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4.1.4: Filter 4- Disciplining the media through "flak"

  • Page ID
    246573
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    When people or groups are dissatisfied with media content, they often respond with flak.

    Definition: Flak

    Negative responses to a media statement or program, including boycotts, complaints, or other forms of protest.

    Direct flak occurs when a person or organization complains directly to a media outlet, whereas indirect flak occurs when a person or organization puts pressure on shareholders or audiences. Ultimately, flak is about power, insofar as negatively responding to media content, and forcing media to change that content, is an exercise of power. There are often large organizations and think tanks -- on both sides of the partisan aisle -- that are created specifically for the purpose of creating flak. Flak can be uncomfortable and costly to the media, and might even lead to a loss of advertisers, so they try to avoid it when possible. However, "although the flak machines steadily attack the mass media, the media treat them well" (Herman & Chomsky, 1984, p. 28).

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