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gruffydd

The Power Of Propaganda

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Just been reading about the way PR was used in the USA after WWII - the US population was extremely pro-union after the war,and many wanted tighter regulation of industry. Businessmen were terrified as they felt the private enterprise system was seriously under threat.

What was the result? A huge propaganda program was launched, which aimed to reverse 'anti-capitalist' attitudes, etc. - battling for the hearts and minds of the US population. The Advertising Council (funded by businesses to assist with propoganda within the USA) started spending huge amounts of money to promote 'The American Way'.

And the PR budget for the NAM went up 20 times.

A third of all school textbooks ended up being provided direct by business. 20 million people a week were forced to watch propoganda films on worker-management unity after a new government act allowed companies to show propaganda films to captive audiences (employees).

These propoganda efforts were successful in changing behaviours, attitudes and perceptions. What's this got to do with housing? Well, it just shows you the power of propaganda. We need to counter the propaganda from the VIs.

Edited by gruffydd

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I love old propaganda movies: most of them are so transparent I can't help but wonder whether people were really so stupid back then that they believed all the lies, or the people who made the movies just thought they were.

In fact, right now I'm watching a US military propaganda movie from WWII extolling the virtues of Stalinist Russia, and, in effect, why Americans should die to protect communism... bizarre.

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Just been reading about the way PR was used in the USA after WWII - the US population was extremely pro-union after the war,and many wanted tighter regulation of industry. Businessmen were terrified as they felt the private enterprise system was seriously under threat.

What was the result? A huge propaganda program was launched, which aimed to reverse 'anti-capitalist' attitudes, etc. - battling for the hearts and minds of the US population. The Advertising Council (funded by businesses to assist with propoganda within the USA) started spending huge amounts of money to promote 'The American Way'.

And the PR budget for the NAM went up 20 times.

A third of all school textbooks ended up being provided direct by business. 20 million people a week were forced to watch propoganda films on worker-management unity after a new government act allowed companies to show propaganda films to captive audiences (employees).

These propoganda efforts were successful in changing behaviours, attitudes and perceptions. What's this got to do with housing? Well, it just shows you the power of propaganda. We need to counter the propaganda from the VIs.

Was it Selling Free Enterprise ? Great book.

Makes you think what the world would be like if left it to market forces. Much better than it is now IMHO.

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Makes you think what the world would be like if left it to market forces. Much better than it is now IMHO.

You can't "leave" the world to market forces. It requires continual government intervention to create and sustain free markets -- the natural state of the economy is monopolies and cartels, not free markets.

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You can't "leave" the world to market forces. It requires continual government intervention to create and sustain free markets -- the natural state of the economy is monopolies and cartels, not free markets.

Sounds like an argument against capitalism to me, if so, I am with you comrade.

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In fact, right now I'm watching a US military propaganda movie from WWII extolling the virtues of Stalinist Russia

What an interesting way to spend your Saturday afternoon... personally I'm off to see Harry Potter. :D

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You can't "leave" the world to market forces. It requires continual government intervention to create and sustain free markets -- the natural state of the economy is monopolies and cartels, not free markets.

Free markets are what people do when there's no government to interfere... there are very few cases where people were able to exploit a monopoly to raise profits without government help: in the infamous Standard Oil case, for example, the price of oil was much lower when Standard Oil was at the height of its power than it had been decades earlier.

Almost every profitable monopoly relies on government protection: publishers (including movie, music and software) being one glaring example. There are cases where natural monopolies exist because of economies of scale, but even there they need the government to protect them from competition if they are to use that monopoly to increase prices... otherwise smaller companies will become profitable as the big company raises prices, and compete against them.

Also, it's odd to me that people who complain about monopolies in the free market think the solution is more government: the largest and most dangerous monopoly ever created.

What an interesting way to spend your Saturday afternoon

Just found a few for download on the web in public doman movie sites...

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Just been reading about the way PR was used in the USA after WWII - the US population was extremely pro-union after the war,and many wanted tighter regulation of industry. Businessmen were terrified as they felt the private enterprise system was seriously under threat.

Reference? Adam Curtis or something?

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Noam Chomsky - Understanding Power.

By the way, here's a reaction to Adam Curtis's Century of the Self, from Media Lens -

MEDIA ALERT

MEDIA LENS UPDATE: The BBC's 'The Century of the Self'

On April 3, 2002, Media Lens published a Media Alert: The Unspoken Rule of Media Reporting: The BBC's Century of the Self. (http://www.medialens.org/alerts/020403_de_Media_Century.html)

Our suggested action included writing to the producer and writer of the series, Adam Curtis. We finally received a reply on June 5, 2002. This is what we received:

I read with interest your piece on the second part of Century of the Self. It struck me - reading the last paragraph - that you might not have seen the first part of the series which is all about the roots of NAM [National Association of Manufacturers] propaganda in the 1920's and 30's. I wondered whether you might like a copy?

Yours

Adam Curtis

Producer - Century of the Self

Media Lens responded to this email on the same day, June 5, 2002:

Dear Adam Curtis,

Many thanks for your email. I wrote the Media Alert, so I'll respond. I did see the first part of your series. It contained some excellent material, particularly by the standards of mainstream analysis. But what was so disturbing was that while you at times really did touch on issues that are all but taboo in our society, you ultimately reproduced exactly the kind of deceptive spin that Bernays used to camouflage the truth about big business control. A good example was the framing explanation of the issues presented, and repeated, in several parts of the series:

"Politicians and planners came to believe that Freud was right to suggest that hidden deep within all human beings were dangerous and irrational desires and fears. They were convinced that it was the unleashing of these instincts that had lead to the barbarism of Nazi Germany. To stop it ever happening again, they set out to find ways to control the hidden enemy within the human mind." (The Century of the Self - The Engineering of Consent, BBC2, March 24, 2002)

As you'll know, if you've read Elizabeth Fones-Wolf's study of the period, Alex Carey's work, and countless books by Edward Herman, Noam Chomsky, and many others, this could not be further from the truth. Post-1945, as now, the real fear of politicians and planners was the existence of dangerous +rational+ desires and fears - popular desires for equity, justice and functioning democracy; popular fears that unbridled capitalism and militarism would once again lead to horrors on the scale of the two world wars. Freud's theories were incidental - useful in refining traditional methods of popular control perhaps, but a sideshow.

Do you really believe that big business was fundamentally motivated to avoid a repetition of the barbarism of Nazi Germany, as this passage explicitly states? Even a glance at the detail of the massive business-labour conflict that raged in the US during the first half of the last century - a conflict all but ignored by your series - demands a very different formulation; one along these lines, perhaps:

Politicians and planners became convinced that popular expectations, heightened by impassioned talk of the 'fight for freedom and democracy' during two world wars, had raised the real possibility of a democratic threat to elite control of society. Employing tried and tested methods of popular control rooted in fear (of 'Communism') and greed (for consumer goods), elites attempted - then, as now - to associate 'Americanism' and 'freedom' with 'free enterprise' in the public mind. The goal, very simply, was, and is, the protection of entrenched profits and power. The results included countless repetitions of Nazi-style barbarism throughout the Third World, as US business - ostensibly defending the West against 'communism' - exported the battle against popular interference abroad. Time and again interventions sold to the public as struggles against 'Communism', turned out to be struggles for Western profits against independent nationalism supported by impoverished people. The cost in human suffering has been beyond belief - literally millions of people killed, tortured and disappeared.

Why did you not mention the full price played by 150,000 people in Guatemala as a result of the machinations of Bernays et al? Would this not have contradicted your own claim that US politicians and planners were fundamentally motivated to avert barbarism? This, for Guatemala, +was+ a holocaust. It was also remarkable that you failed to mention that this was only one small example of the murderous consequences of US elite actions throughout the Third World. Why, after all, would the effects of US power politics be felt only in Guatemala? How could the really appalling wider picture not be worth even mentioning?

It's a while since I saw your series, but a couple of other observations spring to mind. Your programme accepted that Bernays set out to paint Arbenz as a Communist:

"In reality Arbenz was a democratic socialist with no links to Moscow. But Bernays set out to turn him into a Communist threat to America." (The Century of the Self - The Engineering of Consent, BBC2, March 24, 2002)

In other words, US elites did not play on Cold War fears; they created and then exploited them. And yet you then went on to say:

"Bernays had manipulated the American people, but he had done so because he, like many others at the time, believed that the interests of business and the interests of America were indivisible, especially when faced with the threat of Communism."

But isn't this precisely the deception that Bernays and others tried to spin, rather than the actual truth?

After seeing the first part of the series I was really intrigued to see how honest the series would become as it got closer to the present day. You could have delved into the enormous 'green backlash' (see Andy Rowell's book of the same name) of big business today in working to prevent action on climate change in the name of 'jobs' and 'American economic security'. You could have looked at the role of business in boosting National Missile defence in response to 'rogue states', in demonising foreign 'enemies' to boost arms sales, in preventing the lifting of sanction against Iraq, in undermining democracy, and so on (see our Media Alerts section: www.medialens.org for more on all of these) - this would have represented a logical continuation of the themes of the earlier parts of your series. But you gave no indication of just how all-powerful and corrupting business propaganda has become - in government, in schools, in the corporate media, in the culture generally. Instead, the focus suddenly became limited to how 'Third Way' politicians were seeking to use business techniques to sell politics as a kind of product to voters - interesting but trivial.

Mr Curtis, your programme made some important points, but the end result was to present business control as much more benign, much less lethal, than it really is. Ultimately, you kept a lid on the ideas and understanding that have the power to wake people up - exactly the kind of thing that Bernays, and all PR gurus ever since, have worked tirelessly to keep from the public. If you had told the truth, your efforts would not have been appreciated or well-received, I can assure you.

Best wishes

David Edwards

Co-Editor - Media Lens

Edited by gruffydd

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Noam Chomsky - Understanding Power.

By the way, here's a reaction to Adam Curtis's Century of the Self, from Media Lens -

Hrm, Adam is still getting over the fact that terrorists actually do exist (for whatever reason), if only they really were a figment of our imagination.

Chomsky's musings are plastered over every uni at the moment, he seems to be the current faux intellectual of choice, no doubt kids will get back to quoting select lines of Nietzsche when this fad has passed.

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I love old propaganda movies: most of them are so transparent I can't help but wonder whether people were really so stupid back then that they believed all the lies, or the people who made the movies just thought they were.

In fact, right now I'm watching a US military propaganda movie from WWII extolling the virtues of Stalinist Russia, and, in effect, why Americans should die to protect communism... bizarre.

our cold war stuff looks a little cheesy today. perhaps we will look back at our time after 60 more years, and it will seem so obvious. do we get smarter as we develop ? does anybody know ?

patrick allens voice was good and it had that lovely factual 70s DFS-ness to it. when he wasnt telling us about a barrat home from an upside down helicopter, he was telling us how to label arelatives dead body for collection.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
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      • up 5%



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