Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Selling the Big Lie

Napoleon seems to have been amongst the first to acknowledge the power of the media. He said, "Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets." By the time he was developing his news management techniques newspapers had been around a couple of hundred years but by the early 1800s advances in printing techniques had made them much cheaper. That, and increased levels of literacy had lead to the increasing influence  of the press.

At the time of Hitler the first of the broadcast media was appearing. Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of propaganda, recognised that this would have a news-management power at least as important as the press. Goebbels commissioned the development of a cheap radio, the Volksempfänger, that was designed to be both cheap and only capable of receiving the short range German broadcasts.

These days Italy's ex PM Berlusconi has his own TV and radio stations which did not show the cheering crowds in Rome on the day he stepped down. 

And, just in case we might think that news management is just something that Johnnie Foreigner gets up to, keep in mind the pro nuclear power spin that was rolled out in the early hours of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. supply-and-demand 

It's no surprise that where there's money there's someone lobbying to get their story in the papers. 
This article, from the Guardian, discusses the Climate change denial industry. Largely funded by Exxon.  

This is what Edward Bernays, called "engineering public consent." Edward_Bernays
In his book, Propaganda, published in 1928, Bernays wrote that: "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are 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 daily 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 which control the public mind."

The Czech novelist Zdener Urbanek said. "In dictatorships we are more fortunate that you in the West in one respect. We believe nothing of what we read in the newspapers and nothing of what we watch on television, because we know its propaganda and lies. Unlike you in the West, we've learned to look behind the propaganda and to read between the lines, and unlike you, we know that the real truth is always subversive."

John Pilger has  written much more on this subject, please read his excellent article.the-invisible-government

And why does this go on? Unsurprisingly this lobbying stuff is big business. A Washington firm with links to the financial industry has proposed an $850,000 plan to take on Occupy Wall Street and any politicians who might express sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street, and the other financial centres protests. upwithchrishayes

A free press, you must be joking. Who would call $850,000 free?

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