Manipulation in the Media: Part Two- Partial Disclosure

In the previous post, I outlined one way the media manipulates us by high-jacking our emotions and causing us to focus on news items that are meant to tug at our heart or invoke anger. I explained a process to use their manipulation and turn it into healing for ourselves. We will now look at partial disclosure. This manipulation tactic is where only part of a story is told. It can be done in a written piece or by showing only part of a photograph. It can also be done by photo-shopping different pictures together. The latest bit where this was done was the cover of Time Magazine where Pres. Trump and a small crying child of color were shown opposite each other. The audience interpreted the meaning as the girl being taken from her parents while Trump did nothing to prevent it as per the recent rhetoric regarding the immigration crisis along the US southern border. It was a powerful image. As expected our emotions were actively engaged. The problem with this particular picture is that is a false representation of the facts.

Have you noticed that it seems no matter the news affiliation of traditional media the latest atrocity is recounted using many of the same inflections, descriptions and even the headline is eerily similar? It can be challenging to find the original publication so you can see the intended context of any given story. This may not be so surprising when you learn that six (6) corporations control the majority of the media industry: Time-Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corp, GE, CBS, and Viacom. As recently as 1983, there were at least fifty (50) corporations that shaped the way we viewed the world through news and independent journalism. To illustrate why having only six entities in control of our worldview is troubling, allow me to tell you a personal story.

Several years ago I was involved in a car accident. My daughter, a nephew, young cousin and another child, all around ten years old, were with me that day as we headed across town to the public pool. Just before the event, I was idling the car at a stop sign on a small side road waiting for a clear path to pull out onto the busy main two-lane street. I had to wait a couple of minutes to feel safe enough to get my older Buick Century to turn left into traffic and be on our way. A moment later, there were two wrecked cars. We were in one of them as we were spun around in the road with a smashed in right front fender. The kids and I were fine, but the young woman driving the small red sports car had a broken leg and wrecked front end.

I know I was at fault, no matter how fast she had been driving. She had the right of way, and I pulled out in front of her. When the report had been filed, I got a copy to take to my insurance company. It stated that the young girl was at fault and that she pulled out in front of me. She was charged with the accident. I questioned the report and asked to speak with the officer who filed it. He told me that witnesses saw her pull out from the far side road and hit my car as I drove down the main two-lane street. Both vehicles had been totaled. To do that kind of damage, someone had to be going faster than just pulling out from a dead stop. The next day, you could see the spin marks on the road where my car turned after being hit. I had to argue with the officer that the accident was my fault and explained where I was when I pulled out in front of her. He reluctantly changed the report.

When something happens, and people are questioned regarding what they saw, no one ever tells the exact same account. People do not notice or remember details the same as one another. Some things get left out, and some things get embellished. We are human and have different perspectives on what is essential and what is not of value. To have our world explained to us by so few entities are in danger of becoming a form of propaganda. It seems we are told what these five companies want us to know in the way they want us to understand it. This could be done with benevolent intention, but it takes away our ability to discern for ourselves the truth of the account. We are presented with stories from a perspective that may leave out crucial information so that we can make an informed opinion and then subsequent appropriate response.

One use of this tactic is to infer that the news that is being recounted is new information. It is not explained that this latest account is really part of a regular practice that was not made known in public forums when it first began. An example of this would be the #metoo movement. It was inferred by news agencies that these victims of sexual assault had only recently reported what happened to them in years past. It was also presumed that this movement was a recent thing. The public was left to wonder at the timing of coming out now regarding these events and in some cases attack those who accused some of the people whom the world respected. It was only after the damage was done that it was made known how some of the victims tried to seek justice right after the original event but were not believed or worse. Could the piece of news have been made into more of an exposé on the discovery of an ongoing problem instead of allowing us to be subject to what amounts to click-bait?

I was a beta reader for a friend’s manuscript where she instructs those new to social justice in how to go about this activity in a thoughtful, focused manner. One of her key points was not to be drawn in by every heart-wrenching cause that comes into your awareness. Helpless children and small cute animals are the favorite advertising trope to get more attention to the real product. Sometimes you are not even aware of what the actual product is because you are so caught up in the helpless or cuteness factor. This is to our detriment.

Advertising in the form of commercials are professionals at using this manipulation tool- deflection and distraction. You are busy looking or listening to all the good things in the short “film” so that you are not aware of the possible dangers in the product or service being offered. Pharmaceutical companies do this by using smiling people being healthy and active with a backdrop of beautiful scenery and soothing music. The voice inflection of the narrator is also soothing and hypnotic, even when they tell you that the drug they want you to ask for may cause potentially deadly side-effects. They say these things at the end when you are visually and audibly compromised.

No matter the story or the source, do your own research. Be open to other points of view and different yardsticks of measurement. The way things have always been done is not always the best way. Branch out and explore all sides of an issue without engaging in the emotional aspect of the reporting. Most of the time, no one side has the monopoly on the truth. It is often found in the middle or a blending of many perspectives. When you keep your worldview small, you are missing out on much of what life offers. We tell our children to travel and see the world. We all need to move in our mind as well and not get locked into our own echo-chambers of a version of truth.

In my memoir, Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health, I show you how I opened up my worldview of the medical field so that I could find other means to be well. I have integrated the good from each perspective to become the person I am now. You can find this book on Amazon at the link below.

Please do your own due diligence, these are only some of many sources I found:

Crying Girl on Time cover

Debunked Mocking of Disabled Reporter

Scripted Media

Who Owns the Media


Lyrica- RX drug for fibromyalgia pain

A List to Choose News Sources from Each Category 

Metaphysical Girl: How I Recovered My Mental Health

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