Kristina Borjesson relates her experiences and provides analysis of the current state of investigative and enterprise journalism in the US. She discusses the drastic decline in true investigative journalism, the role of the internet and the globalization of reporting, and the clashing of the two cultures: traditional media & independent reporters.
Ms. Borjesson presents shocking real life examples illustrating behind the scene realities and pressures involved in Network TV, including HDNet and Dan Rather, and others. She talks about government and ownership pressures, and how these pressures successfully shape presented news, the two significant missing ingredients in news reporting today, and more!
Internationally acclaimed for her work, Kristina Borjesson has produced for major American and European television networks and published two groundbreaking books on the problems of the U.S. press: Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press & Feet to the Fire: the Media After 9/11, Top Journalists Speak out. Her awards include an Emmy and Murrow Award in TV, and the National Press Club’s Arthur Rowse award for Media Criticism and two Independent Publishers Awards for her books.
IS A NATION OF VILLAGE IDIOTS THE ULTIMATE PRODUCT ?
"A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself" - Joseph Pulitzer
THE ORIGINS OF IT ALL
Note : Replace "Nazi / Germany" with "terrorist / Islam" for a taste of how so little has changed in a whole century of propaganda drivel
1917-ongoing: UNITED STATES.After Woodrow “Making The World Safe For Hypocrisy” Wilson does his little flip flop on The Great War, it’s time to whip the American public into line. A week after Wilson’s declaration of war, he creates the imaginatively named Committee on Public Information (CPI) to propagandize the war and, quite literally, to mass brainwash America. It marks the beginning of scientifically based mass mind control in America. The CPI, headed by one of Wilson’s personal cronies, a publicist named George Creel, is made up of carefully selected people from the emerging film and advertising industries as well as from academia, psychology, the press, the music industry and the art world. The CPI is designed to “protect the control and management of American society” by “a technical elite who would serve established power”. The Wilson regime's ministry of propaganda and manipulation immediately identifies the basic methods by which it will control the minds of the American masses: appeal to emotion while largely ignoring truth or logic, replace facts with symbols, demonize the "enemy" and promise a war which will "make the world safe for democracy". Astute MTWSFH readers will notice how much things change over the years.
A newer and subtler instrument must weld thousands and even millions of human beings into one amalgamated mass of hate and will and hope. A new flame must burn out the canker of dissent and temper the steel of bellicose enthusiasm. The name of this new hammer and anvil of social solidarity is propaganda.Harold Lasswell
The CPI’s top mind control expert is Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, who applies old Sigmund's work to the art of mass mind control by blending modern advertising techniques with a profound understanding of individual and mass psychology. The basic techniques of mind control used by the CPI are old ones, employed successfully by the ruling elite during the American Revolution, the Spanish American War and countless other events. But, now, there are enormously powerful new tools to employ in the controlling of the American mind: radio and movies and, in a few decades, the most powerful brainwashing and disinformation tool of them all will appear, television. The creation of the CPI by Wilson marks a turning point in world history. The control of the perceptions, thoughts and beliefs of entire populations is now not only possible, but remarkably easy. Bernays calls it the "engineering of consent".
Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.Edward Bernays
As Bernays recognized, the most powerful tool with which to control a population is fear and an easily indentifiable, dehumanized enemy is needed to provoke that fear. Within a few months, by flooding the U.S. with anti-German hate literature, images, movies and music, the CPI has successfully transformed the U.S. from a nation consisting largely of isolationists to a gang of rabid and terrified Hun haters lusting for blood.
So great are the psychological resistances to war in modern nations that every war must appear to be a war of defense against a menacing, murderous aggressor.Harold Lasswell
The key to the CPI’s mind control program is the dehumanization and demonization of the German people and this includes German-Americans who fall victim to murderous “patriots” in large numbers. Under George Creel, the CPI invents countless fake stories of German atrocities. The tame mass media obediently carry the CPI's lies including ones of poisoned candy being dropped by German airplanes for children, German soldiers killing babies and skewering them on bayonets, the raping of Belgian nuns by Germans, Germans cutting the ears from corpses, German soldiers giving children hand-grenades to play with and Germans infecting God-fearing Americans with tuberculosis.
At first, most Americans see that the atrocity propaganda being pumped out by the CPI is nothing but absurd fabrication and refer to the practice as “Creeling” in honor of the CPI’s chief liar. But, in a few short months, the lies have been so thoroughly and repetitively distributed through every channel of communication in the United States that the vast majority of Americans accept the lies as being true.
Our effort was educational and informative throughout, for we had such confidence in our case as to feel that no other argument was needed than the simple, straightforward presentation of the facts.George Creel
Wilson’s Committee On Public Information carries out psychological warfare against the people of the United States on a scale unprecedented in human history and with a degree of success of which Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels could only dream. The CPI is organized into nineteen divisions, each focused on a particular type of propaganda. Teams of advertising experts and psychologists flood every possible means of communication in the U.S. with the goal of engendering hatred of everything German and making support of every aspect of the war the only possible option for a “patriotic” American. Public figures such as John Dewey and Walter Lippmann are recruited to give the CPI’s propaganda credibility.
The CPI creates the Four Minute Men, 75,000 volunteer speakers in 5,200 communities, who deliver the CPI’s propaganda to their neighbors and to church congregations. The CPI’s psychologists target various demographic segments of the American public with tailor-made propaganda. Foreign language speakers are used to target immigrants, farmers are used to sell the war to farmers, businessmen are used to convince other businessmen of the recently discovered virtue of the war. In all, the CPI’s speakers give more than seven million speeches provoking hatred and fear of Germany and Germans to more than three hundred million people. After many of the speeches, mobs form and attack German-American homes and businesses.
The CPI’s mind control experts are very well aware that graphic images are often more powerful propaganda tools than words and the Division of Pictorial Publicity recruits top advertising illustrators and cartoonists who work closely with publicity experts in the Advertising Division to provide propaganda via the print media, most notably posters and illustrations and advertising in magazines and newspapers in which they are given free space by cooperative publishers. Virtually every mainstream publication in the U.S. carries a substantial quota of CPI propaganda. Emotionally powerful posters, frequently painted in patriotic colors, are plastered on billboards across the country urging the sacrifice of money or a son or life itself for the war.
The CPI’s Division of News, distributes over six thousand press releases and becomes the primary provider of war “news” to the American mass media and therefore the American people. In a typical week, over twenty thousand newspaper columns in the U.S. are filled with material provided by the CPI.
Aware of the fact that many newspaper readers pay scant attention to the “news” items it has planted, the CPI creates the Division of Syndicated Features and recruits leading novelists, short story writers and essayists to deliver the CPI’s propaganda in those forms. The CPI estimates that more than twelve million Americans read the Syndicated Features Division’s propaganda every month throughout the war.
For those even less interested in the written word, those Americans who skip right past the CPI’s “news” and features to the funny pages, Bernays and the boys create a cartoon division which plants enormous amounts of CPI propaganda in cartoon pages and supplements. The division’s stated goal is to “mobilize and direct the scattered cartoon power of the country for constructive war work.” The cartoon propaganda achieves new heights in anti-German hatemongering. The evil Huns of the cartoons have snouts, tusks, hairy faces, red eyes and fangs. In the cartoons, the Germans render human corpses for fat, steal everything in sight, murder randomly and rape innocent maidens by the thousand.
One of the CPI's nineteen divisions uses popular music as part of its mass mind control program. The CPI hires thousands of song writers who create songs with anti-German lyrics.Sheet music of the CPI songs is printed and distributed complete with illustrations of evil, grotesque Huns.Among the composers is Irving Berlin who had been born Israel Isidore Baline. Curiously, Berlin didn't abandon his adopted, very German name in an environment wherefrankfurters had become “liberty sausages” and dachshunds had become “liberty dogs”. Perhaps Berlin calculated that, in the United States, it was better to have a "German" name, even in the midst of the CPI's anti-German hate campaign, than a Jewish one.
The CPI’s Division of Civic and Educational Cooperation uses tame scholars to write anti-German propaganda pamphlets with titles such as The German Whisper, German War Practices and Conquest and Kultur.
The CPI manipulates the nation’s librarians into becoming censors. They quickly adopt the CPI’s concept that it is their “duty” to protect patrons from “disloyal” material. “Pro-German” and pacifist books are removed from library shelves and replaced with CPI propaganda. Works by great German writers such as Goethe and Schiller are purged from American libraries. Libraries even play a role in the CPI’s Americanization Registration Program. Thousands of cards are distributed to immigrants through libraries and then returned with signatures to the CPI’s Division of Work With The Foreign Born.
The CPI uses newspaper advertising campaigns to target the three million non-English speaking men eligible for the draft and, in a country already chock-a-block with organizations sporting falsified purposes and deceptive names, creates yet another, the League of Oppressed Nations, which supposedly represents the various "ethnic loyalty" groups in the U.S. but is, of course, nothing more or less than another propaganda tool of the Wilson regime via the CPI.
The Wilson regime’s mass mind control apparatus specifically targets its psychological warfare against American women, afraid that they “might constitute a subversive element in the nation, detrimental to wartime unity and the smooth functioning of selective service.” In plain English, they might not want their husbands and sons slaughtered in Europe for the futher enrichment of the Morgans, Rockefellers, Carnegies, Duponts et al and we can't be havin' none of that.
Prominent women peace activists, including Helen Keller, Carrie Chapman Catt, Jane Addams and Kate Richards O'Hare are being heard and the CPI must silence them and counter their anti-war message. The CPI wants to motivate women to stay quietly at home practicing food conservation, growing food and willingly sending their sons off to kill and die. The CPI forms alliances with the publishers of American women’s magazines, most importantly with The Ladies’ Home Journal. The CPI effectively controls much of the content and many of the covers of the influential magazine, which obediently extols sacrifice, thrift and a willingness to send sons to the recently repositioned war. The CPI’s Four Minute Men establish a women’s division to speak to women’s groups to counter resistance to the war among women.
Moving images can be even more powerful than still ones, a fact that the CPI’s brainwashers are quick to exploit. American film makers seek respectability by giving almost unlimited support to the Wilson war machine. A 1917 editorial in The Motion Picture News proclaims, "every individual at work in this industry wants to do his share" and promises that "through slides, film leaders and trailers, posters and newspaper publicity they will spread that propaganda so necessary to the immediate mobilization of the country's great resources."
The industry quickly pumps out outrageous anti-German hate propaganda such as The Kaiser: The Beast of Berlin, The Claws of the Hun, The Prussian Cur and Wolves of Kultur. Most of the films portray fictitious atrocities by Germans and include some of the completely false atrocity tales invented by the CPI including Germans murdering babies and various rape stories, in spite of denials of their accuracy by the U.S. War Department and American generals. Among the top Hollywood producers of anti-German, pro-war propaganda is D.W. Griffith, producer of the movie lauding the Ku Klux Klan, Birth of a Nation, one of Woodrow Wilson’s favorite films. Aside from the Hollywood output, the CPI’s Films Division itself produces over sixty official films seen by an average of eighty million people every week.
But nothing illustrates the Wilson regime’s utter moral bankruptcy in its successful quest to mass brainwash America as well as the use CPI psychologists make of American children to spread anti-German hatred to other children, at least those who aren't busy slaving away in mines and factories. Schoolboy “Four Minute Men” speak in their schools delivering CPI propaganda to their classmates. Travelling CPI sideshows with puported French officers deliver fabricated German atrocity stories to school children. Thousands of children’s books, including mysteries, comics and adventures, are published containing anti-German hate propaganda.
The CPI creates the Anti-Yellow Dog League, a vigilante group for children with about a thousand branches nationally, all based in public schools. Eligible for membership are boys tens years and older who are urged to “search out disloyalty” and to “bark” when a “yellow dog” is suspected. American schools enthusiastically cooperate in the “hunts”. Some children go further in their quest to be “patriotic” and attack German-Americans. In St. Louis, children stone the daily deliveries of a German grocer. The children are congratulated by the local newspaper for “doing their duty”.
Ministers of the Christian religion are eager to cooperate in warmongering and spreading the CPI’s propagada in their sermons and, as the adults listen to the Word of God (or at least of Edward Bernays) praising the war and damning the Germans, the children get their own dose of anti-German hate at Sunday School with “Beat-up the Hun" coloring books. Libraries sponsor "story hours" for thousands of children using pro-war propaganda supplied directly by the CPI. After the war, the U.S. government gives its thanks to the nation’s kiddies “for their loyal service in wartime” by distributing fifteen million piggy banks made from disengaged hand grenades to them. You just can’t make this shit up.
Not only did the CPI spew out millions of pieces of propaganda, it enforced a form of self-censorship in the U.S. mass media by implementing "voluntary guidelines". As they do to this day, American journalists obediently comply with censorship and news control in order to remain in the government “information loop”. Publications outside the controlled mass media are effectively destroyed by Wilson’s war on freedom of speech and freedom of the press in America.
Two books written by the CPI's master propagandist, Edward Bernays, Propaganda and The Engineering of Consent, remain key textbooks of the manipulation and control of the public by the ruling elite. The mass mind control techniques of Bernays have been in continuous use in the U.S. since the great democrat Woodrow Wilson introduced them in 1917. Only the object of our fear and loathing is changed from time to time to suit the requirements of the ruling elite. Ironically, Bernays, who was Jewish, will live to see the techniques he developed to incite anti-German hatred used to great effect by Josef Goebbels to incite anti-Jewish hatred.
If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it.Edward Bernays