Understanding Propaganda

Where did you get your opinion from? That is the question...

I posted this to Facebook a long time ago... a bunch of solid quotes on propaganda / psychological warfare...

Where did you get your opinion from? That is the question...


As Kelton Rhoads -- Senior Mentor for Psychological Operation (PSYOP) forces at the JFK Special Warfare Center professor of Communication Psychology at the US Air Force's Joint Special Operations University -- summed it up:
"Make no mistake. There are legions of influence agents operating in our society. They thrive -- they exist at the pinnacles of power -- by getting you to think things and to do things they want you to think and do.
Most people are either unaware of these influences, or when they are, vastly overestimate the amount of freedom they have to make up their own minds.
But the successful influence agent knows that if he can manage the situation and choose the correct technique, your response to his technique will be as reliable as the springing of a mousetrap."
This has been well known and a top priority of the most powerful people on the planet since the late 1800's, as famous German sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies summed it up in 1891:
"The press is the real instrument of public opinion, weapon and tool in the hands of those who know how to use it…. It is comparable and, in some respects, superior to the material power which the states possess through their armies, their treasuries, and their bureaucratic civil service."
As Timothy Thomas, US Military PSYOPs, put it in The Age of the New Persuaders:
"Zuganov consequently branded the mass media as a fourth estate or information weapon. He recommended that 'information' acquire a place as an autonomous branch of power in addition to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. In his words, it was necessary to introduce into legislation 'norms prohibiting the mass media's use as a weapon for conducting psychological information warfare inside the country.'
Manipulation, from this perspective, could be branded a 'tool of warfare.'"
As Bertrand Russell summed it up decades ago:

"It is much easier than it used to be to spread misinformation, and, owing to democracy, the spread of misinformation is more important than in former times to the holders of power."

As Yong-Bok Kim made clear in Toward a New Political Paradigm:
"Modern power furthermore handles enormous amounts of information through a network designed to control the people. Sophisticated information technology is integrated with the power apparatus, and propaganda is replaced by public communications strategy. The communication apparatus is used universally to justify the actions of the power, manipulating and distorting facts and information and boosting arguments for the 'legitimizing' of power."
Jaque Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Man’s Attitudes: 
"Propaganda suggests that public opinion demand this or that decision; it provokes the will of a people, who spontaneously would say nothing. But, once evoked, formed, and crystallized on a point, that will becomes the peoples will; and whereas the government really acts on it’s own, it gives the impression of obeying public opinion – after first having built that public opinion. The point is to make the masses demand of the government what the government has already decided to do."
Malcolm M. Willey, 1935:
"An individual may be moved to action through repetition, as, for example, in advertising; but his action is made more certain if he is made to realize that thousands, even millions, of others are thinking and feeling as he himself does. Herein lies the importance of the contemporary communication network; it not only carries its symbols to the individual, it also impresses upon him a sense of numbers."
“They operate actually to confirm the citizen’s false sense of security in totaling up 'what the majority think'… The false sense of the public’s being 'boss' that they encourage operates to narcotize public awareness of the seriousness of problems and of the drastic social changes many contemporary situations require.”
James Madison, Public Opinion, 1791:

"The larger a country, the less easy for its real opinion to be ascertained, and the less difficult to be counterfeited."

US population in 1800: 5 million
US population in 2020: 330 million
Going back even further, propaganda became a serious problem in the birthplace of democracy, ancient Greece:
"Protagoras was famous as a teacher of [Sophism] rhetoric and debate which were vital to Greek social life. Due to those interests, he was fascinated by the study of orthopaedia, or the correct use of words.
Due to the importance of these skills in the litigious social life of Athens, teachers of such skills often commanded very high fees. The practice of taking fees, coupled with the willingness of many practitioners to use their rhetorical skills to pursue unjust lawsuits, eventually led to a decline in respect for this school of thought.
By the time of Plato and Aristotle, ‘sophist’ had taken on negative connotations, usually referring to someone who used rhetorical sleight-of-hand and ambiguities of language in order to deceive, or to support fallacious reasoning. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle all challenged the philosophical foundations of Sophism. Eventually, the school was accused of immorality by the state."
We can even go back to 246 B.C., Sun Tzu, The Art of War:

"To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill."

Getting back to the present...
Here's State Department official Christopher Ross at a Brookings Institution forum on The Propaganda War:
"Much propaganda contains lies and does not shy away from them. In public diplomacy, we don't deliberately look to state things that are not true. We may couch them a certain way, but we deal with the truth."
Flashback to Konrad Keller, Propaganda, 1965:
“Modern propaganda has long disdained the ridiculous lies of past and outmoded forms of propaganda. It operates instead with many different kinds of truth - half truth, limited truth, truth out of context.” 
Now let's return to Timothy Thomas, US Military PSYOPS, The Age of the New Persuaders, and think about this next time you are watching TV, listening to talk radio or reading a mainstream news report...
"Disinformation, deception, perception management, or PSYOP were means utilized to manipulate mediators and the opposing side into some action or decision….
Manipulation devices….
Informational - associated with the manipulator's intentional change of the content of communications being reported to the object.
Methods to accomplish this include:
-- the intentional lie or partial distortion of information, which disinforms;
-- neutral information, where facts are arranged in such a way as to lead an object to a necessary conclusion;
-- a one-sided or subjective explanation of a subject under discussion;
-- concealing important information, or a delay in reporting it;
-- reducing information, only alluding to information that may be undesirable to the manipulator while emphasizing desired information in greater detail;
-- chopping information, presenting it in fragmented form to benefit the manipulator;
-- offer rumors as axioms or truths, especially if they are unable to elicit doubt and appear to be indisputable;
-- reduce the criticality of information by overloading the receiver with information;
-- include self-criticism on unimportant issues to create the appearance of objectivity;
-- prepare information for the object that can be ascribed to a neutral source whom the object trusts;
-- leaking supposed confidential information which isn't confidential;
-- communicating information on behalf of trustworthy sources which in fact isn't the case;
-- and using slander to poison the object against another person.
Under the influence of these conditions, the object may make mistakes which can benefit the manipulator. These methods included:
-- a statement with multiple-meanings, which shows the object much is known about him, but for some special motives is not being revealed;
-- citing authorities whose opinions cannot serve as evidence of the subject being discussed;
-- providing unsupportable pledges and promises in advance;
-- creating an atmosphere of trust, although in reality the manipulator hardly knows the object;
-- pretense of unity of thinking and closeness in spiritual values and interests;
-- discredit the person influencing the object and interfering with the manipulator's achievement of his goal;
-- offering sympathy and support to the object under circumstances that eventually can be turned to the manipulator's advantage. One can use an object's vanity and conceit to advantage. This can be done by flattery and respect, and drawing one's ally into the conversation against the object. The ally can offer mockery, insults, and disinterest to what the object says, and one can then appear to be more reasonable by disagreeing with the ally and agreeing with the object to gain trust.
…the selected sound bites… 'to exploit the incident.'
…. The broadcast merely exploited the prism and logic of the average citizen through which information was processed, and the means through which he or she received reliable information."
The video tape was powerful, effective, and wrong...Skilled technicians of today's multiplying forms of information make it easier to reach, and bamboozle, the public instantly... Technology may well spawn disinformation more insidious than any we have yet known. What replaces 1980s-style disinformation in the future may make it seem wholesome by comparison, and the press must be ever more vigilant.
…. The broadcast merely exploited the prism and logic of the average citizen through which information was processed, and the means through which he or she received reliable information."
Philip Lesley, The People Factor: Managing the Human Climate, 1974:
"When a subject appears to be all around him, a person tends to accept it and take it for granted. It becomes part of the atmosphere in which he lives. He finds himself surrounded by it and absorbs the climate of the idea…. It must be most deftly developed to reach into the subconscious of the person and in tune to his urges, interests and desires."
Norman Woelfel, Molders of the American Mind, 1933:
"The plight of members of the technological society can be compared to that of a newborn child. Much of the data that enters its sense does not form coherent wholes. There are many things the child cannot understand or, after it has learned to speak, cannot successfully explain to anyone.... Citizens of the modern age in this respect are less fortunate than children. They never escape a fundamental bewilderment in the face of the complex world that their senses report. They are not able to organize all or even very much of this into sensible wholes."
Konrad Keller, Propaganda, 1965:
"'Pre-propaganda' - the conditioning of minds with vast amounts of incoherent information, already dispensed for ulterior purposes and posing as 'facts' and as 'education.'…they absorb a large amount of secondhand, unverifiable information…indigestible pieces of information."
Phil Merikle on the importance of repetitive messaging:
"It's what advertisers have known all along: if we just keep the exposure rate up, people will be influenced."
Sociologist John Dewey summed it up back in 1933:

"We live exposed to the greatest flood of mass suggestion that any people has ever experienced."

Walter Lippman, Public Opinion:
“In the great blooming, buzzing confusion of the outer world we pick out what our culture has already defined for us, and we tend to perceive that which we have picked out in the form stereotyped for us by our culture.”
Jaque Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Man’s Attitudes, 1965:
"To be effective, propaganda must constantly short circuit all thought and decisions. It must operate on the individual at the level of the unconsciousness. Critical judgment disappears altogether."
Graham Wallas, Human Nature in Politics, 1908:
“The empirical art of politics consists largely in the creation of opinion, by the deliberate exploitation of subconscious, non-rational inference.”
Harold Rugg, The Great Technology, 1933:
"A new public mind is to be created. How? Only by creating tens of millions of individual minds and welding them into a new social mind. Old stereotypes must be broken up and 'new climates of opinion' formed in the neighborhoods of America.”
The London Times, 1919:
"The propaganda hydra growing in the United States, men 'trained in the arts of creating… and of swaying public opinion' were broadcasting an agenda which aimed first at mobilizing world public opinion and then controlling it…
Efficiently organized propaganda should mobilize the Press, the Church, the stage, and the cinema. Press into active service the whole educational systems... the homes, the universities, public and high schools, and primary schools...histories...should be revised. New books should be added, particularly to the primary schools…."
Edward A. Ross, Social Control, 1901:
"Plans are underway to replace community, family, and church with propaganda, education, and mass media…. People are only little plastic lumps of human dough."
Jaque Ellul again:

"Propaganda is today a greater danger to mankind than any of the other more grandly advertised threats hanging over the human race."

Alex Carey, Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
"The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy…. It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the 21st century… Contrary to common assumptions, propaganda plays an important role – and certainly a more covert role – in technologically advanced democratic societies, where the maintenance of existing power and privileges are vulnerable to popular opinion."
William Blum, Rogue State:
"Propaganda is to a democracy what violence is to a dictatorship."
Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1923:
"Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government."
Harold Lasswell, 1927:
"The new antidote to willfulness is propaganda. If the mass will be free of chains of iron, it must accept its chains of silver. If it will not love, honor, and obey, it must not expect to escape seduction.”
Eduardo Galeano:
"The majority must resign itself to the consumption of fantasy.  Illusions of wealth are sold to the poor, illusions of freedom to the oppressed, dreams of victory to the defeated and of power to the weak."
The Institute for Propaganda Analysis:
"Propaganda is the expressions of opinions or actions carried out deliberately by individuals or groups with a view to influencing the opinions or actions of other individuals or groups for predetermined ends and through psychological manipulations."
John Gatto, The Underground History of American Education:
"Bertrand Russell wrote in The Impact of Science on Society that the most important subjects for the future would be 'mass psychology' and 'propaganda', studies which would be 'rigidly confined to the governing class. The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated.'"
Kim Yong-Bock, Toward a New Political Paradigm:
"Whereas the national economic system is capitalist or socialist, it is a technocratic system which plans the economy and executes the plan, mobilizing capital, production, marketing, distribution, and so on. The state bureaucracy is run by the technocrats.
The national security system, i.e., police and military, is a technocratic organization, as is the communication and information apparatus…
The corporations, particularly multinational corporations, have become the dominant component of the technocracy by their ownership and control of technology. Information and communication systems, including educational systems, have become an integral part of the technocratic complex."
The main point that I am trying to quickly drive home here... the mainstream media is the byproduct of a divide conquer system of rule. This is NOT a conspiracy theory, it is how global imperial powers operate.
MSNBC / CNN / NY Times / WaPo / NPR / etc. function to propagandize Democrats / liberals.
Fox News / WSJ / Barrons / talk radio / etc. function to propagandize Republican conservatives.
This is imperial power divide conquer 101.
And now they have A.I. machine-learned algorithmic manipulation of individual-specific confirmation biases based on everything we do online. Our every digital thoughtprint is now weaponized against us. That is a devastating weapon in the hands of behavioral engineers Psychological Operations (PSYOPs) experts. 
Apologies for the loooooong post, very few attention spans will make it through this... this was just a quick off the cuff riff...
If your attention span made it this far, YOU are a rare dying breed, YOU are needed more than ever... speak up, people w/ the ability to accurately articulate what is presently unfolding in a way that people can grasp are in very short supply... it is an ever-evolving battlefield, tyranny exists 1 step ahead of your consciousness... quickly shifting terrain... freedom requires eternal vigilance...
Semper Fi... love respect to all... let's build a society that gives our children the opportunity to fulfill their potential...

David DeGraw

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Steve Gaylord 3 d

CNN and Fox. One and the same. Pushing 70, I really would love to incarnate into a better future.