Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Propaganda and the Journalism Crash

Mainstream media is a propagandist tool. Not only to sell you products that you don't need but to sell you information that is lies. Truthful investigative journalism from the corporations is absent. The people are turning away in droves but there still is a great number that feed the machine. Turn off the TV, compost the newspapers, boycott Hollywood. Don't support the lies of war and greed.
Do yourself and your family a favor...
Dont Fall into the Sheeple Pit...

From: The Crow House


The Journalism Crash

The journalism profession is in crisis, where every week brings another bleak announcement.

The situation looks dire for the mainstream media industry, particularly for newspaper companies. Tribune Company, the third-largest newspaper chain in the nation and owner of 23 TV stations, declared bankruptcy. Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the country, announced it was slashing 2,000 jobs. Scripps put a “for sale” sign on The Rocky Mountain News, and the Miami Herald is reportedly on the block.

As I reported in another blog post in November, the newspaper industry has slashed more than 10 percent of its work force since 2000. And according to the running tally at the blog paper cuts, more than 15,000 newspaper positions have been eliminated through layoffs or buyouts in 2008

The crisis in the media industry mirrors why our financial system is a mess. Big corporations pressured the government to deregulate industries. Companies got even bigger through mergers, controlling the major institutions that impact our lives with little oversight, facing less competition and refusing to innovate. Instead, companies obsessed over profit margins to please Wall Street while failing to serve the public interest. As these companies take on greater debt, they can’t pay back their loans — and workers get the ax.

Profits vs. the Public

It is true that profit margins have shrunk for some media companies, and the larger financial crisis undoubtedly impacts advertising. The Internet has changed the public’s media habits. But most media companies remain extremely profitable, just not profitable enough to please Wall Street. (Some papers in the now-gutted Gannett chain enjoy profit margins above 40 percent.)

“We know that newspapers are making money – just not the astronomical profits of the 1990s,” the National Association of Black Journalists said in a Dec. 5 press statement. “NABJ is reminding media companies of their sacred trust, which is more than the bottom-line. Never mind that media companies provide a private trust.”

The crisis has revealed how little media executives care about journalism or serving the public’s news and informational needs. It has also revealed how the government has utterly failed across party lines to protect the public by allowing for greater consolidation.

“As great newspapers, magazines, TV networks, and publishing houses dismember themselves around us, it would be marginally consoling if the pink slips were going to those who contributed so vigorously to their companies’ accelerating demise,” said Tina Brown in a post at the Daily Beast.

What Can Be Done?

Even though there is much to criticize about mainstream media, our nation needs the important work performed by journalists. The vast majority of journalists are motivated by the noble mission to keep the public informed about the world they live in.

But the current media crisis demonstrates that our nation’s reliance on corporate-funded journalism is failing us. While bloggers and online news sites are stepping in to fill the gaping hole left by the crash of our mainstream media, few can afford to fund long-term investigative journalism. As a result, fewer journalists are covering the critical institutions that affect us all, leaving the public more uniformed and vulnerable.

Now, more than ever, we need to roll back media consolidation. We need to make a greater investment in public and community media. And we need to figure out and support the models — private and public, corporate and independent, online and off, professional and amateur, local and international — that give us the news we need to hold our leaders accountable.

We also need to finally recognize that our media system is the result of policies and politics. Just like the weak-kneed watchdogs at the SEC and Treasury stood by as subprime lending and “credit default swaps” sank our economy, the public servants entrusted with the airwaves cheered deregulation as local voices and viewpoints were crushed by the now-tottering media behemoths.

It didn’t have to be this way. And the next time the Zells and Gannetts come to Washington seeking special favors and massive giveaways, we ought to remember how we got into this mess. Too much “regulation” wasn’t the problem.

Source: Stop Big Media

Edward Bernays

Edward Bernays (1891-1995), the world's pre-eminent and most influential propagandist, was a nephew of Sigmund Freud, to whom he refers in his book PROPAGANDA a couple of times. Bernays considered the dissemination of propaganda, that is the shaping and manipulating of public opinion, not only respectable, but absolutely necessary in modern society. He considered it a science, most certainly based on psychology, and appeals to the authority of the eminent uncle in order to convince business people and especially politicians that the "engineering of consent" can, and must, be carried out coldly and systematically - and all this for the benefit of society.

In addition to his uncle Sigmund Freud, Bernays was influenced by and worked with Walter Lippmann who coined the blood chilling phrase "the manufacture of consent". He was also influenced by the research of Ivan Pavlov (!).

Bernays' clientele was most impressive and achievements were formidable. It is not for naught that he was called the "father of public relations". Counted among his clients were President Calvin Coolidge, Proctor & Gamble, CBS, the American Tobacco Company, John D. Rockefeller and General Electric. His propaganda campaign for the United Fruit Company is said to have led to the CIA's overthrow of the government of Guatemala.

The candor with which Bernays speaks about propaganda is remarkable. Actually, it is his most brash, and one assumes he thought most effective, propagandistic technique. He is so very sure of the absolute sway that propaganda has over the public imagination that he has no qualms whatsoever about informing society of what he is doing. He is quite certain that knowing that they are being propagandized will in no wise protect the public against it. Quite the contrary, in informing the public about the power and persuasiveness of "scientific" propaganda being administered by expert hands it is his intention to have the public surrender to it as inevitable, omnipresent and irresistible. Evidently, he succeeded.

"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.

-- Edward Bernays
in Propaganda

Bernays informs us that the modern "science" of propaganda, used to control and "regiment" public thinking, as he puts it, is a direct outgrowth of the propaganda that was used in order to demonize the Germans in the eyes of the US public during WWI. In fact, he apprises us of the fact that the very self-same people who engaged in wartime propaganda are now the propagandists "regimenting public opinion" in peacetime. He and Lippmann were among those people. During WWI they worked together on the U.S. Committee on Public Information (CPI), those who "sold" the idea of the war to the U.S. public by inventing the phrase "make the world safe for democracy".

Bernays refers to crackerjack propagandists as "invisible governors". Propagandists, while employed by big business people and politicians, are not their servants and not acting at their behest. It is the propagandists who are the invisible pullers of the politicians' and business people's strings. The propagandists, Bernays informs us in no uncertain terms and wholly devoid of inhibition, control every level of society from large numbers of former proletarians who were recently (as of 1928) allowed to go upscale socio-economically and attain parity with the lower rung of the petit bourgeoisie in order to stave off revolution all the way up to the level of big business and politicians. He goes on to apprise us of the fact that "propaganda is here to stay". That is not so much a statement of fact as a command to become resigned to the fact, like it or not.

In 1928 there were still enough Americans who were socially aware and Left-oriented that propagandists had a bad name. Bernays attempts in his book PROPAGANDA to give propagandists a better name, to make them appear more society-friendly, but he lets the public know that their acceptance of propaganda or not will not be the determining factor in whether or not it is influential and certainly not whether or not it continues to exist and exert tremendous influence.

Propaganda by Edward Bernays
Scan of the third edition (1930),
PDF format -- Freeware


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