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 Propaganda, Background Discussion

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PostSubject: Propaganda, Background Discussion   Propaganda, Background Discussion EmptySun 31 Jan 2010, 12:18 pm

In this Clip from Part 5 of the Documentary Series "Evidence of Revison," Noam Chomsky, Frank Luntz and others discuss the manipulation of the public mind and its foundations in the Creel Committee.

Evidence of Revision, Clip from Part 5


The Committee on Public Information, also known as the CPI and the Creel Committee, was an independent agency of the government of the United States intended to influence U.S. public opinion regarding American intervention in World War I. It was established by President Woodrow Wilson through Executive order 2594, April 13, 1917.

The purpose of the CPI was to influence American public opinion toward supporting U.S. intervention in World War I via a prolonged propaganda campaign. Among those who participated in it were Wilson advisers Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays, the latter of whom had remarked that "the essence of democratic society" was the "engineering of consent", by which propaganda was the necessary method for democracies to promote and garner support for policy. Many have commented that the CPI laid the groundwork for the public relations (PR) industry.

Quote :
QUESTION: I once interviewed Edward Bernays, the pioneering figure in American business public relations. He talked about the "engineering of consent."

CHOMSKY: Yes, he thought it was a wonderful thing. In fact, he described it as the "essence of democracy."

QUESTION: The effort to persuade people to see things your way.

CHOMSKY: He said that the essence of democracy is that we have the freedom to persuade. But who has the freedom to persuade? Well, who runs the public relations industry? It's not the special interests -- they're the targets of the public relations industry. The public relations industry is a major industry, closely linked to other corporations. Those are the people who have the power to persuade and who engineer the consent of others.

QUESTION: A vice president at AT&T in 1909 said that he thought the public mind was the chief danger to the company. What did he mean by that?

CHOMSKY: The general public might have funny ideas about corporate control. For example, people who really believe in democracy, people who take eighteenth-century values seriously, people who really might merit the term "conservatives" are against concentration of power. The Enlightenment held that individuals should be free from the coercion of concentrated power. The kind of concentrated power they were thinking about was the church, the state, the feudal system, and so on. But in the subsequent period, a new form of power developed -- namely, corporations -- with highly-concentrated power over decision-making in economic life. We should not be forced simply to rent ourselves to the people who own the country and its institutions. Rather, we should play a role in determining what those institutions do. That's democracy.


"For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root."
David Thoreau (1817-1862)
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