The ‘Good Cop’ Brainwash
In Amerika, government-empowered forces (military, police, spy agencies, jailers and their proxies) have been the key forces of persecution and violence against people of color: Native American, New Afrikan, Latino, Mexican, Asian. Whether the military, slave patrols, slave drivers and overseers, or lynch mobs and racist paramilitary groups; whether COINTELPROS and urban police or the Prison Industrial Complex; whether the Wars on Drugs, Crime and Gangs in pretended response to the U.S. government itself flooding the ghettos and barrios with narcotics, military grade firearms, and inciting gang wars, or the blatant multi-agency declaration of war (Martial Law) against Louisiana’s desperate, stranded and officially abandoned Black Hurricane Katrina victims and subsequent policy of ethnic cleansing in New Orleans, etc. Executive forces have been anything but our servants and protectors.
Yet the entertainment media (the real CBS: Central Brainwash System) is infested with fantasy images of romanticized vermin (pigs, moles and rats): hero cops, and military action figures, spy agent intrigue and shifty informants. But nowhere do they show the actual violence, oppression and terror these vermin inflict on poor people of color every day across Amerika. And what’s worse is the conscious effort to cast these good cop images in Blackface.
From Ice Cube (of “Fuck the Police” rap fame) as a cop in All About the Benjamins, to Ice T (who back in the day also spit anti-police rhymes like “Cop Killer”) starring in Law and Order as a cop and as a snitch in Boyz in the Hood; even activist actor Mel Gibson as a cop in the Lethal Weapon series; Will Smith as an urban cop alongside Martin Lawrence in the Bad Boys series, as an Air Force pilot in Independence Day (commemorating July 4th, a holiday celebrating a war fought in large part to keep Black folks in slavery and exterminate Natives), and as a futuristic cop in I-Robot; Samuel L. Jackson, in The Negotiator, who only as a cop could rise above the law and resort to ‘crime’ (taking hostages and multiple shoot-outs with other cops) to clear himself of being framed by cops with killing another cop [!?]; Martin Lawrence, again as a cop (impersonator) in Blue Streaks. Then there’s Chris Tucker alongside Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour series, and Jamie Foxx in Miami Vice and Stealth, Denzel Washington in Training Day and as a rogue spy in Safe House, DMX in Exit Wounds, Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls, Along Came a Spider and so on ad nauseam. In most all other roles Blacks are cast as criminals and villains.
It’s ‘Good Cop Brainwash’ and criminal stereotyping projected in modern minstrel shows, which the system finds necessary to gloss over the continued growth in size and violence of Pigs in the Hood, and to perpetuate a criminalized image of the poor urban people of color that they occupy.
Indeed, in the era of the War on Drugs (on government-supplied drugs that is), heavily armored paramilitary SWAT teams have become everyday parts of oppressive urban policing, while TV gives a totally distorted portrayal of their role. As one critical race writer, Steve Martinot, observed:
“Swat team operations are presented on TV cop shows as well-choreographed high-tech raids in dangerous situations. But 80% of their “raids” are to serve warrants on people of color for non-violent crimes.”[i]
Preeminent critical intellectual Noam Chomsky revealed:
“Recently there’ve been some very interesting studies of urban police behavior done at George Washington University, by a rather well-known criminologist named William Chambliss. For the last couple of years he’s been running projects in cooperation with the Washington, D.C. police, in which he has law students and sociology students ride with the police in their patrol cars to take transcripts of what happens.
I mean, you’ve got to read this stuff: it is targeted against Black and Hispanic populations almost entirely. And they are not treated like a criminal population, because criminals have constitutional rights – they’re treated like a population under military occupation. So the effective laws are: the police go to somebody’s house, they smash in the door, they beat the people up, they grab some kid they want, and they throw him in jail.”[ii]
Cops don’t make our communities safer, nor do they positively impact the people’s security needs, nor reduce ‘crime,’ nor the drug plagues. Even Malcolm X recognized, decades ago, that when the police presence increases yet community problems only worsen, the police are obviously a big part of the problem.
Steve Martinot gave a vivid example of this in the tragic story of Adam Hakim, a Black New York youth who was the victim of massive ‘search and kill’ police manhunt, which concluded in his being beaten and paralyzed by guards, because he refused to sell drugs for local cops in his neighborhood.[iii]
I’ve previously written in some detail about the well-documented practice and designs of U.S. police in persecuting, murdering, then attempting to replace popular independent New Afrikan political leaders like prominent Black Panther Party members, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others.[iv] Also, their roles in facilitating crimes, violence, gang wars and the drug plagues in our oppressed communities, then in turn expanding the police presence and violence, and mass imprisoning us where we cannot reproduce and fathers are torn away from our families and communities – also well documented.[v]
So, the media image projected of the pig establishment is a far cry from, indeed the very opposite of, reality. Their role has been to make war on, contain, criminalize and cripple our communities, which the drug plague plays a key role in.
“The presence of drugs gets people fighting among themselves over the money generated by trafficking. Massive drug presence in a community produces a strung-out and desperate populous, increasing petty crime and gang warfare over control of the trade. A tide of actual criminality emerges, feeding stereotypes that have criminalized those communities before the fact. Ostensibly to stem this tide, police departments demand bigger appropriations from state legislatures. They expand to become very powerful political forces in urban areas, which they manifest through increased militarization and aggressiveness. That power is now nationally coordinated and centralized through the Law Enforcement Assistance Act passed under Nixon.”[vi]
Why the ‘Good Cop’ Brainwash?
Why indeed is there the perpetual onslaught of Good Cop brainwash?
First off, glamorizing pigs and generating preoccupation with crime and punishment are essential elements of fascism. Dr. Lawrence Britt observed this in his comparative study of various fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several in Latin America. Among 14 common features of fascism, Britt listed:
“Obsession with crime and punishment – under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
“Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.”
Other features common to fascist systems relevant to this discussion are:
“Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common.”[vii]
Second, as the U.S. economy slips further towards acute depression, the line dividing the haves (the capitalist imperialists) and their vermin gunslingers, and the have-nots (the working class and the poor) is being drawn more sharply. With economic want and instability comes doubt and distrust of the masses in those in power. In turn society becomes increasingly polarized between those who conform and those who oppose the status quo. As resistance increases the vermin become more extreme in repressing and villainizing it.
These are the dynamics, the dialectic, which generates mass revolutionary struggle to overthrow oppressive and exploitative systems, like we live under. Thus conformity versus resistance must be cast in a “law abiding” versus “criminal” light, placing malcontents on one side and the ruling class, vermin and their conformists on the other.
The masses are driven to choose sides. Indeed for oppressed community youth, the only options presented to them, early on, by the system is to become either “criminal” or “cop.”[viii] Hence the media glorification of the Black soldier/cop role and preoccupation with ‘crime and punishment.’
Third, up to and during the 1960s –‘70s a high tide of revolutionary struggle in Amerika, the blatant official violence against people of color here and abroad, and open persecution and government-orchestrated murders of popular independent New Afrikan leaders and activists, exposed the real oppressive character of the pigs and U.S. vermin culture, driving mass resistance against the system.
In Protect Our Leaders Defend Our People, I pointed out that a 1970 survey found that brutal police violence against the Black Panthers led some 80% of urban Blacks “to believe that Black people must stand together to protect themselves” against the police, who were certainly not seen nor embraced as our heroes or helpers. I quoted comrade Sundiata Acoli’s observation that the increasing role of Black cops in the media was a conscious effort to repair the pigs’ image and conceal their real function:
“ . . . a large part of the part of the programs on TV are still ‘police stories’ and many of the roles available to Black actors are limited to police roles. A lot of this has to do with the overall process of still trying to rehabilitate the image of police from its devastating exposure during the Panther era, and to prevent the true role of the police in this society from being exposed again.”[ix]
To achieve this effect today, and counter Black opposition to pig oppression, popular Black entertainers with independent street credibility (rap artists, comedians, etc.) are ‘turned’ and used to popularize and glamorize pigs and vermin culture to the very people they oppress, and to project criminal stereotypes of their own people, culture and communities. Note too that the vermin are always portrayed as wealthy or upper middle class, and possessing the material trappings of Amerikan “success”: large homes, flashy cars and clothes, beautiful women, etc. And they are literally above the law, with the power to execute or set-up and thereby dispose of opponents and exact revenge, usually without consequences to themselves.
Fourth, by casting vermin as the only legitimate models of social heroes and objects of achievable power and respect to be held in awe and sympathy by the oppressed, the system teaches aspirations toward and conformity to pig “authority,” and counters a possible resurgent revolutionary mass culture which would instead promote the masses of people as the real heroes, and the only legitimate power holders who should and can take control of their own communities’ security needs. This is also why the common people are always portrayed in these dramas as helpless, especially in response to “corrupt” pigs.
Vermin culture projects pigs as invulnerable and imperious to challenge by the common people, who must suffer passively and hope some hero good cops will rescue them. However, the oppressed communities can rid themselves of death dealing dope peddlers and their pig supply lines, and gangsters who prey on the people, and resist killer cops and paramilitary goons like the KKK. If the people come to see themselves as the true heroes and agents of real change, as capable of being organized and united to meet their own economic, political, cultural and security needs, this would eliminate their conditioned belief that we need to turn to the pigs and system to solve our problems, which they have never done anyway!
Allowing such ideas to take root and spread is intolerable to any enslaver, since it reveals to the enslaved whom he profits off and rules by force and fraud that they don’t need him, and they can seize and exercise their own formal independence. This would deprive the enslaver of the very source of his wealth and power. Namely us. This is what the Black Panther Party was teaching urban New Afrikans and other oppressed people through its “Serve the People” community survival programs. For pigs to be able to function or even exist in our communities requires our cooperation and communication with them. Recall the instant media and industry backlash to suppress the popular grassroots “Stop Snitching” movement a few years back?
Now all one sees are pig dramas where if folks aren’t joining forces with the pigs, copping out to them or snitching on themselves, they’re informing on everyone and his grandma. The pigs took similar measures when the FBI tried to prevent the release of Uptight, a 1970s Blacksploitation era movie starring Julian Mayfield with the theme that snitching has bad consequences.
How easily the system and its racist mass imprisonment practices could be frustrated by folks simply refusing to talk to the cops, period. In fact, the vast majority of those warehoused in these razor wire plantations plea-bargained, were informed on, or told on themselves.[x]
Without our most basic cooperation the pigs are powerless. Our communities must provide for their own security.
In several articles I’ve discussed U.S. government policy, beginning with Assistant FBI Director William C. Sullivan in 1964, and formalized in 1978 in National Security Council memorandum, #46, to destroy and repress popular independent leadership, and then replace it with misleaders groomed and “approved” by the system. As Sullivan predicted:
“When this is done, and it can and will be done, obviously much confusion will reign, particularly among the negro people . . . .The negroes will be left without a national leader of sufficiently compelling personality to steer them in the proper direction . . . .”[xi]
Actually, planting U.S. trained “dark faces in high places” is how Amerika subverted all the revolutionary socialist national liberation struggles across Africa and Asia during the 20th century, and maintained Western imperialist control over their natural resources and economies.
So it is no real accomplishment or surprise that a man of color was implanted as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. executive branch in 2008 – i.e. Barack Obama. In fact, it can be clearly seen as a tactical move in large part to counter and contain growing Black unrest.
Obama’s role as Amerika’s highest-ranking cop served to redeem the legitimacy of pig authority to Black Amerika right in the midst of our growing disaffection and outrage with the U.S. government. How many of us went from raging against the pig machine (in response to our treatment during Hurricane Katrina, Jena 6, the increasing scourge of cops killing and brutalizing our youth, gentrification, mass displacements and breaking up of Black communities, cutting already substandard and inadequate social services, massive imprisonment, police racial profiling, etc.) to rallying in support of it, solely because of Obama’s presidential campaign and victory? His nomination and victory sent waves of euphoria bordering on mass hysteria through our communities.
We instantly forgot reality.
All it took to defer our reviving dreams of struggle for real power and change was to plant a dark skinned prostitute in a suit in the Oval Office, a prostitute beholden to the same corporate powers as the 43 white ones that preceded him. Mere color don’t make a brother.
And what is Obama but an entertainer – a play actor? A role-playing politician whose business is to woo and inspire false hope in desperate people with slick sounding rhetoric, clever sounding turns of phrases, and empty promises totally unrelated to reality. The real litmus test for us is to question what substantial positive changes have taken place in the oppressed communities since his election? Absolutely none!
The dope-dealing CIA, that operates right out of the White House, still floods our communities with narcotics and the attendant social chaos. The government is still enlarging its militaristic posture and aggressiveness against us while keeping us under increasingly closer surveillance. We are still murdered, brutalized, race-profiled and railroaded en masse into prison by the cops, then consequently disenfranchised and stripped of access to public housing and social “benefits”!
Our third world level infant mortality and child hunger rates continue to rise, while the availability and quality of already substandard health care and social services for us continues to fall in the face of our steadily rising health needs and problems and the HIV/AIDS/MCV pandemics we face. Our poverty and depression level unemployment rates continue to grow. Our community, family and individual security needs remain unmet.
Basic human and civil rights don’t exist for us. In fact, the court system remains inaccessible and financially out of reach for purposes of litigating to enforce our interests and basic rights. Indeed, our plight has deteriorated markedly under the Obama administration. We remain victims of a system of racial and national oppression, economic exploitation, neo-colonialism, imprisonment, impoverishment and police impunity, and all-round insecurity and desperation.
But, emotionally, we can tolerate it all a little better when a Black cop is the U.S. Pig-In-Chief. The Good Cop Brainwash worked like a charm.
Who Controls the Brainwash System?
Now let’s look at the broader picture and explore who controls the Brainwash system, how, why, and how it works to control the People’s thinking.
The Central Brainwash System (CBS) operates on two levels. The first is the elite media that indoctrinates the upper “educated” sector of the population. The second is the mass media that indoctrinates and distracts the general public so they don’t understand or interfere with the decision making power in society. The media is a cultural weapon of mass influence and control.
The “educated” sector who participate in society’s decision making processes are indoctrinated through corporate controlled school curricula (of “higher” learning), and such “high level” media as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, etc.
For the general masses (the other 80%-90% of the population) there’s football (and other spectator sports) and violence and sex themes to excite and stimulate the lower passions and inhibit critical thinking. The mass entertainment media portrays the most sordid, animalistic and cynical characters or emphasizes escapism and fantasy. Just like on the old slave plantations, the common people are kept preoccupied in their leisure time with irrelevance and “fun” to distract and discourage them from knowing how the world works, and learning of their actual power to impact and change its conditions.
The news (info-tainment) media also works to distort and conceal reality. In a speech given at CIA headquarters, Washington Post publisher, Katherine Graham, stated:
“There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.”[xii]
On this point I refer the reader back to Dr. Britt’s observation that just such “controlled mass media” is a common feature of fascist systems. We can also see how independent media and whistleblowers that critically expose the true oppressive face of the pigs are persecuted, villainized and suppressed, like Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and PFC Bradley Manning today.
Also, I refer the reader to the fact, pointed out in Kill Yourself[xiii] that the government and media jointly concealed that, beginning in the early 1980s, the CIA with the U.S. Justice Department’s “okay,” began dumping tons of crack cocaine and guns into Black ghettos and inciting gang wars over drug turf. Over a decade later journalist Gary Webb broke the story. The CIA then destroyed his career, and he ultimately was found dead from gunshots to the face. His death was dismissed as a suicide.
So the common people face, not only indoctrination and deception, but effective depoliticization, to prevent their developing a mass culture based upon critical popular media that acquaints them with the real world, with what’s going on, and why and how they can change it in profound ways.
It was in this light that African revolutionary, Comrade Amilcar Cabral, observed in the context of leading a mass movement for Guinea Bissau’s national independence:
“When Goebbels, the brain behind Nazi propaganda, heard culture being discussed, he brought out his revolver. That shows that the Nazis – who were and are the most tragic expression of imperialism and of its thirst for domination – even if they were all degenerates like Hitler, had a clear idea of the value of culture as a factor of resistance to foreign domination.”[xiv]
It’s important to remember the U.S. government adopted Nazi methods into its propaganda, military and intelligence systems.[xv]
Which brings us to the really important question of who controls society – who has the real power? In the U.S., it’s not those with government authority who are the real power holders. Those vermin are merely the servants and protectors of those in power. So the pigs do actually serve and protect . . . just not you and me. Instead, they serve the owners of society, the super rich 1% who hoard social wealth and are the big business interests behind Wall Street and the multinational corporations. And it is the common people, the masses of working class and poor, the pigs serve and protect the wealthy against.
The established media is the tool of the wealthy. It serves them and exists by their design. The system and process breaks down very simply.
Big media exists and survives because big business pays for it through advertisements. Without advertisements the mainstream media would collapse or remain very small and weak. Because the wealthy keep big media in business, these outlets air only programming and information that serves and promotes the interests and values of big business, which is to indoctrinate the educated elite, distract and depoliticize the poor and working class, and glorify the wealthy to all.
An example of how a popular media is crippled without the support of big business occurred in England with such labor newspapers as The News Chronicle and The Daily Herald, which reported world conditions and events to working class people from a perspective that opposed big business. Although both papers had a very wide readership, they went out of circulation for lack of funds. Subscription fees alone are never sufficient to maintain media.
Here in Amerika, many examples present themselves as well. For example, the wealthy promote media that report business and investment trends, stocks, etc. to middle and upper level investors and corporate shareholders. Therefore, they invest and advertise extensively in media that carry such “news.” In turn, these media outlets act as virtual mouthpieces of the business communities and appeal especially to the elite educated sector.
Similarly, they invest and advertise in and promote “dumbed down” entertainment media that distracts, misinforms and depoliticizes the general masses, and indoctrinates them with pro-business values to “spend, spend, spend” and “buy, buy, buy,” chasing sensory gratification, high-tech toys, gizmos and trinkets, meaningless status symbols, and ever-changing fads that are advertised for mass consumption, day in and day out, via multi-million dollar ads and commercials. Sponsoring and promoting entertainers, music, art, etc. works the same way. Big business creates the market then supplies it, and advertises to “tell” the people what to believe and want, what to like, what to buy, while using the labor power of the same working class people, entertainers, artists, musicians, etc. to produce the goods, services and materials they advertise – which always conforms to the values and interests of the wealthy.[xvi]
One can routinely hear rap artists explain that they rap about what the industry promotes (which are irrelevant and degenerate themes), and not about “conscious” issues or reality because the industry won’t promote that. This was a major topic of discussion in recent years, debating whether “Hip hop is dead.” Likewise, actors find themselves playing roles or in movies and TV shows that the industry (and not them) promotes and makes available. A principled actor just won’t have a lucrative career.
If it isn’t about sex, pimping, murder, money, cops and crime, fantasy or escapism, the big producers, recording labels, promoters, or advertisers won’t back it. And by being bombarded with such asinine themes, we generally can’t and don’t think outside the box of degenerate topics, irrelevance and worshipping materialism. It’s a process of mass brainwash, indoctrination and miseducation imposed on us by outside forces that replace our self-defining and authentic culture and identity. The U.S. government is now even promoting programs of sending rap artists, sports entertainers and others abroad to influence people in other countries with U.S. values.
And it’s not that people don’t want “conscious,” authentic music, art, movies, etc., but that industry executives realize such music, art, etc. runs counter to their brainwash. That it may get people thinking the wrong things. Like how the wealthy leech off the working class and poor, or that the system is the cause of urban poverty and crisis, or that we can collectively change things for the better on our own, or that the pigs are our oppressors, not our heroes. So they don’t promote it. And neither will the so-called “independent” music labels that expect to compete in the industry for market sales.
Thus “conscious” musicians, like independent media, must operate “underground” with very limited resources, few advertising options, and a small “fan” base. Otherwise, they must sell their souls and “cross over” to the mainstream and promote the values, images and messages desired by big business, which is why the pigs now promote pig culture and lifestyles of the rich and famous in Blackface.
Remember, the pigs are the protectors of the powerful, and exist to keep the powerless in line. And, it’s the Central Brainwash System that has us infatuated with sex, money, murder, and now pigs.
In this light we can clearly see that not only does big business and government go hand-in-hand, but that glamorizing vermin culture – especially to the most oppressed, and therefore most potentially revolutionary, sectors of the population – is essential to maintaining the power of the bloodsuckers who own society and the stability of their system. It was Benito Mussolini, the man credited as the creator and founder of fascism, who defined it very simply as the merger of the interests of private corporations and the state. So now you know. And knowing is half the struggle. The other half is applying this knowledge to actively change the world in favor of the oppressed.
Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!
All Power to the People
[i] Steve Martinot, “The Question of Fascism in America,” Socialism and Democracy, Vol. 22
[ii] Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power: The Indispensible Chomsky (The New Press: NY, 2002) p. 373.
[iii] Op. cite note 1
[iv] Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, Protect Our Leaders Defend Our People (2007)
[v] Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, Kill Yourself or Liberate Yourself: The Real U.S. Imperialist Policy on Gang Violence versus the Revolutionary Alternative (2008)
[vi] Op. cite note 1, o, 29l see also, Michelle Alexander, “The New Jim Crow: How the War on Drugs Gave Birth to a Permanent American Under Caste.” Socialist Viewpoint, Vol. 12, No. 3 (May/June 2012) p. 24: “The drug war has been brutal – complete with SWAT teams, tanks, bazookas, grenade launchers, and sweeps of entire neighborhoods – but those who live in white communities have little clue to the devastation wrought.
This war has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies consistently show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates. In fact some studies indicate that white youth are significantly more likely to engage in illegal drug dealing than Black youth. Any notion that drug use among African Americans (sic) is more severe or dangerous is belied by the data. White youth, for example, have about three times the number of drug-related visits to the emergency room as their African American (sic) counterparts. “That is not what you would guess, though, when entering our nation’s prisons and jails, overflowing as they are with Black and brown drug offenders. In some states, African Americans (sic) comprise 80 percent – 90 percent of all drug offenders sent to prison.”
[vii] Dr. Lawrence Britt, ”Fascism Anyone?” Free Inquiry (Spring 2003), p. 20
[viii] See, Kenneth Saltman. Education as Enforcement: “Military generals running schools, students in uniforms, metal detectors, police presence, high-tech ID cards, dog tags, real-time internet-based surveillance cameras, security consultants, chain link fences, surprise searches – are all part of the investment the military industrial complex is embedding in U.S. public schools as they increasingly resemble the military and prisons. Militarism and the promotion of violence as virtue pervade foreign and domestic policy, popular culture, educational discourse and language.
In addition to promoting recruitment, military education plays a central role in fostering a social focus on discipline. In short, to speak of militarized schooling in the United States context is inadequate to identify the ways that schools increasingly resemble the military and prisons. This phenomenon needs to be understood as part of the militarization of civil society exemplified by the rise of militarized policing, increased police powers for search and seizure, anti-public gathering laws, ‘zero tolerance’ policies and the transformation of welfare into punishing workfare programs.”
[ix] Op. cite note 4
[x] 96.4% of all criminal cases (97% of all federal and 94% of all state criminal cases) end in plea bargains. New York Times, March 20, 2012.
[xi] Quoted in Church Committee, U.S. Congressional Report: Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans. 94th Congress, 2nd Session, report no. 94-755 (1976) (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office), book III, p. 136.
[xii] Regardie’s Magazine, Vol. 10, No. 5, January 1990, pp 90f.
[xiii] Op. cite note 5
[xiv] Amilcar Cabral, National Liberation and Culture (1970).
[xv] Michael McClintock, Instruments of XStatecraft: U.S. Guerrilla Warfare, Counterinsurgency and Counter-Terrorism 1940-1990 (NY: Pantheon, 1992).
[xvi] An outstanding analysis and expose of the mass media and how it works is detailed in Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, Manufacturing Consent, which they elaborate as a “Propaganda Model,” summarized thusly:
“A propaganda model focuses on [the] inequality of wealth and power and its multilevel effects on mass-media interests and choices. It traces the routes by which money and power are able to filter out the news fit to print, marginalize dissent, and allow the government and dominant private interests to get their messages across to the public. The essential ingredients of our propaganda model, or set of news “filters,” fall under the following headings: (1) the size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of the dominant mass-media firms; (2) advertising as the primary income source of mass media; (3) the reliance of the media on information provided by government business, and “experts” funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power; (4) “flak” as a means of disciplining the media; and (5) “anti-communism” [today it’s anti-terrorism] as a national religion and control mechanism.
“These elements interact with and reinforce one another. The raw material of news must pass through successive filters, leaving only the cleansed residue fit to print. They fix the premises of discourse and interpretation, and the definition of what is newsworthy in the first place, and they explain the basis and operations of what amount to propaganda campaigns.”