The media should keep the general population informed. For a population to practice their democratic power they need to be aware of the issues at hand, organise, and cast ballots based on that knowledge. Media outlets in western democracies are concerned with the exact opposite: keep the populace uninformed and depoliticised. The only time the media encourages popular participation is when the interest of the wealthy is threatened by left-wing movements, and a violent right-wing mass movement can be organised to counter that threat; redirecting the anger of the population away from the actual cause of their economic hardship to a caricature constructed by demagogues and political opportunists.
To understand the media, it is important to understand what the media consists of. A recent study has shown journalism to be one of the most socially exclusive professions in the country. A disproportionate number of journalists are privately educated and come from wealth. Journalists at senior positions in popular media outlets often earn six to seven-figure salaries. Owners of many private media outlets are multimillionaires and billionaires. All these factors contribute to the stories they cover and the politics they promote. The vested interest in preserving the economic system that has elevated their own economic and social status takes priority over reliving the poverty for large sections of the population the same economic system has brought about.
Mainstream journalism in the U.K. is a club for the rich, privately educated partisans, who have been given their position due to the connections and beliefs they share with other rich, privately educated partisans. This phenomenon has reduced both public and private sector media institutions to unofficial PR managers for politicians that support the interest of the wealthy.
Mainstream media outlets aim to keep the population passive, and fanatically demonise anyone challenging the parasitic economics of neoliberalism. This fact is apparent to anyone who has been paying attention to the recent news coverage of British politics. At a time when the Conservative government is providing military assistance to a dictatorship carrying out mass murder of civilians, the news has been dominated by supposed anti-Semitism within Labour. While the Conservative Government imposes cuts to public services that are linked to deaths of tens of thousands, mainstream media outlets attack Corbyn for not speaking fondly of colonisers and colonialist sympathiser – aka Zionists. The non-issue of anti-Semitism within Labour redirects the attention away from the mass murderers the Tory government is supporting, and a large number of domestic deaths that have been linked to Tory funding cuts. This is done in the effort to keep the population uninformed about the real issues and remove support for a leader whose policies do not accommodate the parasitic economics of marketisation.
Looking more closely at the issue of anti-Semitism: Jeremy Corbyn has never incited hate towards Jews, and his political positions have never led to a Jewish member of the British public being harmed. Through constant coverage of fictional cases of anti-Semitism, and the use of commentators that represent vested interest, media outlets are attempting to manufacture an opinion that is completely disconnected from reality. Using sources that represent vested interest: that’s propaganda. Through this propaganda they publish, they are able to set the agenda on what is being discussed, and more importantly, what is being criticised. This all leads to the absurd scenario where the real issues, policies, and actions that are objectively worse for the average person is left off of the agenda, as attacking political enemies is prioritised.
The media cannot undermine the economic policies Labour and Jeremy Corbyn support, so they vilify the man using manufactured outrage from partisans.
Most popular British media outlets in the UK is privately owned. Privately owned newspapers like all other private institutions are dominated by their financial interests. Maximising profits takes priority over all else. Hence newspapers that make their money through advertising are silently dictated to by advertisers. News coverage is done in consideration to who advertises on the platform. The need to make money supersedes the need to provide accurate coverage. If accurate coverage is prioritised over meeting the needs of the advertisers, it may result in fall in profit or bankruptcy.
Popular news outlets are not platforms which the average can afford to advertise on. As a result, these media organisations are owned by the rich, written by the rich, and advertised on by the rich, with everyone else reduced to a passive consumer; often consuming coverage that is false, and ideas that go against their own social and economic interest.
Those that have looked closely at the practices of the media in the west have concluded: media is means of controlling people through indoctrination. Media indoctrinate the populace to have beliefs that go against their own interest. One prominent example is the manufacturing of support for the ‘free market’, which is a market where the worker is free to be exploited with impunity. When the media isn’t instilling dangerous ideas, it is marginalising people through endless distraction like soap operas, reality tv, and sports.
To break the grip of the mainstream media, independent outlets and social media are playing a key role. It is essential to remember that social media websites are also owned by the rich. They may begin an aggressive clampdown on unwanted opinions if they choose. All progress made in the fight against the propagandist on television and print will be lost.
The best means to fight this concentrated power that aims to dominate through indoctrination: educate, organise, and ignore. When reading these so-called news stories, always ask: Who owns this news outlet? Who wrote the article? How much are they worth? How does publishing this information benefit their bank balance?