Why Americans Will Believe Almost Anything
Posted by wordforit on April 26, 2008
From politics, to religion, to food, to ‘simple shopping’, guarding one’s interests through reading and reading some more is a necessity is a media-hyped-saturated environment. Prudence rules.
Read down to “Characteristics of Good Propaganda” then read the entire piece—should ‘begin’ to sound familiar. ~WFI
The Doors of Perception:
Why Americans Will Believe Almost Anything
By Tim O’Shea
Excerpted from: Rense
[. . .] 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 popular opinion.
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.
[. . .] During the next several decades, Bernays and his colleagues evolved the principles by which masses of people could be generally swayed through messages repeated over and over hundreds of times. Once the value of media became apparent, other countries of the world tried to follow our lead. But Bernays really was the gold standard. Josef Goebbels, who was Hitler’s minister of propaganda, studied the principles of Edward Bernays when Goebbels was developing the popular rationale he would use to convince the Germans that they had to purify their race. (Stauber)
[. . .] 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 International Food Information Council Consumer Alert The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition Air Hygiene Foundation Industrial Health Federation International Food Information Council Manhattan Institute Center for Produce Quality Tobacco Institute Research Council Cato Institute American Council on Science and Health Global Climate Coalition Alliance for Better Foods
Sound legit don’t they?
[. . .] 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 cross-breeding 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
– when minimizing outrage, point out the benefits of what just happened
– when minimizing outrage, avoid moral issues (emphasis WFI)