Media: A Propaganda Weapon


States have been constantly using mass media to legitimize their illegal, illegitimate, and barbaric actions for decades. As the public doesn’t have access to events happening all around the world, other than mass media. Therefore, they build their narratives based on information provided by the media. Media has become so powerful that it can alter an innocent to a criminal and a criminal to an innocent one. In this globalized world, it has become the most influential tool in the lives of the public. It is being considered the 5th pillar of the state. In the twenty-first century, states used this tool as a propaganda building platform. Propagandists have used media as a weapon against their enemies, used to gain public support and change the public perspective towards certain events. Developments in communication and technology have provided civilians with new ways of seeing and experiencing war from a distance.

Media owes its development from military research because the equipment used by media was first developed for communication between soldiers. It is being argued that if media not being able to make people think what it wants, it can make people think about what it wants them.  The essence of war is in its secrecy and the essence of journalism is in its publicity, this builds an antagonist relationship between media and the military. Media being so important is felt unsafe by states to leave it to own especially during emergencies. Media is being harnessed in such a way to be used for military purposes when the need arises. Mass media includes mainly news coming out of newsrooms, but Dramas and films are also considered a nascent form of propaganda building. Propaganda by media can make you win or lose wars by building perceptions among people and acting as a corridor between soldiers fighting on the battlefield and their families behind. The quality of news coverage is never more important than when a country is deciding to wage war or is in war.

Senator Hiram Johnson claims that “When war comes truth is the first causality”. States often take full control over news flowing during war times. War begins in the minds of men and media keep that mind primed with war. Some of the journalists hold media responsible for the outbreak of World War 1. Media promotes institutes of war and desensitizes the public for it by showing war imagery very often. The destruction of humanity is made thinkable by the media’s projection of war. The media’s abuse of language to promote war led humans towards being ready to fight a war of their annihilation. During the Bosnian war or Rwanda’s genocide media was used first to make an enemy of their rivals in the public’s eye and to create a sense of ultra-nationalism that led to the killing of thousands of lives.

Propaganda manipulates emotions more easily and readily than reason and the hatred is mostly aroused. Media stridently articulate language of war before the war and every person killed on the battlefield is first killed in newsrooms. Media often, on states secretive order performs New-Orwellianism: a mechanism in which culture industry markets and propagates dead emotions from history.  And attach them to the current affairs selectively and synthetically. Propaganda played a significant role in American entry into worldwar1. Willington House, A secret propaganda bureau of the United Kingdom (UK) was charged for formulating an attitude towards war in the USA. According to an American journalist Nicholas Cull, Propaganda by Britain during WW1 does not alter the course of history but only accelerated the process and made the friends friendlier. The highest office in a country forms the apex of hierarchy in a country of sources. Deference to news in high offices in the definition of the news in terms of helping audience predict future events by focusing on actions, plans and statements of the powerful. Not every time media bows down to the state but demur from a government’s campaign by media often leads towards charges of treachery, defeatism and backstabbing.

International and Israeli media is persistently playing in the hands of the Israeli government. Media through use and mainly abuse of language make barbaric actions of Israel look like their only option and as self-defense while the reality is contradictory to what media shows. They will use language as the riots by thousands of worshippers, throwing of stones by protestors on Israeli defense forces and won’t tell that the protests, not riots were in response to mass killings of civilians using modern weaponry. Media portray civilian killings as collateral damage rather than informing the public that it is the worst kind of humanitarian crime committed by the law and enforcement agencies of their state.  Similarly, India uses their media to make Muslims of Kashmir seem inhumane while reality being contradictory and their forces who commit severe crimes against humanity as innocent.

The state-owned propaganda that started in 1914 with the start of WW1 has emancipated with the period and has been a source of various conflicts around the world during the past century.  It has led to civil wars, genocides and has also decided victors. Propaganda can make an oppressor look like a humanist and a humanist as an oppressor. This misinformation and disinformation are major problems that states have faced during recent times. It is inconceivable that all warfare in the future will be fought via fiber-optic superhighways. States are not able to fight or resist propaganda. Propagandists know exactly how, when, and where to find you. The browsers and multimedia apps use Artificial intelligence to know about you and get to you by showing the content of their interest. The best way to curb destructive and hateful propaganda is to double, triple check everything from multiple sources.

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