We all know of the very obvious examples of media manipulation or getting people to believe something that just is not true. Political history is full of examples of this, some written into political history like Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ which coined the phrase-
‘the ends justify the means’.
Or in more recent history, Joseph Goebells in Nazi Germany who stated ,
‘ A lie told once remains a lie but lie told a thousand times becomes the truth’.
The role of the mass media in perpetuating untruths has also been apparent for years and powerful in influencing popular belief.
For example many people believe that lemmings, the small vole like rodents ,were prone to mass suicide by jumping from cliff tops. Nothing could be further from the truth but Walt Disney portrayed their behaviour that way in an oscar winning documentary “White Wilderness’ made in 1958.
So enduring was the myth that many people still believe it to be true and ‘like lemmings off a cliff’ has entered our language .