MANIPULATED PUBLIC OPINION. I’m fascinated by how the U.S. media works—together with the quite extraordinary extent to which U.S. public opinion is manipulated.
No matter what the facts are, we are almost always deflected from an understanding of the reality—and the full implications of the consequences. Yet, on the other hand, most information is out there if you really go and look. But the important stuff has a tendency not to get the coverage it deserves—and as a consequence, a critical mass of outrage is rarely reached.
Clearly, secrecy plays a role too—to what extent, by definition, it is hard to know—but what intrigues me is how truly devastating news is neutralized to the point where it has almost no impact.
WE ARE TOLD WHAT TO THINK. It all adds up to a series of highly sophisticated and successful information operations which keep the U.S. population largely ignorant and unconcerned about a series of issues which are steadily degrading the American Way of Life. Here, the word “unconcerned” is worth stressing. If the media don’t appear to be concerned about an issue, then—by and large—people won’t be concerned either. We think of ourselves as independent thinkers guided by the facts—but the evidence would suggest, that is not true. Mostly, we are told what to think, what to take in our stride, and what to worry about. And we accept this—primarily because everyone else seems to..
How do they do this? And who are ‘they?’
A number of methodologies seem to be involved in keeping public opinion relative docile in the face of facts which should have most Americans in a state of outrage. The following is a selection.
- OWN THE MEDIA WHICH THEN SELF CENSORS.
- OWN THE THINK TANKS
- IGNORE THE STORY
- LET THE STORY GET LOST IN THE SHEER VOLUME OF NEWS
- UNDERPLAY THE STORY
- BALANCE IT (which really means neutralize it) WITH AN OPPOSING POINT OF VIEW
- DENY ACCESS TO SOURCES
- DELAY THE STORY
- CONFUSE THE ISSUE
- EITHER DON’T GIVE—OR UNDERPLAY—THE CONTEXT
- RARELY—IF EVER—CONNECT THE DOTS
- LEAVE OUT INTERNATIONAL COMPARISONS
- DISTRACT, DISTRACT, DISTRACT.
WHO ARE THEY? They are the people who own the U.S.—the 1 percent, if you will—and who like it this way.
WHAT BROUGHT THIS PIECE TO MIND. A major Princeton study by Martin Gilens and Northwestern’s Benjamin I. Page concluded:
Economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.”
In short, the U.S. is no longer a democracy. It has the trappings of one—but in reality, it is a plutocracy.
Now, this was a major study based upon examining 1,700 policies over 20 years—issued by a highly regarded university and coming to a highly significant conclusion. But was it covered by the corporate media? Largely, it was not.
An incident like this doesn’t prove the point, but it certainly illustrates it.