The Silenced Majority

The media propaganda model lives on

How mass media consistently produce news that favour corporate interests.

By Tor Sandberg


Noam Chomsky, who gave talks on the final day of the conference, emphasized in a panel discussion how the propaganda model illustrates the mass media’s shaping of perceptions of truth.
“The more educated are the main targets of propaganda,” said Chomsky, highlighting how the framing of stories plays a large role in this perception-shaping. As an example, Chomsky noted a case where a manufacturing sector was calling for some kind of a health policy, but the media dismissed the idea “as not politically possible.”
In this way, the corporate media effectively dismissed the entire idea of universal health care by claiming there wasn’t support, when, in reality, as Chomsky put it, “most Americans want some kind of [universal] health care found in other countries.”
Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the flow of information out of Ottawa has slowed to a trickle. Cabinet ministers and civil servants are muzzled. Access to Information requests are stalled and stymied by political interference. Genuine transparency is replaced by slick propaganda and spin designed to manipulate public opinion.

Part of the Hart House debates, Chomsky spoke at the University of Toronto on April 7, 2011 about class warfare, the State-Corporate Complex, the way in which corporate power is married to to state power and, how these factors represent a great threat to our freedom and survival.  LISTEN TO PODCAST



Make Democracy Actually Matter

Re-printed with permission from Richard Weald

Make Democracy Actually Matter

Elections Canada says that “Voting does not require a lot of time or effort – in other words, it is one of the easiest ways to have a say in how your society is governed.” I just want to express how totally I disagree with this in the light of our latest federal election.
Voting should probably be one of the hardest things for you to do. To understand issues, do your own research and to really make an informed decision, a person has to spend hundreds of hours learning, reading , listening— whatever. Being informed is hard and it takes a lot of effort. When (if) you go out and vote in the next election, please make sure you know what you are really doing when you put a mark next to someone’s name. Don’t do it because that’s what your parents do, or what your friends do, or because that’s what someone else told you to do. Don’t do it because you feel guilty about not voting or because you have a vague affinity for particular party and their buzz words— do it because you have real conviction and you actually believe in something. Continue reading

Are corporations corrupting Canadian children?


Resisting commercialism in our schools

| March 31, 2011

Consuming Schools: Commercialism and the End of Politics

by Trevor Norris
(University of Toronto Press, 2011; $27.95 paper)
Interview between Dr. Gavin Fridell, Chair of the Department of Politics at Trent University, and Dr. Trevor Norris, Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. This interview is a shortened version of the discussion that took place during the book launch of Consuming Schools: Commercialism and the End of Politics in the Hart House Library on Thursday Feb 24, 2011.
Gavin Fridell: To begin with, the forward to your book is written by Benjamin Barber who talks about consumerism as “a new ethos of infantilization” as corporations corrupt children and “dumb down” adults. I wonder what you think of this idea of “infantilization”?
Trevor Norris: You’ve raised a good question about a deep paradox regarding consumerism. On the one hand it results in what Neil Postman calls “the end of childhood,” because it undermines innocence, confines play, etc. By exposing kids to violence, sex, materialism, etc. it forces them to grow up quick.
However, in contrast, regarding citizenship, consumerism relentlessly promotes infantile values and world views, such as instant gratification, easy commodified solutions rather than those requiring more sustained efforts, and so on. Infantalization is how consumerism compromises democracy because it turns citizens into children.
It is ironic that we don’t let people vote unless they are of a certain age, and yet most advertising promotes infantile identities! So the innocence of childhood is compromised by consumerism even as consumerism promotes infantility among adults.