Manipulative media

Amal Chatterjee
12 min readOct 27, 2020

Source : Google photo of the manipulative media

Synopsis : The manipulative media that push their own agenda , be it political or safeguarding the economic interest of their backers is everywhere but have come under scrutiny by the viewers everywhere who want the truth. So their dominance worldwide is being challenged now by more independent news channels and very dedicated and fearless reporters so the power is now shifting to the common people who will decide how the news should be disseminated.

The media meaning TV, newspapers and other printed tabloids make a lot of money so they become very powerful in influencing the viewers or the readers one way or the other on any subject. They increasingly play a crucial role in the politics of any country or in the international relationships between countries in a positive or negative way.

By and large most people get their information through television news and through the analysis done by some so called experts not realizing that the news media can be highly manipulative to sway people’s mind on any subject in favor of whoever pays the media most. They can and do run ads favoring certain candidates during the election year or they can and do run negative ads on the opponents that may have consequences.

In the process they rake in millions of dollars and increase their ratings but now it has come out that some media especially the TV and newspapers try to increase their ratings illegally by paying certain number of viewers to watch their channels so that it may appear that they are very popular.

The higher ratings can attract a large number of advertisers who pay a premium price for a short advertisement for whatever they are selling. No one wants to spend money on advertisements in a not so popular news media so different TV channels and news media want to be popular by using illegal means and by manipulating the ratings. If caught, they are given a hefty fine and a court reprimand but often they get away with a slap on their greedy wrists and nothing more.

Some TV channels are exclusively political in favor of a certain political party like the Fox TV in the United States while pretending that they offer unbiased news but people are not easily fooled these days and switch to channels that offer unbiased news. The competition for money through advertising and sponsorships is so fierce that the media tend to resort to dirty tricks to become more popular.

During the election campaigns, almost all politicians lie and make fake promises to attract voters and often win although in the next election they are reminded that they did not keep their promises so suffer losses.

The TV and radio channels as well as the numerous magazines and news papers are controlled by a few very powerful News corporations that have deep ties with some political parties in order to win huge benefits for them in some way or the other. Often we see that the CEO of a prominent news channel is given a top job as the Press Secretary or some such post in a newly elected government if he had supported the politician with money during the election campaign.

In the politics, the donors are often shielded from scrutiny by the public so that they can remain in the shadows and reap huge benefits if their candidate wins. They do so by influencing the government to favor bills that protect their business interests. The news media do the same in order to gain prominence and notoriety so they all tend to play the game of how to make more money to stay in business and prosper even if it means they have to spread fake news, incorrect news, exaggerated news, sensational news that attract more viewers, suppressing news that exposes their shenanigans or simply switch off the focus on certain news if it suits their agenda.

If a news channel exposes such dirty tricks played by their rivals, they can come under attack through fake news, cooked up and fake charges to drag them to court etc. or a massive campaign to discredit them publicly for going against powerful News Corporations who have very deep pockets and crooked lawyers.

One of the most dangerous professions is that of an investigative reporter who reports on the wrong doings of the elected officials or the mafia. They have lost hundreds of very courageous reporters who have been killed for their honesty and integrity in reporting news and the rest are threatened daily by those who see them as a threat to their business. In other countries, the honest and courageous reporters are put in jail on trumped up charges so as to discourage others to expose the criminals.

The news reporters who report directly from the war zones often suffer serious injuries or even death or are captured by the enemies who can then torture them or kill them or ask for ransom for their release. They are the real heroes and heroines who generate news at the cost of the great risk to their lives in very dangerous situations. The people who sit in their news headquarters back home simply read the news or analyze the news they receive from their reporters in the field but they get paid a much higher salary than the poor reporters who take all the risk.

Now the social media like the You tube, Facebook, Twitter and numerous other such channels put out news daily, some fake and some real to expose the wrongdoers that millions of people share through their cell phones and computers worldwide . There are some very wonderful and brave people in India who speak in such media fearlessly and expose the people who are corrupt, have stolen public money or have done other criminal acts but they do so at the grave risk to their lives daily. One such brave heart was Rajiv Dixit who was murdered by the goons of a political party because he spoke freely on them and their illegal activities ( read my blog called I miss Rajiv Dixit here )

This threat to the reporters is not limited to them but also extends to those who demand justice and freedom to speak against those who commit crimes. They may be activists of various NGOs who are fighting for human rights, for saving the environment and saving the endangered wild life, who are trying to rescue trafficked women and children, who are helping the rescued prostitutes, who are fighting for justice for those who have been killed for speaking the truth, who are fighting for equal rights for girls and women to have education like what Malala Yousafzai does.

Source : Google photo of Malala Yousafzai

All those people face certain danger from those who see them as threats to their business or ideology so they send in the goons to do their dirty work. These unsung heroes and heroines are soon forgotten because people have short memories and tend to go on to the next topic of interest.

In some countries their governments take great interest in spreading false news like what Hitler did in Germany.

Google photo of Joseph Goebbels

He appointed Joseph Goebbels as the Propaganda Minister to spread fake news. Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was one of Adolf Hitler’s closest and most devoted associates, and was known for his skills in public speaking and his deeply virulent anti-Semitism, which was evident in his publicly voiced views. Wikipedia.

Goebbels was very good at what he did because he was a master of manipulation through fake news that pleased Hitler very much. He controlled what was to be published in any printed media and what could be shown in the movies but this is still being done in some autocratic countries like China where the freedom of press is very limited. They do not spare anyone who raises his voice in protest including the world famous artist Ai Wei Wei.

Google photo of Ai Wei Wei

But in so called democratic countries, this manipulation of the media goes on without any shame or guilt because it serves the economic interests of certain people who are in the politics, big corporations and other business.

The media manipulation is nothing new. It has been practiced since a long time by the state, by the people in power and the very rich and powerful people to safeguard their business interests. The form and the methods have also evolved over the years as the technology for the widespread dissemination of news worldwide brought in powerful tools to do so like the television, radio and Internet. Now the news can spread to all parts of the world no matter how remote using the satellites and wireless radio frequencies.

Today we live in the world where people can see each other and talk to each other in real time through Skype seamlessly. There are many such video transmission channels available for free to anyone who has a smart phone or access to a computer. You can send a video file, photos or written texts to any corner of the world instantly so the news can spread very fast especially bad news.

The big news corporations tend to sensationalize bad news like war, famine, genocide, natural calamities , corruption scandals, sexual misbehavior of some people more than good and decent news so people start forming negative opinions about certain countries from where the bad news are frequently reported. This attempt to sensationalize bad news gives the TV and radio channels a better rating than the ones that report mostly good news. Who cares if India sends a mission to the Moon? The reaction is why they are wasting their money on Moon mission when we hear that there are so many poor people there?

So what you hear or see in the media are often filtered to present only a derogative side of a country and rarely its successes.

The movie industry also plays a very important role in forming opinion about certain issues. Goebbels made movies to show how great Hitler was and what a good job he was doing while also showing how bad the Jews were sucking the blood of the German economy. His movies never showed the concentration camps where the Jews were being gassed or the Gestapo torture methods.

The Hollywood movies still use stereotypes to show how backward the Mexicans or the Chinese are and still make movies to show how backward and pathetic the Native Americans are. This is the bread and butter of the endless Western cowboy movies showing Injuns and squaws grovelling in the dirt. You add the real Indians with their horrible English accent and the Chinese to that list to get a very biased opinion among the viewers but the reality is very far from the movies. Still it makes some impression on the gullible. These unwashed, uneducated foul mouth people with bad teeth and worse manners also claim that the world is flat among other things.

One thing the big TV and radio news channels that manipulate news for the profit of their sponsors and backers is that they underestimate the power of the social media that uses the share button to spread real or fake news instantly and freely throughout the world. They fail to understand so underestimate the power the smart phone users have at their fingertips to create a Tsunami of millions who make their opinions on any issue known. I mentioned earlier that there are very brave people like Rajiv Dixit who using the You tube media have exposed numerous corrupt people and have brought tremendous pressure on the Government to punish the guilty at a great risk to their own life. There are many such people who are highly respected by the masses so they listen to them whenever they speak including the Government.

They create a mass reaction in the country through their expose to seek justice for someone who was murdered or is in jail on trumped up charges where the police beat him or her to make them sign fake confessions to crimes they never committed. This mass awareness has come through a revolution called smart phone that everyone has these days.

There are very intelligent young and not so young people who speak very fluently and passionately on current issues and do a better job of investigative reporting than the paid professionals. They are the social activists who are not afraid of the police or the goons of the mafia so they expose the crimes, the cruel policemen in the pay of the politicians, the corrupt officers of the government and many others to bring the issues to the front and to get justice.

One such girl in Sudan through her protests has been able to bring about great changes in the government because she has the persuasive power and the eloquence of her oratory skills that people admire. She was like the catalyst who started a firestorm there to bring about changes.

The manipulative media that follows the official line rarely has the courage to do so. They either ignore the social activists or give them the least coverage but the common people with cell phones make videos and post them on You tube that millions watch instantly. This revolution in the social media that spreads news instantly and without cost is a nightmare for the well-established news media run by the big corporations.

The downside of the instant messaging in the social media is the spread of fake news that some people make out of malice and to counter the real news if they are paid by the politicians who are under scrutiny so the common people discard them and delete them. You can never underestimate the basic intelligence of the masses.

In the undemocratic countries like North Korea and China, people pay a high price for voicing their dissent but it also happens in the so called democratic countries.

Remember Jane Fonda, Mohamed Ali and many others who openly criticized the US involvement in the war in Vietnam? They were constantly harassed by the FBI and were dragged to many Senate hearing to explain why they were so vocal. Jane Fonda was treated in Hollywood as a leper and was shunned even by her famous father Henry but she persisted and proved in the end that she was right in her protest.

Martin Luther King was killed by someone just because he wanted equal rights for all in the United Sates. His civil rights movement was a success but he never lived to see it. Bobby Kennedy was killed because he had started to investigate some very powerful people of their wrongdoings.

What hurts me most is when a corrupt policeman or a judge tries to force a journalist, reporter or an activist for a cause to reveal their sources so that they too can be arrested on false charges and beaten in jails. This happens in many countries in secret interrogation centers, in jails and in torture rooms where the innocent are thus punished. We know that no reporter or a journalist worth his salt will reveal his sources because he has the moral obligation to protect him or her. No court of law anywhere or a cruel policeman in the pay of the drug mafia or a politician can legally force a reporter to betray his sources so they suffer. It happens in democratic countries even today.

In conclusion I should say that the profession of the news reporters is a noble one that the common people in any country understand and support. What they do not support are the biased and manipulative TV channels and other media that do not present the truth and serve only the interest of those who pay them.

Therefore, I foresee a boycott of the big news channels of big corporations if people come to know their true agenda. I also see a decline in the movie industry that promotes drugs, violence and prostitution like what is happening now in Mumbai because the people will boycott them to show their anger. It is the same anger they show when they vote out the corrupt politicians so the power is now shifting to the people everywhere that makes bad people accountable for their crimes. Truth always prevails in the end but to get there, some people suffer needlessly.

Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русскиu