War, Media Propaganda, and the Police State

The following essay is intended to provide a brief overview of topics addressed in a discussion graciously recorded by Julie Vivier at the offices of the Center for Research on Globalization in Montreal Canada on August 5, 2014.-JFT

Modern propaganda techniques utilized by the corporate state to enforce anti-democratic and destructive policies routinely entail the manufacture and manipulation of news events to mold public opinion and, as Edward Bernays put it, “engineer consent” toward certain ends.

Such events include not only overt political appeals, but also acts of seemingly spontaneous terrorism and militarism that traumatize the body politic into ultimately accepting false narratives as political and historical realities.

Western states’ development and utilization of propaganda closely parallels the steady decay of political enfranchisement and engagement throughout the twentieth century. Upon securing a second term in 1916, the Democratic administration of Woodrow Wilson plunged the United States into the most violent and homicidal war in human history. Wilson, a former Princeton University academician groomed for public office by Wall Street bankers, assembled a group of progressive-left journalists and publicists to “sell the war” to the American people.

Prof James F. Tracy on GRTV 

George Creel, Walter Lippmann, Edward Bernays and Harold Lasswell all played influential roles in the newly-formed Committee on Public Information, and would go on to be major figures in political thought, public relations, and psychological warfare research.

The sales effort was unparalleled in its scale and sophistication. The CPI was not only able to officially censor news and information, but essentially manufacture these as well. Acting in the role of a multifaceted advertising agency, Creel’s operation “examined the different ways that information flowed to the population and flooded these channels with pro-war material.”

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