Forum Post: "Messing With Our Minds ; The Ever Finer Line Between News and Advertising", by Kingsley Dennis.
Posted 10 years ago on May 28, 2012, 7:44 p.m. EST by shadz66
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Messing With Our Minds ; The Ever Finer Line Between News and Advertising,
by Kingsley Dennis.
May 28, 2012 "Information Clearing House" ( http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ ) ---
The manufacturing of consent is endemic within modern societies. Throughout history, the need to "persuade and influence" has always been manipulated by those people in power as a means to maintain authority and legitimacy. In more recent years, the overall manipulation of the mass public mind has become less about making speeches and more about becoming a pervasive presence within the lives of each individual.
Edward Bernays has often been called "the father of public relations," as it was his teachings and research that spurred the postwar years of propaganda. Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, utilized psychological and psychoanalytical ideas to construct an informational system - propaganda - capable of manipulating public opinion. Bernays, apparently, considered that such a manipulative apparatus was necessary because society, in his regard, was composed of too many irrational elements - the people - which could be dangerous to the efficient mechanisms of power (or so-called "democracy"). Bernays wrote that, "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society." Bearing in mind that Bernays was working in the early 1920s, we can expect the mechanisms of propaganda - mass manipulation - to have progressed to a very advanced degree since then. Within the context of our modern mass societies, propaganda has morphed into a mechanism for not only engineering public opinion, but also for consolidating social control.
Modern programs of social influence could not exist without the mass media. Today it exists as a combination of expertise and knowledge from technology, sociology, social behaviorism, psychology, communications and other scientific techniques. Almost every nation needs a controlled mainstream media if it is to regulate and influence its citizenry. By way of the mainstream media, a controlling authority is able to exert psychological influence upon people's perception of reality. This capacity works hand in hand with the more physical components, such as enforcing the legal system and national security laws (surveillance and monitoring). State control, acting as a "psychological machine," instigates specific psychological manipulations in order to achieve desired goals within its national borders (and often beyond). Examples of these psychological manipulations include the deliberate use of specific cultural symbols and embedded signifiers that catalyze conditioned reflexes in the populace. These triggers have included the words "red" and "communist" during the United States' 1950s McCarthyism, and "Muslim terrorist" during the currently constructed war on terror. Targeted reactions can thus be achieved, making the populace open to further manipulation in this state. This is a process of psychic re-formation that works repeatedly to soften up the people through continued and extensive exposure to particular stimuli. These are the symbols, artificial and human-made, that we live by in order to allow for the construction of a compliant society.
Today's media, which includes the dominant presence of advertising, extensively uses the notion of "attractors" and "attractor patterns" to target audience consciousness. This type of symbol manipulation is often referred to in the business as neuromarketing. Mainstream media corporations are using the huge growth in global communications to further shape their science of targeting human consciousness. In the case of neuromarketing, many advertisers first audience-test their commercials using brain-scanning techniques in order to know which part of a person's brain is being activated by the specific strong attractors. For example, it has been discovered that specific attractors can bypass the logical part of the brain and impact the emotional part. In such cases as the film industry, the advertisers place an award symbol (such as an Oscar or Golden Globe) which has proven to be an effective "strong attractor" which influences the emotional part of the brain. The philosophy here is to adjust the level of consciousness of an advertisement in relation to the measurable level of consciousness of the consumer. Advertisers are aware that a person's consciousness passes on messages indirectly to the body in the form of galvanic skin response, pupil response, electrical nerve response, etcetera, and so every element of the screen promotion must elucidate the correct conscious reception. In order to achieve this correct set of attractor patterns, all elements of the advertising package are deliberately worked on: the music, the visuals, the script, the voice. Interesting, symbolic strong attractors that have the most impact to persuade the audience include visuals such as smiley faces and cute animals (dogs wagging their tails and kittens purring). In terms of voiced attractors, they include words such as "honesty," "integrity," "freedom," "hope and change," "friendship," etcetera. From here, it is clear how politicians use a great deal of these attractor patterns in their speeches and promotional material.
Other methods of blatant propaganda include governing bodies using what can be called the "reality of truth" by releasing seemingly accurate statistics that tell of plausible situations. This is the expert-in-the-white-lab-coat tactic. For such propaganda/information to be effective, it cannot be too far from the truth; in other words, it must have the appearance of reality. Trade, employment and financial figures are an example of this. And which members of the general public have the knowledge and/or resources to check and confirm such figures? Those people who do know are usually those who have a vested interest in maintaining the illusion, such as traders and financiers. And when a nation releases its unemployment figures, do the numbers really include the many who are jobless but not signing on, or are dispossessed or immigrants? As a norm, statistics of a negative connotation are usually drawn from the smallest possible pile. Once a false or doctored claim is disseminated and accepted by the public, it becomes established and hard to deconstruct or invalidate, unless persuasive anti-propaganda is just as effective.
Modern societies are set up to accommodate both individualism and the mass collective. Yet the forms that the accepted individualism takes are often a sheath to hide the workings of a mass psyche. It is what might be called the "allowed liberty" that is provided to the modern person in pursuit of material gains, as long as there exists a contribution to the overall plan of the ruling authority. Liberty, then, is an expression of mobility within a pre-described system: it does not denote liberty external to the system. Examples are the rock star clichés that the mainstream media love to promote and publish to adorn their front pages. Notable examples are the raging antics of performers destroying hotel rooms and throwing televisions out of the window - behavior which later got morphed into copycat corporate rock PR. In essence, such hotel-trashing "rebels" are allowed, and even encouraged, because their antics sell records. Rebelliousness in these forms is thus another contribution to a consumerist society, albeit through a different lens.Today, there are many forms in which individualism is allowed to manifest.
The display of diversity in the information coming from the mainstream media gives the illusion of independent reportage and news. Yet the mainstream media of any given nation or nations is owned by only a small handful of corporate entities with high-level state relations. An individual is thus attracted to a particular newspaper, for example, relative to their views, beliefs, lifestyles, etcetera - all of these being "diversified patterned behavior" within the system. The mainstream media caters to these needs by operating a variety of newspapers that support these mythical standpoints, whether they be politically left, right, left/right of centre, liberal, independent, this, that, or any other of the positions available for the "diversity within the unity" of the mass mind. Yet the shift toward propagating banal reality lies at the heart of the ever-increasing centralized control of the media. It is somewhat worrying to learn that most Western media organizations are owned by only a handful of giant corporations: News Corp; Viacom; Time Warner; Disney; Vivendi Universal, and Bertelsmann. For example, The Walt Disney Company is the largest entertainment and media multinational in the world. Disney owns the TV networks ABC, Disney Channel, ESPN, A&E and the History Channel, as well as publishing, merchandising and theatre subsidiaries. Disney also owns Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax, Dimension and Buena Vista International, as well as 11 theme parks around the world. News Corp comes in next as the world's second-largest media multinational, with an incredible range of TV and satellite channels, magazine and newspaper holdings, record companies and publishing companies based worldwide, with a strong presence in Asian markets.
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