The Government's Control Over the Media

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 03/31/2008 - 12:11pm.



"Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you're stupid. Did you hear that? - stupid." ~ Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs

Government officials have a number of ways to influence media content: 

  • The media are dependent upon officials for the largest amount of source materia

  • The US government provides a number of subsidies to media companies

  • The government protects media companies from foreign or domestic attack

  • Officials woo journalists who are compliant

  • Officials can withhold information

  • Officials can censor—especially during wartime

Government subsidies media in many ways:

  • Newspaper delivery rules

  • Third class postal rates

  • Special merger rules

  • Public broadcasting subsidies

  • Spectrum allocation

  • "According to official sources . . ."

  • News organizations depend on official sources for their raw materials and interpretations of events

  • Must "˜fill in the white space between the ads' Backgrounding

  • Quotes

  • "Exclusives"

  • White papers

Government controls access:

  • During war, who is in "˜embedded'?

  • Army control over where they go, who they talk to, what they say, to some extent

  • Press releases

  • Press conferences

  • Who gets called on?

  • Who isn't invited back?

  • Press passes

  • Official meetings

  • Air Force One, etc.

  • What organizations are considered the "˜press'?

President vs. Congress (the administration has much greater control over sources of information than Congress does):

  • Loyalty to the president

  • Hand-picked assistants

  • Can remove any leak from inner circle

  • President is ultimate news source

  • No alternative for journalists to turn to

  • Physical access of journalists controlled (White House, Pentagon, State, etc.)

  • Modern focus on, fascination with, president

  • Use press as a weapon against opposition

  • Trial balloons "off the record"

Exploiting Journalists with Incentives to advance Government Agenda:

  • Career motivations

  • Journalists get ahead by getting "scoops" and inside information

  • Government officials can use this to control press behavior

Media ownership:

  • Media owners tend to be more conservative than journalists

  • Media owners are interested in the business climate of the country

  • "longer range" view

  • Have at times been called upon to keep a story out of the public eye

  • National security

  • Inappropriate

  • Political favor

Direct Instruments used by authoritarian governments to influence
the media include:

(1) Ownership of media firms by political elite,


(2) Control of resources used by the media,


(3) Taxes on circulation and value-added taxes on newsprint and advertising,


(4) Extensive government advertising,

(5) Bribes,

(6) Censorship,


(7) Intimidation, including threat of prosecution, and

(8) Volence or the threat of violence. These instruments are of two basic types:

(a) Coercive actions designed to force compliance, and

(b) Financial incentives designed to induce compliance.

Modern U.S. Government propaganda devised from Nazi masterminds.

The aim of propaganda is to influence people's opinions or behaviors actively, rather than merely to communicate the facts about something. 


An appeal to one's emotions is, perhaps, the more obvious propaganda method, but there are varied other more subtle and insidious forms.  A common characteristic of propaganda is volume (in the sense of a large amount).  


For example, propaganda might be used to garner either support or disapproval of a certain position, rather than to simply present the position, or to try to convince people to buy something, rather than to simply let them know there is some thing on the market.


What separates propaganda from "normal" communication is in ways by which the message attempts to shape opinion or behavior, which are often subtle and insidious among other characteristics. 


Individually propaganda functions as self-deception.

Propaganda is a particularly effective weapon during or leading up to war. In this case its aim is usually to dehumanize and create hatred toward a supposed enemy, either internal or external.  The technique is to create a false image in the mind. 


This can be done by using special words, special avoidance of words or by saying that the enemy is responsible for certain things he never did.


Most propaganda wars require the home population to feel the enemy has inflicted an injustice, which may be fictitious. 


The object is to garner support from the population for a war effort that might normally be less enthusiastically supported.


Propaganda is also one of the methods used in psychological warfare (PSYOPS) — which also involve false flag operations.

The US mass media "reports", the style, content and especially the language, echo their Nazi predecessors of 70 years ago to an uncanny degree. Coincidence... 

In both instances we have imperialist armies conquering countries, leveling cities and slaughtering civilians.

Both in Nazi Germany and contemporary US, we are told by the mass media that the invading armies are "liberating the country" and "spreading democracy". 

The enemy are foreigners, insurgents, or al Qaeda.  But never are we told that the Iraqis despise the U.S. invaders.  Are they not fighting to be a free people? 

Almost the entire population of non-Kurdish Iraq is opposed to the US military and its puppet regime — yet the media refer to those defending their country from the imperial invaders as "insurgents", minimizing the significance of a nationwide force of freedom fighters. 

We are told that the mounting causalities are a result of civil war and sectarian violence, despite that the puppet police units are the main target of these attacks.

Like the Nazi media, the major US radio and TV networks report that "freeing the city of insurgents" includes the systematic murder of friends, neighbors and relatives. 

"Securing the city for free elections" means terror bombing homes, hospitals and religious buildings by hundreds of jets, missiles, and helicopter gunships.

Why do Washington and the mass media resort to these tactics?  Answer: to galvanize support with the U.S. population in order to wage a "war of terror" on Iraqis — forcing them into submission while large energy corporation suck their country's oil supply dry.

The technique perfected by Goebbels in Germany and practiced in the US is to repeat lies and euphemisms until they become accepted "truths", and become embedded into everyday language.

Goebbels was behind the propaganda for Nazi Germany

Below are some propaganda points based upon "Goebbels' Principles of Propaganda" by Leonard W. Doob


1. Propagandist must have access to intelligence concerning events and public opinion.

2. Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority.

a. It must issue all the propaganda directives
b. It must explain propaganda directives to important officials and maintain their morale
c. It must oversee other agencies' activities which have propaganda consequences

3. The propaganda consequences of an action must be considered in planning that action.

4. Propaganda must affect the enemy's policy and action.

a. By suppressing propagandistically desirable material which can provide the enemy with useful intelligence
b. By openly disseminating propaganda whose content or tone causes the enemy to draw the desired conclusions
c. By goading the enemy into revealing vital information about himself
d. By making no reference to a desired enemy activity when any reference would discredit that activity

5. Declassified, operational information must be available to implement a propaganda campaign

6. To be perceived, propaganda must evoke the interest of an audience and must be transmitted through an attention-getting communications medium.

7. Credibility alone must determine whether propaganda output should be true or false.

8. The purpose, content and effectiveness of enemy propaganda; the strength and effects of an expose; and the nature of current propaganda campaigns determine whether enemy propaganda should be ignored or refuted.

9. Credibility, intelligence, and the possible effects of communicating determine whether propaganda materials should be censored.

10. Material from enemy propaganda may be utilized in operations when it helps diminish that enemy's prestige or lends support to the propagandist's own objective.

11. Black rather than white propaganda may be employed when the latter is less credible or produces undesirable effects.

12. Propaganda may be facilitated by leaders with prestige.

13. Propaganda must be carefully timed.

a. The communication must reach the audience ahead of competing propaganda.
b. A propaganda campaign must begin at the optimum moment
c. A propaganda theme must be repeated, but not beyond some point of diminishing effectiveness

14. Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans.

a. They must evoke desired responses which the audience previously possesses
b. They must be capable of being easily learned
c. They must be utilized again and again, but only in appropriate situations
d. They must be boomerang-proof

15. Propaganda to the home front must prevent the raising of false hopes which can be blasted by future events.

16. Propaganda to the home front must create an optimum anxiety level.

a. Propaganda must reinforce anxiety concerning the consequences of defeat
b. Propaganda must diminish anxiety (other than concerning the consequences of defeat) which is too high and which cannot be reduced by people themselves

17. Propaganda to the home front must diminish the impact of frustration.

a. Inevitable frustrations must be anticipated
b. Inevitable frustrations must be placed in perspective

18. Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.

19. Propaganda cannot immediately affect strong counter-tendencies; instead it must offer some form of action or diversion, or both.

[Note: An intelligent person armed with the knowledge of how propaganda works can easily pick up these techniques being used upon the masses.  Once you figure it out, you will be amazed at how often you are being attacked by it.  It's worse than you think...]



Government Influence on Media Research from (Business and Society Review 111:1 55-66 Mike Sibley and Gina Nadas - pdf) 

March 31, 2008 -


Tag this page!
Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 03/31/2008 - 12:11pm.


Anonymous (not verified) | Mon, 09/19/2011 - 4:15am

I cant help but notice your hypocritical tone here. You are drawing comparisons between the US government and Nazi Germany,(which many people have negative opinions of) hence dehumanising them. You are using the exact same propaganda techniques that you discuss. Therfore, your bias makes your argument insignificant.