Thursday, May 24, 2012

Does Propaganda Work? History Resoundly Says, "YES!"...

but it doesn't have to.  When VOICES newspaper hits the street, we will run Part II of a series our publisher has been working on, Propaganda: Carrying Walker’s Message (part I is HERE).  Perhaps part of the problem that has divided Wisconsin so deeply and dysfunctionally is that some are not ready to accept that our media may mislead us and that intellectual slight of hand actually works

Yet when asked, everyone seems to say, "oh no, I think for myself - advertising of any type and what I see or read as "news" and "analysis" in the media never affects me or anyone but stooooopid people and that is there fault."


Advertising works and the fact that companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi spend HUGE sums of money to convince Americans that one brown colored sugar water not only tastes inherently better than the other, but it is  a vital part of our lifestyle!

The truth is, propaganda advertising not only works, but it sells tons and tons of crap stuff, which is why these major global corporations continue to increase ad budgets when they want to maintain or grow market share - especially in tough times.  Good advertising works, even when you think it doesn't.  In fact, it probably works more effectively when you think you are immune to it.  Effective ads and propaganda are not based on logic, they are based on emotional responses.

Fighting back against Scott Walker and increasingly radical extremists in the republican party is important, "job #1" for many.  But is real change possible if we don't also hold the media accountable for catapulting Scott Walker's endless lies as paid advertising and reporters acting as his administration's stenographers?

Simple answer:  NO!  When surrounded by alligators, it is time to remember our mission is to drain the swamps.

Which leads us to an important article posted at Truthout today, Messing With Our Minds: The Ever Finer Line Between News and Advertising:
The manufacturing of consent is endemic within modern societies. Throughout history, the need to "persuade and influence" has always been manipulated by those people in power as a means to maintain authority and legitimacy. In more recent years, the overall manipulation of the mass public mind has become less about making speeches and more about becoming a pervasive presence within the lives of each of individual.

Edward Bernays has often been called "the father of public relations," as it was his teachings and research that spurred the postwar years of propaganda. Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, utilized psychological and psychoanalytical ideas to construct an informational system - propaganda - capable of manipulating public opinion. Bernays, apparently, considered that such a manipulative apparatus was necessary because society, in his regard, was composed of too many irrational elements - the people - which could be dangerous to the efficient mechanisms of power (or so-called "democracy"). Bernays wrote that, "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society."[1] Bearing in mind that Bernays was working in the early 1920s, we can expect the mechanisms of propaganda - mass manipulation - to have progressed to a very advanced degree since then. Within the context of our modern mass societies, propaganda has morphed into a mechanism for not only engineering public opinion, but also for consolidating social control.
Click HERE to read more
Kingsley Dennis has written a good piece that is fully-supported with links/documentation.  As someone that has been extensively researching Walker blog posts and news items since he "dropped the bomb" while he thought citizens were distracted with another Packer Super Bowl; it has been disturbing to see how, as the recall gets closer, outside of Wisconsin's robust progressive bloggosphere, it gets harder and harder to find information that challenges Walker's campaign memes.

The message is controlled - the many millions of dollars that are being dumped into the recall, overwhelmingly out-of-state money on Walker's behalf, are being freely given because the resulting propaganda media-buys work at many levels.  It even appears that the media is willing to carry Walker's paid-messages into their news and analysis too.  Talk radio in Milwaukee integrates Walker's propaganda talking points into its daily programming.

For example, even though Walker has a 25 to 1 fundraising advantage and raises almost 60 percent of his funds out-of-state while Barrett recieves only 13% out-of-state, the Milwaukee Urinal Genital Journal Sentinal proclaims, "WALKER AND BARRETT ARE EXACTLY THE SAME HERE, BOTH SIDES DO IT!

Sorry for the shouting, but what passes as journalism today concerns me greatly. 

Going into June 5th, this writer understands, accepts, and supports those that want to focus on change that starts at the ballot box - recalling Scott Walker.  There are many great bloggers here in Wisconsin and America that are helping counteract a media environment that has been contaminated with uncritical pro-Walker ads and the content from this paid propaganda these ads increasingly spills into news, analysis, and editorials. 

A great deal of work, sweat, and passion for justice has gone into the recall efforts in Wisconsin.  Are we ready and willing to put a fraction of that effort into holding the media accountable?

Can we honor and take back Wisconsin's progressive heritage if we don't address the media landscape that disseminates the propaganda that gave birth to Fitzwalkerstan?

We can if we continue to work together and have a dialog about how we got into this mess into the first place.

Solidarity All!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.