I’ve noticed just how much Americans love a big win: baseball, WWE, and when finding the alleged suspect of the Boston Marathon bombing. Once he was found, people chanted USA, USA, USA to their police heroes. Are we to assume the suspect is guilty until proven innocent? American author, Gore Vital once said, “When you control opinion, as corporate America controls opinion in the United States by owning the media, you can make the masses believe almost anything you want, and guide them as you please.”
I was shocked but not surprised by how most Americans rushed to parrot the media’s early reports and assertions regarding the Boston tragedy. Why don’t government officials (formerly public servants) discourage Americans from trying the suspect in the court of public opinion? Ahhh, but why would they?
What we witnessed with the chanting of USA, USA, USA in Boston was another “big win.” In this case it was the most current big win of the U.S. Government’s public relations department after their centuries-long efforts to shape the public perception of events. The stage was set; thanks to the 2012-13 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), aka, the Homeland Battlefield Act.
Regime change has arrived; one based on actions previously only legitimized by government during times of war. After the Boston bombing, swarms of security locked down Watertown, military helicopters flew overhead and armored vehicles searched from the streets using highly sophisticated technology. Thereafter, Peter King, Republican representative from New York, said, “Also the battlefield is now in the United States.”
We live today in an era of the new American freedom where civil rights and freedom have been turned on their head. When looking down the barrel of a gun, as people living in Watertown did at their front doors, their “own” security forces demanded entry to their homes. Did they have the option to say, “No thank you, officer, I think I’ll pass?” Of course they didn’t; they were war-time pawns on the NDAA battlefield. George Orwell, author of the book, 1984, nailed it when he said, “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
How on earth could the majority of Americans voluntarily buy-in to this new, stepped-down version of freedom that started with the 2001 Patriot Act? I believe it’s due to the manipulation of fear especially since 9-11 via the absolute control of the flow of information by the government and via mainstream media. We have the father of public relations, Edward Bernays, to thank. Yet when I mention his name most people know little or nothing about him. So who was he?
Edward Bernays, 1891-1995, was also the nephew to the well-known psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud. Like his uncle before him, Bernays believed in the predictability of the human unconscious especially as regarded the psychological motivations of self-preservation, security, aggression and sex. He transferred this knowledge of the human mind to the earliest days of what now is known as the field of public relations.
In 1915, he not only succeeded by making bacon a mainstay of the traditional breakfast for the pork industry, and smoking fashionable for women in the 1920’s for the tobacco companies by calling cigarettes “torches of freedom,” and by transforming fluoride (a waste product of aluminum) into a revenue stream for Alcoa Aluminum in the 1930’s, but he also was hired by the U.S. Government to apply his talents to the shaping of American public opinion.
Bernays helped Woodrow Wilson win a second term as president in 1916 using the slogan, ‘He kept us out of the war.” He continued to work under Woodrow Wilson’s administration during World War I on the Committee on Public Information. He was credited with making popular the notion that World War I was entirely about the United States championing democracy for the countries of Europe.
His list of celebrity clients included President Calvin Coolidge, Procter & Gamble, CBS, NBC, the United Fruit Company, the American Tobacco Company, General Electric, Dodge Motors, the Hotel Association of New York City; the Waldorf-Astoria, the Celanese Corporation, Continental Baking Company, Philco, Westinghouse Electric Corporation and Time Inc., Clare Boothe Luce and Samuel Goldwyn.
Due to the consistent success of his messaging during war time, his public relations style set the standard thereafter during times of peace. According to his daughter, Edward Bernays was a believer in “enlightened despotism” since he considered people to be basically stupid, acting on herd mentality. I’m afraid Americans of the 21st century may be proving him correct.
Think outside the box. Live outside the cage.