Many people assume that the topic of this paper—namely, what the media does to ensure that knowledge is limited in a democracy—is almost an obsolete topic, because with the internet and the proliferation of multiple other sources, it is really no longer the case that we are forced to rely upon a very small and homogenous set of sources. There's no denying that, theoretically at least, we all now have the ability—at least those of us with internet access have the ability—to circumvent the media's control over the information that we receive and to deliberately seek out a much wider range of political perspective. The problem, though, is that the only way that one will do that is if one believes that there is actually a reason to do it. In order to be sufficiently motivated to seek out such information, one must believe that there is certain information that we are either not getting, or are being somehow impeded from accessing; or conversely, that the set of information that we do get from the American media and the dominant corporations that control media discussions provide a basically full and truthful picture of the world. We have a very recent, significant example, where most of us know that, in fact, our political knowledge and political information were extremely limited and distorted and manipulated:the run-up to the Iraq War. It wasn't just that people were mistaken, but rather, that information was controlled—first by the government and then with the aid of the media. That fact has become a fairly mainstream view, because the control and the manipulation were so blatant that even the most mainstream sources were forced to talk about and confront it and acknowledge it.


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pp. 827-838
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