Russell Brand has apparently been saying that if you want to be taken seriously you need to read Noam Chomsky, and is always going on about resisting propaganda.
Either he doesn’t know much about propaganda, or he’s hiding it from you, because any persuasive communication is propaganda, and that includes this blog and Brand’s Trews ruse!
Noam Chomsky Propaganda Model Old News Ruse
Russell Brand calls his middle-aged-man-topless-in-a-luxury-bedroom-Revolution YouTube channel the Trews, suggesting everything he says is true news.
I think he should rename it the Rews, combining the first initial of his name with news, providing the homonymish rews-ruse rather than trews-true news.
I thought of that while watching a Timewatch documentary about fairground history. It showed how in the old days a showman used to entice potential customers with a slick spiel and artistic licence about what was actually inside the tent: a talking fish was a seal etc.
I think Brand’s videos are more ruse because there’s hardly any news in Brand’s videos, just opinion and constant requests to subscribe and buy his book; and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model was formulated in the Cold War, and largely discounted in academia by the twenty-first century.
Chomsky is a brilliant linguist and scholar, but he was also very biased, as Brand is, and as there are also right-wing scholars and comedians who are also biased. None of them speak ‘the truth’, they just give their opinions.
Academics base their opinions on learning and research, while the modern political opinionsters like Katie Hopkins and Russell Brand just seem to make it up as they go along, based on a little reading and what they think will get them publicity and sales.
A Real Propaganda Model
Britain is supposed to be at war with I.S. at the moment, but there is hardly any news about it in the British media. In fact, the international news coverage was dominated by Ferguson, Missouri this week, which was negative for our American allies.
It got more news coverage than I.S. allies Al-Shabab killing 28 innocent Kenyan bus passengers last weekend, singling out those who could not recite passages of the Koran.
Bollywood actress Veena Malik being sentenced to 26 years for blaspheming while filming an ‘Islamic wedding’ hasn’t even made it into the news.
A 15-strong Somali child-grooming gang in Bristol only had a little mention at the end of the news.
A news media in line with a propaganda model would be more like the I.S. videos, constant Katie Hopkins, or the JihadWatch website.
While you could create a website or media channel filled with negative news about any religion, country or culture, the JihadWatch website shows just some of the stories about Islam that don’t even get a mention on British mainstream news: which Brand claims is a propaganda machine.
Academic Discounting of the Propaganda Model
Marc Latham discounted the Propaganda Model in his thesis on the British Kosovo War media coverage, when Britain bombed their World War Two allies and fellow Christians Serbs to help the Muslim ethnic-Albanians, who had sided with the Nazis in World War Two.
While it is not as exciting or entertaining as Brand’s rews-ruse, it is undoubtedly better researched and argued; that’s because it contains greenYgreyesque multiple differences of opinions, rather than just one narcissist: Brand.
Marc Latham went into his thesis with a critical socialist viewpoint, and wanted to find a Propaganda Model, but he didn’t, and that’s what he wrote.
He found the British media more Islamalovable than Islamaphobic, but British academia didn’t want to hear that!
7.1.1. The Propaganda Model
Although Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model was initiated before the end of the Cold War, they did recently defend its premises in a Political Communication debate with the Langs. However, the results of this study are often at odds with Herman and Chomsky’s expectations under the propaganda model, and their predictions of what the news content would be were often found to be inaccurate.
For example, Herman and Chomsky wrote: ‘Using a propaganda model…we would also expect the news stories about worthy and unworthy victims (or enemy and friendly states) to differ in quality. That is, we would expect official sources of the United States and its client states to be used heavily – and uncritically – in connection with one’s own abuses and those of friendly governments, while refugees and other dissident sources will be used in dealing with enemies.’
The results showed that although the ethnic-Albanian civilians did get much more coverage than the Serb civilians; the Serb civilians did receive a qualitatively similar coverage, with regular articles emphasising their suffering under the Nato bombing campaign. The reporting of the Nato collateral damage also usually led with reports from sources at the scene, the local media or Yugoslav official sources. Moreover, while Nato official sources were used heavily to explain their collateral damage incidents, they were also criticised heavily most of the time.
Herman and Chomsky also expected that the media would accept ‘one’s own state’ tells the truth; but the discussion section showed the media openly commented on the ‘propaganda’ being released by Nato in a two-way propaganda battle, and warned it was often unverified. Herman and Chomsky also: ‘expect great investigatory zeal in the search for enemy villainy…but diminished enterprise in examining such matters in connection with one’s own and friendly states;’ but the results and discussion section showed the media spent as much time investigating the Nato collateral damage incidents as the reports of Serb war crimes, and this was especially true of the NYT after the Chinese embassy bombing. Although reports of Serb war crimes initially seemed to be judged very newsworthy by most media sources, they soon faded off the front pages as the campaign wore on, and the reports became repetitive.
Herman and Chomsky also expected the ‘quality of coverage should also be displayed more directly and crudely in placement, headlining, word usage, and other modes of mobilising interest and outrage. In the opinion columns, we would anticipate sharp restraints on the range of opinion allowed expression;’ however, the results and discussion sections showed that loaded words critical of the Nato campaign were often used in headlines on the front pages, while the opinion columns were often more negative towards Nato than positive.
Herman and Chomsky seem to have failed to observe the changes in the American media since Korea, as most other American media analysts have, and noticed there is enough criticism of the Administration, and questioning of their information, to make propaganda an inaccurate description of the news content.
Philip Hammond also argued that the humanitarian dimension to Nato’s Kosovo campaign meant the left-wing media in the UK had relinquished their role as watchdogs, and so the British media during the Kosovo conflict was basically a propaganda arm of Nato.
Firstly, although the left-wing British media did support the Nato campaign, they also supported British military involvement in the Falklands and Gulf wars, so there is not as much of a historical change in the media coverage as Hammond tries to make out. Moreover, this study found there was quite a high level of criticism of the Nato campaign in the British media, and therefore it was not in line with the propaganda model. Although the humanitarian dimension to the war did make the left-wing media desperate for a Nato victory, it also made it highly critical of the Nato policy of only flying above 15,000 feet, as it felt it was doing little to ease the humanitarian crisis for much of the campaign, and was also causing civilian casualties.
Far from being propagandistic towards Nato, the media’s coverage of Nato bombs going astray and causing civilian casualties was prominent and consistent, and this led to complaints about the media coverage by New Labour leaders.