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Liberal Media in Herman and Chomsky’s Model


The video “The Myth of the Liberal Media” has faced a clash of opinions from the side of the general public; it has been both – criticized and highly evaluated since it has raised such controversial issues that could not be ignored. Overall, the video discusses the notion of liberal media and provides arguments to prove that, in fact, mass media does not present alternative views but supports propagated ideas. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the implications of the term “liberal media” and review the five filters in Herman and Chomsky’s model.

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Liberal Media

It should be noted that the term “liberal media” implies that the audience is given an opportunity to observe the entire variety of alternative and opposing points of view and values and can choose the side or party they are eager to support themselves (Stein, 2013). Importantly, it also means that media remains unbiased, and the audience can stick to the neutral side as well, which implies being an observer rather than a supporter of a particular point of view.

That is to say, liberal media provides people with an opportunity to reject the ideas that do not reflect their own values. The initial purpose of this media category is to avoid one-sided advocacy and present the events, occurrences, and news in an accurate way without attempting to display them in a manner convenient for a particular agency. Nevertheless, this term has been attributed to an ironic understanding since many researchers, experts in the field and representatives of the general public accuse liberal media of being biased and propagating the ideas of their side of the political continuum (Ellul, 1965).


According to the video, the initial understanding of liberal media notions should be considered a myth, and the speakers support this position in a concrete way. The media analysts from the film state that the American media acts as a propaganda system and a tool to deliver the propagated messages to the public (Pan, 2011). This means that it serves the interests of the elite group and uses particular filters to shape events in a manner convenient for the elite (Cvetkovski, 2013). In particular, Chomsky and Herman stated that some information or news is filtered out to suppress dissenting voices while the other ones are strongly emphasized.

In addition, the analysts mention that it is done intentionally to manage the audience not to rebel against the elite groups. To present events and values in a particular way, liberal media chooses specific imagery, stories, and movies to manipulate people into agreeing with the provisions made (Goldberg, 2014). According to the movie, the interaction between governments, advertisers, and the media play a decisive role in this process.

To disprove the myth about liberal media, the experts provide information from researches, which evidence that affluent businesspersons manipulate the media (Pan, 2011). Apart from that, the question whether media, in fact, convey liberal bias and state that it does not matter the way journalists vote since they do not have the power to determine what should be written. The higher management decides what should be revealed and which information should be concealed (Freedman, 2013).

To prove this point, the movie presents multiple examples of the way certain events are presented. For instance, the murder of a religious figure can be ignored if important people are involved while the death of an influential Cardinal will be covered intensely. Thus, the movie disproves the myth through allusions to multiple examples of the way media has been biased and presented events in the light favorable for the elite.

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Five Filters

The five filters discussed in Herman and Chomsky’s model are ownership, sources of funding, flak, sources of information, and the desire to avoid enemies. It should be stressed that the biggest media sources belong to elite groups and conglomerations. Therefore, the information presented by these media will be chosen so as to reflect the interests of the ownership (Pan, 2011). Advertising also plays a major role. The media are reluctant to lose their sources of funding, and they filter the events or information to support their advertisement provider’s position and hide the occurrences that can shatter their authority.

Apart from that, the media strives to avoid flak since it can negatively affect their success. Due to the fact that they do not want to receive disapproval from the side of the audience, certain news might be filtered to prevent the audience’s dissatisfaction (Pan, 2011). Moreover, media want to preserve their sources of information; therefore, they cannot afford to lose their providers by reporting the events that can upset their informants in some way. Also, the media filters information about enemies since they do not wish to be somehow associated with them.


Thus, it can be concluded that “The Myth of the Liberal Media” disproves the misconceptions about the impartiality of news sources. The analysts from the video provide fundamental arguments and details of the way media can either distort or present the truth in a manner convenient for elite groups. In addition, the film reveals five filters that they resort to when compiling and delivering news, which proves that liberal media provide space for one-sided advocacy.


Cvetkovski, T. (2013). Copyright and popular media. New York, NY: Springer.

Ellul, J. (1965). Propaganda. New York, NY: Random House.

Freedman, D. (2013). The politics of media policy. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Goldberg, B. (2014). Bias. Washington, D. C.: Regnery Publishing.

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Pan, P. (2011). Noam Chomsky – the myth of the liberal media. Web.

Stein, J. (2013). In the mind of every liberal. Bloomington, IN: Booktango.

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StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Liberal Media in Herman and Chomsky's Model'. 15 December.

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