Media and Propaganda

By Jhansher Khan

I would like to touch base with the idea of how we choose to communicate with each other and our general topics of interest. Basically, what happens here is that we take certain ideas that the “Elite” class has established for us and we base our thoughts and opinions on that. Therefore, we don’t have much in the way of freedom of thoughts. For example, we may discuss an episode of “Lost” that premiered last night or some other program that was on Television the night before. We basically are starting to find more in common with each other based on external media forces we all tend to consume. This just further amplifying the effect of the media on us, it extends towards our personal lives as well or what we choose to talk about when we interact with others.

According to the most quoted living theorist, Noam Chomsky, we speaks of how the media enacts a type of propaganda on the rest of society. This propaganda is enacted by the “Elite Class” as I mentioned before. The majority of people in society fit under the category of “mass opinion.” However, before the Elite reach us, they must go through a “Mass Media Filter.” If I were to generally lay this out in a diagram it would look like this:

Elite——–>Mass Media Filter———> Mass (public) Opinion

Therefore the idea I’m getting at, is that the way we think, our opinions are very much shaped by the Elite class in society. Our thoughts are losing their distinctness and we are slowly losing our individuality, as we are forced in a unitary mode of thinking, thoughts and ideas.

Chomsky looks at the corporate world through the lens of the “economic” point of view. The main group of people that are effected are called the “Unwashed class”, which generally means the working class. With regards to the media, they are mainly subjected to distraction and entertainment. So basically they are distracted from the main issues in the media, unaware that they are being manipulated by this idea of propaganda that Chomsky proposes.

Most of us are unaware of how manipulated we truly are and Chomsky was one of the theorists that looked more at media and the economic sphere. Therefore, those with wealth are the few “Elites” in society, the rest of us are just followers of what ever they decide to put forth in society.


By Jhansher Khan

I would like to talk about the voices we have on the internet. Do we really have a way to voice our opinions over the corporate sector? It is true that most of what we hear from the media is filtered through institutions. This may include magazine companies for example. According to Dr.Strangelove’s CMN 2160 class, we are all generally obsessed with celebrity life and billions of dollars are invested in celebrity related content in the media. Why are we so obsessed with celebrity culture? We somehow believe that celebrity culture is an ideal cultural background to follow. We want to be like celebrities, we want to behave like celebrities, we even want to use the same products as celebrities. Our love for the world of celebrities is just feeding the corporate system.

A blogger by the name of Perez Hilton (http://www.perezhilton.com/) , as Dr.Strangelove brought up in class, is feeding the corporate world more and more by feeding us more celebrity gossip, celebrity life and celebrity culture. He has become more of a media outlet of information, than institutions that sell celebrity life based magazines. Is he a threat to the corporate world since he is so successful in “turning heads” in his direction? Of course not, he is actually a benefit to the corporate world since he is feeding the mass population exactly what the corporations want.

According to an article called, “Celebrity Culture” by Kristine Harmon, she states that The technological and media changes that have occurred so quickly with such force, that have given birth to our celebrity culture in a relatively short period of time, are for many disheartening.” ( http://www.iasc-culture.org/HHR_Archives/Celebrity/ ) This is absolutely true, technology has given us more access than ever to celebrity culture, as it actually contributed to the uprise in celebrity culture more than ever before.

This isn't a Real Advertisement, this just displays how far the Corporate World can take Celebrity Advertising

Therefore, since society loves celebrity culture so much, why not use the actual celebrities to sell our products in the corporate world? Since they are already consuming celebrity culture, why not sell our products as well? Think about it, its a win-win situation, both celebrity culture and the corporate culture would benefit. Also, the corporations who produce these products would gain a great profit from this marketing strategy as well.





By Jhansher Khan

Who is really in charge of corporations? What types of members of society do they choose to marginalize? Typically people who are in charge of corporations for the most part are “white males,” who lead the patriarchal society. Those who become marginalized are typically women or non-white members of society. This statement may seem too general and I’m probably not speaking out for some “exceptions”, but for the most part this is the case in the corporate world. Basically, all the products we buy, television programming, and the creators of media culture are male for the most part. Advertising is just a way to give us that taste of what they have in store for us. In simpler terms, “look what we have for you” or “don’t miss out on this awesome deal” or “program.”

In reality, we just feed these corporations and their certain ideas of who should be represented in the media and who shouldn’t be represented in the media. Yes, there are networks on television that represent these minority groups and that represent women. One example of these types of channels is the “women’s network.” This program is geared primarily towards women and their tastes in television. However, the network is still bombarded with advertisements, which advertise products geared towards women. Therefore, women can be used as a marketable segment of society. These advertisements are primarily generated by men, therefore isn’t that defeating the purpose of having a distinct women’s network?

It is obvious that these “white male” dominated media firms are our primary sources of information, as it makes up the majority of what we view in the media. According to a site displaying statistics within the states regarding journalists, “According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 11.5 per cent of the 54,700 journalists working at newspapers across the U.S. are visible minorities. That’s about 6290 journalists, compared to 6100 in the previous two years.” ( http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/) This number is significant since it represents how few people in the media are hired that are classified as “visible minorities.” Therefore, what is the media trying to prove regarding hiring so few “visible minorities?” Are they trying to make a claim that they accept minorities working in the media? However, it is clear that there is still misrepresentation, regardless of this small number of “visible minorities” working in the corporate world.


( http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/research_documents/statistics/minority_representation/minority_representation.cfm )

Unpaid Advertisers

By Marcus Ray

Dr. Strangelove brought up an interesting point last class. In our own media (Youtube, Facebook, etc.) we advertise almost just as much as real advertisements. It’s a contradictory element, because we are so critical of ads, and yet we unknowingly continue to advertise through our own work. I collected a few basic examples of advertising through homemade videos:

Guitar Hero: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOw8y1ue1r4

Drum Set: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pfd1ksHbtYw

The youth playing the video game is proving that he’s awesome at the game, but he’s also doing an excellent job advertising the game. He edited the video so that it could show the game alongside himself, basically making a commercial of himself playing the game.

The other commercial shows a youth playing a drumset at a school concert, and the brand is right on the bass drum, a central image a video that was seen 143 times. A mere drum set itself can already advertise a number of different things, such as the drums themselves, the drum skins, the cymbals, the sticks, and the stands. Thousands of people post up cover songs by different artists, so if someone becomes popular and gets a few thousand views, there’s a good chance that it will make corporations a few extra dollars.

This is very similar to what Marshal McLuhan said as well about technology creating a new aesthetic. A new taste of advertising mixed with art is on the rise. A lot of people won’t realize this because they are off guard when watching videos on the internet. It’s not like they can be blamed either, because the people who make these videos are trying to express themselves, not advertise a product. It ends up happening anyway. Someone who makes a product look good will make someone want to buy it.



The Toronto School of Communication Theory

The New Messenger

By Marcus Ray

On January 27th, we discussed in class how this generation’s desire is to be continually connected to one another. As people attend class and work with Blackberries and laptops when do people get a chance to ‘disconnect?’ The internet is available to the urban citizen almost everywhere they go.

Larry Magid from Cnet.com reveals a report stating that youth ages 8-18 use entertainment media for about 53 hours a week. And thats excluding school related activities.  With all of this media use, the intake of advertisements have become second nature.  

Media intake is still on the rise, and the time we have each day is still staying the same.

With all of this time being spent on electronic devices, consumers are slaves to advertisers. Not only are they every where in the physical world, but they are every where in the digital world too. iPhones and Blackberries have become the new standard of phones, and the result is that every person who has one becomes a landfill of information. Information comes in and then begins to deteriorate, but by that time new information has come in, making the old information forgotten in the depths of the landfill.

A whole world of advertisements is now contained in everyone’s pockets. The mobile advertising industry has become a billion dollar industry over the past few years. Imran Kahn, an analyst for JP Morgan (a leading financial services firm with global scale and reach), states that the mobile advertising industry is expected to increase by 45% just in the year 2010, turning it into a $3.8 billion industry. This is a massive increase for something that has just begun a few years back.

Mobile advertisements are the new “billboards,” and corporations like it much more because it’s always in your face.




By Jhansher Khan

I’d like to look at the issue between “Corporate Culture” and “Open culture.” I found this area to be significant, as we covered this in Dr.Strangelove’s CMN 2160 class. The idea of the Corporate Culture trying to destroy our own “open culture” created through the realm of the social internet is so prevalent. As Dr.Strangelove stated, that certain countries are banning the use of video hosting programs such as “YouTube.” Apparently voicing our own opinions is a negative aspect? I personally believe this to be ridiculous. In the case of Italy for example, these sites are generally being banned from use and even posting a video up, it has to go through multiple procedures put forth by the “Corporate Culture.” In an article called, “Italy Preparing to Hold Youtube,” it states, “The move toward regulation continues with a new policy that could force sites like YouTube to obtain TV licenses from the Italian government. Such sites could also be fully liable for copyright infringement and libelous or illegal material posted by users.” (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/) Is society supposed to be this regulated, aren’t people being marginalized with regards to free speech and opinion. What makes us human is to be opinionated and to voice those opinions. Therefore we are losing aspects of ourselves that make us “human,” to the corporate world.

This is honestly a type of Tyranny, but what kind of threat do Italian citizens pose by posting up their own media material? Will it destroy the corporate world if citizens voice their opinions and other citizens watch this user generated content? This is basically a “dominant” model of media, meaning no alternative media what so ever. These types of laws are not as prevalent in North America, but certain policies may take a turn for the worse if this type of “censoring” trend continues.

According to the article, “Sites that allow video uploads would be responsible both for copyrighted content posted by users and for libelous material in uploaded videos.” (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/) Therefore, its not only the citizens who post up videos who are to blame, its also the sites that allow them too that will suffer from this policy as well. I personally believe that this is a type of “internet” fascism in a way, since the corporate world wants to almost control citizens entirely. In the past, it used to be control through the political world. However, now its the corporate world that has its grasp on society.

“Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is one of the country’s biggest media barons, and his properties are directly affected by infringement on sites like YouTube.” (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/) This indicates a mixture between corporate and the political world. Since Berlusconi owns both the corporate world and the political world, he has found a way to implement policies in corporation’s best interests.

Will all of this control increase as time goes on? Corporate Culture seems to be taking more of an effect on us and it seems that the main purpose of the corporate world is to gain profit, as well as to be the only unitary voice in society that everyone must turn to.



The Taste of Advertising

By Marcus Ray

“The media of communication affect society principally by changing the dominant structures of taste and feeling, by altering the desired forms of experience” (Carey, p.94). James W. Carey speaks of the second of two ‘remarkable insights’ that McLuhan has discussed in his career. The fact that media is able to alter the way we percieve things shows the considerable impact they have in societies.

The use of print and the use of electronic media give two different forms of experience all together. Speaking of print, Carey stated that “no one means of experiencing the world would dominate as printing had among educated classes for centuries” (Carey, p.94). Print created a new thurst for knowledge that didn’t exist before the mass production of books, because people just couldn’t access the information at any time they wanted.

Electronic media, on the other hand, changed the society that print had made. It created a whole new age of ideas, an age where ideas could be shared and discussed at any time with any person. A new experience of media had risen where ideas came from all angles. Carey said that “electronic communication would jumble experience and creatively juxtapose ideas, forms and experiences previously disseminated in different and isolated ways,” he also mentioned that it would “create new patterns of knowledge and awareness, a new hunger for experience, in much the same way that printing, by assembling the sacred and the profane, the new and the traditional, the exotic and the mundane, the practical and the fanciful in the same printer’s workshop led to a decisive alteration in modern taste.”

The large difference between print and electronic media created a major change in how the media could be used. Once electronic media was introduced advertisements were almost inescapable. Corporations took advantage of the new technology as it was assumed to dominate print.

Society is affect by the millions of advertisements all over the internet. It has created a model of humans that see advertisements as part of the environment. It blurs the line between what is true and what is false, as adverisements are always using ‘misleading’ language to attract consumers.

It also creates a false sense of taste as well, as people are given reasons for why they should buy products, as if they couldn’t think of their own reasons themselves. It also toys with emotions, sometimes making the consumer feel guilty about themselves, saying that if they don’t buy the product they either won’t fit in or will have some kind of personal defect.



The Toronto School of Communication Theory