One of the early scholars looking at communist "brainwashing" techniques was American psychiatrist was Robert Lifton. As a result of his studies he published a book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism [wiki]. Here, he set out to identify the various mechanisms that totalitarian regimes used to manipulate people's thinking.George Zimmerman, for those unfamiliar with the case, is a mixed-race Hispanic man born of a Peruvian mother and a white American father, thus the "Zimmerman" surname. Zimmerman, black of hair, brown of eye, and mocha in complexion, identified on government forms as Hispanic. However, the American mainstream media were so desperate to identify Zimmerman as a white, and therefore feeding the Cathedral narrative that considers violent white-on-black-racism to be epidemic, despite overwhelming evidence and DoJ's book-cooking to the contrary, that they repeatedly mentioned Zimmerman's' half-white heritage and even selectively edited Zimmerman's words in his call to 911 to paint him as a white racist.
A powerful mechanism that emerged was that of Milieu Control. Briefly, milieu control involves the control of information that an individual receives. By controlling factual data and use of language, totalitarian regimes can influence the milieu in which thought occurs. Suppressing information that is not conducive to "the cause" is one such way of exerting control. The other is by painting the accepted cause in a positive light and the negative view in its opposite.
Areas in which Milieu Control is particularly powerful is where the media are the only source of information on the subject. Foreign policy is particularly susceptible to this kind of manipulation.
Recently CNN invited Vitaly Churkin to discuss the matter. CNN "edited" the interview to such an extent that Churkin had to formally complain about the network's misrepresentation of his position. And what exactly did CNN edit out?
1) Russia's insistence that the people of Syria be allowed to choose their leadership.
2) The fact that aid to the victims of the war was being stopped by the Rebel leadership.
3) Refugess were fleeing the conflict and heading towards areas controlled by the Assad forces.
CNN were basically editing out any information that could be construed as either pro-Assad or anti-Rebel. They were essentially shaping the information milieu of their audience.
I'd never thought I'd see the day where I would be getting more truthful news from [Russia Today] and Al-Jazeera than from the Western Media.
The milieu control attempt during the Martin-Zimmerman affair failed only insofar as NBC got caught and rival media, to include Fox News and non-traditional media, picked it up. Otherwise, sussing out objective fact from selectively culled information designed to create and / or shape a narrative would be quite difficult to do--and on what factual basis would media consumers know the difference?
Aggressive skepticism has always been called for, and the "objective" media conceit has always been a myth. All media has a perspective, a lens, an agenda--be it this blog, ABCNNBCBS, Fox, BBC, Pravda, Russia Times, and Al Jazeera, NYT, or Washington Times. Always consider the source.