The media has historically proved to be a very effective way of shaping public opinion. Social movements have been created or destroyed thanks to them, financial crises have been hidden and ideological currents have been stimulated. So different studies and theories have emerged, such as Sylvain Timsit's media manipulation strategies.
This idea has generally been attributed to Noam Chomsky, albeit erroneously. The intention of the French writer was to highlight the psychosocial tools that can distract the public from what is really important. So thatthe real problems faced by the population are dispelled through manipulation of public opinion with the help of the media of communication, thus fomenting a more submissive and less critical society.
- 1 1. The strategy of distraction
- 2 2. The tendency to create problems and to propose solutions
- 3 3. The graduality strategy
- 4 4. The strategy of deferring
- 5 5. The tendency to speak from a higher intellectual position
- 6 6. The tendency to appeal to the emotional aspect rather than reflection
- 7 7. Keeping the public in ignorance
- 8 8. The tendency to make the public indulge in mediocrity
- 9 9. The Reinforcement of Self-Guilt
- 10 10. The tendency to believe that people are better known than themselves
- 11 Manipulation, or the art of using the weaknesses of others to take power
1. The strategy of distraction
The first of Sylvain Timsit's media manipulation strategies is distraction. It is an essential element of the control of society. Distraction consists ofdivert public attention from important issues.
The constant flood ofdistractions and information on trivial matters causes the public not to be interested in key issues related to politics, culture, economics or social issues. It is about keeping the focus away from real social problems by putting it on issues of little importance. Keep the public busy with banalities, without giving them the time or space to think.
2. The tendency to create problems and to propose solutions
This method involves creating a problem in order to provoke a certain reaction from the public, and that it voluntarily accepts, or even asks for itself, the solutions that the power wanted to implement from the beginning. For example,create an economic crisis so that the public accepts as a "necessary evil" the decline of labor rights and the precariousness of public services. Another example might be the development or intensification of urban violence, so that the public demands repressive policies.
3. The graduality strategy
It's about doingaccept an unacceptable measure by gradually applying it, slowly, even for years. For some, this is the way in which radically new socio-economic conditions, such as neoliberalism, were imposed in the 1980s and 1990s, giving rise to privatization and intensifying precariousness.
4. The strategy of deferring
Another way to accept an unpopular decision is to present it as "painful but necessary". It's about getting public acceptance on the moment, with the promise of applying it in the future.It is easier to accept a future sacrifice than immediate because the effort must not be made immediately. This gives the people more time to get used to the idea of change and to accept it with resignation when the time comes.
5. The tendency to speak from a higher intellectual position
Most commercials for the general public use somewhat childish speech, arguments, characters, and intonations. As if the viewer was not mature or did not have the ability to understand certain ideas.So when it comes to deceiving the public, the latter can respond even more childishly.
6. The tendency to appeal to the emotional aspect rather than reflection
Recourse to the most emotive side of people is a classic technique to stop the rational analysis of a situation, as well as its critical sense.The use of an emotional register also involves an instinctive behavior, based above all on desires or fears.
7. Keeping the public in ignorance
Another of Sylvain Timsit's strategies of meditational manipulation is tomake the general public unable to understand the technologies and methods used to control them. This applies to restrictions on education, reductions in the number of teachers, scholarships, masters at high costs, studies that are impossible for a large part of the population, etc.
8. The tendency to make the public indulge in mediocrity
It is about promoting the belief that it is appropriate and fashionable to be a vulgar, uneducated, uneducated or incorrect person, as we can see in a large number of television shows.
9. The Reinforcement of Self-Guilt
It is to make believe to the individual that he is solely responsible for his misfortune, due above all to his lack of intelligence, his weak abilities, or his lack of effort. So that the individual will blame and devalue rather than rebel against the system.
10. The tendency to believe that people are better known than themselves
The last of Sylvain Timsit's media manipulation strategies is to develop a system that allows people to know themselves better than themselves. Techniques such as biology, neuroscience or psychology will be used for this purpose.This will provide extensive control over the masses.
Knowing these strategies will not prevent some people from continuing to use them in their favor and interest. This will allow us nevertheless (as an individual within a very large group: society)to decide how much we will allow them to influence us, and how we will react when we detect their presence.