Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

4.1: The Five Filters of the Propaganda Model

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Herman and Chomsky explain the ways that the mass media, under capitalism, function as propaganda through five filters. These filters allow the mass media to appear "objective" to audiences and discourage audiences from questioning the ways that the mass media uphold the ideological status quo and dominant groups/ideologies.

    The five filters that Herman and Chomsky propose are:

    1. The size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of dominant media

    2. Advertising as the primary source of income for corporate media

    3. The reliance on "trusted sources," which frequently means using government or corporate spokespeople who spend vast sums on public relations and lobbying

    4. Disciplining the media through "flak," both positive and negative

    5. "Anticommunism" a method of control (due to Manufacturing Consent being published during the final years of the Cold war; more current examples would be anti-socialism, anti-critical race theory, etc.)

    Below is a short video that discusses all five filters of the Propaganda Model. Subsequent sections of this OER discuss each filter in more detail.

    The Five Filters of the Mass Media Machine by Al Jazeera English, used under a CC BY International license


    Adapted text from Media Studies 101, used under a CC BY 4.0 International license


    4.1: The Five Filters of the Propaganda Model is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.