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The Doors Of Perception: Why Americans Will Believe Almost Anything


Society & Culture  (tags: propaganda, illusion, mis-information, psychology, advertising )

Lauren
- 2598 days ago - mercola.com
We are the most conditioned, programmed beings the world has ever known. Not only are our thoughts and attitudes continually being shaped and molded; our very awareness of the whole design seems like it is being subtly and inexorably erased.



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Comments

Susan Moody (65)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 3:57 am
Before I could view the story, I had to give my email address. I entered it twice and kept returning to the same subscription screen. I can't seem to get past it to read the article.
 

Sammantha L. (126)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 4:47 am
me too, however , its like preaching to the choir....i've been thinking this very thing for a long while.
 

Laura Hovland (129)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 6:06 am
This article is worth reading, even you already have an idea of what is going on. Well reasearched, and broad in it's scope, more complete than any other writing I have seen on these subject. To that end, I will post it in full. Please read it, really. Thank you Lauren for sharing this.

by Dr. Tim O'Shea

We are the most conditioned, programmed beings the world has ever known. Not only are our thoughts and attitudes continually being shaped and molded; our very awareness of the whole design seems like it is being subtly and inexorably erased.

The doors of our perception are carefully and precisely regulated. Who cares, right?

It is an exhausting and endless task to keep explaining to people how most issues of conventional wisdom are scientifically implanted in the public consciousness by a thousand media clips per day. In an effort to save time, I would like to provide just a little background on the handling of information in this country.

Once the basic principles are illustrated about how our current system of media control arose historically, the reader might be more apt to question any given story in today's news.

If everybody believes something, it's probably wrong. We call that Conventional Wisdom.

In America, conventional wisdom that has mass acceptance is usually contrived: somebody paid for it. Examples:

Pharmaceuticals restore health

Vaccination brings immunity

The cure for cancer is just around the corner

When a child is sick, he needs immediate antibiotics

When a child has a fever he needs Tylenol

Hospitals are safe and clean.

America has the best health care in the world.

And many many more
This is a list of illusions, that have cost billions and billions to conjure up. Did you ever wonder why you never see the President speaking publicly unless he is reading? Or why most people in this country think generally the same about most of the above issues?

How This Set-Up Got Started

In Trust Us We're Experts, Stauber and Rampton pull together some compelling data describing the science of creating public opinion in America.

They trace modern public influence back to the early part of the last century, highlighting the work of guys like Edward L. Bernays, the Father of Spin. From his own amazing chronicle Propaganda, we learn how Edward L. Bernays took the ideas of his famous uncle Sigmund Freud himself, and applied them to the emerging science of mass persuasion.

The only difference was that instead of using these principles to uncover hidden themes in the human unconscious, the way Freudian psychology does, Bernays used these same ideas to mask agendas and to create illusions that deceive and misrepresent, for marketing purposes.

The Father Of Spin

Bernays dominated the PR industry until the 1940s, and was a significant force for another 40 years after that. (Tye) During all that time, Bernays took on hundreds of diverse assignments to create a public perception about some idea or product. A few examples:

As a neophyte with the Committee on Public Information, one of Bernays' first assignments was to help sell the First World War to the American public with the idea to "Make the World Safe for Democracy." (Ewen)

A few years later, Bernays set up a stunt to popularize the notion of women smoking cigarettes. In organizing the 1929 Easter Parade in New York City, Bernays showed himself as a force to be reckoned with.

He organized the Torches of Liberty Brigade in which suffragettes marched in the parade smoking cigarettes as a mark of women's liberation. Such publicity followed from that one event that from then on women have felt secure about destroying their own lungs in public, the same way that men have always done.

Bernays popularized the idea of bacon for breakfast.

Not one to turn down a challenge, he set up the advertising format along with the AMA that lasted for nearly 50 years proving that cigarettes are beneficial to health. Just look at ads in issues of Life or Time from the 40s and 50s.

Smoke And Mirrors

Bernay's job was to reframe an issue; to create a desired image that would put a particular product or concept in a desirable light. Bernays described the public as a 'herd that needed to be led.' And this herdlike thinking makes people "susceptible to leadership."

Bernays never deviated from his fundamental axiom to "control the masses without their knowing it." The best PR happens with the people unaware that they are being manipulated.

Stauber describes Bernays' rationale like this:

"the scientific manipulation of public opinion was necessary to overcome chaos and conflict in a democratic society." Trust Us p 42

These early mass persuaders postured themselves as performing a moral service for humanity in general - democracy was too good for people; they needed to be told what to think, because they were incapable of rational thought by themselves. Here's a paragraph from Bernays' Propaganda:

"Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of.

This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

In almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind."

Here Comes The Money

Once the possibilities of applying Freudian psychology to mass media were glimpsed, Bernays soon had more corporate clients than he could handle. Global corporations fell all over themselves courting the new Image Makers. There were dozens of goods and services and ideas to be sold to a susceptible public. Over the years, these players have had the money to make their images happen. A few examples:

Philip Morris Pfizer Union Carbide
Allstate Monsanto Eli Lilly
tobacco industry Ciba Geigy lead industry
Coors DuPont Chlorox
Shell Oil Standard Oil Procter & Gamble
Boeing General Motors Dow Chemical
General Mills Goodyear

The Players

Though world-famous within the PR industry, the companies have names we don't know, and for good reason.

The best PR goes unnoticed.

For decades they have created the opinions that most of us were raised with, on virtually any issue which has the remotest commercial value, including:

pharmaceutical drugs vaccines
medicine as a profession alternative medicine
fluoridation of city water chlorine
household cleaning products tobacco
dioxin global warming
leaded gasoline cancer research and treatment
pollution of the oceans forests and lumber
images of celebrities, including damage control crisis and disaster management
genetically modified foods aspartame
food additives; processed foods dental amalgams

Lesson #1

Bernays learned early on that the most effective way to create credibility for a product or an image was by "independent third-party" endorsement.

For example, if General Motors were to come out and say that global warming is a hoax thought up by some liberal tree-huggers, people would suspect GM's motives, since GM's fortune is made by selling automobiles.

If however some independent research institute with a very credible sounding name like the Global Climate Coalition comes out with a scientific report that says global warming is really a fiction, people begin to get confused and to have doubts about the original issue.

So that's exactly what Bernays did. With a policy inspired by genius, he set up "more institutes and foundations than Rockefeller and Carnegie combined." (Stauber p 45)

Quietly financed by the industries whose products were being evaluated, these "independent" research agencies would churn out "scientific" studies and press materials that could create any image their handlers wanted. Such front groups are given high-sounding names like:

Temperature Research Foundation Manhattan Institute
International Food Information Council Center for Produce Quality
Consumer Alert Tobacco Institute Research Council
The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition Cato Institute
Air Hygiene Foundation
American Council on Science and Health
Industrial Health Federation Global Climate Coalition
International Food Information Council Alliance for Better Foods

Sound pretty legit don't they?

Canned News Releases

As Stauber explains, these organizations and hundreds of others like them are front groups whose sole mission is to advance the image of the global corporations who fund them, like those listed on page 2 above.

This is accomplished in part by an endless stream of 'press releases' announcing "breakthrough" research to every radio station and newspaper in the country. (Robbins) Many of these canned reports read like straight news, and indeed are purposely molded in the news format.

This saves journalists the trouble of researching the subjects on their own, especially on topics about which they know very little. Entire sections of the release or in the case of video news releases, the whole thing can be just lifted intact, with no editing, given the byline of the reporter or newspaper or TV station - and voilŠ! Instant news - copy and paste. Written by corporate PR firms.

Does this really happen? Every single day, since the 1920s when the idea of the News Release was first invented by Ivy Lee. (Stauber, p 22) Sometimes as many as half the stories appearing in an issue of the Wall St. Journal are based solely on such PR press releases.. (22)

These types of stories are mixed right in with legitimately researched stories. Unless you have done the research yourself, you won't be able to tell the difference.

The Language Of Spin

As 1920s spin pioneers like Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays gained more experience, they began to formulate rules and guidelines for creating public opinion. They learned quickly that mob psychology must focus on emotion, not facts. Since the mob is incapable of rational thought, motivation must be based not on logic but on presentation. Here are some of the axioms of the new science of PR:

technology is a religion unto itself


if people are incapable of rational thought, real democracy is dangerous


important decisions should be left to experts


when reframing issues, stay away from substance; create images


never state a clearly demonstrable lie

Words are very carefully chosen for their emotional impact. Here's an example. A front group called the International Food Information Council handles the public's natural aversion to genetically modified foods.

Trigger words are repeated all through the text. Now in the case of GM foods, the public is instinctively afraid of these experimental new creations which have suddenly popped up on our grocery shelves which are said to have DNA alterations. The IFIC wants to reassure the public of the safety of GM foods, so it avoids words like:

Frankenfoods Hitler biotech
chemical DNA experiments
manipulate money safety
scientists radiation roulette
gene-splicing gene gun random

Instead, good PR for GM foods contains words like:


hybrids natural order beauty
choice bounty cross-breeding
diversity earth farmer
organic wholesome

It's basic Freudian/Tony Robbins word association. The fact that GM foods are not hybrids that have been subjected to the slow and careful scientific methods of real crossbreeding doesn't really matter. This is pseudoscience, not science. Form is everything and substance just a passing myth. (Trevanian)

Who do you think funds the International Food Information Council? Take a wild guess. Right - Monsanto, DuPont, Frito-Lay, Coca Cola, Nutrasweet - those in a position to make fortunes from GM foods. (Stauber p 20)

Characteristics Of Good Propaganda

As the science of mass control evolved, PR firms developed further guidelines for effective copy. Here are some of the gems:

dehumanize the attacked party by labeling and name calling


speak in glittering generalities using emotionally positive words


when covering something up, don't use plain English; stall for time; distract


get endorsements from celebrities, churches, sports figures, street people - anyone who has no expertise in the subject at hand


the 'plain folks' ruse: us billionaires are just like you


when minimizing outrage, don't say anything memorable, point out the benefits of what just happened, and avoid moral issues

Keep this list. Start watching for these techniques. Not hard to find - look at today's paper or tonight's TV news. See what they're doing; these guys are good!
Science For Hire

PR firms have become very sophisticated in the preparation of news releases. They have learned how to attach the names of famous scientists to research that those scientists have not even looked at. (Stauber, p 201)

This is a common occurrence. In this way the editors of newspapers and TV news shows are often not even aware that an individual release is a total PR fabrication. Or at least they have "deniability," right?

Stauber tells the amazing story of how leaded gas came into the picture. In 1922, General Motors discovered that adding lead to gasoline gave cars more horsepower.

When there was some concern about safety, GM paid the Bureau of Mines to do some fake "testing" and publish spurious research that 'proved' that inhalation of lead was harmless. Enter Charles Kettering.

Founder of the world famous Sloan-Kettering Memorial Institute for medical research, Charles Kettering also happened to be an executive with General Motors.

By some strange coincidence, we soon have the Sloan Kettering institute issuing reports stating that lead occurs naturally in the body and that the body has a way of eliminating low level exposure.

Through its association with The Industrial Hygiene Foundation and PR giant Hill & Knowlton, Sloane Kettering opposed all anti-lead research for years. (Stauber p 92). Without organized scientific opposition, for the next 60 years more and more gasoline became leaded, until by the 1970s, 90% of our gasoline was leaded.

Finally it became too obvious to hide that lead was a major carcinogen, and leaded gas was phased out in the late 1980s. But during those 60 years, it is estimated that some 30 million tons of lead were released in vapor form onto American streets and highways. 30 million tons.

That is PR, my friends.

Junk Science

In 1993 a guy named Peter Huber wrote a new book and coined a new term. The book was Galileo's Revenge and the term was junk science. Huber's shallow thesis was that real science supports technology, industry, and progress.

Anything else was suddenly junk science. Not surprisingly, Stauber explains how Huber's book was supported by the industry-backed Manhattan Institute.

Huber's book was generally dismissed not only because it was so poorly written, but because it failed to realize one fact: true scientific research begins with no conclusions. Real scientists are seeking the truth because they do not yet know what the truth is.

True scientific method goes like this:

1. Form a hypothesis
2. Make predictions for that hypothesis
3. Test the predictions
4. Reject or revise the hypothesis based on the research findings

Boston University scientist Dr. David Ozonoff explains that ideas in science are themselves like "living organisms, that must be nourished, supported, and cultivated with resources for making them grow and flourish." (Stauber p 205)

Great ideas that don't get this financial support because the commercial angles are not immediately obvious - these ideas wither and die.

Another way you can often distinguish real science from phony is that real science points out flaws in its own research. Phony science pretends there were no flaws.

The Real Junk Science

Contrast this with modern PR and its constant pretensions to sound science. Corporate sponsored research, whether it's in the area of drugs, GM foods, or chemistry begins with predetermined conclusions.

It is the job of the scientists then to prove that these conclusions are true, because of the economic upside that proof will bring to the industries paying for that research. This invidious approach to science has shifted the entire focus of research in America during the past 50 years, as any true scientist is likely to admit.

Stauber documents the increasing amount of corporate sponsorship of university research. (206) This has nothing to do with the pursuit of knowledge. Scientists lament that research has become just another commodity, something bought and sold. (Crossen)

The Two Main Targets Of "Sound Science"

It is shocking when Stauber shows how the vast majority of corporate PR today opposes any research that seeks to protect

public health

the environment
It's a funny thing that most of the time when we see the phrase "junk science," it is in a context of defending something that may threaten either the environment or our health.

This makes sense when one realizes that money changes hands only by selling the illusion of health and the illusion of environmental protection. True public health and real preservation of the earth's environment have very low market value.

Stauber thinks it ironic that industry's self-proclaimed debunkers of junk science are usually non-scientists themselves. (255) Here again they can do this because the issue is not science, but the creation of images.

The Language Of Attack

When PR firms attack legitimate environmental groups and alternative medicine people, they again use special words which will carry an emotional punch:

outraged sound science junk science sensible scaremongering responsible
phobia hoax alarmist hysteria

The next time you are reading a newspaper article about an environmental or health issue, note how the author shows bias by using the above terms. This is the result of very specialized training.

Another standard PR tactic is to use the rhetoric of the environmentalists themselves to defend a dangerous and untested product that poses an actual threat to the environment. This we see constantly in the PR smokescreen that surrounds genetically modified foods.

They talk about how GM foods are necessary to grow more food and to end world hunger, when the reality is that GM foods actually have lower yields per acre than natural crops. (Stauber p 173)

The grand design sort of comes into focus once you realize that almost all GM foods have been created by the sellers of herbicides and pesticides so that those plants can withstand greater amounts of herbicides and pesticides. (The Magic Bean)

Kill Your TV?

Hope this chapter has given you a hint to start reading newspaper and magazine articles a little differently, and perhaps start watching TV news shows with a slightly different attitude than you had before.

Always ask, what are they selling here, and who's selling it? And if you actually follow up on Stauber & Rampton's book and check out some of the other resources below, you might even glimpse the possibility of advancing your life one quantum simply by ceasing to subject your brain to mass media.

That's right - no more newspapers, no more TV news, no more Time magazine or Newsweek. You could actually do that. Just think what you could do with the extra time alone.

Really feel like you need to "relax" or find out "what's going on in the world" for a few hours every day? Think about the news of the past couple of years for a minute.

Do you really suppose the major stories that have dominated headlines and TV news have been "what is going on in the world?" Do you actually think there's been nothing going on besides the contrived tech slump, the contrived power shortages, the re-filtered accounts of foreign violence and disaster, and all the other non-stories that the puppeteers dangle before us every day?

What about when they get a big one, like with OJ or Monica Lewinsky or the Oklahoma city bombing? Do we really need to know all that detail, day after day? Do we have any way of verifying all that detail, even if we wanted to? What is the purpose of news?

To inform the public? Hardly. The sole purpose of news is to keep the public in a state of fear and uncertainty so that they'll watch again tomorrow and be subjected to the same advertising.

Oversimplification? Of course. That's the mark of mass media mastery - simplicity. The invisible hand. Like Edward Bernays said, the people must be controlled without them knowing it.

Consider this: what was really going on in the world all that time they were distracting us with all that stupid vexatious daily smokescreen? Fear and uncertainty -- that's what keeps people coming back for more.

If this seems like a radical outlook, let's take it one step further:

What would you lose from your life if you stopped watching TV and stopped reading newspapers altogether?

Would your life really suffer any financial, moral, intellectual or academic loss from such a decision?

Do you really need to have your family continually absorbing the illiterate, amoral, phony, uncultivated, desperately brainless values of the people featured in the average nightly TV program? Are these fake, programmed robots "normal"?

Do you need to have your life values constantly spoon-fed to you?

Are those shows really amusing, or just a necessary distraction to keep you from looking at reality, or trying to figure things out yourself by doing a little independent reading?

Name one example of how your life is improved by watching TV news and reading the evening paper.

What measurable gain is there for you?

Planet of the Apes?

There's no question that as a nation, we're getting dumber year by year. Look at the presidents we've been choosing lately. Ever notice the blatant grammar mistakes so ubiquitous in today's advertising and billboards?

Literacy is marginal in most American secondary schools. Three fourths of California high school seniors can't read well enough to pass their exit exams. (SJ Mercury 20 Jul 01)

If you think other parts of the country are smarter, try this one: hand any high school senior a book by Dumas or Jane Austen, and ask them to open to any random page and just read one paragraph out loud. Go ahead, do it. SAT scales are arbitrarily shifted lower and lower to disguise how dumb kids are getting year by year.

At least 10% have documented "learning disabilities," which are reinforced and rewarded by special treatment and special drugs. Ever hear of anyone failing a grade any more?

Or observe the intellectual level of the average movie which these days may only last one or two weeks in the theatres, especially if it has insufficient explosions, chase scenes, silicone, fake martial arts, and cretinesque dialogue.

Radio? Consider the low mental qualifications of the falsely animated corporate simians they hire as DJs -- they're only allowed to have 50 thoughts, which they just repeat at random.

And at what point did popular music cease to require the study of any musical instrument or theory whatsoever, not to mention lyric? Perhaps we just don't understand this emerging art form, right? The Darwinism of MTV - apes descended from man.

Ever notice how most articles in any of the glossy magazines sound like they were all written by the same guy? And this guy just graduated from junior college? And yet he has all the correct opinions on social issues, no original ideas, and that shallow, smug, homogenized corporate omniscience, which enables him to assure us that everything is going to be fine...

All this is great news for the PR industry - makes their job that much easier. Not only are very few paying attention to the process of conditioning; fewer are capable of understanding it even if somebody explained it to them.

Tea In the Cafeteria

Let's say you're in a crowded cafeteria, and you buy a cup of tea. And as you're about to sit down you see your friend way across the room. So you put the tea down and walk across the room and talk to your friend for a few minutes.

Now, coming back to your tea, are you just going to pick it up and drink it? Remember, this is a crowded place and you've just left your tea unattended for several minutes. You've given anybody in that room access to your tea.

Why should your mind be any different? Turning on the TV, or uncritically absorbing mass publications every day - these activities allow access to our minds by "just anyone" - anyone who has an agenda, anyone with the resources to create a public image via popular media.

As we've seen above, just because we read something or see something on TV doesn't mean it's true or worth knowing. So the idea here is, like the tea, the mind is also worth guarding, worth limiting access to it.

This is the only life we get. Time is our total capital. Why waste it allowing our potential, our personality, our values to be shaped, crafted, and limited according to the whims of the mass panderers?

There are many important issues that are crucial to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. If it's an issue where money is involved, objective data won't be so easy to obtain. Remember, if everybody knows something, that image has been bought and paid for.

Real knowledge takes a little effort, a little excavation down at least one level below what "everybody knows."

 

xochi Y. (54)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 7:11 am
This is the stuff that matters. Great post, Lauren! Thanks!

Here are a couple of related articles on government-produced fake news:

http://www.prwatch.org/node/3518

http://www.prwatch.org/node/3694/

and a related speech by Noam Chomsky:

http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/articles/z9710-mainstream-media.html
 

David Cromie (6)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 7:41 am
Thanks, Lauren and Xochi, noted and no comment seems to be needed!!

What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream

From a talk at Z Media Institute June 1997

By Noam Chomsky



Part of the reason why I write about the media is because I am interested in the whole intellectual culture, and the part of it that is easiest to study is the media. It comes out every day. You can do a systematic investigation. You can compare yesterdayís version to todayís version. There is a lot of evidence about whatís played up and what isnít and the way things are structured.

My impression is the media arenít very different from scholarship or from, say, journals of intellectual opinionóthere are some extra constraintsóbut itís not radically different. They interact, which is why people go up and back quite easily among them.

You look at the media, or at any institution you want to understand. You ask questions about its internal institutional structure. You want to know something about their setting in the broader society. How do they relate to other systems of power and authority? If youíre lucky, there is an internal record from leading people in the information system which tells you what they are up to (it is sort of a doctrinal system). That doesnít mean the public relations handouts but what they say to each other about what they are up to. There is quite a lot of interesting documentation.

Those are three major sources of information about the nature of the media. You want to study them the way, say, a scientist would study some complex molecule or something. You take a look at the structure and then make some hypothesis based on the structure as to what the media product is likely to look like. Then you investigate the media product and see how well it conforms to the hypotheses. Virtually all work in media analysis is this last partótrying to study carefully just what the media product is and whether it conforms to obvious assumptions about the nature and structure of the media.

Well, what do you find? First of all, you find that there are different media which do different things, like the entertainment/Hollywood, soap operas, and so on, or even most of the newspapers in the country (the overwhelming majority of them). They are directing the mass audience.

There is another sector of the media, the elite media, sometimes called the agenda-setting media because they are the ones with the big resources, they set the framework in which everyone else operates. The New York Times and CBS, that kind of thing. Their audience is mostly privileged people. The people who read the New York Timesópeople who are wealthy or part of what is sometimes called the political classóthey are actually involved in the political system in an ongoing fashion. They are basically managers of one sort or another. They can be political managers, business managers (like corporate executives or that sort of thing), doctoral managers (like university professors), or other journalists who are involved in organizing the way people think and look at things.

The elite media set a framework within which others operate. If you are watching the Associated Press, who grind out a constant flow of news, in the mid-afternoon it breaks and there is something that comes along every day that says "Notice to Editors: Tomorrowís New York Times is going to have the following stories on the front page." The point of that is, if youíre an editor of a newspaper in Dayton, Ohio and you donít have the resources to figure out what the news is, or you donít want to think about it anyway, this tells you what the news is. These are the stories for the quarter page that you are going to devote to something other than local affairs or diverting your audience. These are the stories that you put there because thatís what the New York Times tells us is what youíre supposed to care about tomorrow. If you are an editor in Dayton, Ohio, you would sort of have to do that, because you donít have much else in the way of resources. If you get off line, if youíre producing stories that the big press doesnít like, youíll hear about it pretty soon. In fact, what just happened at San Jose Mercury News is a dramatic example of this. So there are a lot of ways in which power plays can drive you right back into line if you move out. If you try to break the mold, youíre not going to last long. That framework works pretty well, and it is understandable that it is just a reflection of obvious power structures.

The real mass media are basically trying to divert people. Let them do something else, but donít bother us (us being the people who run the show). Let them get interested in professional sports, for example. Let everybody be crazed about professional sports or sex scandals or the personalities and their problems or something like that. Anything, as long as it isnít serious. Of course, the serious stuff is for the big guys. "We" take care of that.

What are the elite media, the agenda-setting ones? The New York Times and CBS, for example. Well, first of all, they are major, very profitable, corporations. Furthermore, most of them are either linked to, or outright owned by, much bigger corporations, like General Electric, Westinghouse, and so on. They are way up at the top of the power structure of the private economy which is a very tyrannical structure. Corporations are basically tyrannies, hierarchic, controled from above. If you donít like what they are doing you get out. The major media are just part of that system.

What about their institutional setting? Well, thatís more or less the same. What they interact with and relate to is other major power centersóthe government, other corporations, or the universities. Because the media are a doctrinal system they interact closely with the universities. Say you are a reporter writing a story on Southeast Asia or Africa, or something like that. Youíre supposed to go over to the big university and find an expert who will tell you what to write, or else go to one of the foundations, like Brookings Institute or American Enterprise Institute and they will give you the words to say. These outside institutions are very similar to the media.

The universities, for example, are not independent institutions. There may be independent people scattered around in them but that is true of the media as well. And itís generally true of corporations. Itís true of Fascist states, for that matter. But the institution itself is parasitic. Itís dependent on outside sources of support and those sources of support, such as private wealth, big corporations with grants, and the government (which is so closely interlinked with corporate power you can barely distinguish them), they are essentially what the universities are in the middle of. People within them, who donít adjust to that structure, who donít accept it and internalize it (you canít really work with it unless you internalize it, and believe it); people who donít do that are likely to be weeded out along the way, starting from kindergarten, all the way up. There are all sorts of filtering devices to get rid of people who are a pain in the neck and think independently. Those of you who have been through college know that the educational system is very highly geared to rewarding conformity and obedience; if you donít do that, you are a troublemaker. So, it is kind of a filtering device which ends up with people who really honestly (they arenít lying) internalize the framework of belief and attitudes of the surrounding power system in the society. The elite institutions like, say, Harvard and Princeton and the small upscale colleges, for example, are very much geared to socialization. If you go through a place like Harvard, most of what goes on there is teaching manners; how to behave like a member of the upper classes, how to think the right thoughts, and so on.

If youíve read George Orwellís Animal Farm which he wrote in the mid-1940s, it was a satire on the Soviet Union, a totalitarian state. It was a big hit. Everybody loved it. Turns out he wrote an introduction to Animal Farm which was suppressed. It only appeared 30 years later. Someone had found it in his papers. The introduction to Animal Farm was about "Literary Censorship in England" and what it says is that obviously this book is ridiculing the Soviet Union and its totalitarian structure. But he said England is not all that different. We donít have the KGB on our neck, but the end result comes out pretty much the same. People who have independent ideas or who think the wrong kind of thoughts are cut out.

He talks a little, only two sentences, about the institutional structure. He asks, why does this happen? Well, one, because the press is owned by wealthy people who only want certain things to reach the public. The other thing he says is that when you go through the elite education system, when you go through the proper schools in Oxford, you learn that there are certain things itís not proper to say and there are certain thoughts that are not proper to have. That is the socialization role of elite institutions and if you donít adapt to that, youíre usually out. Those two sentences more or less tell the story.

When you critique the media and you say, look, here is what Anthony Lewis or somebody else is writing, they get very angry. They say, quite correctly, "nobody ever tells me what to write. I write anything I like. All this business about pressures and constraints is nonsense because Iím never under any pressure." Which is completely true, but the point is that they wouldnít be there unless they had already demonstrated that nobody has to tell them what to write because they are going say the right thing. If they had started off at the Metro desk, or something, and had pursued the wrong kind of stories, they never would have made it to the positions where they can now say anything they like. The same is mostly true of university faculty in the more ideological disciplines. They have been through the socialization system.

Okay, you look at the structure of that whole system. What do you expect the news to be like? Well, itís pretty obvious. Take the New York Times. Itís a corporation and sells a product. The product is audiences. They donít make money when you buy the newspaper. They are happy to put it on the worldwide web for free. They actually lose money when you buy the newspaper. But the audience is the product. The product is privileged people, just like the people who are writing the newspapers, you know, top-level decision-making people in society. You have to sell a product to a market, and the market is, of course, advertisers (that is, other businesses). Whether it is television or newspapers, or whatever, they are selling audiences. Corporations sell audiences to other corporations. In the case of the elite media, itís big businesses.

Well, what do you expect to happen? What would you predict about the nature of the media product, given that set of circumstances? What would be the null hypothesis, the kind of conjecture that youíd make assuming nothing further. The obvious assumption is that the product of the media, what appears, what doesnít appear, the way it is slanted, will reflect the interest of the buyers and sellers, the institutions, and the power systems that are around them. If that wouldnít happen, it would be kind of a miracle.

Okay, then comes the hard work. You ask, does it work the way you predict? Well, you can judge for yourselves. Thereís lots of material on this obvious hypothesis, which has been subjected to the hardest tests anybody can think of, and still stands up remarkably well. You virtually never find anything in the social sciences that so strongly supports any conclusion, which is not a big surprise, because it would be miraculous if it didnít hold up given the way the forces are operating.

The next thing you discover is that this whole topic is completely taboo. If you go to the Kennedy School of Government or Stanford, or somewhere, and you study journalism and communications or academic political science, and so on, these questions are not likely to appear. That is, the hypothesis that anyone would come across without even knowing anything that is not allowed to be expressed, and the evidence bearing on it cannot be discussed. Well, you predict that too. If you look at the institutional structure, you would say, yeah, sure, thatís got to happen because why should these guys want to be exposed? Why should they allow critical analysis of what they are up to take place? The answer is, there is no reason why they should allow that and, in fact, they donít. Again, it is not purposeful censorship. It is just that you donít make it to those positions. That includes the left (what is called the left), as well as the right. Unless you have been adequately socialized and trained so that there are some thoughts you just donít have, because if you did have them, you wouldnít be there. So you have a second order of prediction which is that the first order of prediction is not allowed into the discussion.

The last thing to look at is the doctrinal framework in which this proceeds. Do people at high levels in the information system, including the media and advertising and academic political science and so on, do these people have a picture of what ought to happen when they are writing for each other (not when they are making graduation speeches)? When you make a commencement speech, it is pretty words and stuff. But when they are writing for one another, what do people say about it?

There are basically three currents to look at. One is the public relations industry, you know, the main business propaganda industry. So what are the leaders of the PR industry saying? Second place to look is at what are called public intellectuals, big thinkers, people who write the "op eds" and that sort of thing. What do they say? The people who write impressive books about the nature of democracy and that sort of business. The third thing you look at is the academic stream, particularly that part of political science which is concerned with communications and information and that stuff which has been a branch of political science for the last 70 or 80 years.

So, look at those three things and see what they say, and look at the leading figures who have written about this. They all say (Iím partly quoting), the general population is "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders." We have to keep them out of the public arena because they are too stupid and if they get involved they will just make trouble. Their job is to be "spectators," not "participants."

They are allowed to vote every once in a while, pick out one of us smart guys. But then they are supposed to go home and do something else like watch football or whatever it may be. But the "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders" have to be observers not participants. The participants are what are called the "responsible men" and, of course, the writer is always one of them. You never ask the question, why am I a "responsible man" and somebody else is in jail? The answer is pretty obvious. Itís because you are obedient and subordinate to power and that other person may be independent, and so on. But you donít ask, of course. So there are the smart guys who are supposed to run the show and the rest of them are supposed to be out, and we should not succumb to (Iím quoting from an academic article) "democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interest." They are not. They are terrible judges of their own interests so we have do it for them for their own benefit.

Actually, it is very similar to Leninism. We do things for you and we are doing it in the interest of everyone, and so on. I suspect thatís part of the reason why itís been so easy historically for people to shift up and back from being, sort of enthusiastic Stalinists to being big supporters of U.S. power. People switch very quickly from one position to the other, and my suspicion is that itís because basically it is the same position. Youíre not making much of a switch. Youíre just making a different estimate of where power lies. One point you think itís here, another point you think itís there. You take the same position.

@PAR SUB = How did all this evolve? It has an interesting history. A lot of it comes out of the first World War, which is a big turning point. It changed the position of the United States in the world considerably. In the 18th century the U.S. was already the richest place in the world. The quality of life, health, and longevity was not achieved by the upper classes in Britain until the early 20th century, let alone anybody else in the world. The U.S. was extraordinarily wealthy, with huge advantages, and, by the end of the 19th century, it had by far the biggest economy in the world. But it was not a big player on the world scene. U.S. power extended to the Caribbean Islands, parts of the Pacific, but not much farther.

During the first World War, the relations changed. And they changed more dramatically during the second World War. After the second World War the U.S. more or less took over the world. But after first World War there was already a change and the U.S. shifted from being a debtor to a creditor nation. It wasnít huge, like Britain, but it became a substantial actor in the world for the first time. That was one change, but there were other changes.

The first World War was the first time there was highly organized state propaganda. The British had a Ministry of Information, and they really needed it because they had to get the U.S. into the war or else they were in bad trouble. The Ministry of Information was mainly geared to sending propaganda, including huge fabrications about "Hun" atrocities, and so on. They were targeting American intellectuals on the reasonable assumption that these are the people who are most gullible and most likely to believe propaganda. They are also the ones that disseminate it through their own system. So it was mostly geared to American intellectuals and it worked very well. The British Ministry of Information documents (a lot have been released) show their goal was, as they put it, to control the thought of the entire world, a minor goal, but mainly the U.S. They didnít care much what people thought in India. This Ministry of Information was extremely successful in deluding hot shot American intellectuals into accepting British propaganda fabrications. They were very proud of that. Properly so, it saved their lives. They would have lost the first World War otherwise.

In the U.S., there was a counterpart. Woodrow Wilson was elected in 1916 on an anti-war platform. The U.S. was a very pacifist country. It has always been. People donít want to go fight foreign wars. The country was very much opposed to the first World War and Wilson was, in fact, elected on an anti-war position. "Peace without victory" was the slogan. But he was intending to go to war. So the question was, how do you get the pacifist population to become raving anti-German lunatics so they want to go kill all the Germans? That requires propaganda. So they set up the first and really only major state propaganda agency in U.S. history. The Committee on Public Information it was called (nice Orwellian title), called also the Creel Commission. The guy who ran it was named Creel. The task of this commission was to propagandize the population into a jingoist hysteria. It worked incredibly well. Within a few months there was a raving war hysteria and the U.S. was able to go to war.

A lot of people were impressed by these achievements. One person impressed, and this had some implications for the future, was Hitler. If you read Mein Kampf, he concludes, with some justification, that Germany lost the first World War because it lost the propaganda battle. They could not begin to compete with British and American propaganda which absolutely overwhelmed them. He pledges that next time around theyíll have their own propaganda system, which they did during the second World War. More important for us, the American business community was also very impressed with the propaganda effort. They had a problem at that time. The country was becoming formally more democratic. A lot more people were able to vote and that sort of thing. The country was becoming wealthier and more people could participate and a lot of new immigrants were coming in, and so on.

So what do you do? Itís going to be harder to run things as a private club. Therefore, obviously, you have to control what people think. There had been public relation specialists but there was never a public relations industry. There was a guy hired to make Rockefellerís image look prettier and that sort of thing. But this huge public relations industry, which is a U.S. invention and a monstrous industry, came out of the first World War. The leading figures were people in the Creel Commission. In fact, the main one, Edward Bernays, comes right out of the Creel Commission. He has a book that came out right afterwards called Propaganda. The term "propaganda," incidentally, did not have negative connotations in those days. It was during the second World War that the term became taboo because it was connected with Germany, and all those bad things. But in this period, the term propaganda just meant information or something like that. So he wrote a book called Propaganda around 1925, and it starts off by saying he is applying the lessons of the first World War. The propaganda system of the first World War and this commission that he was part of showed, he says, it is possible to "regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies." These new techniques of regimentation of minds, he said, had to be used by the intelligent minorities in order to make sure that the slobs stay on the right course. We can do it now because we have these new techniques.

This is the main manual of the public relations industry. Bernays is kind of the guru. He was an authentic Roosevelt/Kennedy liberal. He also engineered the public relations effort behind the U.S.-backed coup which overthrew the democratic government of Guatemala.

His major coup, the one that really propelled him into fame in the late 1920s, was getting women to smoke. Women didnít smoke in those days and he ran huge campaigns for Chesterfield. You know all the techniquesómodels and movie stars with cigarettes coming out of their mouths and that kind of thing. He got enormous praise for that. So he became a leading figure of the industry, and his book was the real manual.



Another member of the Creel Commission was Walter Lippmann, the most respected figure in American journalism for about half a century (I mean serious American journalism, serious think pieces). He also wrote what are called progressive essays on democracy, regarded as progressive back in the 1920s. He was, again, applying the lessons of the work on propaganda very explicitly. He says there is a new art in democracy called manufacture of consent. That is his phrase. Edward Herman and I borrowed it for our book, but it comes from Lippmann. So, he says, there is this new art in the method of democracy, "manufacture of consent." By manufacturing consent, you can overcome the fact that formally a lot of people have the right to vote. We can make it irrelevant because we can manufacture consent and make sure that their choices and attitudes will be structured in such a way that they will always do what we tell them, even if they have a formal way to participate. So weíll have a real democracy. It will work properly. Thatís applying the lessons of the propaganda agency.

Academic social science and political science comes out of the same thing. The founder of whatís called communications and academic political science is Harold Glasswell. His main achievement was a book, a study of propaganda. He says, very frankly, the things I was quoting beforeóthose things about not succumbing to democratic dogmatism, that comes from academic political science (Lasswell and others). Again, drawing the lessons from the war time experience, political parties drew the same lessons, especially the conservative party in England. Their early documents, just being released, show they also recognized the achievements of the British Ministry of Information. They recognized that the country was getting more democratized and it wouldnít be a private menís club. So the conclusion was, as they put it, politics has to become political warfare, applying the mechanisms of propaganda that worked so brilliantly during the first World War towards controlling peopleís thoughts.

Thatís the doctrinal side and it coincides with the institutional structure. It strengthens the predictions about the way the thing should work. And the predictions are well confirmed. But these conclusions, also, are not allowed to be discussed. This is all now part of mainstream literature but it is only for people on the inside. When you go to college, you donít read the classics about how to control peoples minds.

Just like you donít read what James Madison said during the constitutional convention about how the main goal of the new system has to be "to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority," and has to be designed so that it achieves that end. This is the founding of the constitutional system, so nobody studies it. You canít even find it in the academic scholarship unless you really look hard.

That is roughly the picture, as I see it, of the way the system is institutionally, the doctrines that lie behind it, the way it comes out. There is another part directed to the "ignorant meddlesome" outsiders. That is mainly using diversion of one kind or another. From that, I think, you can predict what you would expect to find.
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 8:35 am
I believe Americans simply are worn down from all the lies and corruption. They are beaten down, tired, and frustrated. In my belief, the American People want to hear any good news, so when they hear even a shred or a microscopic piece of news that gives hope they listen.
Not to mention, a lot of people are simply afraid they are being watched, about being blacklisted, and in even more cases, just do not care. Hence my desire to end the apathy of the government towards the American People so the people can start to believe what they hear as being true, and not just state-sponsored propaganda. I cannot believe I would ever have said "state sponsored" anything in the United States. How far we have been oppressed. How much we have been censored and silenced. So much has changed for the worse in our nation. Yet, as long as one person is still willing to stand against tyranny, well, there is a glimmer of hope.
Thank you for the post Lauren.
 

Michael M. (58)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 9:00 am
To this article and the present corporate wars for oil, I merely give you two words: Karl Rove.
Look at his history, his direct mail campaigns, his choice of president, his use of the methods mentioned in the article.

Daniel, the lies and corruption are endemic to the human species. The willingness to blindly follow anyone who pets one on the head with faux kindness leads to the misplaced willingness to die for words.

Having grown up around the military, I feel lucky since being imprisoned instead of enslaved to fight, not to have been patted on the head.

It is interesting that the wolf I know here dodges those hands attempting to pat him on the head - he knows it as an act of dominance, and carefully keeps his senses alert and free.
 

Robert K. (437)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 9:38 am
I live in middle Tennessee, a more provincial area I would think, and us folks around here are dumbed down. Our local papers are both right wing GOP conservative republican necon. In the county I live in there are 89 churches I believe, you might say one on each side of every corner. On every other TV channel are televangelical soul molestors such as Pat Robertson and James Dodson. The Tennessean out of Nashville is owned by the Gannett Corp. along with 1500 others. And of course it is right wing GOP conservative republican necon. Now the pastor at First Baptist Church here makes a $100 thousand a year. And he like the other soul molestors preach politics, that is to say there will be no liberals, progressives, philosophers and such in heaven. To be against Bush is to be against the troops, and other than a republican you are a baby killer, a fagot, and unpatriotic. Now according to statistics 86% of Americans go to some kind of church listening to Pat Robertson and his lot say God told him bu$hit was a good man. Rupert Murdock and the MSM tell us Bush is the Right man as do our corporate employersand listening to Bill O'Reily and Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan, Bob Novack, Ann Colter-NYT best seller how are the red states ever going to know any difference. Wilson Coounty School Board just voted to start teaching the Bible in school over scientific knowledge. Facts and reason has nothing to do with it...it's either cultural ignorance, or people just don't care - they don't want to be responsible.
 

Blacktiger P. (247)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 10:03 am
Your Founding Fathers said KEEP CHURCH AND STATE?FEDERAL SEPARATE, They did that for the reason glaringly obvious now.
 

Just Carole (341)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 10:25 am

Excellent info. Thanks, Lauren!
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 10:37 am
Recently, I've been to some "backroom" lecture of one old man, who, during the Cold War, was one of those, who elaborated a question of "psychotronic" weapon and means of defence from it. He was "declassified" by special forces only few years ago.

Folks, it's clear as day: we all have to live on the battlefield of informational war.
 

Scarlett P. (126)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 10:37 am
Noted...Thanks for the post Lauren.
 

Davida P. (283)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 12:52 pm
Great Reading and have fowarded on to some non-care2 friends. Thanks Lauren, and to everyone else who has commented.
 

Kelly Strickland (2)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 2:54 pm
This is a really great article! Thank you for sharing.
 

Marivic B. (27)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 3:52 pm
Great articles posted here! Thank you!
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 11:10 pm
Our common enemy is The Shadow Government. It operates behind the scenes and controls every government in the world. They determine all policies related to interaction with other peoples and nations.

They infleuence all global foreign policy and have a specific agenda that does favor certain ethnic/religious groups over others. The reason that they do so is that it is such a successful means of bringing out the worst in people. What inspires more passion than country, ethnicity or religion ?

They utilize everything that we usually incorporate as a vital aspect of our identity. The reason they do this is that most people will fight to the death to protect those things.

The Shadow Government is deeply invested in maintaining our state of ignorance and preventing our evolution on every level. They want humanity to be a slave race that serves a very small ruling elite.

We must be aware of the Shadow Government but we must also strive to extricate ourselves from its disturbingly succesful attempts to divide and conquer.

Fundamentalisms flourish in any atmosphere of fear and that leads to many atrocities and the enemy is suddenly everywhere and no one can be trusted.

Being aware of hidden factors is essential to our enlightenment and liberty. Accepting the labels given by the Shadow Government is a snare.

The Shadow government hijacks symbols, rituals, words, terms, concepts and inverts and subverts them to create hate and to subjugate and dehumanize us all. These words, symbols, etc. then become triggers that when uttered or viewed, act much like any brainwashing technique would. Ears and eye close, emotions rise to a feverish and desparate pitch, tempers flare, defences are at red alert, we are out of the temple of the heart and totally in the fight/ flight/ freeze mode of basic survival consciouness. This creates a massive regressive state that renders us even more open to further psychological manipulation and control.

Awareness is our only path to liberation from this nefarious and effective weapon that violates us and encourages us to violate others.

All Fundamentalisms and Extremisms are being used by the Shadow Government to promote fear, xenophobia, control, manipulation, hate, removal of conscience and moral discretion when convinced they are acting in accordance with the will of god...etc. This is a classic psychological phenomenon of all cults.

It is up to us to piece the entire puzzle together as when we can finally name something we bring it from the shadows and it loses it's power to work its mischief in the dark behind the scenes.

So I advocate for a closer look at all evidence that points to any activity related to the Shadow Government. And while we go there, let us avoid the temptation to "other", "exclude" or in any way demonize a people or a person.

Let us get to the heart of the real beast and cut off its nourishment.

May this post serve to liberate us rather than draw us deeper into the illusion, conflict and misunderstanding.

I am willing to share information about the agenda and activities of the SG. with any who ask.

Indigo





 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 13, 2007, 11:18 pm
The above post is from another news thread of my own. I have placed it here because it is relevant to the problem of social control.

We need to understand the mechanisms at work that create so much willingness to believe and obey rather than challenge and question.

These efforts are at work on the international stage as well as within nations and communities.

They operate through media, government, educational institutions, law enforcement, national security, religion and any aspect of society that has the potential to either unite or divide people.

I will only share more if asked.

Enough said.
 

Lucky Children Astorgues (104)
Thursday June 14, 2007, 12:50 am
Deeply great and important querstion.
It is difficult to me to explain my opinion, but all of us are looking after perfection (who will never happen).
THis open doors to oftef anything.
 

Martin K. (80)
Thursday June 14, 2007, 1:22 am
Later on when my vision becomes clearer, I shall write on the"tavistock Institute" , the mechanism for the brainwashing of all socities and cultures. Started in the UK in 1947, with most from Freud,in 1927. A group of psychologists and physichitrists who today are and have brainwashed all our Universities and Gov't Inst.
MIT, Harvard, Stanford, NSA,NAFTA,FBI, every agency in the promotion of the Zionist New World Order.
Until tomorrow.
Martin
 

Charles Q. (20)
Thursday June 14, 2007, 2:21 am
Most U.S. Americans are weak minded and easily duped (bamboozled) by every flim flamer and con artist hustling for a buck!
Hey let's not forget to finger the schools for their part in promoting the official line of b__sh_t that was spoon-fed to every parent and kid...
 

Charles Q. (20)
Thursday June 14, 2007, 2:37 am
Mighty happy everyone here isn't part of the nation of droids and robot sheep...
BTW: I'm surprised the author didn't credit Winchester (Yes that Winchester maker of the rifle w/his name), who was the architect/mastermindbehind a slick campaign to have a Winchester rifle in every family's home.
Remeber those paintings depicting the Puritans and Pigrims on their way on to worship carrying arms in hand? He was responsible for that propaganda bit as well as getting the public to swallow that load of manure about 2nd amendment gun "rights!"
 

Nadia Donato (476)
Thursday June 14, 2007, 9:34 am
Great post Lauren, thank you!!

Oh man, Boots! (Robert K)-- how do you manage living amongst the crazies? well, there's plenty of room for you here in New York City my friend... but you may not want to give up your pick-up truck :-)
 

Elle J. (282)
Saturday June 16, 2007, 2:29 am
Noted! It is not only our right to question our government, it is our duty as well. Thank you, Lauren for the post. Also Thank you, David Cromie for your post by Noam Chomsky.
 

Kenneth Cowtowne (51)
Thursday June 21, 2007, 11:09 am
Irrefutable! Bravo. The data is quite objective, fair and concise.
This info is adequately simplistic, and it is my first 'share' or blog-worthy discovery in a few days.
PS: I am also a victim; particularly in assuming that a corporate ['clone'] career is the 'only' respectable option... this derives from assimilation/socialization produced by a lifetime surrounded by those types [Doctors/Lawyers/Executives] of bureaucrats.
 

Carol W. (119)
Monday September 10, 2007, 10:07 pm

Thanks for this post, and the contributing wisdom of all sharing wide eyes. Robt. K. so many people in Kansas are as you describe in your area. But cross the state line, and their eyes in KC MO seem much more open.
 
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