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MAC 111


19th Century when mass circulation of newspapers and magazines, movies, talkies, and radio came to prominence. It was a time of urbanization and industrialization spread; which in conjunction with the media altered the society’s patterns of life. The theories are treated below:

3.3.1 Hypodermic Needle/ Magic Bullet Theory

This was a media theory that saw the media as all-powerful and supremely effective; and believed that all human beings responded the same way to the powerful influence from the media. The theory was a propaganda theory, produced by a combination of Behaviourist and Freudian schools of thought. Behaviourism held that human action was as a result of or response to external environmental stimuli. It argued that the so-called consciousness was meant to rationalise behaviours after they were triggered by the external stimuli.

Freudianism saw the self that controls human action as having three parts: Ego- rational mind; Id- pleasure seeking part of the mind and Superego- internalised set of cultural rules. It said the human action was often the product of the darker side of the self -the Id-, which is the pleasure-seeking part of the mind. By appealing to the Id, so that it could overcome the ego, then, propaganda would be effective.

So, the Magic Bullet saw the media as conveying external stimuli that can condition anyone to behave in whatever way a master propagandist wants. People were viewed as powerless to consciously resist manipulation no matter their level of education or social status. The rational mind was viewed as a mere façade, incapable of resisting powerful messages. People had no ability to screen out or criticise these messages. The messages penetrate to their subconscious mind, and transform how they think and feel.

3.3.2 Lasswell’s Propaganda Theory


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