Sunday, November 29, 2015

American Media and Social Conditioning

I haven't subscribed to cable TV in well over a decade. I haven't had satellite TV a total of 16 months since 2007 (I had Tata Sky while I lived in India). That may not sound impressive but trust me, if you're not American, that is a profound statement and highly unusual in American culture. Why you may ask? America is a TV loving nation.

According to 87.1% of US households subscribe to cable or satellite  TV. There's special hours deemed "prime time" in which it 's the most expensive for advertisers to place their ads because the number of viewers who are switched on is so high. You guessed it, this is the time after everyone here gets off work and has had dinner and sits down to watch their favorite shows each weekday.

That's what our TV programs and news media outlets have become. I look around me and I see and interact with people who can't completely tell the difference between what they've seen on TV and actual, unaltered truth. The best time for me to point this out to you is right now.

Those of us in intercultural relationship have a unique opportunity to see 2 different sides to the stories and a chance to open our minds to the possibility that what the American news media tells you simply isn't real.

Take the current influx of Syrian refugees for example. This is a very hot button, controversial issue in the US right now. Both for immigration purposes and on issues of terrorism and a whole host of other topics. States are rising up and demanding it stop. Other states are welcoming refugees and it brings to light just how skewed our views have become.

Thanks to the media, news most specifically, many Americans believe that anyone with brown skin is a terrorist. It's more intense if they wear a turban of any kind of middle-eastern clothing. This is beginning to extend out to the black communities coming out of Africa as well, but none is more prominant than if you're brown.

News is supposed to provide us "noteworthy information" not drama, misperceptions and slanted propoganda. American TV hasn't been designed to merely entertain the masses. It's clearly structured to be used as a tool of control and it's mind-numbing how many people don't realize it. For longer than I can remember it's only sought out the extreme and perpetuated it as the norm in order to sensationalize the story, boost ratings and....yep, you guessed it....make money. The pursuit of the once almighty dollar.

This article really sums up how the media is used to socially condition you. People simple are being led to follow rather than seek out their own information or validate the information themselves. Still not sure?

Look at how American media reports on the Syrian refugees vs. other countries. Just read the titles. I'm not saying other countries don't sensationalize, but for this topic, those countries simply aren't putting themselves on high terrorist alert over displaced human beings.

British: The Guardian: Syrian refugees in America: separating fact from fiction in the debate
India: The Times of India: Syrians are not terrorists, refugee tells America
America: Reuters:  Gulf states, BRICs should do more for Syrian refugees: U.S.
America: CBS News: Syrian refugees turn up on U.S.-Mexico border again

Pay attention to the wording differences in just the titles alone. The British news is aiming to sort out the details; India is trying to calm the storm; America is saying we don't want them, you take them and omg, here we go again - can't we just be done with them already? Is it any reason the American people have such a negative sentiment when it comes to this particular issue? The news is skewed.

Why do you think this is? What purpose does it serve (other than making money) to misuse the media this way? I've only touched on the news and their sublte and blatant attempts to sway public opinion here. This post simply would get too long if I pointed out all they add into your favorite TV shows.

Be careful what you let into your minds. Once it's in there, it's very difficult to get it out.


  1. It is the same with Indian media these days with media house divided on political lines. There is lot of heat and dust. Since we suppose we are developing the demenour of the Indian news anchors is like Americans. However, news debates are rarely peaceful. Elections are most entertaining with news channels giving breathless explanations, swing of votes, vote share on the basis of caste, religion etc with colourful graphics. Lot of rudeness and noise signifying nothing.
    Every evening the same people are invited to speak on everything under the sun from politics to society, the same questions are asked with the anchor interrupting the guests rudely. This is an example

    There was a time when there was only one State run channel in India with straingjacketed news anchors speaking perfect HIndi and English. One of the news anchors was thrown out because she mispronounced and the other because she could not control her coughing. Ofcourse at that time these news anchors underwent vigorous training in diction and language. These days the language is mostly free flowing a mixture of everything. Those days news was boring and one could not imagine that it could be packaged and entertaining also. These days news is packaged and served like hot pizza.

    About the Syrian crisis, we are very happy that Russians are pounding ISIS. So, our media is full of exploits of Russian war planes and also the amazing weapons they have. There is a detailed analysis of the planes, missiles and tanks being used. This is like an open advertisement of Russian weapons. Since we have faced such terrorism for a long time, we are vary happy with Russia. Atleast it is not beating around the bush like America. America created this mess by leaving Iraq at the mercy of these terrorists.At least someone is sending these devils to heaven, thank god.


  2. APPI-
    The Nepali gov't has blocked all Indian news channels here in Nepal due to the ongoing India/Nepal border blockade. The blockade has been going on for about 2 months now causing fuel shortages. Cooking gas cylinders can only be bought on the black market now for $200 here in Nepal. Most Nepalis are cooking & keeping warm by wood fires. The streets are empty as there's no petrol or diesel for vehicles. Hospitals & clinics are running out of medicine.
    I am told the Nepali gov't won't allow any reporters near the border area- I have no idea what is going on in India.
    I'm getting sick of all the hysteria & hyperbole on US television. I think they're getting Americans all prepped & primed for another war.
    I'm sure you haven't seen anything on US television about Nepal since the earthquakes. I did a quick Google search & there's very little (if anything) about the Nepal/India border blockade nor the shortages Nepalis are suffering. Just goes to show you how myopic US television is.

    1. @Bibi

      India was the first one to reach out to Nepal during the earthquake. However, there was lot of chest thumping in Indian news and it was not appreciated by the Nepalis. Then when the Indian origin people did not get their due share in the Nepali constitution, Indian registered its protest, which was interpreted by Nepal as infringement of its sovereignty.

      The Indian origin people have cultural and social ties with people on the Indian side so it is a sensitive issue for India. There have been talks going on between the two countries. There is lot of politics involved.

      India has historical and social ties with Nepal and it is very important strategically. China has made inroads in Nepal and Nepal keeps on playing the China card. I think it is the same with all the neighbours of India. It is in India's own interest that this crisis gets resolved as early as possible.

      About America, the less said the better. There is a saying in Hindi "God is infinite and so are his tales". Since America plays god so often, there is no end to the mess it has created all over the world. It has left Iraq in mess and left the entire region to the mercy of fundamentalists. It is planning to leave Afghanisthan soon and I am afraid the same thing will happen there also.


    2. You're right, I haven't seen anything and didn't know anything was going on with Nepal and India. It's really kind of sad the things we don't hear about. This is news worth hearing, more so than the sensationalized crap we're stuck with listening to. I don't watch news at all. I get very little exposure to any of it and that makes me happy. I miss all the Trump drama, the ISIS beheadings, etc. I get bits and pieces from friends and family but I'm glad I am not having these things put into my mind. You can't unsee these things. It's my mind. I refuse to let the media force me to watch things that don't belong in my permanent memory.

    3. This was how India news used to be in good old days, no shouting, no drama, no gladiatorial fights, only women dressed in sari speaking impeccable English and hindi


  3. That's nothing new. You should read a book published in the 1920's I belive. Propaganda by Edward Bernay.
    I think the problem is not a as bad nowdays as it used to be. With the advent of the internet everyone has access to more sources, new information and can form their own opinions better.
    If you are asking for the purpose, it could also be that elections are coming up and emotional subjects (which immigration is) provide a great avenue to catch voters.
    The problem with the Refugee crisis, is that it is a humanitarian crisis and noone really has found solutions to those things.
    Also with information being able to pass more fluently, people that find themselves displaced are looking into what would be their best options and creates its own problems.
    At any rate, immigration and the brain drain both are real problems. America already has many infrastructual problems that it cant solve for its own citiziens, so I dont know if it would capable of sucessfully taking on a sudden influx of 2 million people. But thats the problem every single country faces when war displaces people . So far noone has come up with satisfactory solution that makes the best for everyone.