In today’s day and age there are so many ideas and so many opinions about all the millions of different of events occurring in the society around us and in the world around us. Opinions can drastically suck on one topic all depending on the point of view of an individual. But nowadays we know of events going on half way across the world but have no direct interactions with those events. Therefore our point of view must be formed. This is where the propaganda of the 21st century steps in. A quiet way to coerce the America’s ideals, standards and way of life to the American people.
Propaganda Over The Years . . Propaganda VS Persuasion21ST CENTURY PROPAGANDA
21st Century Propaganda differs from propaganda from the past, it now is much harder to recognize, it is embedded in everyday life.

The framing of the Arab world primarily since the 2001 September 11th attacks are an important example of this new type of propaganda to examine. America has been brainwashed to an extent when it comes to thinking about the Middle East, we are uniformed and over opinionated.

This framing of the Arab world I believe helps to aid America’s “war on terror”, and this framing does not just occur in the news. It is also present in our entertainment, in our political leaders speeches’. It has even trickled down into our everyday language constantly reinforcing certain ideals.

Terrorism has been associated with the Middle East and the Islam world. In fact when thinking of terrorist these days most Americans will think of a Muslim terrorist. This association has been embedded into American’s minds for almost ten years now. We make generalizations when it comes to the Middle East and the Islam world, we tend to be uniformed or only informed on a very basic level with a strong American point of view and we tend to have strong opinions about the Middle East.

Framing and consistent framing over a long period of time especially in this case is a form of propaganda. It is integrative, it for the most part keeps the American people quiet about America’s involvement in the Middle East, and about the war on terror post 9/11. The American people do not just start to accept this message but over time it just becomes natural. Our involvement in the Middle East has become normalized in many American’s lives and all young American’s lives.

This is a dangerous pattern to get ourselves into. Not only are we allowing others to make up our minds and control how we view the world, but we are viewing the world in a distorted way which in turn leads to misunderstandings in global relationships, It creates a misunderstanding of the Middle East and the Islam world among the American people. This makes the American people appear to an extent uneducated and full of emotion backed by no knowledge.

Jacques Ellul said that propaganda takes away our individuality by taking away our ability to critically think and judge a situation. He believes this causes us to lose our voice and to disappear into the masses (1973). I believe that this repetitive and constant framing of the Middle East has caused Americans to accept what is presented to us about the Middle East, not only that but very negative stereotypes are created around Middle Easterners and the Islam world. This phenomenon occurs and cripples our ability to make our own decisions about the Middle East. We like Ellul said disappear into the idea that the Middle East is a home to the radical Muslim terrorist.

By Use of News Media

After the September 11th attacks it became very easy to start to shape this war on terror in the Middle East theme. Immediately after the attacks President Bush created a macro-framework in response to that day, this was the only framework for journalist, politicians and citizens to think inside of.

This shaping and control if you will of our minds and way of though is done primarily two ways. First of all this is done through the news media and secondly through entertainment.

M. Trevino, A. M. Kanso and R. A. Nelson explore how the media portrays the Muslim world after 9/11 in their article “Islam Through Editorial Lenses”. These authors believe that “people, by nature, often fear the unknown; more importantly, they fear what they do not understand. A large measure of accountability lies with media decision makers, as their institutions are where most people turn to when retrieving information, thereby forming opinions” (p. 13).
Islam Through Editorial Lenses(click above to read more about this story)
I believe that the representation of the Islam world by the news media is a form of propaganda not persuasion. It is known by the media outlets that the citizens get their information from the news, and generally believe the news. Media has great power because they have the ability to shape our thoughts. The masses tune in, the media paints a picture of Middle East, and now the masses are informed and injected with opinions.

"The Middle East has always been a reoccurring topic in the US news, prompted by many historical incidents. Infamous events, such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the attacks of September 11, 2001 and, most recently, the War in Iraq have pressed the US media to keep their coverage of the Middle East rather consistent - specifically relating to Islam terrorism. In particular, it is the media portrayal of these events that has led to a misperception and fear of Islam, wherein the religion is often viewed as a threat or a treacherous faith" (p. 4).

By Use of Entertainment

Not only is the news a form of propaganda but some of our entertainment can be labled as a form of propaganda. They are made to desensitize us, and continue to show us the horrible side of terrorism and how it needs to be dealt with. A prime example of this is the Fox TV show “24”. This show first aired two months after the 9/11 attacks on November 6, 2001. This show deals with the main character Jack Bauer who is a Counter Terrorism Unit officer, he tortures terrorist to find information, is considered unconventional, and the whole show revolves around terrorism, and when they attack the attacks are quite nasty and devastating.

Stephen Stockwell writes about this phenomenon in his article “Messages From The Apocalypse: Security Issues in American TV Series”. He states that this show could be “a massive shift in ethical thinking and action by the US government in the aftermath of 9/11 and those revelations came via TV series long before they came through the mainstream news media” (p. 194).

The American people were first showed terrorism and counter-terrorism by use of entertainment. This I believe was done intentionally and was part of the systematic way of changing America’s ideals about terrorism, the Middle East, torture and so on. Entertainment first desensitized us to the situation, and painted a picture in our heads of what a terrorist looks like and how to deal with them violently. Then the mainstream media came in a started to report on the issues.

Here is a chart which shows depiction of torture in US drama and in news programs.

In conclusion this framing of the Middle East and the Islam world is a prime example of propaganda present in the 21st century. There is hardly any free will when it comes to making up your mind about the Middle East. We are fading into the masses, disappearing slowly while the global world watches us lose our ability to critically think. Instead of becoming scholars on the Middle East and the war on terror which we as a country participate in, we as Americans tune into the news and find opinions prepackaged for us, some may call it bias news but those creating the news know what they are doing. Keeping America all on the same page as far as the Middle East goes is great for government business, everything will continue to run smoothly. But those creating these messages are harming American citizens not only by taking their minds away but now we stand on the stage of the world and appear to be uneducated when it comes to global issues.