“There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.” Edward Bernays, Propaganda
“If everyone believes something, it’s probably wrong. Most of the opinions held by the public are contrived. Airtime costs money. It wouldn’t be on TV if someone wasn’t paying for it to be there.” Tim O’Shea, The Doors of Perception
Towards the end of the second Matrix film, Neo reaches The Source and meets the Architect. Here, he finally discovers the truth about the world he has been living in. In a pivotal exchange, these two fictional characters express a very real conflict through their opposing points of view. Neo wants to save those he cares about by exercising his power of free choice. The Architect has always seen his power of choice as an irritating anomaly, something to be engineered out of his otherwise-perfect system.
Most of us can easily identify with Neo’s point of view, and we see ourselves reflected in his reactions. The Architect, by contrast, might seem unreal and absurd. It’s hard for some to accept the idea that someone in the real world could think or act this way.
Today, we will meet some of these people.
The Father of Public Relations
The nephew of Sigmund Freud, Edward Bernays took his uncle’s insights into the human subconscious and crafted the science of controlling public opinion: Propaganda. You can find his ideas at work all around you.
Bernays was recruited by the U.S Committee on Public Information, to write the campaign which would sell World War I to the American public (see: These Tanks Are The Worst Horses Ever).
His best slogan was so successful, it was never really retired: “Make the World Safe For Democracy”
In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a war that wasn’t sold to the public using that slogan, or some variation of it. Look at what the U.S. Government is saying about Syria right now.
Other achievements included the Torches of Freedom movement, a staged public event & media campaign. By associating the idea of smoking cigarettes with women’s rights, he successfully sold American women on the idea of smoking as a form of empowerment. An impressive feat, considering the prevailing social stigmas of the day.
Ever eat bacon for breakfast? That was Bernays’ idea, marketing campaign and all (I never said all Propaganda was bad!)
Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda, would utilize all of Bernays’ techniques. As would every Madison Avenue advertising firm of the Postwar era. Mad Men even makes reference to Bernays’ work in several episodes.
A public whose opinions are tightly controlled is subject to an invisible government, to use Bernays’ own term.
Tools, Players, and Methodology
The strongest influences on public thought come to us through trusted leaders, cultural cliches and norms, symbols that represent our base desires, and customs of our social class. These forces are layered over each other, to maximize their influence.
You don’t have to control everyone. Most can be swayed by simply controlling what he calls the Molders of Public Opinion:
•The President and his Cabinet
•Congress (not all members, just the senior ones)
•Governors (again not all, just the most influential ones)
•Chamber of Commerce of the 100 Largest Cities
•CEO and Board of the 100 largest Corporations
•Presidents of Professional and Fraternal Organizations
•100 Leading Media Personalities
•50 Most Popular Authors
•20 Leading Movie Producers
•100 Biggest Celebrities
Altogether, this is less than 1000 people, yet their opinions and endorsements are projected onto millions, by virtue of their position in society. With all this attention, comes prestige. This is why everyone who makes it in Hollywood is run through the talk show and award show circuits. It’s how they are established in the public mind. If you piss someone off, or say something unapproved, they simply remove you from the list.
Everyone understands on some level, that advertising is bullshit. We know we’re being sold stupid products we don’t really need, under the most idiotic of justifications. Yet, we buy these anyway.
So how would you feel if you found out that the news is made by the same people that make advertising? Using the same techniques? What if what you think is an informative newscast is really a disguised infomercial for the beliefs they want to sell you?
Oh sure! It’s all a big conspiracy!
Actually, it is. And no, not everyone is in on it. News anchors and broadcasters are the bottom of this pyramid. They’re just the presenters. They read whatever is handed to them, or they lose their jobs.
Thought Engineering, Inc.
At the top, you have Public Relations Firms.
What should frighten you more than a little is the fact that you’ve probably never even heard of these firms if you don’t work in their industry: Burson-Marsteller, Edelman Hill & Knowlton, Kamer-Singer & Associates, Ketchum, Mongovin Biscoe & Duchin, and BSMG Worldwide. Yet, almost everything you see on TV is manufactured here.
Distribution firms such as Reuters and The Associated Press (both owned by the Rothschilds) exist to distribute this content to local and national TV stations. This ensures all stations broadcast the same story, in the same format. The images, headlines, copy, and talking points are all manufactured and standardized. Just like parts in a machine.
Some of their techniques:
•Fake Crowd Approval – Many shows and political rallies use audiences who are paid to applause and cheer on cue. Why? Because the appearance of public enthusiasm creates more of the same.
•Fake Independent, Third-Party Endorsement – The appearance of scientific soundness and ethical compliance is provided by a manufactured entity whose sole purpose is to appear legitimate and proclaim such endorsements. You’ve probably heard of some of these: Temperature Research Foundation (Climate Change), International Food Information Council (GMO Foods), Consumer Alerts (A Variety), American Council on Science and Health (Health Care) and many others. All of these are funded behind the scenes by the same entities they endorse.
So, what kind of person does this for a living?
Meet the Modern Queen of Public Relations
I recently came upon this article, published towards the end of the 2012 election: Overcoming Polarization – Some Thoughts for the Political Season – by Kathy Cripps
Background: The author is President of the Council of Public Relations Firms, comprised of the largest PR firms in the world. To be selected for an industry-leading position like this, one would have to wield considerable influence among one’s peers, and be seen as an ambassador of their values and beliefs.
In summary, she warns us:
There are serious dangers of “strident rhetoric” from groups such as the “Occupy Wall Streeters” and “Tea Partiers.” Division between “left” and “right” affects people’s habits, making it harder to predict where people will spend their money.
Unfortunately for Fortune 500 Executives, this makes budgets and marketing campaigns harder to plan, and delays major decisions for their executive boards. Her friend, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist, is afraid that people’s opinions might cost the economy a half-point of GDP in 2013. Failure on the public’s part to accept things as they are is “totally irresponsible and absolutely insane.”
So how does she propose solving this problem? She and her colleagues at several major PR firms agree, the answer is to treat everyone like kindergartners who don’t get along. She believes the public just needs to “build consensus” and “walk a mile in each others’ shoes.”
Be Careful What You Wish For…
Many would agree that political division in the West is a serious concern. But you’d be hard pressed to find someone from either side who doesn’t think that Occupy and the Tea Party have some very legitimate complaints about a system that has failed to represent them. The emergence of the Liberty Movement, comprised of members of both sides, wouldn’t be possible without common ground on both sides of the aisle.
Consensus is building. Perhaps Kathy will get exactly what she wished for, just not what she wanted…
Next time you sign a White House Petition, hit the voting booth, turn on the evening news, read the paper, buy a product from one of these companies, remember this:
The Western Elite view your political opinions as an irritating anomaly to be managed, before it affects their bottom line.
They don’t have any intention of taking you or your concerns seriously. They never did. They use their time and resources to analyze everything you say and do so that they can find ways to convert your opinions into sales figures. And they don’t appreciate it when you make this difficult for them with all your rowdy little disagreements.
So what do you think? Please take a moment and leave your thoughts in the comments.
Addendum: For the record, I have nothing personal against this woman. She was just too good of an example to pass up. Her attitude and beliefs are exactly what you find in many societies on the brink. The root of our problem isn’t our policies. It’s the thinking that creates these policies.