Manufacturing Consent In The Time Of An Election

The role of the media in this particular election in Pakistan needs to be critically investigated and examined.

Manufacturing Consent In The Time Of An Election

I grew up seeing my parents read both English and the Urdu newspapers and post reading they would give some of the portions to us children to read. Later on my father would ask me to explain what I had you read or to write a brief based on my understanding and then we would engage in a thorough discussion on the different aspects related to it. By the time I became a young boy, reading and then analysing all that I had read became a habit. 

At one stage, I was gifted a book, “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media” a 1988 book by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. It argues that the mass communication media of the U.S. "are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalised assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion", by means of the propaganda model of communication It explained the different aspects related to the current media. That book inspired me a lot and I began to read more books on this important subject and was trying to understand the working of the media, different aspects of its working in print, electronic and in social media. 

Very soon I realized the importance and the power of the media in the past and in the current world. I was also fascinated by many stalwart writers, columnists, field reporters and all other people related to all these three mediums of media.

While witnessing the Iraq war, Gulf war, political upheavals, Arab Spring (to distinguish from the Second Arab Spring) a series of anti-government protests, uprisings and armed rebellions that spread across much of the Arab world in the early 2010s. The role of the media was witnessed with significant aspects. It was then that I realised how the media is being controlled by the rich oligarchs to safeguard their interests and how weapon manufacturers have developed their inclusion in the global media to keep their stakes controlled across the universe. 

It is indeed true that the media played many times the worst character as to get massive financial stakes by becoming the partner in many crimes. But here let me also say and to tribute all those courageous people, related to the media, who had always stood for the equality, truth and for the human rights of all and we can see the remarkable examples of those reporters who were killed, while performing their duty in exposing the bitter truths of the ongoing War in the Gaza. 

I also salute to all the great journalists like Minhaj Barna, IA Rehman, Hussain Naqi, Khawar Naeem Hashmi and many more who stood against the brutal dictatorship of Zia and have always remained on the path of Truth and for the people of Pakistan. But while writing and quoting these shining examples, let me also accept that during the past years, our media has played a very bad role by propagating the untrue stories, by stigmatisation of people with their false attitudes. They have miserably progressed downwards in the terms of doing an authentic or rather the real journalism. I can keep on writing their inaccurate and false-hearted stories, but I was not surprised when to analyse their role in the context of the post elections in Pakistan. 

It was so sad to see that the big names in our leading channels were so inaccurate with their analysis, they were causing the chaos and the confusion by quoting the wrong preliminary election results and began to celebrate the victory of many candidates of their own, while the truth was on its way. I have seen them praising their affiliated political parties and saying bad words for the opponents, which I think shall never be an act to be done by the Journalist as their duty is just to do analysis by bringing the ground stories and in the true context, but what we witnessed was all contrary to that.  It really emphasise the need to wake up and not just to rely on their stories, read and search for the truth and always use our sense to examine the realities. 

In the end, I would like to quote the words, said by the remarkable Noam Chomsky, who has insisted that while the propaganda role of the media "is intensified by ownership and advertising" the problem mostly lies with "ideological-doctrinal commitments that are part of intellectual life" or intellectual culture of the people in power.