from AndrewGavinMarshall Website
how intent the wealthiest Americans have been on
establishing a propaganda tool to
All through its history, democracy has been under a sustained attack by elite interests, political, economic, and cultural. There is a simple reason for this: democracy - as in true democracy - places power with people. In such circumstances, the few who hold power become threatened.
With technological changes in modern history,
with literacy and education, mass communication, organization and activism,
elites have had to react to the changing nature of society - locally and
What began was a massive social engineering
project with one objective: control. Through educational institutions, the
social sciences, philanthropic foundations, public relations and advertising
agencies, corporations, banks, and states, powerful interests sought to
reform and protect their power from the potential of popular democracy.
This was, of course, a deplorable change for elites, suggesting that,
Le Bon suggested, however, that the “crowd” was
not rational, but rather was driven by emotion and passion.
The public, argued Tarde, was a,
Thus, Tarde identified in the growth of the printing press and mass communications a powerful medium through which “the public” was shaped, and that, if managed appropriately, could bring a sense of order to a situation increasingly chaotic.
The newspaper, Tarde explained, facilitated,
The development of psychology, psychoanalysis, and other disciplines increasingly portrayed the “public” and the population as irrational beings incapable of making their own decisions.
The premise was simple: if the population was
driven by dangerous, irrational emotions, they needed to be kept out of
power and ruled over by those who were driven by reason and rationality,
naturally, those who were already in power.
The Princeton Radio Project had a profound influence upon the development of a modern “democratic propaganda” in the United States and elsewhere in the industrialized world.
It helped in establishing and nurturing the
ideas, institutions, and individuals who would come to shape America’s
“democratic propaganda” throughout the Cold War, a program fostered between
the private corporations which own the media, advertising, marketing, and
public relations industries, and the state itself.
In the United States, the effort was led by President Woodrow Wilson in the establishment of the Committee on Public Information (CPI) as a “vast propaganda ministry.”
The central theme of the CPI was to promote U.S. entry into the war on the basis of seeking “to make a world that is safe for democracy.”
This point was specifically developed by the leading intellectual of the era, Walter Lippmann, who by the age of 25 was referred to by President Theodore Roosevelt as “the most brilliant man of his age.”
Lippmann was concerned primarily with the maintenance of the state-capitalist system in the face of increased unrest, resistance, and ideological opposition, feeling that the “discipline of science” would need to be applied to democracy, where social engineers and social scientists,
For this, Lippmann suggested the necessity of
“intelligence and information control” in what he termed the “manufacture of
Propaganda, wrote Lippmann,
A leading political scientist of the era, Harold Lasswell, noted:
In his 1925 book, The Phantom Public, Lippmann wrote that the public was a “bewildered herd” of “ignorant and meddlesome outsiders” who should be maintained as “interested spectators of action,” and distinct from the actors themselves, the powerful.
Edward Bernays, the ‘father of public relations’ and nephew of Sigmund Freud got his start with Wilson’s CPI during World War I, and had since become a leading voice in the fields of propaganda and public relations.
In his 1928 book, Propaganda, Bernays wrote:
Modern society was dominated by a,
Bernays referred to this - “borrowing” from
Walter Lippmann - as the “engineering of consent.”
John Marshall of the Rockefeller Foundation focused on what he called the,
Marshall pursued this objective through the
Rockefeller Foundation, and specifically with the Princeton Radio Project in
the late 1930s under the direction of Hadley Cantril and Frank Stanton,
though including other intellectuals such as Paul Lazarsfeld and Harold
In 1939, with the war in Europe under way, the Rockefeller Foundation had organized several conferences and published several papers on the issue of mass communication, directed by what was called the Communications Group, headed by Marshall and other Foundation officials, and with the participation of Lasswell, Lazarzfeld, Cantril, and several others.
Early on, the Communications Group noted that with,
...it was necessary to arrive at a consensus - among the “experts” - as to what role they should play as the state expands its authority over communication.
Sociologist Robert Lynd took a page from Lippmann and wrote that a “goal” of experts in communication should,
One other participant commented on Lynd’s suggestion:
In 1940, John Marshall wrote:
In a 1940 memo for the Communications Group, Marshall wrote that,
The memo concerned some officials at the Rockefeller Foundation, noting that it could be misinterpreted and that such research should be careful about becoming a mere tool of the state, with one official noting:
Another official suggested that the memo,
While one Foundation official referred to the memo as resembling,
Marshall and the Communications Group refined their approach from a more overt authoritarianism of “one-way” communication between the state and the population, to a more Lippmann-centered concept of “manufacturing consent” and what has been referred to as “democratic elitism.”
In the final report of the Communications Group
in 1940, it was noted that two-way communication between the government and
population was essential, as without it, “democracy is endangered,” and that
it was required for the population to give “consent.”
As Michael J. Socolow wrote in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Frank Stanton had,
Stanton was the president of CBS from 1946 until 1973, during which he,
Stanton’s first job was in the advertising industry, beginning in 1929 and cut short by the market crash, though Stanton maintained that advertising,
In school, Stanton studied business administration and psychology, being particularly influenced by John B. Watson, the developer of behaviorism, who himself went to go work for an advertising agency.
Throughout his own life and career, Stanton viewed himself as,
Behaviorism was a brand of psychology which emerged in response to the development of the field by social scientists seeking to make “scientific” what was previously the realm of philosophy and spirituality, drawing in political scientists, economists, sociologists, and others.
The field of psychology had become more prominent following World War I, after having proved its worth to power interests in mobilizing, manipulating, and studying populations and their perceptions. In 1929, the president of Yale, James Agnell, announced the creation of the Yale Institute of Human Relations (IHR), with a generous grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Agnell explained that the IHR was,
The IHR helped facilitate the rise of behaviorism in psychology, as in the 1920s and 30s, social unrest was a growing problem, and so psychologists attempted to promote themselves and their field as a possible solution to these problems, as a “scientific psychology” - or “social psychology” - could,
Such a theory was based upon the view that the individual was not well “adjusted” to a rapidly changing environment, and therefore, with the help of psychology, the individual could be “adjusted” successfully.
Of course, the notion that there is something inherently problematic with society and the social order (and the hierarchy upon which it was built) went unquestioned. In other words, it was not society which needed to “adjust” to individuals and the population, but rather the opposite. Psychologists and Yale’s Institute of Human Relations would promote themselves as the solution to this complex problem.
Behaviorism was thus concerned with
environmental and behavior control in human relations. This influenced not
only Frank Stanton, but other key officials who were involved in the
Princeton Radio Project, including Paul Lazarsfeld.
In 1935, Stanton was the third employee hired by CBS for the research division, concerned largely with the ability of advertisers to sell to radio listeners. As Stanton explained in 1936, the contribution of psychology to radio research,
Weeks later, Stanton - with the suggestion of
Hadley Cantril - wrote a draft memo of a research proposal for the
Rockefeller Foundation, out of which would come to Office of Radio Research
Theodor Adorno, a critical theorist whom Lazarsfeld invited to join the Princeton Radio Project ran into several problems during his research with his associates. Lazarsfeld brought Adorno into the project hoping that he could bridge the gap between American and European approaches to research.
Adorno, however, sought to understand not simply the effects of radio in mass communications, but the role played by the “researcher” - or “expert” - in the social order itself. This put him in direct conflict with the project and its philosophy.
For Adorno, wrote Slack and Allor,
Reflecting upon his experience some decades later, Adorno wrote that,
Shortly after World War II and into the 1950s, the U.S. State Department became increasingly interested in the subject of propaganda, or what was termed “information management” and “public diplomacy.”
Television was of particular interest in promoting American state interests, specifically those defined by the Cold War.
Francis Russell, the director of the State Department’s Public Affairs (PA) division from 1945 to 1953, noted that,
He explained his worry that,
The role of the PA was not in a censorship bureau, but as a dispenser of “information,” to which the media - largely privately owned - would use as a consistent source for reporting, re-printing press releases, and seeking official sources for comment.
Edward Barrett, another top official in the PA division, later noted:
Nancy Bernhard, writing in the journal Diplomatic History, explained this contradiction aptly:
It was no surprise, then, that government “information programs” used the specific talents of corporate tycoons in the media world, bringing in talent from networks, advertising agencies, public relations agencies, and marketing bureaus.
The State Department established a number of
“advisory boards” to monitor its “public affairs” operations, largely made
up of industry and corporate officials. Among the influential board members
was Frank Stanton.
In attempting to create a terminology to describe the activities of the USIA and its relationship to foreign policy goals - without using the obvious term “propaganda” - the term “public diplomacy” was commonly used.
Frank Stanton, who left CBS in 1973, subsequently chaired a research report by the prominent American think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in 1975, entitled, International Information Education and Cultural Relations - Recommendations for the Future.
The report recommended “that the international
information and cultural programs [of the U.S. government] deserve all
possible support in the years ahead, that they have demonstrated their
success and are therefore an exceptional investment of government energy and
the taxpayer’s dollar.”
In fact, in 1958, Edward R. Murrow delivered a speech before the Radio-Television News Directors Association in which he “implicitly indicted Stanton” for the way in which he managed CBS, stating:
Stanton developed a reputation as a trustworthy propagandist for the Cold War, but was not unwilling to flex his own power when confronted with state power, such as when President Lyndon Johnson, angry at specific coverage of Vietnam on CBS, called up Stanton and stated,
Stanton refused to budge on his coverage under pressure from the president.
Yet still, he remained a propagandist, and even
participated in the CIA’s program to infiltrate the domestic media, with
general knowledge of the Agency’s program with CBS, though according to one
CIA agent involved in the matter, he didn’t “want to know the fine points.”
Not only did he help in the development of the government’s official propaganda systems, but he was a key figure in the promotion of the “corporatization” of news and information.
Thus, for Stanton, “information management” was not simply to be done in the interests of the state, but also - and arguably primarily - in the interests of corporations.
In Stanton’s own words,
Stanton was not the only executive to voice such views, as one executive at NBC as early as 1940, declared,
For primary and secondary educational institutions, the original objective was to foster a strong sense of national identity, bringing a cohesive world view to the development of a national citizenry, and thus, to establish a system of social control.
For university education, the original and evolving intend had been to develop an elite capable of managing society, and thus, to produce the controllers and technicians of society, itself.
As the modern university underwent a major
transformation in late 19th century America, it sought to apply the
potential of the “sciences” to the social world, and thus, in a society
undergoing rapid industrialization, urbanization, poverty, immigration,
labour unrest, and new forms of communication, the “social sciences” were
developed with an objective of producing social engineers and technicians
for a new society of “social control.”
As Andrew Carnegie wrote in 1889, at the top of the list of “charitable deeds” to undertake was,
It was in this context, of robber barons seeking
to remake education, that we see the founding of several of America’s top
universities, many of which were named after their robber baron founders,
such as Stanford (after Leland Stanford), Cornell (after Ezra Cornell), and
Johns Hopkins, who owned the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
The modern university was born out of this struggle between elites, with the old educational system based upon religious and moral values,
John D. Rockefeller founded the University of Chicago in 1891, and the President of the University,
This disciplinary system consisted of separating politics from economics (rejecting the notion of “political economy” and its “ideologies”), as ideology was,
Nicolas Guilhot wrote in the journal Critical Sociology that since,
Social control was not simply seen as the means through which a society - as it exists - could be maintained, but more often sought to preserve elements of that society (such as its hierarchical structure, the position of the elites) through periods of profound social change. In this sense, the question was,
The United States was viewed,
The sociologist Edward A. Ross was the first to popularize the concept of social control in the American Journal of Sociology in 1896 and 1898, and later in his 1901 book, Social Control.
Ross, largely influenced by Gabriel Tarde, did not believe that individuals were rational, but rather, that they would need to be “controlled” in one fashion or another.
As some sociologists lamented in the 1920s,
Sociology largely emerged from the University of Chicago (founded by John D. Rockefeller), with the world’s first department of sociology founded in 1892.
The sociologists who rose within and out of the University of Chicago made up what was known as the “Chicago School of Sociology.”
The school developed the most influential sociologists in the nation, including George Herbert Mead and W.I. Thomas, two scholars who had profound influence on the development of the concept of “social control,” and sociologists became,
The American Journal of Sociology was founded out of the University of Chicago by Albion Small, who was the head professor of the department of sociology, and became the editor of the journal for thirty years from 1895-1925.
Between 1915 and 1940, the University of Chicago was the dominant force in sociology in the United States, and,
The school was largely made the center of not only sociology, but many areas of the social sciences, due to funding from outside sources, namely the major philanthropic foundations created by the Robber Baron industrialists in the early 20th century.
The foundations became, in effect, engines of
social engineering and perhaps the most effective institutions in the
application of social control in modern society.
As Frederick T. Gates wrote in his autobiography,
Gates advised Rockefeller to form a series of
Repression quickly followed, culminating in what
became known as
the Ludlow Massacre in 1914, with
the Rockefellers hiring
the National Guard to attack the strikers and destroy their tent city,
machine gunning the crowd and setting fire to tents, one of which was
discovered to have housed eleven children and two women, all of whom were
killed by the fire.
The Commission’s founder, Frank P. Walsh, explained:
In 1916, the Walsh Commission produced its final report, the Manly Report (after the research director, Basil M. Manly), which concluded that the foundations were so “grave a menace” to society, that “it would be desirable to recommend their abolition.”
Frank Walsh referred to foundations as “a menace
to the welfare of society.”
This conference resulted in two approaches being pushed forward in terms of seeking to,
One view was the interpretation that the public was provided with,
Thus, they felt there was a need for a “publicity bureau” to provide a “constant stream of correct information” targeted at the lower and middle classes.
The Rockefeller Foundation agreed that a publicity bureau was a good strategy, but added that what was also needed was “a permanent research organization to manufacture knowledge on these subjects.”
A publicity bureau would “correct popular
misinformation,” while a research organization would study the “causes of
social and economic evils,” though of course avoiding problematic
considerations of institutional analysis or radical critiques. They were
instead to focus on “disinterested” and “detached” studies of social
problems, portraying themselves as scientists and technicians for society,
focused on reform and social control.
While the Foundation was engaged in the manufacture of ideology (which specifically states that it is “non-ideological,” meaning that it supports power), the corporate arm of the Rockefeller empire hired the first public relations man, Ivy Lee, a Progressive era journalist.
The Foundation hired the Canadian labour expert,
William Lyon Mackenzie King (who would later become Canada’s
longest-serving Prime Minister) to manage “labour relations,” promoting
“company unions” over “autonomous unions,” thus undermining the freedom of
labour to organize and oppose the social order as a whole, bringing them
firmly within the corporate-state ideology and institutions.
His efforts at stemming animosity toward the
Rockefellers following Ludlow failed, but for years he continued to present
“the human side of the Rockefellers,” earning him the rather unfavorable
nickname “Poison Ivy.”
Two major social engineering projects were underway:
Both of these social engineering projects were
designed to ensure social control through social engineering, and both were
to have a profound impact upon both the definition and function of modern
It is imperative to recognize and understand this complex system if we are to challenge and change it.