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Failings of the Fourth Estate – Is News Propaganda?

In: Other Topics

Submitted By Melisha
Words 615
Pages 3
This week’s topic discusses the topic of news and propaganda, and the critiques of the Fourth Estate. The main concepts explored the distinction between news and propaganda, the forms of propaganda and psuedo-events, and the five filters of Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model. I will discuss the work of Boorstin and Herman & Chomsky, and use media ownership as an example of propaganda in the media.

When one thinks of propaganda in the news, an identifiable example is visual campaign posters of world wars and communism. However, propaganda still occurs in the media today. Whilst it may not be as noticeable or obvious as historical campaigns, there are still tactics that the media use in order to persuade audiences in believing information that is presented. It is established that news performs a support role in democracy and as a procedural role in objectivity. Audiences want reliable and accurate information so they can make informed decisions. But what happens when the information that is presented is not factual or even real? The information possibly may be a product of ‘pseudo-events’. Pseudo-events are defined as events that have been caused to occur or staged to cause publicity, press coverage or public interest (Boorstin 1961). These events are staged to cause media attention, to draw interest to the subject that may have not been done otherwise. Psuedo-events occur often in the entertainment and celebrity reporting, as the commotion doesn’t tend to only be about the celebrity, but also the circus that surrounds them.

Although an event may be deliberately staged, does it make it any less real? Boorstin (1961) believes that pseudo-events are not real, that they are not spontaneous and that they happen deliberately. He believes that the reproduction or simulation of an event becomes more important or “real” than the event itself, which causes a...

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