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The Mass Media is a Tool of Deception

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/24/2019 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 495 times Debate No: 120021
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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The argument that I will formulate will be the following:

Premise 1:
Informed citizens would threaten the contemporary structure of hierarchy and dominance as it undermines their self-interest.

Premise 2:
To ensure the citizens do not follow their self-interest indoctrination and deception becomes necessary.

Therefore, The Mass Media is a sophisticated apparatus of deception, Dedicated to distorting information to create "uninformed citizens making irrational choices" (i. E. Voting and supporting policies that contradict their self-interest).

This argument can be applied to multiple nations and conglomerates but to simplify the debate I want to focus on the United States and their privately owned media complex.

Hoping to have a productive and enrichening debate.


Who controls news? 1. The managers? 2. The investor? 3. The viewers? 4. The employees? 5. All of the above.
Who has the most influence? What do managers care about? Profit. What do investors care about? Returns. What do viewers care about? Entertainment and information. What do employees care about? Careers.

Premise 1:There are several major stakeholders in news companies. People who have control over the news have differing opinions and agendas.

Conclusion: It is not possible to control the Mass Media due to the fact that no one has enough power to control the news.

Maybe influencing the Mass Media is a more reasonable argument.
Debate Round No. 1


I appreciate your engagement. Though, You did not attack the premises of my argument. You simply stated a different one which I will come back to later on.

First regarding your questions. The question of 'who controls the news' is hard to answer in particular, But a little more simple in a general sense. In the United States today only 6 media corporations essentially own 90% of the media. (Whether to own = to control is another question essential to this). This is due to the fact that these huge corporations corner the market and buy up any media outlet unable to compete.

This link can give a little insight https://www. Morriscreative. Com/6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america/

Now I would argue that we have established that in the very least the large media corporations in the United States constitute monopolies that OWN the media.

In the world of private enterprise owning something essentially means controlling it. Private businesses are constructed in a hierarchical way, Meaning one does what the person above has ordered. The most influence/control, Therefore, Lies within the hands of the owners of the company. After this, The managers follow. The employees I would argue have some but very limited influence for the very reason you pointed out. Their incentive is to pursue a career and if reporting on something contrary to your superior's views threatens your career, You would want to be following along the narrative.

The influence of viewers and investors might be relevant, Though I would like to leave them aside for the sake of simplicity. If you, However, Want to include them again in your next point I will be happy to engage with it.

My last point will be regarding your argument.

I do believe your premise is flawed. While those people who have control over the media have 'differing opinions and agendas' to a certain extent, The homogeneity within the media corporations is at least to me very apparent and undeniable and I do believe one can see it in reporting on major issues.

I want to make clear that the argument cannot and will not be that those 6 company owners sit together and decide what can be reported on and what cannot (though the leadership of the corporations is heavily intertwined). Therefore I grant you that influencing the media might be is a 'reasonable argument'. However, Influence suggests that the media apparatus operates largely independently and there is only distortion and deception to a certain extent, While control, In my argument, Meant: distortion and deception is the norm and independent reporting and journalists is the exception.


Thank you for your very thoughtful and informative reply.

First of all, And just so we are on the same path, What we are debating is the truth value of both premises and whether they lead to the conclusion.

Premise 1: This premise assumes that the current hierarchy depends on irrational citizens. Why is that so? Is it possible that the current elite will remain in power or even grow their power if citizens become more rational? In addition and more crticially, Why is it in the media barons' interest to protect contemporary hierarchy?

Premise 2: In this argument you assume that ignorance is nurtured. Could it be that humans follow their emotions by nature and the media just tells the people what they want to hear?

I believe the premises, If true, Definitely do not lead to the conclusion. Firstly, The 6 major companies are owned by numerous shareholders. It is probable that the main driver of these corporations is generating profit regardless of the agenda which refutes the argument that they are deception machines. Also, We see severe disagreements between powerful people about the media which also refutes the homogeneity of the media.

https://money. Cnn. Com/quote/shareholders/shareholders. Html? Symb=FOX&subView=institutional

Can you give examples of "the homogeneity within the media corporations is at least to me very apparent and undeniable and I do believe one can see it in reporting on major issues. "?

To point out my pitfalls, I am new to debating and not a close subscriber to US media.
Debate Round No. 2


First of all I would like to apologize for taking so long to reply.
I really appreciate your constructiveness because indeed the premises need to be challenged.

Premise 1: I would argue that the current hierarchy depends on irrational or at least ill-informed citizens because the 'current elite' dictates policies in their interest which are "sharply disconnected" from "public opinion on policy" (Chomsky, 2017). Therefore, To avoid public backlash (e. G. Occupy movement, Yellow vest protests) people must be ill-informed about policy. If citizens were to become more rational and informed, They would ensure policies that benefit them are being implemented, Rather than policies that benefit the 'current elite'. The Media's interest in this is simply that they are part of the 'current elite' and participate in ensuring their self-interest which is, As you rightly stated, Ensuring profit.

Premise 2: The idea that 'the media just tells people what they want to hear' is not improbable, As it is one of the four "theories of the mass media" laid out by Heywood (2013). According to him the "Market model" is the idea that the media wants to "reflect rather than shape the views of the general public. " However, This theory completely ignores political interests of media companies which I believe is a flawed approach. The 'Dominant-Ideology model" and the "Elite-value model" to me sounded more convincing and I would definitely suggest you to check them out. At the end of the day it comes down to which one appears more convincing to you.

I will grant you that even if the premises turn out to be true they do not necessarily lead to the conclusion. This was my first debate and I thought a deductive argument would keep it most simply and would be the easiest way to start.

I will however not hesitate to provide you with examples of my personal perception of the media's bias and homogeneity. The first example that I would like to point to is the example of war/military intervention. Within the United States media it is shockingly rare to find examples of reporting that position themselves contrary to the government's position regarding the use of force. It is always encouraged, And almost never challenged. The arguments for this are often directly taken from the government (i. E. There is a humanitarian problem, Therefore, We have to intervene militarily to help those poor people). The fact that no intervention has been legally ratified by the international community and that every intervention has done more harm than good and effectively destroyed the region find no place in the media.

To give specific examples (I try to keep it short): The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was justified by lies (hussein's conncetion to al-qaida, Possession of WMDs) that the government put out, And encouraged by the media that kept on repeating those lies up to the point that more than 80% of soldiers believed their role was to punish hussein for his involvement in 9/11.
The media, Which to give them the benefit of the doubt might not have known the government was lying, Did not challenge the narrative, But pushed and encouraged it. To create uninformed citizens who will make the irrational choice to go to war with a country that did not attack the US, Nor was trying or planning to. The result of this, Namely the destruction of the region and the prosperity of terror groups might be reported afterwards, But with a new war, There comes new 'deception' as the examples of Libya and Syria show.

I understand this might be a lot of information which most probably is insufficient in supporting my claim as it could be completely disconnected. And I will come back to you talking about 'influence' rather than 'control', However, Given the example, 'influence' would mean that there is some or even great reporting on the lies, Rather than a complete cooptation of the apparatus.

As stated before I really appreciate your engagement and I would like you to give me one or two book suggestions that I can have a look at. If you want to get a little more into the United States' media and how they operate I would definitely suggest for you to read 'Manufacturing Consent' by Noam Chomsky, A man whose intellect I appreciate highly.

Thank you very much in advance it was a pleasure!


Amahrous forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by LOL98700z 3 years ago
Pro, And the instigator, I wish to point out 1 single mistake. I will not say that the source you have provided is confident enough for this topic. In fact, Morris Multimedia is also a part of that 6 media giant. More information can be found here: https://en. Wikipedia. Org/wiki/Morris_Multimedia
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