Sunday, June 15, 2008

More on propaganda and conflict of interest (3)

Propaganda is made for an interest, such as for an interest in a cause that brings an interest group together. Propaganda is an appeal to increase the ranks of an interest group. That means that any time support for an interest group is expressed, it leaves no room for expressing support for a competing interest.

Without fail this problem arises when news media have to juggle news interests that relay events as they are with advertisers' commercial interests.

An example would be the reporting of news about a drug that has caused deaths when at the same time that drug is being advertised by that same TV channel. It is likely hat the advertiser tells the station to avoid telling the truth or to make it appear less negative, possibly to the point of including rose-colored views by so called experts that will give any opinion for money. The competing interest groups are the media groups as opposed to, in this case, the pharmaceutical company. The pharmaceutical company is making propaganda for the drug and the TV channel is conflicted by what the alternative would be if they didn't receive the money and told the real unvarnished truth. Either the news group tells the truth and loses the money or it says nothing or it lies.

Here is another example. For the longest time there was complete silence in the media about the potential damaging effects of mercury from any source. The competing interest groups were dental associations, medical associations, coal mining industries, and even fisheries. All these groups do not want to see mercury be the cause for alarm because activities from those groups increase the levels of mercury in the human body. The tug of war here is being created by the opposing interests from consumer groups on the one hand, industry groups, and the media on the other. The complicated interactions between the propaganda of the wealthy industries, the less wealthy media, and the even less wealthy consumer make the whole issue very complex.

This problem exists in government. It exists in election campaigns. It exists in the art world. It exists in academia. It's pernicious.

Can the problem be solved? Yes, but not without, unfortunately, more propaganda, and more education and probably laws that promote the truth.


Post a Comment

<< Home