I recently began taking an interpersonal communication class at my university and had to write a piece on advertisings effects on what we think ought to be. After reading comes of Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. Manufacturing Consent, I was inspired to integrate it with what I was reading in my course’s book, this is the result, I hope you all enjoy and as always, now, what will you think?
Advertisers are just a division of a considerably larger apparatus known as the mass media which its self is controlled and owned by a relatively concentrated network of corporations, conglomerates, investment firms, government executives, and obscenely wealthy individuals who are in the position to make significant decisions that then determines the way society functions. And in the case of mass media/advertisers, their primary role in this system is to mobilize public support for the special interest that dominate over the government and private sector.
I postulate that the mass media has an overwhelming influence in determining how we ought to be and it does this by manufacturing our consent. This is done through numerous means, and I will outline some here. It begins by the selection of topics, followed by the distribution of what the society should be concerned with and what concerns should be emphasized. We can then see how mass media influences our framing of issues, through filtering information and the bounding of what is and is not debatable, within certain limits. This all to determine, select, control, and restrict how the society thinks things “ought” to be, To serve the interest of whatever elite group dominates that particular country may it be Thailand or Iran, the model of propaganda and manufacturing consent follows relatively the same order of progression and operation.
All of the products and services outlined in the purpose of this discussion, phones, hair dye, and plastic surgery are all disseminated by corporations and conglomerates, which sell to a market. That market is advertisers (other businesses) which keeps the mass media functioning, it’s not like the audience is funding the mass media, but it is indeed the corporations that pay to have their products advertised on a particular channel (media) may it be done through the internet or television, this is what is funding and allowing the mass media to operate. These advertisements then go to influence the audience that views that specific channel of media, whose views of the world are shaped to be more conducive to the buying of whatever product/service is being sold to them. Because what advertisers (mass media) are selling is not only a product but also an audience, to corporations willing to pay them.
From here I think it is abundantly clear as to what kind of perception is going to be promulgated via the mass media, and that is one that satisfies the needs and interest of the select few within a society that owns and operates the mass media and private enterprise. Irrespective of the consequences of a skewed worldview on the civilization at large, may they be beneficial or detrimental as long as it terminates in the maximization of profit these institutions are apathetic.
The effects this kind of system has on our individual self-concept is one that is of great interest to me. Because those who point out flaws in the system and aim to hinder it are often excluded from the society at large. For no institution would develop a self-destruct mechanism within itself, so those who hold and propagate inhibitory views of these institutions are marginalized, excluded, and, ostracized to ensure the survival of that system. The effect this has on individuals self-concept can be detrimental, in that even if that person is correct in their criticism they may begin to question the foundation of their beliefs and attitudes and endeavor to conform to the established system. Breaking under the immense social pressure, and end up living a life that is not only unfamiliar to them but also anathema to their very being. Humans have a social need to belong to a group, and while their self-concept may be in line with fact, they may be willing to sacrifice portions of their beliefs, attitudes, and values to fit in and go along with the social gradient. And in this scenario, the institutions have won in their effort to eliminate dissent and manufacture consent.
Greater Professional Resources:
Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. Pantheon Books, 1988.
Kirsten Weir. “The Pain of Social Rejection.” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, Apr. 2012, http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/04/rejection.aspx.