TV manipulates views just by its normal way of operating. Many viewers seem to assume that when they have seen something on TV, they have seen it with their own eyes. It makes the viewer think he has actually been on the scene. He knows, because his own eyes have seen. He has the impression of greater direct objective knowledge than ever before. For many, what they see on television becomes more true than what they see with their eyes in the external world.
But this is not so, for one must never forget that every television minute has been edited. The viewer does not see the event. He sees an edited symbol or an edited image of the event. An aura and illusion of objectivity and truth is built up, which could not be totally the case even if the people shooting the film were completely neutral. The physical limitations of the camera dictate that only one aspect of the total situation is given. If the camera were aimed ten feet to the left or ten feet to the right, an entirely different ‘objective story’ might come across.
And, on top of that, the people taking the film and those editing it often do have a subjective viewpoint that enter in. When we see a political figure on TV, we are not seeing the person as he necessarily is; we are seeing, rather, the image someone has decided we should see. …
With an elite providing the arbitrary absolutes, not just TV but the general apparatus of the mass media can be a vehicle for manipulation. There is no need for collusion or a plot. All that is needed is that the worldview of the elite and the world-view of the central news media coincide. —Francis, Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live