The Impacts of Misleading Media:A brief Survey of Television disinformation
آثار وسائل الإعلام المُضَلِّلَة: لمحة موجزة عن التضليل التلفزي
Dr. Hamza Ait El Housseine, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech , Morocco
د. حمزة أيت الحسين/جامعة القاضي عياض، المغرب
مقال منشور مجلة جيل العلوم الانسانية والاجتماعية العدد 95 الصفحة 107.
يعرف العالم طفرة نوعية لا ينكر سرعتها الفائقة والخطيرة إلا جاحد، وهذه الطفرة تتمثل في التحدي التكنولوجي والتطور المتسارع للثورة المعرفية والمعلوماتية؛ وقد كتب الكثير عن منتجات الوسائط ووسائل الإعلام، باعتبارها تشمل مجموعة كبيرة ومتنوعة جدًا من التقنيات، التي يمكن أن يصل تأثيرها إلى ملايين الأشخاص في وقت قليل جدًا، عبر جميع وسائل الاتصال والتواصل المعروفة في زمننا الحاضر؛ والتي تشمل أيضًا مجموعة متنوعة من المنافذ الشديدة التفرع؛ بشكل أصبحت معه تشكل حياة افتراضية تحيط بالحياة الواقعية، بل تجاوزت ذلك لتصبح واقعا من نوع آخر. هذا الدور المهم للغاية، يمكن في كثير من الأحيان أن يجعل هذه الوسائط، التي يمكن نعتها بـ”الجماهيرية”لملامستها لشرائح مجتمعية واسعة جدا، تنقلب ضد الإرادة الحقيقية للمستهلكين/المستفيدين منها؛ بشكل لا يمكن معه لهؤلاء التعرف على التغييرات- وأحيانًا تكون خطيرة- التي تقوم بها هذه المنتجات على سلوكاتهم وحياتهم الشخصية، لذا في الصفحات التالية سأحاول بإيجاز تحديد الإواليات والميكانيزمات الكامنة وراء هذه الإرادة في تغيير الجمهور المستفيد، وبعض أوجه “الثورة الميديولوجية” كما نعتها بذلك ريجيس دوبري، من خلال استغلال استهلاك هالخاصل منتجات هذه الوسائط، مما يعني إخضاعه للتغيير بطريقة ممنهجة لطيفة ويسيرة، وسيتم التركيز في ذلك على مثال المنتوج التلفزي، من خلال الوقوف على أهم مناحي وظيفة التضليل فيه، ضمن سياق استحضار السعي الدائم لاستمالة المستهلك/المتتبع وتخدير وعيه بشكل مكثف.
الكلمات المفتاحية: وسائل الإعلام، الثورة المعلوماتية، التضليل التلفزي، تغيير السلوك.
Much has been said about Media products and Mass Media, which refers to a very large and diverse array of technologies that can reach Millions of people in a very short time via all the known mass communication, which include as well a variety of outlets brunches. This very important position can make those mass Media turn against the real will of consumers/beneficiaries in a certain way that these latest couldn’t be able to recognize the changes, and sometimes dangerous ones, that these products are making on their behavior and personal life. So in the following pages I will try to define the mechanisms behind this will of changing audience by its own consuming of Media products, which means subduing him to change in a soft and kindly way. This will focus on the example of the TV product, by examining the most important aspects of the misinformation function in it, within the context of evoking the constant quest to win over the consumer/follower, and intensely anesthetize its consciousness.
Key Word: Media products, Mass Media, Misleading, Communication, Television.
The socio-historical sources about the history of intellectual production that related to the elements of the authority/elite’s relationship with the rest of society, over the course of historical eras, confirms without any doubt a dual view of this relationship. One aspect of this view on the one hand is what can be called “the desired knowledge” and on the other hand there is this which is called “the undesirable knowledge”, both of them are subject to the vertical view of the political authority, through the gate of disinformation in all its forms and means.
In this short analysis, I have tried to identify the most important aspects of how television is misleading in relation to the impacts on the consumers mentality, in the context of evoking the relationship of political authority with the rest of society, especially the “disturbing” educated elite, and constantly seeking to seduce and anesthetize its consciousness intensively.
1_ The misleading function
The greatest triumph of media misleading is to take advantage of the historical circumstances of western evolution by enshrining a specific concept of freedom formulated in individualistic terms. This can be understood from the performance of a dual function either from the protection of individual property, or on the other hand the emergence of the myth of concern for individual well-being; and in this direction is building a complete structure of media disinformation. In order for this disinformation to play its role effectively, “the evidence of its existence must be hidden”, that is, the misleading is successful when the misguided feel that the things around them are ordinary and in their normal nature, “that is, the constant denial of its existence”.
The media works to achieve this goal (misleading) by offering it to the masses full of values and standards, whether in realistic or fictional images, or in images with mixed reality and imagination. All of this has a strong influence on the values of individuals as well as on their attitudes and ideas. “It has become recognized that a nation, any nation, cannot live without giving the media issue and its means the attention it deserves”. This interest in both dimensions, whether thinking about the danger that the media holds, or in a second dimension, due to occupying the daily hours by following the programs.
“In their passion to dominate, to mold others to their patterns and their way of life, the invaders desire to know how those they have invaded apprehend reality –only to dominate them more effectively”.
Misinformation is a form of subjugation of the masses smoothly; it is symbolic violence practiced on individuals on many occasions. Saying that entertainment, for example, does not carry any misleading trait is “one of the biggest tricks of history”. Entertainment in itself carries the features of misinformation or the displacement of the recipient to the realms of imagination and escape from reality despite the myth that entertainment and enjoying are independent of value and are found outside the social process.
In fact, the media system benefits from the use of all forms familiar to popular culture, comic books, cartoons, movies and series, sports events…etc. To put the watchers on the media field a variety of entertainment and value-loaded entertainment, such as a cultural industry that denies the existence of its time and effect in the process of individuals escaping from reality and the state of flaccidity. In this regard, we can only agree with Anthony Giddens as he has stated that, “The media does not provide us with the means for recreation, but rather contributes to shaping the kind of information that we receive and act upon in our lives”.
It is an explicit statement that describes the great effect that the media product has, through the ramifications of its types, on the mentality of individuals, and the mechanisms of dependency and guidance that they create in themselves.
New discoveries in the fields of digital culture, optical fibers and satellite systems have combined to integrate information and facilitate its transfer through multimedia that brings together several forms of communication in one medium. The interactive medium in which the individual plays a prominent position, whether in the process of its absorption and introspection of the contents of the media product, or its extraction as a behavioral pattern that includes eating, dressing, talking, etc., as an active participation with what he sees and hears in the media around the clock.
Several theories have been put forward about the mass media, and they differed in the degree and manner of influence, but it is recognized that the influence is there, despite the dispute between the “disaffected” and the “cheerleaders”; That argument summed up by the Italian semiotics scholar Umberto Ecoin his book Disaffected and Cheered. The disagreement that separates opponents of the popular culture from its supporters, each according to his desire, direction and interest, “the disaffected” are those who see in this new phenomenon a crisis of culture and democracy. Asfor the “cheerleaders”, they have another opinion, they are the ones who rejoice and gloat in the democracy of the entertainment culture so that it became accessible to millions.
Perhaps the controversial and intense debate surrounding technology focuses on this regard. The Herbert Marcuse’s criticism of Max Weber on rationality reinforces the argument of misinformation and oppression:
“Perhaps the concept of the technical mind itself is an ideology and not the use of technology is a start, but the technology itself is a domination of nature and man”.Moreover, considering mass media as technical tools, but rather high-tech, that reached its climax with the internet and various smart devices, which suggests this control that moves from the level of information and its control, according to the directions of those sitting behind “cameras” and “microphones” to a control that affects awareness and individual behavior As – the individual – is the consumer and the person in need of the information products, “it is a systematic, scientific and calculated control” that leads to misinformation that hides the evidence of its existence, and denies this by myths of neutrality and free personal choices.
Among the theories put forth on mass media is the opinion that “Daines” and “Mac Luhan” provided. Media influences the society through “how” and the way in which the media is conveyed, not with the content of the communication itself.
In the words of “McLuhan”, the medium is the message. Television for example affects the behavior of people and their attitudes because it is different in nature from other means such as newspapers and books, because the synchronization of the working sense of hearing and sight at the same time makes it easier to perceive the message and interact with it emotionally. Simply to be bid farewell to the relatively old (newspaper books), and the new computer, phone, and digital thin screens are welcomed, which transport the individual to the heart of the event; it is the thing that brings us to the first phone call in the history of mankind made by “ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL” with his assistant, “Watson”, his voice was carried by copper wires.
So the voice was transmitted until we got to cellular phones, we bid farewell to copper wire, and we opened up to cell phones that move with their owners in all places and times, to other developments that are very accurate and effective. It is the same thing that happened in the world of television, which was confined to the affluent classes, with a quality that cannot be compared to what it has now reached in any way to the point that almost every family now has more than one television set. This technical and technological breakthrough cannot be devoid of the mechanisms of penetration into the depths of individuals in order to attract their attention, suspense and place them in different psychological states according to the content of the recreational material. It is the forces that constantly seek to push the lives of individuals into the age of info-media (the era of the succession of technology and its development to the point where the individual is alienated in himself and deprived of his reality).
Generally, we can link misinformation, on this level, with a kind of effect, considering that the influence, in the broad meaning of the word, can be defined as any form of the act by element (A) that represents the influencer exercised on (B) affected.
The effect belongs to the category of authority relations, and (A) has an influence as if it has authority, but this influence is distinguished from authority by the type of the substances it uses; Influencing a person does not mean coercing him by presenting or showing the strength that we can mobilize against him, in order to surrender, but rather pushing the affected person kindly to see things with the same viewpoint of the influencer, We can then consider the effect as a very special form of authority, Which is based on persuasion as its main source.
From this standpoint, the television image has played a major role as a weapon of conquest and influence over groups, individuals and societies in parallel with the lack of deep scientific research that tackles it at the level of analysis and tracking. Therefore, this weapon has been moving frequently between the apparent appearance and the secret concealment.
The television image has imposed its authority over many generations on different nationalities, traditions and customs, and confined them all within the angle of its influence, relying on the cosmic slogan that globalization entrenches in all its forms and types, so that the image discourse has reached all corners of the world.
From the foregoing, we conclude that the image is considered a form of thought, with all its authority over the recipient, who benefits from its components and contents; therefore, it is necessary to focus on knowing the elements of its strength, as it targets a person through his/her various social and psychological states.
It is necessary to take care of the quality of the consumed image that it is never characterized by objectivity, but imposes on the consumer its content and directs it according to the desire of those who produced it, and here the goal of capturing and besieging is achieved so that enjoyment of watching is merely a clear path leading to a hidden world, a hidden world in which the type and proportion of the change to be applied to the consumer is determined.
So, the one who produced the image not only controls it, but also controls all types of consumers, At the times when modern technology facilitates this, and provides many very advanced means which help him to do the job, and the situation becomes more complicated when the consumer’s age decreases. This, as result, leads another reality which is: the reality of socialization within the revolution of information and communication technology.
Among the precise characteristics of the image: its ability to perform silent or symbolic transmission, making the consumer enter into a form of symbolic correspondence that produces a relationship between multiple mechanisms because a person can receive and send many pictures in a short time, and thus the large number of received and transmitted effects, in a way that makes the preventive analysis of human consciousness weakening in front of the large and varied TV content, which means spamming unwanted content into the individual and collective unconscious, according to the language of the image, and the desired effects and changes.
In this sense, the image carries endless questions that go beyond the issue of informing, enjoyment and entertainment to a deeper reality in which fundamental changes occur and hinder all sorts of communication that ordinary based on positive communication, to directed communication whose goals are related to people sitting behind image production techniques, supported by deep scientific strategies aimed at guiding collective thinking.
Finally, it was pointed out that dealing with the media, and all the products that emanate from it, should be subject to rational and logical analysis, because the products they provide are not all in order and positive, but rather have many negatives, and are supported by intellectual and ideological backgrounds, which the consumer cannot recognize if he is not aware of what he was watching, and the type of the channels he/ she follows.
This leads to another type of questions like: “how we can measure the effect of the image?” while we know that each type of image carries characteristics and features that make it different from the other types. The still image gives us the freedom to examine it and look carefully at its content, while the screen differs from it, as it accelerates its work with force that does not allow the viewer / recipient to examine, accept or reject, it is a continuous flow that does not stop.
The following paragraphs will be focused on the hidden side of television, because, as I see it, is so much easy to loose the sight of the real fact that this tool actually created in our world.
No one can deny that Aside of giving many information, programs and benefits to the audiences, TV has played many positive rolls, but most of them are, in a meaningful and systemic way, changing the world, changing us all over the world, gradually and slight, because it has a flipsides that are hidden.
One of those sides is fake news, this could be one of the most popular words that people repeated while dealing with Media, especially with TV, but do they really know what exactly this means? Most of them don’t!
No one can deny that TV’s product is full of Fake on many levels, fake Stories, fake Work Arts, fake Tickets, fake Images and fake Documents, each one of these levels is based on a strategic roll called “fake it till you make it” which leads to a hidden desire of achieving certain productors’ aims, is hard to tell how to how to choose, or find out what is fake from what is real, but all I can tell is that this misleading is more than just a fake, because it results many mental and cultural changes, TV has moved from the information age to the disinformation age, in which who control it decides how the fabric of our societies will work.
Here is an example of this, from “learn English British council” web site:
“In December 2016 Edgar M. Welch drove six hours from his home to Washington DC, where he opened fire in a pizzeria with an assault rifle. He had previously read an online news story about the restaurant being the headquarters of a group of child abusers run by Hillary Clinton. He decided to investigate for himself; fortunately, no one was hurt.
The story about Hillary Clinton is one of the most famous examples of the growing phenomenon dubbed ‘fake news’. The conspiracy theory about the pizzeria began to appear on websites TV and social networks in late October, before the US election. This was quickly denounced by publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. However, many people thought that these papers were themselves lying for political ends and instead of disappearing, the fake story snowballed. Tweets from ‘Representative Steven Smith of the 15th District of Georgia’ claimed that the mainstream media were telling falsehoods. Even though both this name and district were invented, the message was re-tweeted many times. A YouTube refutation of the New York Times article got 250,000 hits.
Fake news stories can be hard to control for several reasons. Many people mistrust established news sources and others just don’t read them, so the debunking of a fake story by a serious newspaper or TV channel has limited effect. In addition, the internet is very hard to police. When users are caught misusing one media platform, they simply go to another one or start up a website themselves.
There are also various reasons why people create fake news. Some have political motives, to belittle or incriminate their opponents. Other websites, like The Onion, deliberately publish fake news as satire – humorous comment on society and current affairs. Another group is in it for the profit: many people clicking on entertaining fake news stories can bring in a lot of advertising revenue. One man running fake news sites from Los Angeles said he was making up to US$ 30,000 a month in this way. There are also those, like the small-town teenagers in Macedonia who wrote fake news stories about Donald Trump, who seem to be motivated partly by money and partly by boredom”.
After all of this results we to the most important question, what can we do to stop fake news spreading?
First, make sure that the websites you read and TV you watch are legitimate, for example by looking carefully at the domain name and the About Us section. Check the sources of any quotes or figures given in the story. And for tv compare between many channels, remember that amazing stories about famous people will be covered by the mainstream media if they are true. Only share stories and news you know are true and let your friends and family know, tactfully, when they unknowingly share fake news. Together we can turn around the post-truth world, and protect all of us from its damage, and especially the new generation that was born in the age of these Media.
After this brief overview of television disinformation, it must be emphasized that dealing with the media must be accompanied by constant caution, as not everything that is said is true and not everything that is transmitted is positive and fit for consumption, just as the human body feeds on good food to build a strong body, it must consume good information from real media for a strong mind that thinks independently.
List of sources and references
Anthony Giddens; Sociology, translated by Fayez Al-Sayaa, Arab Organization for Translation, First Edition, Beirut, October 2005, (in Arabic).
Arman and Michel Matlar; A History of Communication Theories, translated by Nasreddin Al-Ayyad, The Arab Organization for Translation, Third Edition, (in Arabic).
Frank Kelch; The revolution in information, informational media and how it changed our world and your life, translated by Hossam El-Din Zakaria, review by Abd al-Salam Radwan, The World of Knowledge, No. 253, January 2000, (in Arabic).
Herbert Schiller; The Mind Managers, How the great Drivers of Puppies in Politics, Publicity and Mass Communication Attract Public Opinion, Translated by Abdel Salam Radwan, Alam Al Maàrifa magazine, N° 106, (in Arabic).
Jürgen Habermas; Science and technology as an ideology, translated by Hassan Saqr, Al-Jamal Publications, I 1, 2003, (in Arabic).
Mohamed Abdel-Ali Morsi; The Muslim Child Among the Benefits and Adversities of TV, Obeikan Library, First Edition, 1997, (in Arabic).
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1971.
Pudon and P,Porico; A Critical Lexicon of Sociology, translated by Salim Haddad, Edition 1, 1986.
– عالمي سعاد؛ مفهوم الصورة عند ريجيس دوبري، منشورات إفريقيا الشرق، بيروت لبنان، 2014، ص 13.
_ Herbert Schiller; The Mind Managers, How the great Drivers of Puppies in Politics, Publicity and Mass Communication Attract Public Opinion, Translated by Abdel Salam Radwan, Alam Al Maàrifa magazine, N° 106, p 16. (in Arabic).
 _ Ibid, p 16.
 _ Mohamed Abdel-Ali Morsi; The Muslim Child Among the Benefits and Adversities of TV, Obeikan Library, First Edition, 1997, p. 87, (in Arabic).
 _ Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1971.
 _ Herbert Schiller; The Mind Managers…, op cit, p 96.
 _ Anthony Giddens; Sociology, translated by Fayez Al-Sayaa, Arab Organization for Translation, First Edition, Beirut, October 2005, p. 532. (in Arabic).
 _ Arman and Michel Matlar; A History of Communication Theories, translated by Nasreddin Al-Ayyad, The Arab Organization for Translation, Third Edition, pp. 95.96. (in Arabic).
 _ Jürgen Habermas; Science and technology as an ideology, translated by Hassan Saqr, Al-Jamal Publications, I 1, 2003, p. 44. 45. (in Arabic).
 _ Ibid, P 45.
 _ Frank Kelch; The revolution in information, informational media and how it changed our world and your life, translated by Hossam El-Din Zakaria, review by Abd al-Salam Radwan, The World of Knowledge, No. 253, January 2000, p. 205. (in Arabic).
 _ Ibid, P 512.
 _ Pudon and P,Porico; A Critical Lexicon of Sociology, translated by Salim Haddad, Edition 1, 1986, p. 116.
 _ you can check it here : https://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/skills/reading/advanced-c1-reading/rise-fake-news.