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4.1.5: Filter 5- “Anticommunism” as a method of control

  • Page ID
    246574
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    Herman and Chomsky's Propaganda Model was created during the Cold War, when anti-communist sentiment in the U.S. was rampant. While this is not currently the case, the anti-communism filter can still be applicable to mass media. Ultimately, anti-communism was used to mobilize a population against a common enemy, but it is such a fuzzy, non-specific ideology that is never really described, so it can be used as a justification for anything. During the Cold War, even fascism abroad was seen as a lesser evil than communism. When anti-communist fervor takes hold, there is no need to provide evidence of communism--the claim of of communism is seen as enough.

    As noted, anti-communism might not currently be a dominant ideology, but we can see similarly moves happening with terms such as "socialism" or "critical race theory." The news often uncritically uses these terms in a pejorative way, without even explaining what they mean or why they should be considered bad. Thus, all the media have to do is use a buzzword like "socialism" or "critical race theory," and people become defensive and distrustful without even really knowing why.

    For instance, critical race theory is a legal theory that focuses on systemic racism, was developed by Kimberlé Crenshaw (a legal scholar and activist), and is typically only taught in graduate schools within Humanities departments or in law school. For the past few years, critical race theory has recently come under fire from conservative interest groups, and has become a catch-all term to demonize all efforts toward equity, inclusion, and diversity. However, a Reuters/Ipsos poll (2021) has found that most people don't actually know what critical race theory is, and cannot accurately answer most questions about it. This is aligned with the fifth filter of the Propaganda Model insofar as the media use buzzwords to demonize concepts that most audience members don't even understand, beyond knowing that they should be afraid of them.


    4.1.5: Filter 5- “Anticommunism” as a method of control is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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