What is manipulation? Summarized and taken from a handful of dictionaries, manipulation is the act of “exerting shrewd or devious influence for one’s own advantage” hence, showing that media manipulation is fully using media for this sole purpose. What follows here are common methods of media manipulation by Michael Parenti, an American cultural critic who writes on controversial issues and is also a political scientist.The most common method of media manipulation is “Suppression by Omission”.
Certain crucial things were left unmentioned and at times, the whole original story itself is unmentioned. Most of the time, media decide to make the news aphonic or even downplay the controversial issue. Media in certain countries like North Korea, Myanmar, Indonesia and many more are controlled by the government. For example, the Rohingya Muslim Genocide in Myanmar is garnering wide media coverage since 2017 despite the government of Myanmar not wanting the issue to blow up due to the violence they have been inflicting on the Rohingya community. Hence, the news was at first suppressed from media but brought to light after the intervention of many political figures.
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“Attacking and destroying the target” is also another common method. When suppression is not sufficient, the media move from a story they have been ignoring to attacking it to gain attention to the story. ” Labelling” is giving a positive or negative tag without any explanation. This two common method has been used multiple of times especially when it comes to political controversies. “Follow up avoidance” and “Learning to never ask Why”. When facing with an unexpected issue, media hosts often change the subject fast or go on a commercial break. Perhaps, the line “We are taking a quick commercial break” sounds familiar to many and this is a popular example of follow up avoidance.
The sole focus is to avoid probing a forbidden topic despite the response it might garner in the future. Many issue are reported in the news but many too, unexplained. Despite the number of questions clouding in mind, one should learn never to ask why as their job is to misinform and not to inform, muting our own opinions and not letting it get in the way of their job. When one learns that the choices of news favours those with everlasting wealth and great power, they never question about the press’s horrendous performance and try to understand how media serves everything with its skill. Can one really believe everything that goes on behind the virtual screen? One often weighs the pro and cons of wanting to believe everything uttered by media. News are at times being fabricated, reality shows nowadays are staged.
With every latest issue covered by media, majority did not even make an effort to find out if the issue is true in their own peripheral vision.