About six months ago, I defined 15 specific propaganda techniques routinely used by the mainstream news media to distort the coverage of news. Staring in my face—or perhaps hiding in plain sight is a more appropriate phrase—all this time has been a 16th technique.
The newly identified technique is the complete disregard of a fact, incident, study or opinion.
We’ve discussed instances of the news media ignoring studies or events with some frequency over the past 18 months. Here’s the latest example: On Monday, January 3, “60 Minutes” and Vanity Fair released the results of a survey they conducted together that revealed that 61% of all Americans think that we should solve our budget deficit problem by taxing the wealthy. Cutting military spending was the next most popular solution for closing the gap between how much our government spends and how much it collects, but it clocked in with a mere 20% support among Americans.
A Google News search reveals that as of today a mere 36 news media and blogs had covered the survey, although it was 44 when I checked yesterday. Among those who did not cover this story are The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
Let’s take a look at how this compares to Google News numbers on the Internet media, including newspapers, broadcast news and blogs, coverage of other feature news today. By feature news, I mean stories that the news media are under no obligation to carry. They are obligated to cover hard news, which would include election results or a marriage involving British royalty.
I’ll let my dear readers serve as judges as to how many of these stories are more important than knowing that most people want to address a pressing economic problem by taxing the wealthy. In considering your response, remember that most of the publicity and talk of closing the deficit involves cutting programs and benefits. Also remember that what the media discusses extensively in stories and blogs typically is a key determinant in the decision-making process in Congress and the Executive branch of government:
- 1,711 stories on the winning of a lottery.
- 1,566 stories on a trade fair for computer manufacturers.
- 2,395 stories on a college football bowl game.
- 2,277 stories on the pretrial hearing of Michael Jackson’s physician.
- 244 stories on Kellie Pickler (who???) getting married.
Maybe those who control the mass media think that if they ignore the study and hammer us with right-wing cant that the opinions of the American people will change…or perhaps just go away.
They give us fast food and circuses. And after a while, we see so many circuses that we think that only the clowns and acrobats matter.