Voices
in
Japan

poll

Do you think the mass media brainwash or try to brainwash the masses in your country?

47 Comments
© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

47 Comments
Login to comment

Yes, just look at JT

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The media depends on advertisers for revenue as do many bloggers and alternative social media sources. Each media source has its own corporate or individual bias.

I would add that the major news outlets in the west are directly linked to the military industrial complex. It's in their interest to have war, so one should not rely on them to get reliable information.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Yes.. And damn their censorship.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not in Australia, but international MSM seems so, if you follow every word and dont read/listen between the lines.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you've ever watched FOX News, you would not even have to ask this question. They convinced, in cahoots with W and Cheney and Rumsfeld, about 40% of Americans that Iraq was tied to 9/11. Which was a pure lie.

Not quite correct. I remember a small newspaper article shortly after 9/11 where (then) National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice held a press conference stating that they had looked into it and could find no connection between the 9/11 attacks and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

No, the lies told by the Bush Administration regarding Iraq were of a different sort and fooled ALL the news sources, not just Fox News. The timing of the lies strangely (or not) coincided with American troops nearing completion of their fruitless sweep of Afghanistan in the search for Osama Bin Laden. Faced with the pending embarrassment of admitting they invaded a country to find someone they were "sure" was there and failed to find a trace, some sort of diversion was needed to get the public's attention away from the Afghanistan debacle. Enter the 5" aluminum tube "proof" that Iraq was making weapons of mass destruction. WOOT! A NEW ENEMY THREATENS OUR CHERISHED LAND! Bush's Administration took a page from the Wizard of Oz's playbook: "Pay no attention to the Afghanistan search we have put behind the curtain! Pay attention to ME! THE WIZARD of IRAQ!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wallaroo - (I grew up not far from there) agree (w)hole heartedly with your sentiments. I'm glad to hear that there are others out there prostituting themselves to pay for food, shelter & clothing. Part of life's Trauberts Blues.

And how people accept the medias view of the world as "the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me dog" just simply astounds me.

So the ripples, ripple across the great pond.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's been more than a century since John Swinton stated how “journalists” are payed/make their living.: “There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.” Even in this age of information era, if the fundamental structure stays same, then, why should we expect the story to be any different? Personally, as a slight resistance, I occasionally make my part of donation for independent media but I cannot change the habit of majority who tend to watch louder media no matter how I point out how inconsistent they are.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

While brainwashing may well be a loaded expression, with a hangover from the old Us vs Soviet cold war era, conjuring up visions of experimental psychological torture to "change " personas - I think modern usage has a far less sinister side.

Language constantly changes - look no further than "awesome" - and brainwash is no exception. Young people are brainwashed into believing their smartphones are indispensable for life. This in my opinion, is quite an acceptable use of language to convey a necessary image. Who actually believes the said young persons have gone through electrode inmplants, water torture and sleep deprivation to acquire a "brainwashed" status???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do you think the mass media brainwash or try to brainwash the masses in your country?

If you've ever watched FOX News, you would not even have to ask this question. They convinced, in cahoots with W and Cheney and Rumsfeld, about 40% of Americans that Iraq was tied to 9/11. Which was a pure lie.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

MoonrakerDEC. 03, 2015 - 04:36PM JST So, do you really imagine that everyone (the majority) is open to and exposed to a wide variety of thought (through the media and/or their education)? It sounds absurd...

It sounds absurd because you've attempted to pass an absurd strawman for my argument. I never claimed all people are exposed to a wide variety of thought through their news media. They don't have to be for them to be capable of freely choosing from a variety of beliefs and positions such that it's arrogant to call them "brainwashed".

We live in an Internet-connected world. It's possible to go into the Wikipedia rabbit hole and by clicking no more than 3 links, get from the Aliens film to feminism. Even if some people aren't looking for a wide variety of ideas, they have access to them.

Your argument also assumes people must be explicitly taught an idea through their media in order to think of it or make choices involving it, but that's not how human cognition works. We are not didactic creatures, we're associative creatures. When I was a teenager growing up in the Bible Belt and frustrated by logical inconsistencies I saw in the popular interpretations of the Bible around me, I basically independently came up with several concepts that I would later discover form the core of the Bahá'í Faith. I had never been exposed to Bahá'í at that point - indeed, in my area people were still dealing with the tail end of the cult scare of the 80s and 90s so non-Christian proselytizing was quite looked down upon in my area. And the same thing happens all over the world. I know all kinds of people who have never been taught feminism, environmentalism, or socialism and yet are able to independently come up with ideas very similar to those things if not identical simply by responding to the world they see around them.

Face it, people aren't brainwashed. People are capable of coming up with all kinds of different ideas. Instead of denigrating everyone who hasn't chosen to believe the set of ideas you personally think are right, why not take a moment to honestly listen to those people to think about why they haven't jumped on board your personal bandwagon?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

THIRTY COMMENTS (not deleted by moderators) so far and no one has yet spotted the subliminal message:

"This is not your country. This is Japan. Go home!!"

I don't agree. There is certainly something similar to "brainwashing" in countries where the media is tightly controlled by the government. They are only presented with a single source for news and opinion and therefore don't get the benefit of opposing views. In MY country, however, there are enough differing media outlets to make such a claim false.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The media depends on advertisers for revenue as do many bloggers and alternative social media sources. Each media source has its own corporate or individual bias. In addition, budgets for investigative reporting have been slashed in many news organizations.

Another point to remember when trying to assess whether your brain is being laundered by the information you get, the media is not elected and not responsible to the people. Only the bottom $$$ line. Though it may operate more freely in democracies, it is not in any way democratic. The media would like us to think that it is serving our interests and our "need to know" when often it is peddling in sensationalism, salacious gossip and fear mongering.

The latter is especially true of the reports of terrorist activities. If those were not reported (in gory video footage relentlessly played for days on end) the power of terrorists would be significantly curtailed. Yes, people would be bombed and beheaded and the rest, but terrorists would not have an audience for activities that kill fewer people than common diseases and the possibility of traffic accidents that we live with quite complacently.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thank you for elegantly demonstrating exactly what I was getting at.

And that was? Ah, yes, that i belong to a fringe group that is arrogant, ignorant and inarticulate. Fair enough. So, do you really imagine that everyone (the majority) is open to and exposed to a wide variety of thought (through the media and/or their education)? It sounds absurd but for the sake of truth I am prepared to entertain that possibility. Give me a few days of asking Japanese people (cos that is where I am) if they can give me, say, a rationale for legalising narcotics; or whether Japan's economy is socialist, corporatist or capitalist, and what is the difference; or if advertising has a distorting effect on the market. I will prepare a list. Or, when I am next there, I will try to find out how many Britons can point out exactly how their country is a deeply-flawed liberal democracy. I will be overjoyed to find out I am wrong actually, as I am sure would the other 80% in this survey. But in return I would like you to point me in the direction of evidence of how people are as erudite and informed as you suggest.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I struggle with the media in my home country. Editorial agendas. Too much PC nonsense.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think the mass media blackouts of news is a problem with most news outlets globally. But brainwashing is a bit strong a word for the omission of the information about a current and or ongoing event. Like Fukushima Daiichi for instance, the mass media seems to think current real data about the incidents ramifications is against the law or under the secrecy bill and not allowed to be printed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

MoonrakerDEC. 02, 2015 - 11:28AM JST I don't think anyone doubts there are alternative points of view, as I said in my very first post, and that some of us take advantage of them.

And yet later, you say...

Therefore you get masses of people who are unaware of what kind of system they live in and cannot critique it themselves.

Note how you exclusively included yourself in the group of people who are aware of alternate views, and through the chain of logic (though not evidence) you used to lead up to the second of these two quoted sentences, you included pretty much everyone who presumably disagrees with you as people you claim to be incapable of independent thought. Thank you for elegantly demonstrating exactly what I was getting at.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Do you think the mass media brainwash or try to brainwash the masses in YOUR COUNTRY?"

THIRTY COMMENTS (not deleted by moderators) so far and no one has yet spotted the subliminal message:

"This is not your country. This is Japan. Go home!!"

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Do I think they, the mass media, intentionally try to brainwash people... no I don't. But I think big business along with central governments, Yes, are trying to influence the general population in a certain direction and their outlet is the mass media.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't think anyone doubts there are alternative points of view, as I said in my very first post, and that some of us take advantage of them. The question is does the mass of people in our own countries do likewise? Well, perhaps America is endowed with masses of free-thinking people but the countries I am more familiar have mass media - by which I include TV, newspapers and glossy publications of tat and gossip, and their online versions, which still constitute a huge proportion of the media to which people are exposed - which do not typically present critiques of, say, consumerism or capitalism from, say, environmental, socialist, feminist, or any other perspective. In fact they mostly ridicule others as cranks. And they are not about to give people media literacy by analyzing themselves or the advertising techniques which must surely work or companies wouldn't pay so much for them. And this is all no accident since by and large those who support advertising and the media which relies on it are not prepared to have the whole system questioned. Therefore you get masses of people who are unaware of what kind of system they live in and cannot critique it themselves. They just think it is "natural" and cannot conceive of how, for example, corporatism, corporate capitalism or even robber-baron capitalism might undermine democracy and their freedoms. They instead believe the rhetoric that we are free and don't question it. Now, does this constitute brainwashing? I say it does. If you cannot conceive of alternatives then you are not capable of making real choices for yourself. You are told to choose between grey and pink as if that is all there is. Now, if this is not your perception of your own country's media then perhaps your country is different. But if I was benefiting excessively from an existing system maybe I too would seek to make sure the rest believed in it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't really think that 'brainwashing' is the correct term. To state that mass-media is controlled by the government and limit the amounts of truths that are realised by the media would be closer to the point.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

FadamorDEC. 01, 2015 - 11:47PM JST Actually I wasn't assuming anything about the political parties. The point I tried to make (badly, apparently) was that people use the news sources that ALREADY ARE ALIGNED WITH THEIR BELIEFS. The news sources aren't changing the people's minds (the so-called "brainwashing"), the news sources are being chosen by the public based on how well they match what the public already thinks.

Well said and very true. The only thing I'd caution is that people don't go overboard with the "both sides do it" argument. The famous conservative media channels in the US (FOX, etc.) can be objectively shown to be more dishonest and manipulative than other networks. So we shouldn't deny that for some number of people, they choose more liberal news networks not because they confirm to that person's beliefs, but because they are seeking an alternative to the blatant bias and dishonesty in conservative networks. For example, Anthropogenic Climate Change is as near to a proven fact as anything gets in science. While no doubt some number of people are going to tune in to MSNBC (a so-called liberal network) for their editorial slant, some number of people are going to tune in because they honestly report the facts about the effects of CO2 pollution on climate change and FOX doesn't. OTOH I know of no field of news where FOX News has been shown through an objective study to be more objective and informative than any of their rivals.

So yes, both sides do it, but one side does it way more than the other.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Perhaps you are assuming, Fadamor, that there is big difference between the venal and corrupt Democrats and the venal and corrupt Republicans. When you can see the similarities you can also see that the alternatives to both pretty much don't come into public discourse.

Actually I wasn't assuming anything about the political parties. The point I tried to make (badly, apparently) was that people use the news sources that ALREADY ARE ALIGNED WITH THEIR BELIEFS. The news sources aren't changing the people's minds (the so-called "brainwashing"), the news sources are being chosen by the public based on how well they match what the public already thinks.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The answer is clearly 'yes'. ...and it's pretty effective. You only have to read the comments on pages like this when you see subjects like climate change come up. Of course, the scary thing is that it's done so well, both sides of the debate can clearly see the evidence of brainwashing (or perhaps brain-numbing is a better term) in the other...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Fadamor has it correct. The younger generation today cannot mentally cope with any opinions that counter what they demand or anything not considered PC. Mental midgets see an idea they don't like and throw around buzzwords like "brain-washed"

And with so many alternate media sources created by the internet that we can choose from, the idea of an all powerful mass media is long gone.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Every government tries to control the narrative thru mass media. Doesn't matter which country.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

NHK brainwash people? No, never. (sarcasm switch off)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

MoonrakerDEC. 01, 2015 - 09:17AM JST While I agree that "brainwashing," in its truest sense, might be a bit strong I do think that the pressure exerted by mass media is very persuasive to the majority of people.

No one ever uses "brainwash" to mean "persuade". You will never hear a competent speaker of English say words to the effect of "He brainwashed me into buying the insurance plan by making a comprehensive list of its benefits compared to its cost." "Brainwash" has a very specific meaning in English, where on some level the person who is said to be brainwashed is denied the capability of making choices for themself. "Brainwashing" is a term used in rhetoric to deny agency, and outside of the very few set of real examples I described above, it is only used to pretend the group said to be brainwashed is incapable of making decisions for themselves.

This is mainly through the omission of alternatives to the extent where there are believed not to be any.

That's not brainwashing. People are still free to investigate alternatives as they wish.

You seem to use the same device as those who say there is brainwashing of the masses, whom you allege believe themselves better than the rest, by calling them ignorant, arrogant and inarticulate fringe-dwellers. Then although you admit of social behaviour you deny there is responsibility beyond the individual level, and thereby hope to deny group-think that can be created by media working on behalf of those with power.

I'm not doing anything like the same. Are you uncomfortable with my calling people who use the term ignorant or inarticulate? Those are objective facts, at least with respect to the dispute in question. People who know have enough knowledge about their beliefs to articulate a persuasive argument don't call people who disagree with them "brainwashed" - because they already know how to persuade. Only people who are unable to be as persuasive as they would like to be resort to this dirty, arrogant tactic.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Nice try, katsu78, though I am not convinced myself. While I agree that "brainwashing," in its truest sense, might be a bit strong I do think that the pressure exerted by mass media is very persuasive to the majority of people. This is mainly through the omission of alternatives to the extent where there are believed not to be any. You seem to use the same device as those who say there is brainwashing of the masses, whom you allege believe themselves better than the rest, by calling them ignorant, arrogant and inarticulate fringe-dwellers. Then although you admit of social behaviour you deny there is responsibility beyond the individual level, and thereby hope to deny group-think that can be created by media working on behalf of those with power.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Agree@katsu, in the sense that brainwashing from the get-go was always coercive. The correct word in the question should have been "manipulate." If that word had been used, I would have certainly voted yes. But national governments are far worse than the mass media when it comes to manipulation.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There is no such thing as brainwashing, apart from some very rare cases involving complete social isolation, such as cult-like environments. It's a myth propegated by people too ignorant or inarticulate to persuade others of their opinion, yet too arrogant to acknowledge the failure is their own.

There is no such thing as "the mass media", at least not in this day and age. Implying that the hugely diverse media sources we have can all be lumped together as "mass" simply because they agree on something is a rhetorical trick used by people on the fringe to pretend their fringe-ness is a result of other people's conspiracy.

There is no such thing as "the masses." While humans are certainly social creatures and social interaction plays a big role in human behavior, thought and conscience take place on an individual level, so responsibility for individual behavior cannot rise beyond the individual who behaves. It's a myth propegated by people who want to believe they are inherently better than everyone around them.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Perhaps you are assuming, Fadamor, that there is big difference between the venal and corrupt Democrats and the venal and corrupt Republicans. When you can see the similarities you can also see that the alternatives to both pretty much don't come into public discourse. Americans can believe with straight faces that many Democrats are socialists or even Marxists. That tells you everything you need to know about how alternatives to capitalism are treated and disseminated in the US. America is by and for the rich and offers up the entirely bogus ideology that everyone can be rich, despite masses of evidence that it is almost socially static.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe so, but the source of brainwashing has to start somewhere

Why MUST there be "brainwashing" that had to have started somewhere? People read/watch the news they are comfortable with... here in the DC area the Republicans watch Fox News and read the Washington Times, Democrats watch - any other news channel besides Fox News - and read the Washington Post. If "brainwashing' was truly in progress, wouldn't everyone be watching only ONE channel and reading only ONE newspaper?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Fadamor Maybe so, but the source of brainwashing has to start somewhere, amalgamated durables.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

People here are apparently confusing an editorial stance with "brainwashing".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Brainwash is to strong of a word for most countries. Influence, intimidate, coerce are all fine, but brainwash is the wrong word for most of the countries that JT readers are from.

Convincing someone that a certain issue is good or bad is not brainwashing, likewise, convincing someone to by a product is not brainwashing. Convincing a citizen of a free country to defect and become a terrorist is brainwashing. Throwing someone in solitary confinement or torturing them to the point that they don't properly understand reality is brainwashing.

One of the things the media does do far to frequently is use inflamed words like brainwashing. Another thing is to use words incorrectly. Instead of using the proper word certain media may choose a word that has a positive or negative connotation so that by using it people could be made more sympathetic to the desires of the company. This however is still not the same as brainwashing.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I am curious about why almost one in 5 voters (at this point) DON'T seem to think the mass media brainwashes or attempts to brainwash the masses in their country yet we have had no comments supporting this position.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Been happening at least since the sinking of the USS Maine and yellow journalism

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In Japan? The very definition of 'brainwashed'. Kisha club reporting, interesting angles in material presented in textbooks, questionable cross-promotion on variety programmes, 'filtered' (i. anything unfavourable, thought-provoking or ideal-challenging is blocked) news & carefully-selected 'panels' on 'news' programs (quotations very important), speaker trucks, loudspeakers in general here, braindead advertising ('We're telling you it's delicious now go buy it! Even Johnny's members enjoy it! Oishii!') - could easily make it to a hundred on this list.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Brainwashing the masses is one of their main functions. Most wars would be impossible without the controlled media; they've got lots of blood on their hands.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

@Steve,

Mass media on the behalf of governments and commercial enterprises do a great job at brainwashing normal folk

You're Worth It!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mass media on the behalf of governments and commercial enterprises do a great job at brainwashing normal folk.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Are you asking if I think there's some kind of conspiracy to make people stupid? We don't need the mass media for that.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Frequently people in the media - especially news media have a kind of self-righteousness mantle: for instance telling everyone that (the) "people have a right to know" through them. In principle this is good, though in practice we eventually end up with questions like this one, if the media 'try to) brainwash the masses.

Here I get the Japan News, the English-language Yomiuri mouthpiece, or should I say Jiminto mouthpiece. And I come from Australia where the press and people's views are frequently polarised into Murdoch-News Corporation entity-sourced news and opinion and then the rest. Then, like @Reckless, I spend my time looking at alternative sources of news and viewpoints.

The media acquire a weird perception of kind of power. Then it turns to hubris, an egotistical love of the sounds of their own voices.

People - the masses - well, they talk about education being a door to freedom and choice. Yes, but not everybody. For instance, in the education institution where I work, there are a lot of highly educated people who still follow the broadcast views in a frighteningly unquestioning way. It is not just a Japan-thing: it happens everywhere. But in Japan, what counts for news and what counts for, say, TV entertainment and interest programs is so far out there, it is not surprising that commentators see this culture as a place where media brainwash the masses.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Brainwashing is fairly easy, just repetition of some simple idea, that's it. The platform is a news site such as Yahoo or a newspaper such as Asahi Shimbun. My only ace up the sleeve is that I know that I am brainwashed then can try to counteract it by meditation, reading alternative viewpoints, or keeping an open mind and making my own investigation.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

79% fear Paris-type terror attacks could happen in Japan: poll

'Nuff said?

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Getting objective news is always going to be difficult. You have to consider all the vested interests in a particular company, not to mention any personal bias from the reporters, researchers and editors, whether intentional or not.

The trouble is that quite a few organisations have figured this out and take advantage of it, whether corporately as with some of the American services or governmentally as with some of the stricter governed states in Europe or Asia. Even services that are normally viewed with less scepticism such as the BBC are open to abuse of this nature. The result is that people do parrot the opinions of media outlets, as close to brainwashing as makes no odds, amalgamated durables.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Of course it does. Mass media is always in the pockets of the ruling classes. it is not just that it pushes their points of view, it's other pernicious consequences arise from failing to air alternatives, as if there were none. The question is how dominant that mass media is and whether there are alternatives to it. Thankfully as English speakers connected to the Internet we can find alternatives.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites