Like others, I'm not sure "brainwashing" is the right term, but there is certainly something to say for the way visual media creates images that the public aspires to imitiate. If the media's influence could be measured in trends (and how quickly things go "viral") I guess it could be considered a form of mild brainwashing.
Brainwashing (perhaps too strong a term) was much easier to accomplish back in the 60s and 70s, when there were essentially only three television networks and far fewer other media outlets instantly accessible to people than there are today. In the 21st century, a person interested in many different points of view can find them with the click of a few computer keys.
Some media outlets, particularly newspapers and network news (Fox comes to mind), seem to be much less impartial than in the past. Corporate ownership and their own financial and political motives definitely tend to bleed over into the reporting and the way in which they spin their take on the subject matter.
We have moved much more in the past decade or so to a point where this would be true. It is getting more and more to be the case that each media outlet picks the ideological point of view that it will support. Everyone knows that the New York Times is pretty liberal while the Wall Street Journal is conservative. There is less of the old idea of purporting to be unbiased.
I do not. I think that while some media outlets may have an impact upon people, their intention is not to brainwash. Instead, much of the "questionable" media is meant to persuade. There is a very distinct difference between the two.
"Brainwashing" might be a bit excessive of a term; certainly the media are interested in capturing market share, and that, in turn, results in "stretching" the fabric of truth as far as it will go. The more fantastic the story, the better the ratings. As far as holding true to the original intent of being "in the middle" and reporting news, they seem to have deviated quite far.
I don't think any media outlets are actually intending to brainwash people. Many actually do intend to be neutral and give you information you need in an unbiased fashion. What I think is really happening here is that media outlets are catering to niche markets, and people are only hearing what they want to hear.
I definitely don't think the media is brainwashing people. In fact, I think people are becoming more skeptical of what they see and hear. For the most part, people are smart enough to question things and to think about what they see. Besides, I don't think there is one media outlet that says one thing, leaving us with only one choice of what information we recieve. Different media outlets have different agendas (good or bad). As the above poster says, there are certain outlets that have been more bias when they shouldn't be, but at least there are different places we can go to get different information. It is up to us to decide how we put together that information.
No, I don't. I think there are more formats in which news is available.
I, personally, think many media representatives have decided to ignore what used to be a guiding principle of those involved in reporting news, which was to keep personal biases and values separate from the way in which they present the news. When there is general recognition that certain reporters, shows, or stations are "liberal" while others are "conservative" - that tells me that objective reporting has gone by the wayside.
However, as has always been the case, it's up to every individual to be responsible for thinking independently and intelligently about what the media reports, verify information that seems questionable, and decide for him/herself what to believe out of all that is presented.