Monday, 05 April 2021 17:19

Media of Imperialism or Imperialism of Media (I)

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The following example given by the American political scientist Richard Fagen explains the effect of mass media on society and politics in a striking way: “If there was an opportunity to establish a network of deceit that could place 2 thousand people at key points in mass media, it would be possible to convince the whole of America and a large part of the world that the President of the USA is dead!”

According to Daniel Katz, Graeme Buton and Denis McQuail, media has five main functions. These are informative, cultural continuity, socialization, forming public opinion and entertainment.

The articulation of information and communication tools, the accelerated development of the internet and the technological development of recording equipment such as cameras or camcorders have led to differentiation in the field of journalism. Examples of this can be seen on television channels and on the websites of newspapers and on the internet such as Youtube, about the news provided by ordinary people. To put it briefly; Almost anyone with an internet-connected cell phone has the potential to become a global news reporter. In this context, while the concept of news reporter turns into crowd sourcing, it also decreases the importance of news reporting, especially foreign news. Therefore, the current phenomenon of news reporting will probably not be the focus of the news in the upcoming period. With the global news phenomenon, it can be predicted that everyone has moved to a different position where everyone is a viewer and everyone is a news reporter.

One of the most interesting features of the Internet and social media is that it eliminates physical boundaries, creating a new kind of globally featured public space. With interactive television hardware affected by computers and smartphones, it is possible to say that the formation of news will also have a more globalized quality. Twitter has 500 million members and Facebook has one billion members. Considering that the members formed a huge cluster through their friend lists, it is easy to understand why social media was so effective during the Arab Spring. Likewise, we have all witnessed how effective social media is during the Ukraine crisis and the Gezi Park protests in our country. 

Today, besides watching the news globally, the conditions for forming the news globally have also improved. This new situation confirms that the concept of news for media has been promoted to a new level, which we will call the concept of global news.

When we look critically at the functions of the media, which is the main tool of globalization, it is completely different from the master definitions given above. Accordingly, the media sells the economic system and consciousness management. From a general critical point of view; It is possible to say that it broadcasts according to the logic of the market economy and the effect it creates on the society is directed towards the actions of directing, using, passivating, activating, changing, dismembering and reuniting. In a society where individuals are heavily influenced by the media, the media is the determinant of the most widely accepted values. The mass culture, which develops under the control of the media, has come out of the control of the society, which is the producer and protector of the culture, and is produced artificially, standard and serially by the culture industry for commercial purposes. Politics, economy, culture, religion, in short, the media has come to the fore as a guide, perceptor and perception manager in all areas of our lives. The following example given by the American political scientist Richard Fagen explains the effect of mass media on society and politics in a striking way: “If there was an opportunity to establish a network of deceit that could place 2 thousand people at key points in mass media, it would be possible to convince the whole of America and a large part of the world that the President of the USA is dead!”

As a matter of fact, this perception management was experienced alive in the USA on October 30, 1938. CBS radio and its partner stations Orson Welles and Mercury Theater Group H. G. Wells presented the novel "The War of the Worlds" in a theatrical form and convinced the audience that the Martians invaded the world, causing a great chaos in America. The telephones of the police, firefighters and ambulances, the telephone switchboards of the radios and newspapers had failure. In most places, life is paralyzed. Tens of thousands of people were seen running mad on the streets. People were saying goodbye to their loved ones on phones. Others took a few pieces with them and jumped into their cars, trying to escape from cities to the countryside. The linking roads between the city and the provinces were locked. There were people who went out hunting aliens with hunting rifles in the streets. Some sought remedy in churches. Salvation rituals were held in dozens of churches. People wept and prayed to God. Those who were still listening to the broadcast at home covered their windows and door trims with wet towels to protect them from poisonous gas.

Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator, philosopher and one of the influential theorists of critical pedagogy and known for his work "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", says that manipulation of the human mind is a means of conquest. Manipulation is an effective method used when it is not possible to get the desired results with oppression methods. In the USA, manipulation is the number one means of social control, and those who will work in the manipulation network are chosen from among the smartest in the society, and they are paid high salaries. These developments are in harmony with the neo-liberal capitalist economic principles. Manipulation instills a sense of active involvement in what is happening to the majority on the one hand, while on the other hand, it is tried to prevent these people from making sufficient use of the possibilities of development.

While the American culture industry, which is the strongest pillar of the global media, is marketing American culture to the world, it both provides commercial gain and continues to propagate its ideology with various global manipulations. Hollywood is the basic element of the American culture industry. Hollywood is where cinema ends and political theology begins. America owes its hegemony in every field in the world to media power, not to gun power. Beginning with the Indian Americans, there is no war or occupation undertaken by the US, which would not be based on victory or justifiable reasons over Hollywood movies. We are talking about a mentality that manipulates and industrializes even war. After the 9/11 attacks, the repeated display of the images about the incident on the TVs over and over was nothing more than a global manipulation action aimed at keeping individuals in mind. "Repetition" and "frequency" are among the most important techniques used in the media, especially in advertisements. The images of the airplanes crashed, smoke rising from the towers and the moment of collapse, which were shown on the news for days, of course, made this event one of the most unforgettable images in the last fifty years. Shortly after the attack, US President George W. Bush made a statement to the world public opinion. Even if the statement was mainly aimed at condemning terrorism, the "demon" and "us/them" dilemma that was mentioned a lot in the text made it clear how the issue was perceived.

On September 20, 2001, George W. Bush made another historic speech. In this speech, Bush made clear that: “All regions, all countries must make a decision now. You are with us or with terrorists”. All countries were openly threatened after the American president saw the incident so separatist and made public statements in this way. At this point, it is not defined what terrorism is or how it is to support terrorism. Moreover, just as politicians did not define this issue, the media did not show a critical and questioning broadcasting policy. The fact that the USA has strong media facilities and networks has strengthened its hand in managing the process. When we look at the media order in the world, we know that the media is controlled by large capital groups. Those who owned these groups had to be with George W. Bush for the American economy and interests. It happened accordingly. There was a need for a media organization that supported him on this path that Bush drew with certain lines. Thus: "This country supports terrorism, let's punish it. Together, we must fight our enemies/demons", and there was little criticism and opposition from the media. Within the scope of the "fight against terrorism" policy, war against Afghanistan was declared on October 7, 2001, less than a month after September 11, 2001. Then, as we all know, it was Iraq’s turn. In the name of peace, tranquility and justice, blood, tears and injustice, among which mostly innocent people, still continue in these regions. While individuals would perhaps blame the government for this incident, the incident could be turned into heroism and a success story. All of these were conducted with the power of media. (TO BE CONTINUED...)

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