Flying The Flag and Faking The News: The Role and Power of Modern Propaganda

March 8th, 2012 by Andy in Propaganda & Faux News

Excellent piece from John Pilger on the role and power of propaganda in our current political environment. Particularly good for bringing to light one of the primary inventors of modern propaganda, Edward Bernays, the man who redefined it as “public relations.”

Edward Bernays, the American nephew of Sigmund Freud, is said to have invented modern propaganda. During the First World War, he was one of a group of influential liberals who mounted a secret government campaign to persuade reluctant Americans to send an army to the bloodbath in Europe. In his book, “Propaganda,” published in 1928, Bernays wrote that the “intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses was an important element in democratic society” and that the manipulators “constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power in our country.” Instead of propaganda, he coined the euphemism “public relations.”

The American tobacco industry hired Bernays to convince women they should smoke in public. By associating smoking with women’s liberation, he made cigarettes “torches of freedom.” In 1954, he conjured a communist menace in Guatemala as an excuse for overthrowing the democratically-elected government, whose social reforms were threatening the United Fruit company’s monopoly of the banana trade. He called it a “liberation.”

Bernays was no rabid right winger. He was an elitist liberal who believed that “engineering public consent” was for the greater good. This was achieved by the creation of “false realities,” which then became “news events.” Here are examples of how it is done these days:

Read The Rest of the Article Here.

At least Pilger leaves us with some optimistic news (optimistic, that is, if one believes in living in a truly democratically accountable society).

Of course, the good news is that false realities often fail when the public trusts its own critical intelligence, not the media. Two classified documents recently released by WikiLeaks express the CIA’s concern that the populations of European countries, which oppose their governments’ war policies, are not succumbing to the usual propaganda spun through the media. For the rulers of the world, this is a conundrum, because their unaccountable power rests on the false reality that no popular resistance works. And it does.

Here is some more insight on the legacy of Edward Bernays which we all live:
How Media Breeds Americans to Be Eternally Childlike Consumers

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