The 5 Filters of the Mass Media Machine
Noam Chomsky is well known for his illustration of the “Propaganda Model.”
Chomsky’s model includes five filters that expose how the media is
controlled and completely infiltrated by corporations, governments, and
the elite in order to manufacture consent. The five filters include: OWNERSHIP, ADVERTISING, THE MEDIA ELITE, FLAK, THE COMMON ENEMY.
To manufacture consent, you need an enemy — a target. A common enemy, a
bogeyman to fear, helps corral public opinion.
These techniques have historically been used to whip up the “Red Scare” which saw the witch-hunting of communists, socialists and other radicals from the union movement. McCarthyism succeeded in severing left-wing ideas–and their long history in the U.S. working-class movement–from American society.
In the early 1950s, American leaders repeatedly told the public that
they should be fearful of subversive Communist influence in their lives.
Communists could be lurking anywhere, using their positions as school
teachers, college professors, labor organizers, artists, or journalists
to aid the program of world Communist domination. This paranoia about
the internal Communist threat—what we call the Red Scare—reached a fever
pitch between 1950 and 1954, when Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, a
right-wing Republican, launched a series of highly publicized probes
into alleged Communist penetration of the State Department, the White
House, the Treasury, and even the US Army. During Eisenhower’s first two
years in office, McCarthy’s shrieking denunciations and fear-mongering
created a climate of fear and suspicion across the country. No one dared
tangle with McCarthy for fear of being labeled disloyal.