One of my favorite t-shirts of all time says, "Why do you think they call it 'programming?'" Broadcast media has always been used in this way, as has the writen word. It may not be "brainwashing," per se, but it would be foolish to believe that when a person or group tries to convey an idea over the airwaves or on the internet that they are not trying to be, at the very least, persuasive. When you watch the news, whether it be slanted left or right, it is still slanted. They report what they want you to know, and word things in ways to make a subject more (or less) sympathetic. Consider these two headlines about the same event- "Teens Shot In Scuffle With Police" and "Suspects Apprehended, Wounded After Robbery." Every sitcom, every cartoon, every ploice proceedural on T.V. has a moral or life lesson tied to it, something the writers want you to believe, and yes, they hope it affects your behaviour, but mostly, they want you to stay tuned...because ratings means advertisers, and advertisers means money. Hey, we all have to eat, right? I lived with out television for two years, and after a while, I began to notice how very...simple...people were. It appeared to me that no one could have a conversation anymore without quoting some television show or talking about the things that happened to fake people in fake situations on a little box in their living room. It was a very lonely feeling. I discovered I could no longer interact with people my own age, because I couldn't relate to them. They seemed to have no thoughts of their own, they just aped what they say on television. "Did you watch (raunchy sitcom) last night? Wasn't it funny when (funny thing) happened to (principle character)?" Whatever they believed about politics, religion, or the world at large was usually a paraphrasing of something someone smarter and wittier than themselves said in a song, or a T.V. show, or a movie. Not quoting great minds to make a point or because it's already been said better than they can articulate, but simply because they've never thought any further than that. Then I realised I was probably just being a self-righteous snob, and maybe I wasnt much fun to be around, either. T.V. can be entertaining and enlightening, and it can be as good a source of information as any book. Sometimes it's fun to chuckle with a friend over a particularly funny scene in a show, or to quote people or toss in pop culture references when they're appropriate. So I took the stick out of my ass, turned on the tube, and learned to stop looking for the bogeyman on every channel. Is he still there? Maybe, sometimes...I just ignore it.
"Most quotes attributed to famous people on the internet are fake." -Abraham Lincoln