Manufacturing consent – The manipulation of the masses


Buried in the heart of increasing right wing governments is a little recognised phenomenon, even by those who walk the corridors of power, what we call ‘The Establishment’, those who formulate and dictate the life of nations. It is not a new phenomenon and can be discerned throughout history in the attitude of the ruling elites towards ordinary people. It’s hidden dominance underpins the attitudes of those who are raised and educated to rule.

Fundamental to their use and abuse of the lives of common people, in war and peace, is contempt. Cynical, exploitative, abusive and murderous, it is used to manage the lives of ordinary people and manipulate our minds to consent to the abuses of power, even to vocally demonstrate to support and even violently justify it.

It’s invisible force is no better demonstrated than in the ‘theatre’ of war, in which the minds of ordinary people are ‘stage managed’ to not only support war in an orgy of patriotic fervour, but to expend their lives extravagantly, ‘waging’ war whilst those who prosecute war look on and award themselves the greatest protections from its consequences. The killing fields of war are littered with the bodies of those who have no say in its prosecution, which lies exclusively in the hands of those who make up the privileged elite, who could justifiably be described as champagne warriors who protect themselves from the privations and consequences of the wars they perpetrate.

Following two world wars one man saw an opportunity to use the propaganda of war in peace time, a dark genius who recognised the need to rebrand propaganda for peace time, calling it ‘Public Relations’. His name was Edward Bernays and is eulogised as ‘The Father of Public Relations’. This is what he said: “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. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of… It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.”

This unseen mechanism of society which constitutes an invisible government is actually hidden in plain sight and assaults us on a daily basis, without which the machinations of power would be rightly condemned by ordinary people and yet, by and large, its acceptance is visible in every aspect of our lives, not only so but we willingly demonstrate our acceptance of it by paying for it.

It is called, ‘The Media’, although today, through the power of the Internet and the rise of democratic and independent media voices, it should be called the ‘Corporate Media’, owned, managed and controlled by unaccountable, fantastically wealthy, oligarchs like Rupert Murdoch, Lord Rothermere, David and Frederick Barclay, Richard Desmond and others who are called ‘Press Barons’, people whose wealth we add to daily as we consume their ‘products’ which are also replete with another of Bernays targeted manipulative endeavours, ‘Advertising’.

One of his most successful achievements, which was visible in his first ever public demonstration of power, was the idea of freedom. The tobacco industry, eager to promote their products to an unsuspecting world, hired Bernays to ‘overcome “sales resistance” to cigarette smoking among women. Fully aware of studies linking smoking to cancer, he organised a demonstration at the 1929 Easter Parade in New York in which a group of debutantes lit up cigarettes and flaunted them as ‘torches of freedom’. It was a resounding success.

What followed was a revolution in advertising, which had hitherto focused on the practical and durable virtues of products, into the lifestyle choices and aspirations of the cult of the free.

In Germany, Joseph Goebbels adopted Bernays techniques in promoting the cult of the Führer around Adolf Hitler. When Bernays discovered that the Nazis were using his work, Bernays said, “They were using my books as the basis for a destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me, but I knew any human activity can be used for social purposes or misused for antisocial ones.” What Bernays never did was to consider his own contemptuous abuse of power in manipulating the minds of ordinary people for control, profit and power. Bernays was a man consumed by his own virtuousness, blind to what we see today in rags like the Sun, Mail and Express, in particular and the daily onslaught from the one eyed monster that has overtaken all other forms of leisure activities, television and our slavish devotion to it.

The message of our times is not how do we beat the most abusive government in the history of Britain, but in how we liberate our minds from slavery to the abuse of the media which supports them.

Ordinary people are accused of apathy, derided as sheeple, mocked for their ignorance, accused and despised for the outpourings of hate and bile that is the bane of social media, called extremists when they take the law into their own hands and murder those they have been taught to hate and treat as the ‘Untermensch’, the German word for undesirables, subhuman’s, in the ever growing tide of right wing xenophobia.

I have written extensively on ‘the war on the poor’, the overwhelming successful war promoted by the Conservatives since 2010. Propaganda has triumphed over reason. The mindless hate directed against Jeremy Corbyn, reached new heights when the BBC displayed a huge backdrop of a manipulated image of Corbyn in a Russian hat, in front of the Kremlin, after he demanded proof for Theresa May’s fact free assertion that Russia was entirely responsible for poisoning an ex-spy, his daughter and a policeman. Today, she is pressing her advantage with a picture in the media of her holding a baby.

The cynical use of propaganda by a government which has been systematically destroying the social structure of Britain since 2010 costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people is obscene. But the greatest tragedy of all is that so many of the Conservatives intended victims will cast their vote for a government that has nothing but contempt for them.

Manufacturing consent is alive and well, and will continue to flourish as long as people look no further than the screen that dominates their living rooms. Bernays would be proud of his success.

Whilst more and more people are waking up to the reality of what is happening in Britain and across the world, the tide is slow to turn and it falls to independent media sources and an increasingly vocal and active public to press on to oppose the onslaught of corporatism and governments which support the greed of powerful elites against the people. The power of the masses, the very thing that Bernays attacked and manipulated, is the only thing that will save us. The contempt of the powerful will not easily give way to the will of the people unless we demand it and keep on demanding it.

Power to the people.

KOG. 17 February 2018

Everyone should know who owns the press – for the sake of our democracy

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