Mind Control, propaganda and brain washing in the media is rampant and is reaching epidemic proportions, its tough sifting fact from fiction for ordinary citizens of the world
By Fareeha Qayoom
don’t like reading newspapers or watching the news channels all that much. It’s full of horror stories.
Pakistan, unfortunately, has loads of English and Urdu daily newspapers. It’s surprising the number of newspapers because literacy is quite low in this country. (However, please don’t confuse or equate low literacy rate with lack of common sense. The average Joe is quite intelligent whatever his literacy rate). Once upon a time, you could figure out their bias towards a certain party (for example, The Nation News Group used to be 100 percent behind the Muslim League (N) and The News (GEO) Group behind The People’s party when I was growing up), but nowadays it’s tough to figure out their alliances. (One friend told me recently for example, that The News (GEO) Group is Anti-establishment, whatever that means). On top of it, the newspaper groups have acquired TV Channels too. They may be in the business of churning out news; however, it’s not necessarily pursuit of truth and justice that drives their businesses. It’s actually the pursuit of almighty dollar. Always.
Advertising is another sector that’s not interested in truth, justice and fair-play. They are also in the business of selling dreams, (read products) in the pursuit of almighty dollar. Movies, Music, Arts, Fashion and even sports are no longer safe either – all of them are commercial enterprises and the bottom line is earning the almighty dollar. Media plays a huge role in building stereotypes. You can get them to say anything as long as you pay them top dollars. It’s no secret. It’s legitimate business. This is a fact. Sigh.
This just makes it tough for ordinary citizens of the world like us to sift facts from fiction. Mind control, propaganda and brain washing are some of the techniques employed by the media to embed certain stereotypes in your brain. They all do it. We have instances of home-grown propaganda in our country too. PTV used to be one for the government when I was growing up. International media does it too. BBC, for example, is Pro-Israel and Anti-Muslim. They may deny it but you can tell if you watch their news daily. No one is free from in-built bias. Even I am biased. I am pro-ethics. The other day, a friend of mine sent me an article on Cigars that she wanted me to publish on Tkfr.com. I rejected it because I refuse to promote smoking. Printing a health warning at the end of the article didn’t satisfy my personal code of ethics.
So what brought this on? Number of factors, the top being that for a last few months I have started reading the newspapers daily – I noticed the underlying themes that seem to plague the news; for example, the propaganda war by India against Pakistan (which they are winning by the way), or the propaganda war against ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence service by western media or the propaganda war against Muslims generally, to veil or not veil in France or the situation in Malaysia particularly – for a couple of months, I have been reading the western newspapers churning out negative news about Muslims of Malaysia. You probably read these short news articles that are being released gradually and are being built up slowly in the media too. The process is so gradual that you might not notice that the Malaysian Muslims are being demonized in the western press.
I even looked up the map of the world and Malaysia’s place in it to try to figure out the reason for the western media and their governments’ interest in demonizing the Muslims of Malaysia? As a fellow Muslim, I don’t buy the weird stories that are suddenly coming out of there, (the fight over the name “Allah” which simply means “The God” and some ‘radical’ or ‘misguided’ Muslims taking offense at non-Muslims using it which is strange to me because the middle eastern Arab non-Muslims have been referring to God as Allah for centuries and it never caused a fight between the two or led to burning of their churches or the recent news of public caning of three adulterous women who came out of the woodwork volunteering to be caned? Publicizing your sins, major or minor, is not the done thing in Islam. You are supposed to repent in private. Islam subscribes to the view, the door of repentance is open till death and human beings can see the light any time, so there is no need to come out of the closet to announce that you are a sinner and acquire a certain reputation in the society. I found the whole thing incredible and bizarre and since I am familiar with teachings of Islam, these stories were totally incredible. I frankly refused to believe them. I thought the stories were a plant, or someone had funded this activity and I happened to mention this to my brother. He told me to snap out of it. Apparently, “majority of Muslims the world over are illiterate and are quite capable of behaving like that” in his opinion! No funding required and I am the exception, not a norm because I don’t behave like that.) So even he had bought into the stereotype that left to themselves; Muslims will behave like a mob! He is an educated, free thinking individual. What’s more – he is a fellow Muslim and he has never engaged in such behavior. Nor has his friends. Or my friends, for that matter, or friends of our friends but what the heck, the minority is the norm, not the majority. By the way, Malaysia’s literacy rate is 88.7 percent according to CIA’s world fact book.
What’s going on? I also felt sorry for fellow Pakistanis who were buying up property and dual nationality in Malaysia to escape the situation at home. Apparently, no Muslim country is safe for them! It would be better to stick to Pakistan because; Malaysia is a future hot spot of trouble. I can tell.
It would be naïve of you to think that media doesn’t create stereotypes or doesn’t engage in propaganda, mind control or brain washing techniques. Remember, successful campaigns like the demonizing of “Talibans” in the 90s before 9/11 or “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” or the recent propaganda “Pakistan’s nukes could fall into wrong hands,” or “ISI is patronizing terrorist elements,” or so many more.
I personally believe there are two sides to every story. One nation’s hero is another nation’s villain. In my book, the newspaper or media is biased if it promotes one side of the story to the detriment of the other. If both sides are not equally represented in the news, it is propaganda. Furthermore, the citizens of the world come equipped with their own sense of morality. Reporting just the facts and leaving the conclusions up to them makes for non-biased, truthful reporting which is unfortunately, not the way to earn top dollar or the rating wars.
Unfortunate but true. Money is the only bottom line in the capitalistic society. Whoever pays their bills has right to be heard on the news. The rest can take a hike. ♦