To clarify, the Propaganda Model says that a news organisation adapts to its environment the way any other organisation does.
It is a business which adapts to exclude thoughts which collide with its environment and this includes its owners, its sources, its advertisers, the pressure from powerful organisations which can cause trouble or damage reputation, and overall political taboo areas like communism and now Russia.
The model is empirical and there is room to explain causes.
I thought the emphasis on corporateness has been far too limited and it led to a distorted view of the ‘mainstream groupthink’, as if those outside the press are somehow in a different situation from those inside. As if the lies , the gullibility and the groupthink are mostly contained inside the press system.
I much prefer to start from social and cognitive perspective, where different degrees of groupthink are present everywhere, and corporate press is an amplifier, both internally and for society in general. Only later I realized that Chomsky started off with ‘The Responsibility of Intellectuals’ and somewhere he referred to Orwell’s essay ‘Freedom of the Press’ to point to general levels of groupthink within the well educated part of society and I believe he still considers corporate interpretation as less important.
So you have three levels
1. our cultural and social blinkers
2. corporate groupthink
3. manipulation and control
PM proponents are mostly starting from 3 and descending to 2 and they ignore 1.
This elevates 2 to some special and unique mechanism which is a distorted view. Nick Davies rightly thinks 3 is overrated and 2 is like talking to fish about the water. 1 is about the water, our culturally and socially defined blinkers.
A major reason why the Propaganda Model is not taken seriously is because either it’s talking about conspiracies of power or it is talking about arcane subjects like the water of our culturally defined blinkers.
I’m sure you can talk with Davies about the water if you announce it that way.
From there you can move to the water problem in corporate press and from there to water management.
Propaganda is tweaking groupthink. It’s massaging and reinforcing groupthink in a desired direction. It can be very powerful but one has to keep in mind there is no cleanroom :
there are no people who are outside of the system and not contaminated by its ideas. It’s in part ‘tweaking it from the inside’.
I should add.. there can come a point where the PR professionals, the sociopaths and the liars start to dominate, and then it still is groupthink but it gets really unhealthy.
Cook comes from Herman’s ‘corporate’ interpretation (2+3), having experienced its rather oppressive culture personally and seeing how it promoted the people with ‘the right ideas’ and demoted those with the wrong ideas.
He gradually extended/corrected that to include more general social groupthink and conformism.
This article covers how the three levels work together and that makes it powerful and important.