Avid readers who have followed my two years of discovery will recall an article predicated on the narratives of Naom Chomsky who is unequivocally one of the greatest philosophers of our time (jj passim: Manufacturing Consent.) His seminal books with co-author Edward S. Herman have been a tour de force in critical thought leadership. The Propaganda Model is one of the highlights of their meeting of minds.
The propaganda model for the manufacture of public consent describes four editorially distorting filters, which are applied to the reporting of news in mass communications media. The original model had a fifth filter, namely Anti-Communism. This was included as a filter in the 1988 edition of their book but Chomsky argues that this has now been replaced by The War On Terror.
1. Size, Ownership, and Profit Orientation: The dominant mass-media outlets are large companies operated for profit, and therefore they must cater to the financial interests of the owners, who are usually corporations and controlling investors. The size of a media company is a consequence of the investment capital required for the mass-communications technology required to reach a mass audience of viewers, listeners, and readers.
2. The Advertising License to Do Business: Since the majority of the revenue of major media outlets derives from advertising (not from sales or subscriptions), advertisers have acquired a “de facto licensing authority”. Media outlets are not commercially viable without the support of advertisers. News media must therefore cater to the political prejudices and economic desires of their advertisers. This has weakened the working class press, for example, and also helps explain the attrition in the number of newspapers.
3. Sourcing Mass Media News: Herman and Chomsky argue that “the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access [to the news], by their contribution to reducing the media’s costs of acquiring and producing, news. The large entities that provide this subsidy become ‘routine’ news sources and have privileged access to the gates. Non-routine sources must struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers.”
4. Flak and the Enforcers: “Flak” refers to negative responses to a media statement or programme (e.g. letters, , lawsuits, or legislative actions). Flak can be expensive to the media, either due to a loss of advertising revenue, or due to the costs of legal defense or defense of the outlet’s public image. Flak can be organized by powerful, private influence groups (e.g. think tanks). The prospect of eliciting flak can be a deterrent to the reporting of certain kinds of facts or opinions.
“Editorial distortion is aggravated by the news media’s dependence upon private and governmental news sources. If a given newspaper, television station, magazine, etc., incurs disfavour from the sources, it is subtly excluded from access to information. Consequently, it loses readers or viewers, and ultimately, advertisers. To minimize such financial danger, news media businesses editorially distort their reporting to favour government and corporate policies in order to stay in business.”
One only has to look at The National in Scotland for an example of following the SNP party line. Those who did not follow the party line, notably The Daily Record, are suffering the consequences with sales and advertising revenue falling off a cliff.
I believe I can make a cogent case for a fifth filter:
5. The Liquidation Lie: The Rangers Football Club Ltd must be portrayed at all times as being a continuation of a club formed in 1872. Only The Operating Company/ Holding Company, which is referred to as Oldco, is being liquidated if one adheres to the lie.
Of course the prosaic facts of the matter are that Rangers (1L), which was incorporated in 1899 and later renamed Rangers plc, was subsequently given its ultimate title of Rangers 2012 Ltd and was placed into liquidation by Lord Hodge on October 31st, 2012. Its holding company, Wavetower, is not currently subject to liquidation proceedings.
My fifth filter is prevalent at BBC Scotland. The Liquidation Lie is strong in this one. A pundit on the BBC’s coverage of yesterday evening’s Partick Thistle v Rangers Lite game opined that if Lite scored eight without reply they would go top of the table. That’s the kind of logic that Big Fat Derek Johnstone would be proud of. But then accountancy was never BFDJ’s forte. He sired six children but could only account for four. How remiss of him. In the final analysis Primark Pedro’s charges scraped a draw courtesy of Thistle being reduced to ten men.
One of the most vocal advocates of The Liquidation Lie is the Auchenhowie Squatter, Jim ‘Slim Shady‘ Traynor. Slim in the manner one might describe a squat 300 pound Bear as ‘Tiny.’ Shady should be taken literally.
Traynor’s argument for liquidation, and against it, is predicated on his paymaster. If Trinity Mirror it was RIP Rangers. When on the payroll of Charles Green it was Rangers Then, Rangers Now, Rangers Forever. If you paid him enough this dyed in the wool hard-line Janus-faced Hun would support Celtic.
At a press conference where Supergrass Lee Wallace was at the lectern, one impudent journalist had the temerity to frame a question around liquidation. Traynor intervened to espouse the lie that Rangers have never been liquidated. He did not add the caveat ‘Not Yet.’
In an interview of Ally McCoist, Traynor disingenuously claimed that he had consulted solicitors and accountants to form his Damascene belief in continuation. One can but conclude that the assertions of judges in the highest courts in Scotland – that Rangers had no legal personality and were an ephemeral concept in the minds of supporters – passed him by. Was he in a diabetic coma at the time?
Chomsky is regarded as one of the pre-eminent voices in Cognitive Science. The Cognitive Dissonance of Traynor is on a different level. Is there a Cognitive Dissonance Anonymous group in the Glasgow area?