Herman/Chomsky’s Propaganda Model

Media 5

The 5 Filters of the Herman/Chomsky Propaganda Model

Media Filters Then (1988) & Now

  • Filter #1: Ownership
    • The need for huge investment to set up and run newspapers or television channels that can reach any appreciable proportion of the population (Ownership)
  • Filter #2: Advertising
    • The second filter comes from the power of advertising revenue to promote or cripple a particular paper or channel (Advertising)
  • Filter #3: Sources
    • The third filter arises from the fact that the source of much news is determined by gov’t and corporate organizations, which may have many thousands of employees dedicated to providing appropriate material (Sources)
    • Bias towards official and powerful sources
  • Filter #4: Flack
    • The fourth filter is the ability of the gov’t and its subsidiaries (and corporations) to produce what Chomsky and Herman call flack: any criticism is met by negative responses in the form of letters, phone calls, petitions, and not infrequently, litigation against the critics, for all of which considerate resources are required
    • If flak is produced on a large scale by individuals or groups with substantial resources, it can be costly to media
    • Flak is a major influence if it comes from gov’t, businesses, and corporate communities because they have the wealth and power
  • Filter #5: Ideological (Anti-Communist)
    • The ideology of anti-communism, whereby any opponent of the establishment could be put beyond the pale by being labelled ‘communist’ is no longer operative b/c of the downfall of the Soviet Union. Opponents of the establishment risk being tarred with any other handy brush and their influence correspondingly diminished
    • Ideology helps mobilize the populace against an enemy, used against anybody advocating policies that threaten property interests or support accommodation with Communist states and radicalism

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