Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Political Brainwashing of the Media

Today the realms of politics, commercial advertising and news and entertainment media are surrounded by all methods of persuasion-techniques to make people believe either on conscious or unconscious levels.
This fact, shall not come as a surprise that "mind control" is a conspiracy theory orchestrated concept but rather a well-researched fact amongst the social psychologists. However, the phenomenon of mind control is processed by a number of dynamic systematic functions under the category of Persuasion techniques.
The phenomenon of mind control is not a lay notion with simple and plain connotations. It operates at the heart of “attitude” of an individual or a group. In social psychology “attitude” is the nucleus force that influences our behavior (towards something) and in order for someone to influence our behavior, they shall have the knowledge and the ability to influence our attitude and bring a change in it. This change could be well achieved by the application of diverse range of persuasion techniques.
Among such persuasion techniques, the technique which is broadly applied by the news (either print or electronic) media and the politicians currently is known as “Social Inoculation Theory”. Although, this theory is applied for many other reasons by even multinational corporations in order to gain competitive advantage over their competitors. However, nowadays this theory is simultaneously being used extensively by the corporate media to manipulate people’s attitude towards Islam, Muslims and particular group of Muslims which resist any sort of occupation or oppression being imposed upon them (either tangible or intangible).
“Social inoculation Theory” was devised after a study carried out by Hovland and his colleagues during the Second World War, working in the U.S. Army’s Information and Education Division. They analyzed if one sided or two sided messages were more effective in pursuing the audiences. Soon after the defeat of the Nazis in the World War II, their objective was to convince the American troops that the war would continue for next two years, due to the conflict with Japan. During the study, some soldiers were presented with one-sided messages, which didn’t include any opposing views, while the others were presented with the two-sided messages which not only mentioned the opposing view-points but also refuted them. It was concluded that the one-sided message worked better for those that believed that the war is far from being over, while the two-sided messages remained effective with those that initially believed that with Nazis’ defeat war would soon end. Furthermore, the two-sided message along with the refutation (of the opposing view-points) led to develop the sense of “inoculation” among the troops, which prevented them to be susceptible to any unwanted propaganda (from the opposing sides) and in response resist to it. (Hovland, Lumsdaine, Sheffield, 1949)
Later William McGuire developed this inoculation approach to persuasion to counter the Soviet’s propaganda being thrown at the American people. McGuire argued that people become susceptible to propaganda when they are nurtured in a society which overly-protects them from experiencing and confronting anything that is considered as a threat to culturally shared beliefs. Therefore, a certain amount of exposure to the other perspective and later to its refutation can help them resist and guard themselves from the out-side ideologies and practices.
The analogy for this theory was inspired from the field of medicine. It is observed that in order to inoculate people against a certain virus, they are injected with a very small amount of that particular virus, as a result the body can be inoculated against the virus and the immune system of the body starts to resist it (McGuire, 1999; McGuire & Papageorgis, 1961).
The primary purpose to devise this theory was to strengthen the mental resistance among the people towards any particular object (i.e. either people, idea, individual, belief system or a certain socio-political and economic system), however by not by merely sending a one sided propaganda message, rather by sending a two sided message which would be based on providing certain limited amount of message or opinion from the second end and then attempting to refute it, thereby strengthening and reinforcing the resistance in the audiences or the masses. Similarly, we learnt that this approach was used in order to prevent the American people from the propaganda of the soviets and the communists by inoculating them (make them resist) against any such identical political or economic ideologies.
The premise or rational well thought out behind such persuasive approach is this that it would give the impression to the audiences that they are inclining to a much objective, rational and a broadminded approach (Bohner et al., 2003).While on the other hand the impression being mentally orchestrated by the audiences is solely dependent upon the sender of the information, i.e. to what extent is the sender (of the information) manipulating the message either by providing a true picture of the situation or exploiting the information or the message to meet their (sender’s) own interests.
However, when “social inoculation theory” is applied in the context of changing the attitude of the people towards Islam in order to give rise to a psychological resistance against it, we reach a conclusion without any doubt that the campaign of such attempts are based on providing “an exploited two sided message” about Islam and the Muslims driven by the Zionist corporate media and a certain segment of Western politicians, which are no true representation or reflection of the authentic or true teachings of Islam and rather a delicately crafted “fantasy” and a “hoax” to be inculcated into the audiences mind, so that they either consciously or unconsciously continue to fear Islam as a belief or a way of living of almost 1.3 billion + people on this earth.
The application of “social inoculation theory” can be highlighted in some potential news report, for instance considering the recent ban by the French Government over the use of Hijab. Declaring that “it is against the state’s secular values”, which according to the theory is a one-sided message (in a news-report), and later the Muslim women using it respond that “it preserves their dignity and honor” (makes it a two-sided message in a news report) and finally the refutation of the women’s response with the statement, that “men and women are both equal and free” (in the news report by either the news reporter or some analysts) would help in inoculating the audiences against the women’s justification that used the Hijab.
The second most famous strategy in the international news media and the political dimension against Islam is known as the “repetition technique” or as the more renowned “mere-exposure effect” technique. Although, this technique is overwhelmingly popular in the commercial advertising it has proved to be an effective catalyst for those that wish to manipulate audience’s perception about Muslims, Islam and the population belonging to Islam being oppressed in certain parts of the world and to deceive the audience from the truth of their causes such as the movements in Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan, region of the Caucus, and etc.
The “mere-exposure effect” persuasion technique consists of persuading the audience through the method of presenting a particular message either in graphic or verbal or in combined ways by constantly repeating them either at a particular duration of time, or at no fixed time durations. However, the most important factor given fundamental consideration in the technique is the specific message and the particular image that needs to be portrayed regarding a certain thing (people, things and ideas) and which will need to be constantly repeated, so that the audiences are inculcated with the message to an extent that it affects their attitude regarding a certain thing in conscious and unconscious ways as the sender desires.  The technique doesn’t guarantee desired affects across all the audiences, therefore, some audiences that already hold a strong contrary opinion to the one which is being presented in the message are likely to reject it. Therefore, we observe that many people (although being non-Muslim) in various societies are not affected by the constant propaganda methods of the western media which attempts to malign Muslims or Islam or generalize Muslims to be as “violent or terrorist”.
Another preferred technique used in simultaneous combination with the “mere-exposure effect” is the “classical conditioning/associative learning” a learning technique discovered and studied by Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist and a 1904 Nobel Prize Winner for his study of the physiology of dogs digestive system. (Ivan Pavlov- The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1904)
The “classical conditioning” consists of identifying a neutral stimulus (object) for which an individual doesn’t have any certain feeling or neutrally responds toward, and later it is presented or associated with another stimulus (object) towards which an individual responds, and then continuously repeating them, until the similar nature of response (for the neutral stimulus) is achieved which is shown or displayed for another stimulus or object. For e.g. consider this technique in our example with combination of the “mere-exposure effect”, we see that in the post 9/11 world the media has associated the terms like “radical, extremist,, terrorist and fundamentalists” with Muslims and Islam, we know that any common person would have a negative mental image to the words like radical, extremists and terrorists, however, when associating them with Muslims and Islam on constant and repetitive basis it leads an individual or audiences to associate the negative mental image with Muslims and Islam and this process is repeated to the extent which ultimately leads the terms or the images to be perceived interchangeably, i.e. Muslims as the Terroristss, or Terrorists as the Muslims.
Moreover, the constant and repetitive display of bearded or face covered men battling against the U.S. & NATO Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, women either in Hijab or veil protesting against wars or oppressions against Muslims or women in veil/hijab from Muslim countries are a display of the brilliant application of the mere-exposure effect in combination with the “classical conditioning” to misinform the world against the Muslims and Islam.
This combined technique alike the previous one (social inoculation theory) is used in order to make people believe that Islam, Muslims and their constant cry of just causes all around the world are nothing but a grave threat to the global peace. Therefore, this technique doesn’t come to us as a surprise, when we switch on our televisions, log onto internets and tune into our radios to get some news and perceive the same old fabricated terms for Muslims such as “radical Islamic, Islamic extremists, Muslim Fundamentalists, Wahabbism and etc” either when the matter pertaining to the Muslims is of a social or a political concern.
However, thorough investigation of such attempts to malign Islam and Muslims could help in formally identifying the western media’s and political arena’s objectives. We could reach a conclusion with certainty that the objective of such propaganda and persuasion is to make the audiences which are not aware of the message of Islam, and its commandments’ wisdom to deceive them of the beauty of its message and to prevent people from embracing it as their way of life, to further deceive the people so that they don’t resist their own governments to stop their oppression against Muslims and to ultimately prevent the rise of Islam as a present age compatible socio-political and economic system anywhere in the world.
Yet the massive audiences shall remember that they are not completely restricted to initiate their pursuit of truth. People must try to understand that there are many credible sources on the internet, neighborhoods and the libraries which could help in their learning and orientation of Islam and in breaking the very connotation about Islam which is articulated by the biased factions of Media and the Political circles.
The best way and the first step approach is to be willing and motivated to get a copy of the Qur’an (translated in their native language) to study it and familiarize their minds with its message so that it allows them to learn about Islam and its commandments’ wisdom within its context. Secondly, the access to world famous Islamic orators on websites such as YouTube is a great treasure for those that wish to learn about Islam, orators like Dr. Zakir Naik, Bilal Abu Aminnah Phillips, Dr. Muhammad Salah (from Egypt), Abdul Raheem Green, Dr. Jamal Badawi, Yusuf Estes, and others are a great start for anyone to learn about Islam. Moreover, websites such as is a comprehensive source (run by Dr. Shaykh Muhammad As-Salah Munnajid) to learn about Islam from the context of sound teachings of Islam, respectively the Qur’an and the authentic ahadith are a treasure for the beginners and well-learned on Islam alike. Another place for the beginners to  learn about Islam is Islam Tomorroww , Chat Islamm or What Islam . Simultaneously, the people ought to consider reading too and that too from the credible authors that are presenting the truth about Islam and not individuals or people that come as a lay authority on Islam and misrepresent the religion to the people, so that they can liberate their minds from being controlled to seek a free thought.
Last, however not the least people need to consider going to diverse sources for a different perspective on the news of developing events, enabling them to get a complete background of the events and thereby empowering them with the choice to freely discern between the truth and falsehood in it.
Finally, the detailed explanations made in our discussion can be presented in the eloquence of the Qur’an to cease our argument, to shed our despair and to enlighten our hopes.
And they (disbelievers) plotted, and Allâh planned too. And Allâh is the Best of the planners.” (Qur’an, Al-e-Imran, Chapter 3, Ayat/Verse-54)
They (the disbelievers) want to extinguish Allâh’s Light with their mouths, but Allâh will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though the disbelievers hate (it).” (Qur’an, Taubah, Chapter 9, Ayat/Verse-32)