Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Video: Noam Chomsky — The Five Filters of the Mass Media Machine (animated)


According to American linguist and political activist, Noam Chomsky, media operate through 5 filters: ownership, advertising, the media elite, flak and the common enemy.  In this short animated film, Amy Goodman explains how each of these filters create the daily narrative of the news which upholds a view of the world that the rich and powerful wish us to believe.

Here are the five filters:

1. Media Ownership—The endgame of all mass media organizations is profit. It is in their interest to push for whatever guarantees that profit.

2. Advertising—Media costs more than consumers will pay: Advertisers fill the gap. What do advertisers pay for? Access to audiences. “It isn’t just that the media is selling you a product. They’re also selling advertisers a product: you.

3. Media Elite—Journalism cannot be a check on power, because the very system encourages complicity. Governments, corporations, and big institutions know how to influence the media. They feed it scoops and interviews with supposed experts. They make themselves crucial to the process of journalism. If you want to challenge power, you’ll be pushed to the margins…. You won’t be getting in. You’ll have lost your access.

4. Flack—When the story is inconvenient for the powers that be, you’ll see the flack machine in action: discrediting sources, trashing stories, and diverting the conversation.

5. The Common Enemy—To manufacture consent, you need an enemy, a target: Communism, terrorists, immigrants… a boogeyman to fear helps corral public opinion.


One comment on “Video: Noam Chomsky — The Five Filters of the Mass Media Machine (animated)

  1. triciaknoll
    April 23, 2017

    Whoa. Very clever animation! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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