Sunday, 22 January 2012

How The Media Manipulates Us Into War

Generally, people assume that the media has the responsibility of presenting the truth and nothing but the truth in its journalistic reports about peace and war. It is agreed that an informed public is less likely to go to war.

The Transcend Media Service of the pioneering Johan Galtung nonviolence Transcend group in Norway, has presented a 'video of the week' from Global Research TV revealing some startling facts about mainstream media. The 14-minute video online 'Faking It: How the Media Manipulates the World into War' is worth watching. Summary:

'As the US and Iranian governments escalate tensions in the already volatile Straits of Hormuz, and China and Russia begin openly questioning Washington’s interference in their internal politics, the world remains on a knife-edge of military tension. Far from being a dispassionate observer of these developments, however, the media has in fact been central to increasing those tensions and preparing the public to expect a military confrontation. But as the online media rises to displace the traditional forms by which the public forms its understanding of the world, many are now beginning to see firsthand how the media lies the public into war.'

To help journalists make a correct picture of the world, Transcend offers a Solutions-Oriented Peace Journalism service to the public. Jake Lynch, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney presents a feature article: What is Peace Journalism?

In his opening remarks, Professor Lynch states: 'Peace journalism is when editors and reporters make choices  — about what to report, and how to report it  — that create opportunities for society at large to consider and to value non-violent responses to conflict.'

While the conventions of war journalism usually assumes a zero-sum game, leaving only further violence as a possible response, peace journalism, as a remedial strategy, chooses to supplement the news conventions by giving peace a chance. Here are five characteristics of peace journalism offered by Professor Lynch:
  1. Explores the backgrounds and contexts of conflict formation, presenting causes and options on every side (not just "both sides");
  2. Gives voice to the views of all rival parties, from all levels;
  3. Offers creative ideas for conflict resolution, development, peacemaking and peacekeeping;
  4. Exposes lies, cover-up attempts and culprits on all sides, and reveals excesses committed by, and suffering inflicted on, peoples of all parties;
  5. Pays attention to peace stories and post-war developments.
Of course, peace journalism is in favour of truth, as any must be. However, as a legitimate strategy in reporting especially on war and peace, it opens up multiple opportunities to inspect propaganda and other self-serving representations. As alternative media journalists, let us try to use as many of the five characteristics as listed above, while also avoiding demonizing language, labeling and so forth. By so doing, we will serve the public better and hopefully we will help give peace a chance.


  1. Yes, well said dear Koozma.

    From another perspective is it not us that manipulates the media into manipulating us into war. Are not the media, the politicians, et al only reflecting back to us our own shadow that we have not owned. Is not peace a quality that comes from us rather than happens to us.... a quality that we can resonate no matter the circumstances... at least if you are Christ-like. I'm still working on it ;)

    Sometimes I think Spirit Wrestlers ought to think about a name change. Rather than wrestlers how about lovers or dancers or singers. So instead of wrestling with the ideas and actions of the press and politicians we can subvert them as we subvert our own shadow with love and acceptance. Okay,I'm stuck in a vision and game plan circa 1967. The wrestling we do with the news and how it is presented might well be called loving... just think of it as foreplay... one divine spark with another.

    Yesterday I stopped by Occupy San Rafael... a weekend gathering of a few persistent souls. One person who had been to Occupy Washington war attempting to rally the "troops" as he railed against the corporations and the one percent. That's one way, though I could hear an echo of Hitler and McCarthy. Us versus them. Me, I may be still trying to experience the promise of the 1967 and the summer of love in San Francisco.

    Just a few thoughts. May all be well in Ontario.


  2. Hello Max,

    I appreciate your comments. Thank you for taking time to compose a thoughtful response. Indeed, there are echoes (or 'shadows') of the 1960s.

    With regards to manipulating, I am not sure who manipulates whom? There is certainly a relationship between the media and the people (and, as you know, people are different -- even with Spirit-Wrestlers).

  3. I just found the time to read this Koozma.
    It would be wonderful if journalists in ''the real world'' did as Prof Lynch suggests.
    Why don't you suggest this method to Ryerson's School of Journalism?
    All good wishes.

  4. Yes it is interesting how the media manipulates the actual truth. I find that I have to read 3-4 different publications to find a middle or more truthful line of what is the truth, or closer to the truth.

    An then look at the readers of these publications (I include all media here). Tell me why Fox News even has a following, Why the British newspapers even sell with the garbage they print.


  5. Dear Koozma,

    Belated birthday greetings on yout 80th.

    You are an inspiration to our faith with your non-violent and anti-war beliefs for a better world for all.

    We wish you and your family continued good health and happiness.

    Larry & Helen Negrave
    Calgary, AB