You are being manipulated. Some would have you believe it is for your own good. As Edward Bernays, widely considered one of the fathers of public relations said in his 1928 book ‘Propaganda’
“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.”
Bernays stance makes sense when you realize he wanted to be the one doing the manipulation. It should scare the crap out of the rest of us. Keep in mind Bernays’ book was written over 80 years ago. Before radio, television and the Internet.
Thomas Jefferson wrote: “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” But today we have so many more outlets where we can get the news. Well, not really. Trying to find out who actually owns different media outlets is an exercise in frustration.
For instance, Viacom is one of the largest media conglomerates in the world. Originally a television syndication division of CBS, called CBS Films Viacom became and independent company in 1971. In 2001 Viacom turned around and bought CBS. In 1987 however Viacom was purchased by National Amusements, which is run by Sumner Redstone, birth name: Sumner Murray Rothstein.
The point of this article however is not to cut the Gordian knot of media ownership but to highlight how limited our media choices really are.
May 1, 2008 marked the fifth year anniversary of President Bushs’ infamous ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech. Five years of war would surely rate high as a news item. Wouldn’t it? Apparently not.
According to Journalism.org the top story in the US for the week of April 28 was the 2008 political campaign with 38% of the news pie. The war in Iraq came in third with 3%. Internet news outlets and radio carried the most information about the Iraqi war while cable news stations barely covered it at all. (data collected from http://www.journalism.org/node/10929)
The 2008 political campaign was the top story across all news outlets, followed by the economy. I suggest the economy could be improved greatly by not spending 340 millions dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Perhaps we could use that money to upgrade the infrastructure of our own country. New Orleans. could be rebuilt in a month.
Instead we believe the surge is working, violence is down and Iraq is well on it’s way to democracy. It may even be true but why aren’t we hearing about it? I have some ideas and suspicions but instead I would like you to answer that question.
To help you in your quest for the truth we have assembled some seminal videos you will want to watch. But don’t just watch the videos, keep searching, reading and learning. As a very wise man once said – “The truth will set you free”. All you need to do is find it.