free press. According to Herman and Chomsky, the US media “serve, and propagandise on behalf of, the powerful societal interests that control and finance them.” This qualitative and quantitative study demonstrates that propaganda and media control continues today within South African English daily newspapers. To prove this argument, this paper examines how three South African newspapers cover forestry, terrorism, and the New African Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) over a two-year period. The quantitative study surveyed 1797 articles and examined the use of sources quoted and revealed censorship of alternative voices. The qualitative analysis examined the vested interests and various players have in a pro-market, censored representation of NEPAD, the forestry industry, and terrorism. The study revealed that capitalism and the resulting interlocking capital of board members, newspaper owners, advertisers, and the government, cause newspapers to engage in self-censorship and exclusion of threatening voices to advance the interests of the elite.
10:15am-10:30am COFFEE BREAK [in ODETTE Lobby]
10:30am-12:00pm OPENING PLENARY DISCUSSION [in ODETTE #104 (350)]
Theme: The Propaganda Model's Usefulness for Understanding 21st Century Media and Society
EDWARD HERMAN: "The Propaganda Model 20 Years Later"
Abstract: (not available)
JOHN DOWNING: "Assessing the Herman/Chomsky Propaganda Model: The View From the Home Front and the Twist from Social Movement Media"
Abstract: Chomsky and Herman’s “propaganda model” of media has been both touted as the ultimate truth and excoriated as trash conspiracy theory. It is also perhaps one of the most widely known theories of contemporary media. Its fundamental focus, however, has been on mainstream capitalist media in the USA, their representations of U.S. foreign policy actions and motivations, the operations of repressive governments allied to the U.S. regime as opposed to those in contention with it, and the plausible reasons for the framing policies of these news media. Not every theory has to apply to everything. Yet the critics’ and the supporters’ focus has principally been on the terrain set out by Chomsky and Herman in the first place. This paper sets out to address issues outside that direct template, albeit related closely to it in terms of capitalist hegemony, to assess the degree of conceptual traction the theory may hold when stretched further. The issues addressed are fourfold, principally #3 and #4. (1) The strengths and weaknesses of the propaganda model if applied to analyzing domestic political issues as refracted through U.S. capitalist news media. (2) Its strengths and weakness if applied to analyzing U.S. entertainment media. (3) Its strengths and weaknesses if applied to analyzing the operations of counter-hegemonic social movement media. (4) Its strengths and weaknesses if applied to analyzing the operations of ultra-rightist movement media.
ROBERT HACKETT: "Reconsidering the Propaganda Model in light of the Hierarchy of Influences Model and Field Theory."
Abstract: (not available)
VALERIE SCATAMBURLO-D’ANNIBALE: "The Propaganda Model in the Post 9/11 Era"
Abstract: (not available)
PAUL BOIN: Chair/Moderator
12:15pm-1:30pm LUNCH & KEYNOTE ADDRESS [in CAW Auditorium]
JUDY REBICK: "Propaganda and Patriarchy"
Abstract: (not available)
1:45pm-3:00pm 2nd BREAK-OUT PANEL DISCUSSIONS [in TOLDO Building]
Session 2A [in Toldo #100]
Theme: War, Propaganda, and the Propaganda Model 1
ROBIN ANDERSEN: "What Congressional Testimony about 'Misleading Information on the Battlefield' Tells Us About War Propaganda"
Abstract: Propaganda and its related media strategies have become essential components of modern warfare. Over the years, elected officials and military planners have faced significant public opposition to fighting wars, making public persuasion vital to the execution of military action and to the acceptance of the inevitable loss of life in its wake. By the twenty-first century, well-planned media campaigns replaced open debate, and economic and government censorship blocked dissenting voices. Corporate media practices walled-off journalistic debate, and discussions of authentic diplomatic solutions to global issues were all but absent in the US media. With American troops committed to foreign soil, casualty figures and military conduct require increasingly sophisticated “information management” strategies for favorable public opinion and for the maintenance of wartime “homefront morale.” At present, majority public opinion has turned against a war in progress, yet many official media propaganda strategies remain legitimate and corporate media continue to represent official points of view while marginalizing alternative and dissenting voices. By the twenty-first century, war stories designed for homefront consumption represent a qualitative leap in the design of war propaganda, going far beyond the traditional strategies of enemy demonization and visceral persuasions. While the simple binaries between good and evil created during the First World War remain essential components of propaganda, the languages of contemporary war mimics the narrative and visual styles of contemporary entertainment. Presently, propaganda translates war into the language of exhilarating action culture and virtual reality. The persuasive power of entertainment was employed as propaganda in 2002 by the US military with the dissemination of the video game, America’s Army. Subsequent video games and computer-based digital technologies now dominate the style and sensibilities of war movies, entertainment culture, and even news reporting, even as video games are used for military recruitment and training platforms. This contemporary media geographic creates a powerful propaganda environment, and it remains difficult, if not impossible, to conceive of the realities of war’s horrors within this framework. Ultimately, the cultural sensibility that conceives of war as an entertainment or videogame, blocks public compassion for the deaths of civilians as well as combatants, and makes ending hostilities all the more difficult.
SHELDON RAMPTON: "Breaking the Frame: How New Media Are Changing the Propaganda Model"
Abstract: The rise of propaganda during the 20th century in part reflected the cultural and political effects of two world wars as well as the Cold War. However, it was also reflected the culmination of the industrial revolution and the dominance of communications media -- newspapers, radio, television -- capable of mass-producing and broadcasting messages for public consumption. The early 21st century has seen the emergence of new communications media such as the Internet which challenge propaganda/broadcast model by lowering the costs of entry to previously-excluded voices. Blogging, virally-distributed email and collaboratively-written "wikis" have eliminated the traditional distinction between "broadcaster" and "audience." Instead of relying on "one-to-many" broadcasts, people can now get information through "one-to-one" and "many-to-many" systems in which they themselves choose and create their own media from diverse sources. The importance of these developments should not be underestimated, but they should not be exaggerated either. Although traditional broadcast media have been challenged, they continue to have a major effect on public opinion. Moreover, government and corporate elites are adapting new media to serve their own propaganda purposes, using databases coupled with the surveillance opportunities provided by new media to target their audiences with new, increasingly sophisticated stealth propaganda techniques.
VALERIE ZAWILSKI & "Manufacturing Wars: American and Canadian Newspaper Reports on Iran,
KENNETH DOWLER Iraq, North Korea and Afghanistan 2001-2007"
Abstract: Plans for a war on Iraq were created a few days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. At a meeting at Camp David, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz argued that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant who represented a direct threat to national security. President Bush and his top advisors articulated the threat to the American public in 2002. (Snarr and Snarr, 2005: 30-31) On February 5, 2003 Secretary of State Colin Powell gave an address to the UN Security Council outlining suspected Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the purported links between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaida terrorists. (Dobbs 2003) After an 18 month media campaign that was especially intense after September 2002, the Iraq War began on March 19, 2003. This study will investigate whether three major American newspapers from September 2001to March 2007 have generated various forms of propaganda about three countries which President Bush has described as the ‘evil triangle’: Iraq, Iran and North Korea. In order to test Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model (1988), a content analysis will be completed using a 10% stratified systematic sample of The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. This analysis will include a combination of manifest and latent coding techniques, which will determine whether the propaganda model which, contends that five filters interact and reinforce each other to determine a ‘news’ discourse, will, in the cases of Iraq, Iran and North Korea, effectively explain the shifts and changes in newspaper media coverage of these three countries in relation to US military spending, political posturing and the American Government’s justifications for manufacturing wars.
Session 2B [in Toldo #102]
Theme: Expanding the Propaganda Model
DENNIS MURPHY: "Propaganda In and For Today: A Modest Proposal"
Abstract: This paper will discuss views of propaganda as being (1) grounded in content, (2) an essential tool of information management and (3) a phenomenon necessarily rooted in “certainty.” In this last approach it can be said that propaganda is first and foremost “telling people what they already believe.” The argument presented will contrast (a) propaganda as an intentional and willful strategy on the part of a hierarchy with (b) propaganda as a confirmation and reaffirmation of already existing beliefs and values in people. Drawing upon Jacques Ellul’s seminal work on the subject to frame its discussion, the paper will work through specific current examples from government and the military. Ellul’s writing, nearly a half -century old, remains essential in understanding how the three views noted above become confluent, reinforce each other and mask sources of propaganda. It will be argued that this confluence differs from the “ownership” filter which may serve to take propaganda analysis off its course. Propaganda as technique and propaganda as phenomenon coexist not just in function but also in lived experience of working through information disseminated. Finally the paper will conclude in suggesting that filters four and five (Flack and Anti-ideologies) have become more useful in understanding propaganda than they were two decades ago when Manufacturing Consent was published.
CLIFF VANDERLINDEN: "A Sixth Filter? The Case for Technology in the Propaganda Model"
Abstract: A fundamental shortcoming in most contemporary models of newsmaking is the failure to adequately address the role of technology as a key conceptual architect in the newsmaking process. By neglecting to theorize beyond material considerations of technology, current critical discourses within the media studies literature suffer from a systemic analytical blind spot in their framing of the social construction of news. The Propaganda Model, despite its formidable explanatory capacity, is as culpable of this charge as its counterparts. Herman and Chomsky suggest that, although the model “captures essential features of the [newsmaking] process … it leaves many nuances and secondary effects unanalyzed” (Herman and Chomsky, 1988: 304). By relegating technology to the position of a ‘nuance’ or ‘secondary effect’, Herman and Chomsky continue to perpetuate the implicit assumption in classical historical materialism in which technology is shaped entirely by economics and thus any consideration of how technology shapes the social world is inherently tautological. This paper rejects the classical historical materialist framing of technology while concomitantly dismissing the purist technological determinist perspective. Instead it seeks to create space for a middle ground in which economic considerations are mitigated by path-dependence. This protospace is too narrowly dismissed by Herman and Chomsky in their brief reflection on new media (Herman and Chomsky, 1988: xvxvii), despite their emphasis on the significance of other emergent ICTs, such as cable and satellite communications (Herman and Chomsky, 1988: 307). To begin to understand how technology filters news begs for an examination of news media, by which I am referring to the technological media of mass communication as opposed to the institution which long ago expropriated the term. The conventional Propaganda Model filters negate the now-clichéd McLuhian aphorism, “the medium is the message” (McLuhan, 1964: 23). Technology imposes certain constraints and limitations on how news is produced and disseminated. Print news takes on a different character than radio news, which itself is markedly different in such aspects as scripting and tone than television news. Several variants of Internet news have also begun to develop a character and style that is unique and medium-specific. The character of journalism is medium-contingent, but this is not to say that each technological medium itself is solely responsible for the development of said character. Certainly the medium itself constraints a journalist’s capacity to tell a story (broadcast journalists tell a story in a very different way than print journalists); however, each medium is also associated with specific audience demographics. Intersubjective understandings of audience expectations develop around these demographics and the character of journalism is tailored in many ways to identifiable consumer groups. Cultures of practice have emerged around each medium, each with distinct characteristics. But whether it be technologically determined or socially shaped, news is filtered at the at the most fundamental level by the medium of communication. Even if media outlets all cover exactly the same stories (which they do not), the way in which the information is presented is filtered to some extent by the medium of choice.
COLIN SPARKS: "Extending and Refining the Propaganda Model"
Abstract: The propaganda model was originally developed to account for the properties of the US media system, and it has been most exhaustively tested in studies of the fit between US foreign policy and media reporting. While Herman has stated that it also works very well with media coverage of internal US news stories, particularly those involving labour disputes, such coverage has not formed the main focus of research either for the principal originators of theory or for the relatively small number of scholars who have tried to develop the model. There have been few scholarly attempts to extend the model, either geographically or historically to investigate whether it might provide a more general guide to analysis or is specific to a particular period of US media history. In a recent exchange with Jeffrey Klaehn, the distinguished British scholar John Corner argued that; `there is very little by way of new theoretical insight that the propaganda model can bring to European media research.’ The current paper reviews that judgement, particularly in the light of claims made for the European tradition of critical political economy. It is demonstrated that there are significant points of contact between the propaganda model and at least some of the European writers. On the other hand, there are a number of important divergences. The paper suggests that both contacts and divergences are best explained by the different social and historical conditions that the theories were designed to explain. It is shown that the degree of convergence with the more radical elements of the European critical tradition and the propaganda model can be increased if certain elements of the latter are given more emphasis. Some of aspects of the propaganda model that are present almost as asides in the original formulations are capable of substantial development and extension and that in so doing the explanatory power of the model is substantially increased.
Session 2C [in Toldo #104]
Theme: Canadian Propaganda, Canadian Media, and the Propaganda Model
MAIJA SAARI, DUNN L, "Whose right to know about new drugs? Impact of the Big Pharma-Media Interlock
PILLA J, & SINGH S. on Population Health in the Battle for Direct-to-Consumer Drug Marketing in Canada"
Abstract: Media rely on the pharmaceutical industry for a significant proportion of advertising revenue. In Canada, the content and form of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA) have been heavily restricted, leaving an estimated half-billion dollar pot of prescription drug marketing budget out of reach of broadcasters. In December 2006, Canadian media giant CanWest Global Communications sought to challenge Canada's ban, arguing that preventing it from broadcasting American-style drug advertisements was a violation of CanWest's freedom of expression under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.The fight, which is expected to rise to Canada's Supreme Court, pits a coalition of broadcasters and Big Pharma against a coalition of health and consumer groups. The stakes to publicly-funded healthcare are high. In countries where restrictions have been lifted, research indicates that DTC advertisements lead to inappropriate prescriptions. Canada is already affected. Massive American media penetration into Canadian markets is revealing evidence of a spillover effect of DTCA in the Canadian physician-patient relationship. This paper reviews the Canadian battle over DTCA in light of the Propaganda Model and includes data from a preliminary inquiry into the perceptions of 20 family physicians (FPs) in Ontario about the impact of existing DTC advertisements in their practice. FPs were asked about their exposure to drug ads, their perceived influence on patient demand, how this compared with their experience five years ago and their overall opinion on DTCA. Over half reported an increase in the 5 years in patient-initiated inquires for drugs they'd seen advertised, receiving up to 10 queries per month. The majority of FPs called DTCA "unprofessional", "unethical" and "misleading", labeling it as "good marketing, bad medicine."
LYDIA MILJAN: "Applying the Propaganda Model to the Canadian Media System"
Abstract: The Herman/Chomsky propaganda model has been seen as a strong indictment against the free market media systems, in particular the U.S. media. With its focus on the five filters that control the direction of comment in the media the thesis states that by tracing the role of “money and power” one can see how alternate views are minimized in the media. While Herman and Chomsky base a lot of the theoretical argument on European research, the focus is on the American media system. Nonetheless, the argument has resonated with scholars in other Anglo democracies such as Canada. However, the application towards Canada, is somewhat weakened, in part because of the relative smaller scale of the Canadian media system, but also because of the fifth filter, anti-Communism never really resonating the same way in Canada as had in the United States. Certainly, one might make the case that as time has passed, the anti-communism filter could be substituted with a different filter. On the other hand, with the passage of time, we have also seen an increase in the concentration of ownership as well cross-ownership, with many devotees of the propaganda model identifying these trends as increasing evidence to support the propaganda model in Canada. This paper will look at the role of money and power in the Canadian system and argue while it may be true that the media filter information according to power, that money is not necessarily the most significant filter. In other words, while Canada is still part of a open market system, it operates very differently from that of its American counterpart in both the scale, the organization and the guiding principles. Of particular interest and discussion will be the role of the state-owned CBC and its influence on reducing the influence of the money filter.
KOLE KILIBARDA: "Media Report Card on Accuracy in Reporting of Israel/Palestine: Canadian Print Media"
Abstract: This study, commissioned by the Toronto-based Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation (NECEF) , builds on a previous study conducted by the California-based media-monitoring organization If Americans Knew (IAK) that examined The New York Times ' coverage of deaths in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict (for details see: Off the Charts - http://www.ifamericansknew.org ). Both studies are statistical examinations of the comparative prominence given in news coverage to Israeli and Palestinian deaths during the first year of the current conflict, and subsequent coverage in 2004. Whereas Off the Charts examined coverage in the New York Times, our study looks at Canada's three largest print-media outlets respectively – i.e. The Globe and Mail , The National Post , and the Toronto Star . The categories examined in our study of relative prominence given to Israeli and Palestinian deaths in print-media coverage include mentions of deaths in headlines or first paragraphs and, as a subcategory, children's deaths. This study also expands the scope of Off the Charts by looking at deaths covered in photos or photo captions that appeared in the National Post and Toronto Star (no comparable data sets were available for The Globe and Mail at the time of this study) as well as the frequency of front-page coverage accorded to stories reporting on conflict-related Israeli and Palestinian deaths. These indicators were chosen as additional yard-sticks by which to measure prominence of coverage given to these topics. Finally, in order to provide a more rigorous report we also produced a study of deaths covered in complete articles for a sample month-long sub-study in 2005 that examines where in articles Israeli and Palestinian deaths are most frequently reported. The findings of Off the Charts indicated significantly distorted coverage by The New York Times based on the identity of the person who was killed. Therefore, in the first study period ranging from 29 September 2000 to 28 September 2001, The Times reported Israeli deaths at a rate 2.8 times higher than Palestinian deaths, and in 2004 this rate increased by almost 30%, to 3.6. Furthermore, the author's of the study found that The Times' coverage of children's deaths in the conflict was even more skewed. In the first year of the current uprising, Israeli children's deaths were reported at 6.8 times the rate of Palestinian children's deaths. In 2004 this differential also increased, with deaths of Israeli children covered at a rate 7.3 times greater than the deaths of Palestinian children. This occurred despite the fact that in all cases Palestinians were being killed at a greater ratio than Israelis. The findings in this study also found significantly distorted coverage of such deaths among all Canadian print-media outlets. Therefore, all three major Canadian newspapers reported on Israeli deaths at a higher ratio than Palestinian deaths (although there was considerable variation in ratios between the different papers under review) .
Session 2D [in Toldo #203]
Theme: International Media and the Propaganda Model 2
DAVID KOVIN: "The 'Rwanda Effect': How the Media Grew Tired of Africa and Brought Terrorist Violence to America"
Abstract: My thesis is commensurate with Chomsky and Herman’s view that the media is a quasi-monolithic factory of “truth,” inundating a largely unaware public with a dominant vision of the political world. Yet, there is a growing, non-academic public who do the same type of research as Chomsky of suppressed, less-publicized stories. The “official story” is inevitably an amalgamation of initial, often “monolithic,” media reports and ex post facto critical analyses, such as in the work of Political Scientists. For Walter Lippmann, the media affected public opinion minimally; to him, most people are simply provincial and lack motivation to psychologically construct a broad worldview. This perspective is perhaps an artifact of an era dominated by print media. Today, 24 hour cable news and the Internet have empowered media forces to an unprecedented degree in the construction of public opinion on a global scale. The “minimal effects” view has since been replaced by a cognitive-behavioralist paradigm, concurrent with the inception of CNN. In a previous essay, I argue individuals have the cognitive abilities to search myriad sources for trustworthy, accurate accounts of world events to counter corporate informational hegemony. However, many “partisans” are often driven, fallaciously, by source cues or heuristic devices, to accept and incorporate opinions thinly masked as “objective” news. To paraphrase Lippmann, those limited by political belief are inclined to trust "the pictures [already] in their heads." I extend my thesis to the support for the Somali humanitarian intervention in contrast to the lack of American support, unilaterally and multilaterally, for the Rwandan peacekeeping mission circa 1992-4. While Somali human suffering saturated network and cable news, Kurt Cobain’s suicide dominated the airwaves vis-à-vis the Rwandan civil war. This lack of scope domestically has had many deleterious effects on American interests since the early 90’s, including the attacks in Kenya and Tanzania and the World Trade Center bombings.
ABUBAKAR D. ALHASSAN: "Flakking Al-Jazeera: An examination of Washington establishment's responses to the coverage of 'Unworthy Victims'"
Abstract: Of the five filters identified by Herman and Chomsky in their propaganda model, flak is the one which explains the strategies the Establishment employs to respond to what it perceived as negative media coverage or content. An examination of the U.S. establishment's responses to the emergence of Al-Jazeera phenomena illustrates the employment of flak strategies including different modes of complaints, threat, punitive action, and funding of right-wing media monitoring groups and think-tanks. This is illustrated by Rumsfeld calling its reports "vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable;" Powell lobbying its benefactor emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Khalifa al-Thani, to rein in on the channel;  U.S. bombing of its offices in Kabul and Baghdad killing its Iraq reporter, Tariq Ayoub; expulsion of its crew from New York Stock Exchange;  and the continuous monitoring and criticism of its programming by organizations and think-tanks like MEMRI and WINEP. This paper will examine the various flaks deployed against Al-Jazeera and situate the 'flakking' of the channel within the broader context of the Propaganda Model's thesis of 'Worthy and Unworthy Victims' which, according to Herman and Chomsky, entails giving greater coverage to victims of U.S. enemy states thereby portraying such states as backward "wicked and deserving US hostility," whereas victims of U.S. government and its client states receive little or no coverage. Thus, Al-Jazeera's coverage of victims of US bombardments and scandals like Abu Ghraib sharply contradicts the comfortable coverage the establishment gets from U.S. media which gives prominence to abuses of Taliban and mass graves of Saddam Hussein. The Establishment responded unmistakably. Finally, the paper raises question of how to describe the wish expressed by President GW Bush to Tony Blair to bomb the channel's headquarters  and the attack on the channel's website by hackers.  Do these flaks fall into punitive action strategies or there is need for a new subcategory of 'flakking'?
FAIZA HIRJI KASSAM: "Propaganda’s Song and Dance Routine: Analyzing Discourses of Reterritorialization in Indian Media"
Abstract: Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model undoubtedly still retains much of its original relevance, given the clear examples of an overriding profit imperative in the operation of many mass media, the continuing reliance of the press on government-supplied information and the suppression of dissent, particularly in the context of the so-called war on terrorism, which encompasses the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, at the same time that some countries have raised concerns about security and control over their borders, others have equal interest in attracting individuals back inside state boundaries. India is a country with a definite stake in the return of people of Indian origin, and as such, it functions as the driving force behind a number of campaigns, official and unofficial, to attract citizens and potential citizens. Interestingly, one of the more successful of these campaigns is not an initiative of the state, but a form of mass culture. Popular Indian cinema, often described as Bollywood film, contains its own version of the propaganda model. Although its production is not necessarily controlled by the state, excepting its relationship to censors, Bollywood producers do often have their own version of the nationalist project, one that has only expanded in the wake of increased discourses around globalization, migration and the formation of diasporas. This paper applies aspects of Herman and Chomsky’s model to an analysis of selected Bollywood films in order to assess the transformation and reach of nationalist propaganda in a time when transnational media and diasporic citizens collide.
3:00pm-3:15pm COFFEE BREAK [in TOLDO Lobby]
3:15pm-4:30pm 3rd BREAK-OUT PANEL DISCUSSIONS [in TOLDO Building]
Session 3A [in Toldo #100]
Theme: Alternative Media, Social Change and the Propaganda Model
PETER PHILLIPS: "Left Progressive Media Inside the Propaganda Model"
Abstract: Our research question is to what extent is independent left-progressive media impacted by atmospheres of negation/denial propagated by corporate media within the propaganda model. We examine seven key socio-political news stories ignored, and/or denigrated by the corporate media in the US including: Voter Fraud 2004, Cuban Five, Impeachment Movement, ACLU Torture Autopsies, WTC Building Seven, Pre-Warning to US Government before 9/11, NORAD Failures on 9/11. We identify coverage levels of these seven stories by thirteen major left progressive media outlets. In addition we interviewed 30 media activists at the Media Reform Conference in Memphis asking key questions on coverage of three of the keys stories. An analysis of coverage levels, combined with interviews of 30 media activists will be completed examining the level of influence corporate media within the Propaganda Model has for left independent media in the US.
OLIVER BOYD-BARRETT: "Recovering Agency for the Propaganda Model"
Abstract: Herman and Chomsky's 1988 propaganda model codified contemporary media sociology. The model was particularly indebted to (1) the political economy approach of scholars such as Curran, Golding and Murdoch who explored the determination of news by economic and political factors and (2) the work of scholars such as Tuchman, Elliott, and Tunstall who focused on routinization of news gathering within newsroom cultures , contributing to the sociology of occupations . These approaches profoundly impacted scholarly media research, but shared with 1980s' sociology one significant flaw. The structural functionalism of Talcott Parsons and its critical nemesis, the neo-Marxism of C.Wright Mills, were system based. 1980s neo-Marxist and cultural studies' perspectives rejected the Parsonian thesis that stable systems were benign, but still presumed an underlying system of capitalism, which some thought was materially determined while others, like Stuart Hall, considered it primarily ideological and cultural. Nearly all scholars looked for systemic or structural processes to account for journalistic practice. This structural predisposition advanced the claim of media sociology to be a respectable, rule-governed discipline, quite different to the intensely anecdotal, narrativized accounts of media practitioners. The resulting disparagement of agency as a proper object of scholarship has since been corrected, in general sociology, in Giddens' theory of structuration, but at a high level of abstraction. In application to the propaganda model, we should consider whether, if agency been more central to their concerns, Herman and Chomsky would have dwelt more upon explicit co-option of news media and/or individual journalists by the military-industrial complex. Evidence of such co-option was then and is now substantial. My paper reflects on the implications for (1) recent media coverage of war and terrorism, (2) scholarship and the assignment of culpability, and (3) scope for a refined understanding of propaganda and the propaganda model.
DAVID MILLER: "The Propaganda Model and Social Change"
Abstract: The propaganda model has proved remarkably resitant to refutation as a model of media performance. My concern in this paper is to examine how the model might best be linked to a broader analysis of social change. It has often been noted, not least by Herman and Chomsky themselves that the model does not attempt to account for the system sustain effects of the mainstream media. Nor does it clam to explain the role of communications more widely. In my view it is in making links to such questions that the most fruitful advances can be made. The analysis of propaganda and public relations provides one way of making such links. Of course Herman and Chomsky have in their different ways made significant contributions to the study of how elites 'take the risk' out of democracy. Chomsky's writing on Lippman and Herman on the terroism industry give much food for thought on the way in whih elites attempt to manage popular opinion and impose their own interests. Extending such analysis to the emergence of neoliberalism, the growth of transnational corporate lobby groups and the propaganda aparatus created by the Bush, Blair and Howard regimes, seems to me a fruitful way to link the propaganda model to power structure research and to the study of ideolgy. This paper give an account of the recent developmenbt in this area including the rise of the social movement for global capitalism and the propaganda offensive over Iraq as a way inyto a reconsideration of the role of both propaganda and the media in the manufgacture of consent. In particular the paper closes by re-examining the concept of hegemony as used by Antonio Gramsci in an attempt to clarify some of the misuse which it has suffered in the past two decades.
Session 3B [in Toldo #102]
Theme: New Frontiers for Propaganda, New Dimensions for the Propaganda Model 1
KATHERINE BATEMAN: "Internal Regulation: Understanding the construction of the home-grown 'Others'"
Abstract: A necessary addition to the discourse on security culture, post September 11th 2001, is an investigation into the ideological state apparatuses that legitimate the articulation of an internal enemy. In the current political climate, any potential terrorist is considered an internal enemy—wherein potentiality is ascribed by one's skin colour or religion (the Arab, the South Asian or the Muslim)—enabling a public debate on this other's right to citizenship. To fully understand the scope of this problematic it is important to situate the current 'threat' in a larger framework of Canadian security culture and consider how these threats are used to curtail and shape Canadian citizenship as a whole. In this paper I will examine the current 'terrorist threat'—as it was represented in the Globe and Mail following the arrest of 17 Toronto men for attempted terrorism—and the policing of 'homosexuals' in Canadian civil servant jobs post World War II, as part of the larger project of containing the 'communist threat.' The notion of common sense, as developed by Gramsci and used by Bannerji and Lawrence, is useful to repudiate certain columnists' appeal to Canadian 'common sense' to establish the 17 Toronto men as necessarily guilty and to circulate racists and homogenous assumption of what Canadians and their values are. In examining the development of national security post World War II, particularly where it considered 'homosexuals', one encounters earlier versions of the RCMP, CSIS and an articulation of how to regulate citizens marked as other—providing insight into the public discourse on the 'home-grown terrorist.' The identity of the internal enemy shifts with the needs of the state, shaping the nation and regulating everybody present therein; it is, therefore, necessary to understand these 'threats' as part of the fabric of the state, not anomalous evils.
JAMES COMPTON & "Fear on the Planet of the Slums: Is Propaganda Necessary?"
Abstract: The propaganda model asserts that the filtration of mass media substantially distorts the perception of social reality by most of the population of advanced capitalism. The implication is that absent this distorting filtration, compliance with the structural inequalities of class, and the global exercise of military-industrial force to maintain those inequalities, would be lower, and dissent more widespread. Consent is ‘manufactured.’ But an alternative analysis, at once more materialist and more pessimistic, suggests propaganda is not a prerequisite for majority docility. A relatively well-informed perspective on global class composition could produce the same result. On what Mike Davis has named ‘the planet of the slums,’ a substantial portion of global inhabitants live in conditions of poverty and squalor massively below the conditions of life of the North American and European working class. While an equalizing redistribution of income internal to the societies of advanced capital would probably benefit the majority of that working class, a global income redistribution in favor of the planetary slum-dwellers would probably not, particularly under the conditions of social turmoil and disruption necessary to secure such a shift. Indeed, a weakening of capital’s military-industrial complex—preeminently that of the United States—would likely result in a decline in the material well-being not just of advanced capitalism’s ruling, but also its working, class. In this situation, consent to conservative policies hardly needs to be ‘manufactured.’ It can arise not from media mis- or dis-information, but from people’s plausible, probabilistic estimates of best-chance scenarios for maintaining existing living standards, at least over the short to mid-term. On the planet of the slums, lucid fear may be a more significant force maintaining the existing order than mystifying propaganda.
BRIAN DOLBER: "Consolidation and the Propaganda Model: Comparing NAFTA and PNTR Coverage on ABC News"
Abstract: Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model offers us a broad view of the ways in which a corporate media system filters news to suit an elite capitalist agenda. However, much has changed since 1988 in the structures of mass media and the wider global political economy. This paper will argue that while the model still offers us an accurate general framework for understanding the role of journalism, it is specific to the Cold War era, and must be rethought in an era of consolidation and globalization. This paper tests the ways in which media consolidation worked to further neo-liberal policies and ideology during the 1990s through comparative quantitative and qualitative analyses of ABC World News Tonight before and after the Walt Disney Corporation’s purchase of ABC/Capital Cities in 1995. Specifically, this study looks at the coverage preceding the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) under Cap Cities, as opposed to the coverage preceding the passage of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with China, under Disney. I find that the amount of coverage of the later trade agreement declined substantially (26 NAFTA stories totaling 108 minutes of coverage, as opposed to 8 PNTR stories totaling 14 minutes of coverage ). In addition, I find that while ABC framed NAFTA as beneficial to the U.S. and Mexican economies, it did present opposing views and discussed the issue as a point of political conflict. However, little debate was shown regarding the passage of PNTR, despite opposition from the public and elected officials in both major parties. This paper also shows that while debate over trade agreements decreased due to consolidation, it also shows that news regarding non-political issues such as celebrities, entertainment, scandal and natural disasters, increased dramatically after the Disney purchase, thus perpetuating a neo-liberal ideology. Finally, I conclude that the effects of consolidation must be taken into account in order to better understand the propagandistic role of U.S. journalism. Such a realization is necessary for the media reform movement, in order to counter continued FCC efforts to lift media ownership restrictions.
Session 3C [in Toldo #104]
Theme: 'Democracy Promotion' as Propaganda in Latin America and the Caribbean
ANTHONY LENZO: "Toward a Propaganda Model of Liberation: The Propaganda Model Applied to the 21st Century Socialism of
Abstract: When Herman and Chomsky created the propaganda model, they were describing the conditions of media in the United States--and growing world—of a capitalist economy controlled by elites whose aim and purpose is to generate profit and to limit democratic participation. However, the postulation of this paper is that the propaganda model could also be applied when the media is owned, funded, sourced, criticized, and ideologically premised by people who are interested in creating a truly socialist democracy. The current media movement in Venezuela may be one example. The government of President Hugo Chavez seems to be fostering more participation in public life in part by funding a growing network of community and alternative media outlets. Although with currently no where near the audience of the commercial media in Venezuela, the effort may point to a way that the propaganda model can be used to sustain a true democracy. One example of the movement’s players is Cattia TVe, one of the community television stations that are erupting throughout Venezuela. By showing video clips (which I shot while in Venezuela in May of 2006) of the community media creators and their creations (along with testimony from representatives of such commercial media as El Nacional and Globalvision), I show how the people of the barrios of Caracas were able to create a media that provides an alternative to the dominant commercial media. In the process, I examine how this “alternative” community media station can be used in an effort to sustain a socialist democracy. In the end, I explore to what extent the democratic media model in Venezuela can be applied in other parts of the world.
MANUEL ROZENTAL & "Manufactured consent for export?
ISABEL MACDONALD: The Propaganda Model and US and Canadian ‘democracy promotion’"
Abstract: Since the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy as a US foreign policy tool for fighting communism in the early 1980s, ‘democracy promotion’ has come to occupy a significant place in US and Canadian foreign policy in the global south. Through political interventions in targeted countries’ electoral systems, and support for political parties and for selected ‘civil society’ groups, carried out through a range of quasi-governmental agencies and private organizations, including the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), these policies are analysed by William Robinson (1996) as a means of promoting polyarchy--the political model required for the expansion of global capitalism. This panel will explore the relationship between “democracy promotion” and Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model. “Democracy promotion” agencies and media source strategies in Haiti. In recent years, there has been an increasing recognition in news production studies of the importance of source strategies and negotiations between journalists and sources. While Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model emphasizes the power of official sources in defining news agendas, non-official groups can also gain favourable media coverage if they possess sufficient resources and expertise. This paper suggests that the model could beneficially complement its textual and historical documentary methods with interview-based research into the role of source strategies and source journalist relations in particular cases. In this vein, this paper examines Canadian media coverage of the 2004 coup d’etat in Haiti in light of source strategies and source-journalist negotiations. Interviews with non-official sources who were cited frequently in Canadian media coverage of the coup and interviews with some of the Canadian and wire services journalists who covered the coup suggest that the strategies pursued by the anti-Aristide movement, the resources these sources had at their disposal, and their relations with Canadian and other international journalists, all gave the anti-Aristide movement advantages in the media. Many of these advantages could be traced back US and Canadian government financed ‘democracy enhancement’ programs. This paper concludes by arguing that research into source strategies and source-journalist relations can usefully complement the PM’s findings, and that this methodology is particularly helpful in assessing media reporting in the contexts of ‘democracy promotion’ campaigns waged by the US or Canadian governments.
KEVIN PINA: "Democracy for Whom? The Haiti Information Project's Counter-Propaganda Efforts"
Abstract: (not available)
Session 3D [in Toldo #203]
Theme: Marginalization, Dissent, and the Propaganda Model
KIRSTEN KOZOLANKA: "Unworthy Citizens, Poverty and the Media: A Case Study in Marginalized Voices, Alternative Media and Oppositional Communication"
Abstract: As poverty in Canada persists, affecting 17% of families, pressure on different levels of government for policy action has given rise to the emergence of organized advocacy groups from civil society. In Ontario particularly, the assault on the ‘unworthy’—those citizens who were not taxpayers—by the New Right government of Mike Harris beginning in 1995 has continued to be felt, even after a change in government in 2003. Social assistance remains far below the poverty cut-off, with benefits only recently having reached the pre-1995 level. Recent local, provincial and federal campaigns by a range of advocacy groups against poverty as well as media coverage of their efforts have raised awareness of poverty issues. The current more heightened public environment, which includes a ‘war on poverty’ series in The Toronto Star, may have fostered openings in the discourse for alternative and oppositional actors and lead to public policy change. Deacon (1996) has written about the constraints facing non-official sources and voluntary groups in accessing policy makers and the media. Jacobs & Glass (2002) suggest that association type plays a role in an organization’s ability to gain access to the media. Drawing on the recent work of Habermas (1992, 1996, 1998) and in the context of new media, Downes & Fenton (2003) assess the emergence of counter-public spheres through alternative media. In the Canadian context, Greenberg, May & Elliott (2006) have studied the opportunities for inclusion that can also exist and be exploited by civil society. This case study examines the special diet campaign and broader anti-poverty initiatives undertaken by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) in Toronto. OCAP, which says it fights “regressive government policies,” also “believes in the power of resistance” through “direct-action advocacy.” Using Gramsci (1971), the paper assesses the role played by OCAP as an active agent in fostering oppositional movement politics on anti-poverty issues in Toronto. Several filters of the Propaganda Model come into play: the impact of media ownership of the three main Toronto newspapers on news practice; counter-publicity offered by governments; the use in media accounts of authoritative official sources and less vociferous alternative ones; and the ideological Othering and demonization of citizens as unworthy. Despite not seeking media coverage actively, OCAP often attracts it regardless and negatively. Through mainstream and alternative media content analysis, interviews and comparison with other, less marginalized anti-poverty advocacy groups in Toronto, this paper examines how OCAP brings public attention to poverty issues through alternative media and communication sources that support movement politics and that work to keep the issue active. The paper suggests that a critical factor in successful media access to and representation in mainstream media may be the political/ideological location of the group, which determines the group’s goals, strategies and tactics. It further suggests that representation is structured by mainstream journalistic ideals of news selection, as well as by their perceptions of how advocacy groups should act to gain their attention. Finally, the paper suggests that, given the right mix of mainstream media interest, public concern, political attention and activist tactics that fulfill journalistic norms, the perception of anti-poverty activism can shift from marginalized spaces to within the bounds of acceptable advocacy.
DANIEL AHADI: "The Ideology Filter Today: Islam and Violence"
Abstract: After the fall of the Soviet block, Herman and Chomsky realized the weakness of their original script for the fifth filter, “anticommunism” as control mechanism, and encouraged revisions. The “anticommunist” filter, they later argued, could perhaps be reiterated as the “dominant ideology.” According to Chomsky, the West is in a constant need for an external common enemy to frighten people and diverge their attention from the real sources of their discomfort. The dominant ideology of the time mobilizes the public opinion against that common enemy. The 1992 American presidential candidate Pat Buchanan said: “For a millennium, the struggle for mankind’s destiny was between Christianity and Islam; in the twenty-first century it may be so again.” The reemergence of Islam as a potential threat to Western Civilization has dominated the socio-political discourse ever since the end of the Cold War. One of the major actors in this “struggle” between the West and the Islamic World is the Western mainstream media. Through their coverage of events such as the first Gulf War, the 1998 bombing of Iraq, the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, the September 11 attacks, the War on Terrorism, and the many “terrorist” attacks against westerners in the aftermath of September 11, the U.S. mainstream media has gradually constructed a stereotypical image of Islam through language and visualization, and come to play a crucial role in fostering and maintaining a state of fear and anxiety towards Muslims. The points of reference used by the mainstream media in the West form the bases for public discussions and set the agenda for government policies. In the light of the fifth filter, this paper will discuss the emergence of the “Othered” Muslim as the grand enemy of the West. By focusing on the depiction of rage and hysteria in the imagery used in the mainstream media to, for example, cover the Palestinian-Israeli conflict , and by calling on a series of studies form the field of political communication and cultural studies, I will highlight the similarities and differences between the “anticommunist” and the emergent “anti-Islamic” discourse of the Western media.
IRENA KNEZEVIC: "Seeds of Radical Criticism: Theoretical Precursors of The Propaganda Model"
Abstract: The Propaganda Model (PM) is frequently understood as a provocative and even radical approach to news analysis. Situated within the tradition of political economy and theories of hegemony, it is a scathing account of how commercial media serve the interests of the social elites and undermine democracy by failing to provide the public with information needed for effective political participation. The PM is often seen a benchmark work that incited media scholars to critically examine the state of capitalist news media. However, there are many critiques of capitalist-sponsored journalism that predate the PM, and some authors have suggested that such critiques go as far back as the beginnings of modern commercial media. This paper will situate the PM within the broader framework of media studies and critical social theory, and relate it to some of the earlier works in these areas. Indeed, parallels can easily be found between the PM and the work of Upton Sinclair in the early 1900s. Similarly, the central arguments of the PM find their predecessors in the works of Lazarsfeld and Merton, and Adorno and Horkheimer, who in the 1940s expressed concerns regarding media commercialism at the time when the field of communication studies was still in its infancy. Locating the intellectual breeding grounds for the PM in both the Frankfurt School (Adorno and Horkheimer) and the Columbia School (Lazarsfeld and Merton), leads to an interesting observation - the PM can also be seen as a bridge across the most frequently identified chasm in media studies – that between administrative and critical approaches. The PM rests on the critical assumption that mass media serves as an agenda-setting tool for the elites, that it perpetuates hegemonic discourse and ensures continued social domination of the elites. On the other hand, the PM examines how this is done structurally; and it allows media studies to explore this agenda-setting process as something tangible and measurable. Additionally, the work of Stuart Hall, specifically his concept of “encoding” of hegemonic values into news discourse, predates the PM and lends itself to a PM-based approach to commercial journalism. This allows for an intersection of political economy and cultural studies approaches to media discourse. Finally, this paper will relate the PM to works of social theorists such as James Curran, Louis Althusser, and others. By contextualizing the PM in this manner, this work will show that the PM should not be seen as a stand-alone theory, but rather an extension of historical approaches to media and social research, and one of the essential building blocks in critical theories of capitalism. This portrayal of the PM as offspring of earlier theories is not meant to undermine the originality of the PM. Instead, the aim to suggest that although criticism is important in social theory, sometimes the more productive approach is to build on the existing knowledge and expand it to make it applicable where previous works may be inadequate.
5:30PM-7:45pm DINNER & KEYNOTE ADDRESS [in CAW Auditorium]
SUT JHALLY: "Pedagogy and the Propaganda Model"
Abstract: (not available)
7:45PM-pm-9:30pm 2nd PLENARY DISCUSSION [in CAW Auditorium]
Theme: The Propaganda Model and the Prospects for Mainstream Media and Documentary Film
Manufacturing Consent (Film) (25 min excerpt)
ANTONIA ZERBISIAS: ''The View from the Couch''
Abstract: (not available)
DANNY SCHECHTER: "Challenging Media Crimes"
Abstract: (not available)
JIM WINTER: Chair/Moderator
Second Full Day of Conference (Thu. May 17, 2007)
7:30am-8:30am CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST [in TOLDO Building]
8:45am-10:00am 4th BREAK-OUT PANEL DISCUSSIONS [in TOLDO Building]
(Alternative Media/Book Fair Continues in Toldo Lobby until 3:00PM Thur., May 17)
Session 4A [in Toldo #100]
Theme: Journalism, Journalism Education, and the Propaganda Model
KELLY FINCHAM: "A Thousand Days of Propaganda: The New York Times and the 'War on Terror', September 2001 to
Abstract: "One Thousand Days of Propaganda" examines the "War on Terror" journalism of The New York Times and The Irish Times. These are the respective "papers of record" of the United States and Ireland. The findings are based on an analysis of 1,000 front pages and editorials in The New York Times that refer to the events of September 11, 2001 and
the ensuing "War on Terror". The period studied is from September 12, 2001 to November 28, 2004. The study compares this data with coverage in The Irish Times over the same period to see how it has interpreted the same events. The methodologies used are quantitative and qualitative analysis and Herman and Chomsky's "Propaganda Model". Every headline, photograph, caption, blurb and editorial from the period is examined to provide empirical data. The results conclude that even since its admission in May, 2004, that
reporting in a number of stories leading up to the attack on Iraq "was not as rigorous as it should have been", The New York Times, partly because of deeply embedded factors, continues to facilitate some of the most questionable aims of the US administration.
MERCEDES LYNN DE URIATE: "Urbanizing the Propaganda Model: Filtered Sources, Worthy and Unworthy Victims in Gentrification"
Abstract: The Chomsky-Herman propaganda model includes the concept of worthy and unworthy victims as a consequence, and provides a useful tool to examine the issue of gentrification. This is especially evident in an analysis of both the real estate section of newspapers—which are often totally financed by developers, brokers and sales agents— and the news stories in the same publication dealing with development issues like growth and housing. Source filters are to be found clearly at play, although in one section they are masked by elite metaphors. Gentrification, itself a class-bias term, currently threatens low income housing in many major cities across the nation—mostly those occupied by people of color, who often find such areas the only refuge for single-mothers who provide the sole household support. Areas long scorned by the “gentry” these areas provided housing for racial and ethnic populations and for some white working poor. Disadvantaged for years by the practice of “red-lining,” and historically short changed on infra-structure, these neighborhoods nevertheless fostered communities. As urban poverty became more acute, they also became the scenes of crime and violence, which led to excessive media attention and the residents became stereotyped and further marginalized as a result. Today developers and upper income classes see these close-in areas as promising sites for expensive, convenient condos, apartments and business towers. Their bidding in the market leads to new structures which displace the original residents who find they can not meet skyrocketing property taxes. Two areas currently under siege are located in Austin, Texas and in the Harlem area of New York City. At stake is the same asset—land—now redefined by economic inequality. This paper explores the real estate section and the metro news sections of the New York Times and the Austin American Statesman. Among other findings, the analysis will demonstrate how propaganda spills over from the real estate section to the news. It also examines sources and messages that construct the paradigm of worthy and unworthy victims in the gentrification process.
ROBERT JENSEN: "The Faculty Filter: Why the Propaganda Model is Marginalized in Journalism Schools"
Abstract: Given the close connection between the corporate commercial news media and schools of journalism in U.S. universities, it comes as no surprise that a critique of the fundamental structures and practices of these media is not widely used in journalism education. That resistance to teaching the Herman/Chomsky propaganda model comes not only from the centrist/conservative wing of the field that is most overtly tied to the industry, but also liberals who do offer some critique of contemporary journalism. In this paper, I use the case of the PM to illustrate these basic problems with (1) journalism education and the contemporary university more generally, and (2) the politics of contemporary liberalism. I go on to detail how, even in this restrictive environment, the PM can be successfully presented in an introductory journalism course.
Session 4B [in Toldo #102]
Theme: Environmental Issues and the Propaganda Model
MICHAEL J. BARKER: "Global Greens and the Mass Media: Building for a Participatory Future?"
Abstract: Political parties gain their legitimacy through continuous public support, which is reflected by their central presence in the public sphere. On the contrary, particular political views that are regularly marginalised from the media (like environmental issues), weaken the credibility of the parties championing them (like the Greens). Some scholars suggest that the current commercial media system itself is one of the biggest barriers to the rising influence of civic service organisations – whose primary objectives are to create a more egalitarian and ecologically sustainable global economy. Indeed, as this paper demonstrates the Propaganda Model still remains a useful tool through which to understand the mainstream media’s coverage of environmental issues. The participatory and deliberative models of democracy favoured by the Greens rely heavily on a healthy public sphere, for the maintenance of open information flows. Therefore, if society is to make the successful transition to a participatory democratic paradigm, the current media systems will have to change. Instead, an alternative media system should aim to catalyse and support the development of a more vibrant public sphere, placing a greater premium on public consensus making and deliberation. Green Party documents often acknowledge the power of the media to undermine the expansion of participatory forms of democracy, and the question remains, on how this translates into hard policy objectives? This paper sets out to answer this question by analysing the contents of Green policy papers from a selection of countries around the world in order to determine their commitment concerning media reform.
JOHN SORENSON: "Attacking Animal Advocacy"
Abstract: The propaganda model posits filtering of news according to ‘serviceability to important domestic power interests.’ Among the most powerful corporate interests are those which profit from animal exploitation (meat and dairy industries, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, etc). Alarmed by even modest proposals for better treatment for animals, corporate propaganda vilifies animal advocates as the ultimate danger, a movement so powerful and violent that it is poised to destroy the very foundations of Western civilization. Even in the face of massive animal suffering and threats to human health, consumption of animal products is promoted by industry representatives and by their hired public relations firms such as the Center for Consumer Freedom, funded by alcohol, tobacco and restaurant industries, while lobby groups such as the Malaysian Palm Oil Council respond to concerns about rainforest destruction and imminent extinction of species such as the orangutan and Sumatran tiger with increased PR campaigns. The paper addresses some key themes such as sentimentalism gone awry, animal rights as anti-human, terrorism and analyzes how corporate media construct a ‘common sense’ view of animal rights and vegetarians. These themes have been used as part of a propaganda campaign comparable to the Red Scare of the 1950s and, in the USA, this has led to the FBI describing animal activists as "the country's leading domestic terrorist threat" and the passing of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, broad legislation which imposes disproportionate penalties, constitutes animal advocates as terrorists and has a broad negative effect on other forms of free speech and protest. Rather than accepting anthropocentric and instrumentalist views of the animal exploitation industries, progressive thought should embrace more compassionate views of animals and strive for a more inclusive version of social justice that also includes nonhuman animals.
Session 4C [in Toldo #104]
Theme: War, Propaganda, and the Propaganda Model 2
VICTOR PICKARD: "When the Barbaric Becomes Sublime: How the Elite U.S. Press Normalized the Iraq War"
Abstract: At this very moment, families in Iraq and America grieve the lost lives and shattered bodies of their loved ones. For those safely removed, the reality of amputations, tortured prisoners, and children blown up by cluster bombs are beyond comprehension. Yet, primarily through media, war is naturalized. The mediated social processes rendering war as something normal and inevitable are legion. Deeply embedded in culture, these practices range from a glorified military history in our educational system, to romanticized Hollywood portrayals of war, to combat video games used by the military as recruiting tools. Though the cumulative result of complex social processes, any account seeking to understand how the barbarism of war is sublimated into something acceptable or even noble must also appraise the nation’s news media, through which most Americans receive U.S. foreign policy information, especially during war. This paper contributes to this project by examining how elite media like the New York Times glorified U.S. military weaponry through narrative and graphic accounts during the early stages of the Iraq War. The historical record of U.S. press coverage of events leading up to and during war––from coverage of the exploded USS Maine and the Spanish American War, to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and the Viet Nam War––suggests the press plays an integral role in bolstering the case for war to an often-ambivalent public. Herman and Chomsky’s classic “Propaganda Model” illuminates how news coverage selectively filters out some bodies of evidence while privileging others according to ideology and macro themes such as “The War on Terror.” Their model suggests that information deficits stemming from persistent news routines and values can be attributed to systemic qualities unique to commercial media, such as the rise of advertising-supported news, media cartels, and corporate news norms that, taken together, disregard social responsibility beyond shareholders’ profits. This paper will synthesize the Propaganda Model with several other critiques, such as Lance Bennett’s Indexing Model and “information biases,” and Todd Gitlin’s “deprecatory themes,” to make sense of how commercial media consistently misrepresent war. The paper will conclude with recommendations for necessary structural reforms in the U.S. media system to help prevent future debacles.
DANILO MANDIC: "The Propaganda Model and the 1999 NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia"
Abstract: Using the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia as a case study, this paper addresses the viability of the “ideology filter” of the Herman-Chomsky propaganda model in the post-Cold War era. Paired examples of Serbian and NATO crimes are studied in the coverage of the conflict in three media outlets – New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times. An extensive content analysis is conducted of seven Serbian media outlets (three newspapers, two news wire services, one television station and one website) for a comparative analysis of bias. Additionally, archival materials of the Yugoslav Army General Staff’s Information and Morale Department are reviewed for detailed information about the conduct of the war. The relevant bodies of literature on sociology of the media and the 1999 Kosovo conflict are succinctly reviewed. The NATO war is commonly evoked as a refutation of the Herman-Chomsky model, both methodologically and theoretically. Western media, critics argue, regularly reported NATO “errors,” sometimes even unduly sympathizing with the Miloseviæ regime. This paper sharply challenges this view. In accordance with the model, data reveals an unambiguous dichotomy in US media treatment according to whether or not the perpetrator of crimes is a designated “enemy.” However, it is argued that the original “ideology filter” requires revision in order to fully account for patterns of US media coverage. The outdated category of “anticommunism” is not helpful in explaining the biased portrayal of Yugoslavia’s ideological context along national or ethnic lines. Instead, the Herman-Chomsky model may be improved by incorporating the variation in treatment of specific nationalisms (Serbian and Kosovo Albanian, in this study). The differentiation between “good nationalisms” that display legitimate impulses for self-determination and support for American interests, and “bad nationalisms” that display intolerable aggression and hostility to Western dominance, is a more applicable tool for understanding US propaganda today.
Session 4D [in Toldo #203]
Theme: International Media and the Propaganda Model 3
ANDREW KENNIS: "Combining the Propaganda Model and the Indexing Hypothesis: A Case Study Evaluating CNN/CNN en Espanol, on Coverage of Fallujah"
Abstract: fundamentally flawed and inaccurate, even by the two most influential daily newspapers in the U.S. What has not been as widely conceded, however, are the fundamental flaws that have persisted in news coverage during the occupation of Iraq following the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein. This has been the case despite the fact that there has been more human suffering during the occupation than during the invasion, as far more civilians have died during the latter time period. In addition to the lack of critical analysis on media coverage during the occupation, there has also been a lack of scholarship comparing the differences (or similarities) in the manner that U.S. broadcast news sources have covered Iraq. A significant exception to this was a widely cited comparative media analysis, which found fewer differences than expected in the way that different TV broadcast news sources have covered Iraq. This analysis will attempt to build on those findings, but will approach the matter more critically by applying and also evaluating the effectiveness of several critically inclined media performance models that have been termed by Robert Entman as the “hegemonic” models: the propaganda model and the indexing hypothesis. Thus, this study will both apply these models as analytical tools and simultaneously evaluate how well they can explain and predict coverage patterns in a comparative media analysis between an English-language news source and a Spanish-language news source pertaining to the same company (CNN and CNN en Español). The study will undertake a sophisticated content analysis (see additional attachment) that will include the coding assistance of trained volunteers so as to account for reliability. CNN’s and CNN en Español’s respective prime-time news programs, Newsnight with Aaron Brown and Panorama Mundial, will be the sources under evaluation. One of the Iraqi cities that have suffered most during the occupation has been Fallujah. In comparison to other Iraqi cities that have allegedly suffered massacres and incursions as a result of the continued military occupation, Fallujah has garnered a significant amount of news coverage, thus providing plenty of material to critically analyze for both indexing and the propaganda model. Several key military incursions into Fallujah and resulting coverage by CNN and CNN en Español will serve as the focus of this study. Central questions guiding this study will include whether or not the propaganda model and the indexing hypothesis are compatible and complimentary as tools for a comparative media analysis, what the differences and/or similarities are between different language sources operating under the same corporate media conglomerate and lastly, whether or not the two models are effective in explaining and predicting resulting coverage patterns for several major broadcast news sources that collectively span two continents.
VOLKAN UCE: "The Assassination of Hrant Dink on the News in 10 countries: A Contemporary Case Study of the Propaganda Model"
Abstract: Hrant Dink, columnist and executive editor of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, was murdered after being shot three times in front of his paper’s office. Dink was a prominent Armenian who tried to improve the relation between Turkey and Armenia and between the Turkish majority and the Armenian minority in Turkey. Since 1915, after the genocide or the annihilation on the Armenians in Turkey, the relation between the two groups has been very bad. We will analyze the content of the public and commercial television news on the day of this event, Januaru 19th, 2007, of the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Flanders (Dutch speaking part of Belgium), France, Italy, Turkey, the Walloon region (the French-speaking part of Belgium), United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland. In an analysis of the media coverage and framing of this particular news event, the Propaganda Model as brought forward by Herman and Chomsky would suggest a strong difference between what the Turkish news consumers got on their news menu and those in other countries. Secondary differences are to be expected for countries with an influential Turkish audience (Germany) or Armenian lobbies (France), between public television and commercial television stations and between news broadcasters in different media contexts. We have included media systems of all three models of media and politics by Hallin and Mancini.
10:00am-10:15am COFFEE BREAK [in TOLDO Lobby]
10:15am-11:30am 5th BREAK-OUT PANEL DISCUSSIONS [in TOLDO Building]
Session 5A [in Toldo #100]
Theme: Government Propaganda, Public Broadcasting, and the Propaganda Model
PATRICIA MAZEPA: "Direct from the Source: When the Canadian Government Produces its Own Propaganda"
Abstract: Adding a further dimension to the “source filter” of Herman & Chomsky’s (1988) Propaganda Model, this paper evaluates the Canadian Forces’ military “information operations” and contextualizes it within a history of federal government media production and management. It begins with a recently released “secret” government document called the Canadian Forces Campaign Plan – Afghanistan that identifies Afghan and Canadian citizens alike as “target audiences” of information operations aimed at garnering public favour and support for its foreign policies (Chief of Defence Staff, 5 May 2006). While government efforts to control its own messages are not new, the language of media effects and propaganda evident in the document indicate a more complex and concentrated strategy that raises questions as to the credibility of the source and ethics of the practice. Reviewing a brief history of federal government media productions, the paper considers whether this marks a substantial change in its communication strategies, particularly when “information operations” is integral to the “defence” component of the current Conservative government’s new tripartite approach to policy called the “whole of government” (Manwaring 2006). The approach is one that links defence with development and diplomacy (the “3D’s”) and is meant to coordinate government decision-making and information outputs in considering all three as integrated (Koerner 2006). This may appear to be a coordinated and efficient strategy, however, it has the danger of one component – defence – steering others to the point where they become subordinated to it, as seen in the United States. It is of particular concern when Canadian citizens are part of the “target audience” and when the Canadian Forces has begun to control its own information through its radio station (RANA-FM) broadcast via satellite to Kandahar, Afghanistan. The paper thus contributes to a (re)evaluation of the Propaganda Model in considering the Canadian government as a source filter by identifying its history and current practices of “information operations” both nationally and internationally. The scope of the paper ranges from the general (international broadcasting through Radio-Canada International) to the specific (the Canadian Forces’ Campaign Plan and its current media productions) and supplements ongoing international debates on the relationship between government propaganda and democracy in countries like the United States and Great Britain (e.g. Snow & Taylor 2006).
STEVE ANDERSON: "Advancing Public Service Media Through Charitable Trusts"
Abstract: Democracy functions best when diverse perspectives on issues of public merit are available to all citizens. An open, and accessible, public sphere is the most cultivating environment for diverse perspectives. One key element of an open public sphere is a democratic communications system. Although state financed public broadcasting remains a key battleground in the struggle for democratic communication, we should also devise creative ways to fund non-state public service media. Independent media, or what James Curran calls the “Professional Media Sector”, and what others call alternative, autonomous, or citizens’ media; has flourished in North America over the past decade. However, facing financial and resource based constraints, as well as increased competition, the independent media sector struggles and often loses audiences to, or is co-opted by, the more well resourced for-profit corporate media. We know that our current media system creates an obstruction for an open public sphere obstruction, but the obstruction is not just the dominant corporate media system and its matrix of filters, it’s also our inability to create a mechanism to fund a public service independent media system. This is not simply an issue of better networking of existing projects; we must develop a sustainable public service media infrastructure, while also providing stable and reliable funding to individual projects. As Dorothy Kidd and others researching ‘alternative’ media have concluded; we need consistent, and substantial “financial support for decentralized and cooperatively owned media outlets” (Kidd, 1998, p. 223). Offered, as a partial solution is the proposed manifestation of “public service media trusts” (PSMT), financed by government, labour, citizens, foundations, institutions (churches, universities), and NGO’s. Curran and others who have put forth the creation of public trusts have conceived of single national public trusts primarily funded through the state. In contrast, I believe we should have a decentralized network of community PSMT’s set up to provide service to particular geographical regions. For example Vancouver based NGO’s, Universities, Churches, Labour Groups, Foundations, Citizens and possibly local government could pool their resources and create a Vancouver PSMT, which could provide long-term funding for public service independent media in Vancouver. Regional PSMT’s could be erected to fund regional news organizations like British Columbia’s ‘The Tyee’, National PSMT’s could fund organizations like Canada’s ‘Dominion Newspaper’, and an International PSMT could fund an organization like Independent World Television. Each PSMT would have its own board made up of different sponsors including a few spaces for directors elected by citizen members. The end result might look something like the board of governors set up for the Norwegian public broadcasting system where governors are chosen from a “diverse range of political and social groups” (Kellner, 1990, 205). As the world moves forward into globalization the structural make up of our society is changing. Those who seek to advance public service journalism should recognize these changes and adapt accordingly. The fact is “most states have engaged in a process of develolution of power, decentralizing responsibilities and resources to nationalities, regions, and local governments, often extending this de-centralization to non-governmental organizations”(Castells, 2000, p. 14) Due to this structural shift we can now pursue what Pieterse calls “novel mixed forms of cooperation” (Pieterse, 1994, p. 664). We can and should take advantage of our new social environment by developing public service media trusts supported by a diverse group of structures integrated together by their common interest in a public service independent media system. At a time when the political economy of new (online) media is being molded, creative approaches to public service media are urgently needed.
MOLLY NIESEN: "Just Say No: The Anti-drug Crusade as Systematic Propaganda"
Abstract: In the aftermath of 9/11, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) launched a multi-million dollar advertising campaign linking drugs to terrorism (see image). The ONDCP spent more than $3 million for two TV ads during the 2002 Super Bowl, asking audiences: “Where do terrorists get their money?” The answer: “If you buy drugs, you could be supporting terrorism.” Edward Herman (2003) has referred to the ideology of the drug war as a fifth filter, and public service messages, sponsored by the U.S. government and created by the advertising industry have been enormously influential in setting the national agenda for the war on drugs. In this paper, I reviewed Advertising Council archives, Nixon’s official correspondence, and congressional testimony to explore ways in which drug prevention messages have served dominant elite interest in government, mass media, and the drug industry. The symbiotic relationship of mass media, advertisers, and powerful sources of information have helped secure the drug war as a cultural milieu. Drug prevention campaigns were initiated in 1971 when Richard Nixon asked for the Advertising Council’s help in fighting what he considered "public enemy number one." Accepting the assignment, the Advertising Council worked closely with the Nixon Administration to create six major drug prevention campaigns for use on television, radio, billboards, and in schools. This resonated with powerful pharmaceutical interests, many of them members of the Advertising Council. The former had vested interests in defining illegal drugs as a bigger problem than legal, over-the-counter drugs and used their significant power over the Council to secure the predominance of this theme in the Advertising Council’s campaigns. Thus, advertisers and drug companies have been able to frame illegal drugs as much bigger problems than legal drugs, while political elites have been able to mythologize drug abuse to further their political agenda, making way for nearly four decades of drug abuse prevention campaigns.
Session 5B [in Toldo #102]
Theme: A Case Study: Canadian/US/Media Involvement in Haiti, and the Propaganda Model
JAMES WINTER: "When Foreign Policies Meet: The New Underground Railway Runs From Haiti to Windsor"
Abstract: This paper will examine the story of Jean Candio, a member of the Haitian House of Deputies who fled following the 2004 coup d’etat, after his home was burned down, killing his sister and her child. Mr. Candio eventually arrived in Windsor, Ontario, after following an underground railway route which took him through the Dominican Republic, to Florida, and Freedom House in Detroit. Upon his arrival in Windsor, Mr. Candio was promptly thrown in jail for two weeks, as the Canadian government accused him of terrorist activities and crimes against humanity, owing to his membership in the Fanmi Lavalas political party of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Mr. Candio’s story is contextualized within a Chomskean political-economic analysis of: the Canadian government’s foreign policy towards Haiti; its role in the 2004 coup, and its actions and policies since the coup. Some Canadian mainstream press coverage is also discussed, in the context of its close reflection of Canadian and (increasingly) American government foreign policy.
ISABEL MACDONALD: "Freedom of the Press Barons: The Haitian Media and he 2004 Coup d’etat"
Abstract: This paper complements propaganda model analyses of Canadian media coverage of the 2004 coup d’etat against the elected Haitian government of President Aristide with an analysis of the role of the Haitian commercial media in the coup. I argue that an analysis of the ownership filter in Haiti’s commercial media is indispensable in understanding the dynamics of the coup, as well as in contextualizing the Canadian media’s performance during the coup. The Association Nationale des Medias Haitiens (ANMH), an association of the owners of Haiti’s largest commercial media outlets, which is supported through a Canadian taxpayer funded program to promote “professional” journalism in Haiti, was formally a member of the coalition calling for Aristide’s ouster. In 2005-6, I conducted dozens of interviews with ANMH media owners, journalists, and activists from the movement against Aristide, as part of my graduate field research in Haiti. The association was widely regarded by the ANMH’s own leadership and by other leaders in the anti-Ariside movement as instrumental in the political and armed movements to topple Haiti’s elected government. The owners of the ANMH stations met weekly during the lead-up to the coup, and instituted an ANMH-wide ban on journalists broadcasting any statements by the elected president of Haiti. They also provided continuous positive coverage of anti-Ariside demonstrations, irrespective of their size, and some stations had an informal policy of refraining from identifying the numbers in attendance at small anti-Aristide demonstrations. Meanwhile, ANMH stations issued security warnings urging journalists to steer clear of demonstrations in support of the elected government. The ANMH is significant from the standpoint of analyses of international media coverage of the coup, as its stations were a source of information for international newswires and Canadian journalists.
KEVIN PINA: "Guerilla Tactics for Challenging the Corporate Media"
Abstract: (not available)
PAUL BOIN, Moderator (will also provide a brief summary of the paper described below): "Haiti Through the Theoretical Prism of the Propaganda Model and Eurocentrism: An Analysis of North-American Media Coverage"
Abstract: When thinking about or analyzing how the mainstream media coverage has failed (fails) Haiti, there are different theoretical frameworks or critical lenses one can look through. One framework is Herman and Chomsky's propaganda model which analyses how the content of mainstream media is impacted by five political economic filters: ownership, advertising, sources, flak, and ideology. A second framework, more related to critical cultural studies, could involve looking through a lens that accounts for a range of issues relating to eurocentrism (a constellation of factors comprised of eurocentrism, orientalism, racial misrepresentation, and compassion fatigue). While each of these two critical lenses and theoretical frameworks are indeed related and serve to reinforce each other, it is important to realize that each of these frameworks is also different, and is each uniquely capable of illuminating certain flaws in the media coverage of Haiti. In this paper, I will investigate recent North American mainstream media coverage of Haiti's historic Bicentennial (January 2004), subsequent coup (February 2004), internationally monitored election of Preval (February 2006) and aftermath. The accuracy, failings, omissions, and flawed master-frame of this North American media coverage will be analyzed by utilizing a method of inquiry that combines both critical content analysis and cultural studies approach. The role and degree that eurocentrism, racism, compassion fatigue, the 'failed state' doctrine, the political economic imperatives of modern media organizations, and the demands on Canada of U.S. empire will be discussed as contributing to the media misrepresentations of the current democratic crisis in Haiti. Lastly, a discussion of the disparity between Canadian foreign policy obligations/pronouncements and actions, media failings to point out these hypocrisies, and the significant change of Canada's role in 'the new world order' as it pertains to Haiti will be provided.
Session 5C [in Toldo #104]
Theme: New Frontiers of Propaganda, New Dimensions for the Propaganda Model 2
GABRIEL BOTMA: "Manufacturing Cultural Capital: The Political Economy of Arts Journalism at Die Burger (2004-2005)"
Abstract: The title of this paper refers to the seminal work by Herman & Chomsky (1988) in which they develop a propaganda model for the American mass media around the coverage of international news. The starting point of my research is the (similar) general question whether after a decade of democracy Afrikaans language arts journalism at the Western Cape daily newspaper Die Burger (also) serves the interests of the powerful ruling elite because of certain “filters” to the operation of the media, and/or whether arts journalists are a (possible) site of opposition to the status quo and a struggle for popular empowerment as manufacturers and distributors of cultural capital in a deeply divided, unequal society. Arts journalism at Die Burger has a long tradition of relative independence from and activism against the official political economic direction of its editors and managers (P. Fourie, personal communication, 8 January 2007). This tendency was arguably most apparent when the newspaper was still the offical mouthpiece of the National Party (NP) during the apartheid regime, when more progressive views (compared to official NP-policy) would sometimes find their way into the coverage of arts and culture (Breytenbach, 1989; Botma, 2007). The question about the positioning of the newspaper’s arts and culture coverage after a decade in the new democracy since 1994 thus presents itself. Are Afrikaans art journalists at Die Burger currently supporting the official status quo, some vested interests from the past, or some movement to popular empowerment? To investigate this, the Herman & Chomsky propaganda model is adapted to fit this particular South African media research context – including the research focus on a single publication and particular field of journalism practice and the adaptation of the fith filter of the original model, anti-communism, to the national-democratic ideology of nation building and the African Renaissance in the new South Africa. This tension between the discourse of official democratization and the voices of popular and sectarian empowerment leads to interesting new insights into the original model and its current potential for application in other areas of modern research. A preliminary database search indicates that the propaganda model has not been applied to an in-depth analysis of arts journalism at a particular Afrikaans-language newspaper before. Cultural capital is a collective term used by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu to describe knowledge, skills, education and other advantages which somebody posesses that gives him or her a higher status in society (Reinecke, 2007). Read together with Louw’s (2001:9) view that the media are important agents for positioning people in power relations (through discourse and meaning-making), cultural capital can thus also be used to describe the (potentially) empowering product of arts and culture journalism supplied to the reader. Arts journalism at Die Burger is practised in the political economic context of Naspers, the country's biggest media conglomerate with leading national interests in print, digital pay-TV, internet and instant messaging services and an ever-expanding share in international concerns active on all these publishing platforms (Botma, 2006; Naspers website, 2007). Research findings are therefore primarily based on an appication of the adapted propaganda model of this paper to the political economy of Naspers and content of arts and culture coverage in Die Burger (2004-2005). The particular period for qualitative content analysis was chosen to establish the newspaper’s positioning over a year after a decade of democracy. Although this research is conducted primarily from the critical/Marxist perspective of the political economy of communication - which allows the researcher to analyse the media critically in the full context of its (ownership and management) structures and organisation, history and strategies – it is extended to include aspects of staff and audience agency (Mosco, 1996). This indicates the cultural capital available at a structural level to arts journalists at Die Burger (2004-2005) as well as their relative positions (and possible opposition) to the centres of power in their political economy and society in general (and thus their ability to exert influence or be influenced by more powerful players). As part of the research process - and to establish tri-angelation (and maintain links with journalism practice) - the findings of unstructured in-depth interviews with stakeholders in the political economy of arts journalism at Die Burger (2004-2005 will be reported on.
MEGAN BOLER: "‘Truthiness’ and Satire as Counterspin: Fighting Propaganda with the Humor of Desperation"
Abstract: Merriam-Webster's #1 Word of the Year for 2006 was “truthiness,” a term coined by comedian Stephen Colbert on his cable broadcast nightly “fake news” which uses satire to critique U.S. politics and the media. “Truthiness” is defined as “the quality by which a person claims to know something intuitively, instinctively, or ‘from the gut’ without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or actual facts.” This sense of “troubled truth” captures a recurring theme I first began to notice in 2003 in my studies of indy digital media communications: as stated by one Bushin30Seconds quicktime production, “Americans are dying for the truth.” (MoveOn.org “Polygraph”) This new expression and demand for “truth” led me to investigate a paradox which I see as a hallmark of the networks of digital dissent of the 21st century. On the one hand, many audiences are now aware of the seemingly “postmodern” sensibility that all truth is a fiction; all representations are socially constructed. However, alongside this awareness is a paradoxical demand for ”truthful accounts,” especially from politicians and media. This paradox reflects a “new desperation” in the face of mainstream media spin especially during times of war. In this presentation, I examine the discourses of “truth” that emerge from our 40 interviews with multimedia producers of online dissent. I compare and contrast the use of satire to speak ‘truth to power’, with the very different rhetoric of “sincere” demands for truth. The blurring of satire and sincerity is well- represented in the top-cited media event in the blogosphere in 2004: Jon Stewart’s appearance on Crossfire, in which the court jester “gets real” and demands corporate media responsibility for democracy. I illustrate my talk with clips form viral videos and popular online downloads that combine art and politics.
BEVERLEY BEST: "Capitalism, Depression and Representation: What Julia Kristeva’s Analysis of Depression can Offer a Theory of Popular Media Representation"
Abstract: The analysis in this paper supplements Chomsky and Herman’s Propaganda Model of mass media. While sharing a political economic approach to the question of media representation, this analysis will address the epistemological question of subject formation in capitalism. Capitalism, or the general institution of certain relations of production, also generalizes certain ways of seeing, understanding and representing the world while “filtering out” other kinds of representational modalities. One of the manifestations of contemporary capitalism can be described as a “crisis of representation.” In Marx’s analysis of capitalism, he demonstrates how it is a structural necessity of capitalism’s reproduction that it function to thwart the ability, on the part of its agents, to perceive and represent the interconnections between its various fields of activity and production. The crisis of representation which is a structural component of capitalism has never been more acute than it is today. Currently, there exists a popular, habitual, “common sense” perception of the social world wherein the various fields of activity, experience, and production—legislative politics, the economy, culture and the arts, the family, education, the environment, medicine and healthcare, the public sphere, business, civil society, etc.—are conceived as discrete and, for the most part, autonomous and atomized spheres. Representations and portrayals of the social world, and of “social issues,” in the commercial mass media (the mainstream news media, in particular) offer clear examples of how the material interconnections and identities between these spheres have been submerged in popular perception and conventional representational practices. Significantly, Marx argued that social movement from capitalism to a post-capitalist social formation was in large part contingent on the collective recognition of these material interconnections and identities that structure the social world of capitalism. Julia Kristeva’s analysis of the psychic condition of depression in her book, Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia, characterizes the role of the function of representation in the process of subject formation and the consequences for the process of subject formation when the function of representation breaks down. Kristeva’s analysis of the relationship between the function of representation and depression offers an unexpectedly useful allegory for the relationship between the crisis of representation that is endemic to capitalist societies and the arrested process of collective or social subject formation which is equally a character of the capitalist formation.
Session 5D [in Toldo #203]
Theme: New Media Technologies, Labour, and the Propaganda Model
JAMES F. TRACY: "Historical Notes on the Propaganda Model and the Class War Within: Labor, Technology, and U.S. Newspaper Industry"
Abstract: While the Propaganda Model (PM) is frequently applied to contemporary examples, it is likewise appropriate for understanding the relationships between the news industry and the broader political economy through its application to historical case studies. This paper applies the PM to address historical documents and news coverage of concurrent strikes waged by the International Typographical Union Local 430 against the Miami Herald (Herald) and the Miami Daily (News). The Herald and News were owned by burgeoning chain newspaper magnates John Knight and James Cox, respectively. And the strike was one of several waged against a powerful array of publishers during this period to contest state and federal anti-labor legislation designed to challenge workplace control through the open shop and improvised printing technologies. The late 1940s was an important juncture in media history as owners of print and electronic mass media were challenged from various corners to reconsider their practices, evident in the Federal Communications Commission’s “Blue Book,” and the Commission on Freedom of the Press’s A Free and Responsible Press. Organized labor had emerged as a powerful political force with its Political Action Committee and intervention in radio broadcasting. Consequently the U. S. business community mobilized in a two-front campaign to secure corporate priorities would be upheld. “’The problems of the United States can be captiously summed up in two words,’” Charles E. Wilson, General Electric president and War Production Board vice chairman declared in 1946: “’Russia abroad, labor at home.’” The US newspaper industry was a central component in this campaign, evident in the power it sought to exert over its own unions and production processes to the broader realm of manufacturing consent. This project further uses as its backdrop the campaign orchestrated by the American Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Association of Manufacturers to monopolize printing resources, promote anti-labor legislation, while deploying various “labor saving” printing technologies to control its right to publish.
DEREK HRYNYSHYN: "Propaganda Model and New Media"
Abstract: The applicability of the Propaganda Model to the new media, particularly the internet, is open to question. Since none of the primary filters seem to be operative in relation to new media, an apriori case exists that the propaganda model needs to be reformulated to explain the flow of information in 21st Century society. This paper uses the example of one of the most popular and archetypical uses of the internet, the online collaborative encyclopedia known as Wikipedia, to examine this question. The political economy of wikipedia, with its non-commercial character, its openness to non-elite producers of content, and its ability to draw on a global volunteer writership, is at odds with that of the mainstream media. While it is not primarily a news source, the ability for it to be instantly updated allows it to serve as a source of information concerning recent events, and the home page also includes a news page. Comparisons of that news with the mainstream media, and of the description of other recent events with background supplied on mainstream news websites, can indicate the extent to which the different political economy of news sources leads to differences in the information provided. It is argued that these differences are significant, but not as significant as the propaganda model in its current state would imply. Consideration of these differences can help to identify ways in which the propaganda model can be reformulated to take some characteristics of the new media into account, thereby strengthening the model and increasing its explanatory power.
BRIAN BROWN: "Manipulating the Source Filter: Visual Subterfuge and the New Media Environment of Web 2.0"
Abstract: This paper will explore the critical opportunities that adhere in the relationship between the propagandistic images produced by the mass-media, the ability of the technologically savvy individual to manipulate the intended message of these images by digitally altering their form and content, and the features of the new media environment (termed Web 2.0) which is increasingly geared to user-generated content. The third filter of the Propaganda Model posits a symbiotic relationship between the mass-media and ‘powerful sources.’ Due to the economic, temporal, and geographic restrictions of sourcing the news, this relationship grants powerful sources privileged access to the mass-media. The images that are produced by this relationship are the result of meticulously managed image-events orchestrated by these powerful sources. Far from being the ‘raw’ materials of the news, as Herman and Chomsky describe them, these orchestrated image-events are fully ‘cooked.’ Their form and content is painstakingly choreographed in an attempt to manage how an image-hungry public will digest them. The image of President Bush declaring an end to major combat operations in Iraq on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln is an easily referenced example. The technologically savvy individual is able to manipulate the intended message of an image by extracting or adding specific portions to or from it, re-contextualizing them, and in this act of subterfuge, fundamentally altering the resulting message. In the new media environment of Web 2.0, where individual users are increasingly responsible for and adept at generating content, the characterization of a digitally manipulated image as impoverished and untruthful, when compared to the propagandistic image, has gone on long enough. This paper will argue that the technologies that enable the digital manipulation of an image provide the resistant individual with powerful visual cultural tools which, when combined with the new media environment, allow him/her to respond in an affective fashion to the propagandistic images choreographed by ‘powerful sources.’
11:45pm-12:45pm LUNCH & KEYNOTE ADDRESS [in CAW Auditorium]
ROBERT W. McCHESNEY: "The Legacy of Herman, Chomsky and the Propaganda Model"
Abstract: (not available)
1:00pm-2:45pm 3rd PLENARY DISCUSSION [in ODETTE #104 (350)]
Theme: A Conference Discussion: Revitalizing and Improving the Propaganda Model and our Media System
EDWARD HERMAN: Will make a brief opening statement and will respond to questions and comments
NOAM CHOMSKY: Will make a brief opening statement and will respond to questions and comments
PAUL BOIN: Chair/Moderator
(Abstracts n/a: This session is meant to be an interactive discussion with all conference participants.)
2:45pm-3:00pm COFFEE BREAK [in TOLDO Lobby]
3:00pm-4:00pm 6th BREAK-OUT PANEL DISCUSSIONS [in TOLDO Building]
Session 6A [in Toldo #100]
LINDA McQUAIG: "Imperial Envy: Canada and the U.S. Empire"
Abstract: (not available)
Session 6B [in Toldo #102]
Theme: Creating an Action Legacy for Media Improvement
A Moderated Discussion by Paul Boin (Univ. Windsor) & Isabel MacDonald (FAIR) for the purpose of:
Creating an ongoing media monitoring system for Canadian Media
Furthering the media justice and democracy movement
Building international media activism linkages
Planning for the development of producing proactive media policy proposals
Amplifying the voice of the marginalized etc…
(Abstracts n/a: This session is meant to be an interactive discussion with conference participants.)
Session 6C [in Toldo #104]
Theme: Screening of the Film Weapon's of Mass Deception (By Danny Schechter)
Session 6D [in Toldo #203]
Theme: Screening/viewing of U-Windsor Student Films & Projects
4:05pm-4:25pm 5 SHUTTLE-BUSES LEAVE FOR THEATRE [outside TOLDO Building]
5:00pm-6:50pm KEYNOTE ADDRESS [at Chrysler Theatre]
NOAM CHOMSKY: "'A Poisoned Chalice': The Media and the Use of Force"
Abstract: (not available)
7:00pm-8:00pm DINNER FOR CONFERENCE REGISTRANTS [at Chrysler Theatre]
8:00pm-10:45pm MUSICAL CONCERT [at Chrysler Theatre]
1-2 Shuttle Buses will be Returning from Theatre (8:10pm-8:25pm) [outside Theatre]
RON LEARY: 8:00pm-8:45pm
10:55pm-11:10pm 3 SHUTTLE-BUSES RETURN FROM THEATRE [outside Theatre]
THE END… (of the '"official conference program" not the end of the unofficial proceedings…)