Written by Ray Peach
The Mass Media
Read Part 1 here
In 1922, Walter Lippmann (1889 – 1947) from the Institute for Social Research, also known as the Frankfurt School, wanted to apply Critical Theory to mass media, presenting his conclusions in the book, Public Opinion. Lippmann agreed with Freud and Bernays that people are incapable of being rational, making it necessary to rethink democracy. In his book, he described the need for a ruling elite where journalists would perform intelligence work for the policy makers by forming public opinion – what Bernays called manufacturing consent. Lippmann referred to the people as a “chaos of local opinions” asserting that the public lacked the competence to participate in public decisions or discourse, and the governing class needed to rise above the “bewildered herd.” Specifically, the news media needed to ignore the truth and construct reality, just as Plato did.
When the film industry began to make motion pictures, the Frankfurt school began working on how to adapt the entertainment industry to mass propaganda. Institute members Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Harold Lasswell (1902 – 1978), worked with film director D. W. Griffith (1875 – 1948), and screenwriter William C. DeMille (1878 – 1955), to create the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927. The academies first president was the Marxist actor Douglas Fairbanks (1883 – 1939). In 1929, the academy was extended to create the first film school at the University of Southern California, also with Fairbanks as its President. The purpose of the school was not only to teach how to make motion pictures, but how to instill propaganda by eliciting emotion from the audience based on the views of an authority figure.
Walter Benjamin summed up the purpose of mass media saying, “Mechanical reproduction of art changes the reaction of the masses toward art. The reactionary attitude toward a Picasso painting changes into a progressive reaction toward a Chaplin movie. The progressive reaction is characterized by the direct, intimate fusion of visual and emotional enjoyment with the orientation of the expert.... With regard to the screen, the critical and receptive attitudes of the public coincide. The decisive reason for this is that the individual reactions are predetermined by the mass audience response they are about to produce, and this is nowhere more pronounced than in the film.”
During World War II, many of these people worked for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor to today’s CIA, where they developed propaganda techniques to further the War effort. What they discovered was that a mass experience at a movie theater served the same function as the mass rallies in Hitler’s Germany.
In 1937, most American families had radio, and unlike the movies where people shared a common experience with large groups, the radio provided an individualistic experience at home. The same year, the Rockefeller Foundation funded a research project to study the effects of radio on the population that came to be known as the “Radio Research Project.” This project was headed by Frankfurt School associates: Paul Lazerfeld (1901 – 1976), Frank Stanton (1908 – 2006), and Lazerfeld’s wife Herta Herzog (1910 – 2010), building on earlier studies of mass propaganda by their associates Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. Stanton was also the head of CBS news and later became the president and Chairman of the Board for the RAND Corporation – a Non Governmental Organization, that among other things, exercises Bernays’ theories for the benefit of the state.
What the “Radio Research Project” found was that repeated exposure to serialized radio dramas, commonly known as “soap operas,” induced habitual listening where the behavior of the actors was accepted as normal, thus psychologically impacting the listener’s view of reality, just as Gustave Le Bon had discovered with real groups of people. It was also discovered that the repeated listening to popular music would have a similar effect, where the lyrics would also serve to change the listener’s view of reality. Theodore Adorno wrote that listeners to radio music programs, “Fluctuate between comprehensive forgetting and sudden dives into recognition. They listen atomistically and dissociate what they hear.... They are not childlike, but they are childish; their primitivism is not that of the undeveloped, but that of the forcibly retarded.”
Today the afternoon “soaps” remain the most addictive propaganda on television, where 70 percent of all American women over 18 watch two shows a day. In these shows they are told that there is something is wrong with fidelity, while stable family relationships are ridiculed. Little wonder divorce rates have skyrocketed.
In 1938, the research project studied the effects of the radio dramatization of H. G. Wells’ science fiction story, “War of the Worlds.” The show depicted an invasion from another world and was purposely formatted to resemble news broadcasts. Despite repeated statements that the show was fictional, 25 percent of the listeners believed it was real. The “War of the Worlds” experiment showed that by formatting the programs as a news-broadcast, it held psychological sway over the audience, even though it was advertised as fiction. This is why television shows like Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, or Saturday Night Live are formatted as “news broadcasts.” Even when the audience is told that it is comedy, the political message is still effective against weak minds.
Today Americans are so addicted to television that they get most of their views on morality, family, history, and science from a medium that is specifically designed to misguide them into doing exactly what the elite wants. After the war, these people would apply what they learned from Hitler, Stalin, and the OSS, to the film, music, radio, news, and television industries. Instead of producing news or entertainment, these industries would now produce propaganda that complied with the social narrative, increasingly attacking “Western Culture.” Later, Lasswell would become President of the World Academy of Art and Science, which was created by the Fabian socialist, Bertrand Russell. Thanks to Senator Joseph McCarthy and Congressman Richard Nixon, the “Red Scare” increased people’s awareness to the threat, and much of what these people had planned was delayed until the 1970s.
Until the 1920s, broadcasting in America consisted of independent radio stations in what historians now call a “Tower of Babel.” However, when it became apparent that Radio had the ability to move and persuade, the industry was transformed into an instrument for mass propaganda.
In 1919 Admiral William Bullard (1866 – 1927) worked with General Electric, Westinghouse, and American Telephone and Telegraph to create the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). The Russian immigrant David Sarnoff (1891 – 1971) would build RCA into a large broadcasting empire. In 1923, the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) was created as a division of RCA by consolidating the station WEAF, owned by AT&T and WJZ, owned by Westinghouse. This gave RCA a monopoly in New York and New Jersey where they controlled a mass market of some 26 million homes. Soon stations across the country began transmitting the same information and entertainment in a process that the American people readily accepted. This would ultimately result in the creation of the government controlled mass communication monopoly that we see today.
In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt gave four famous fireside chats to supposedly explain the country’s condition to its citizens. In reality the “chats’ were part of a carefully choreographed effort to create a cult of personality designed to portray Roosevelt as a messianic leader that the people would follow. While different in its approach, this was the American equivalent of similar broadcasts being made by Hitler and Mussolini. The concept of the cult of personality can be traced to the work of the German sociologist Max Weber (1864 – 1920) and his concept of Charismatic Authority. It allowed dictators like Joseph Stalin to obtain voluntary compliance or obedience where individuals are not forced to obey, but do so voluntarily.
Lenin would expand on Weber’s work by using the entire state communications apparatus to provide unquestioning flattery and praise to build a heroic public image. Also called hero worship, the cultured personality provides a synthetic authority that Le Bon used to control the crowd; only this time the crowd consisted of millions of listeners. Roosevelt and Kennedy would use the culture of personality to create a messianic public image that still exists today. In the 2008 election, Obama’s political consultant David Axelrod (b. 1955) ran his presidential campaign as a cult of personality with the help of a willing mass media, entirely ignoring Obama’s Marxist background. Historically this has been a common feature of Totalitarian Dictatorships, where rulers are deified. A recent example is the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il, who is still worshiped as a god, even after his death.
On September 7th, 1927, the 21 year old inventor Philo Farnsworth (1906 – 1971) demonstrated the first successful television in San Francisco. By 1939, RCA had invested $50 million in further development, televising the opening of the New York World’s Fair, including a speech by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Until the Kennedy administration, television was essentially a medium for selling products, and the customers with money to spend were older middle class people with families. Unfortunately for the socialists, American’s wanted to watch shows such as Father Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver, and The Dick Vandyke Show that reinforced family values, while the shows producers were glad to provide what the audience and the advertisers wanted. Police shows like Dragnet depicted cops as the good guys, and Ed Sullivan provided a good clean family show.
This enraged Marxists like Theodor Adorno who reviled television, calling it a medium that supported capitalism. In 1961 Adorno and Paul Lazersfeld, testified before congress for the need for the government to mandate “quality” programming, endorsing collusion among broadcasters and abandoning competition. This position would be backed by John Kennedy’s FCC commissioner, Newton Minow (b. 1926) who told the National Association of Broadcasters that television was a vast “waist land,” threatening governmental action against broadcasters saying, “Clean up your house or the Government will do it for you.” Kennedy backed up Minow saying, “I urge you, I urge you to put the people's airwaves to the service of the people and the cause of freedom.”
At first these threats had little effect, but the producers were eventually replaced with those who would willingly embrace the political narrative and inculcate socialism into the American population. Lazersfeld would manufacture data purporting to say that the consumers of the future were younger viewers, convincing advertisers to shift their support to shows that targeted a younger audience. Even though the data was a fraud, the lie had its desired effect and soon the new producers had the money they needed to apply Critical Theory to television. To support this view, the Nielson ratings were skewed to show that newly formed programs such as All in the Family and Mash were a big success, when in reality they weren’t.
All in the family purposely inverted family values by portraying Archie Bunker as a bigot and a conservative, ignoring that the Jim Crow Laws and the Ku Klux Klan were institutions of the Democratic Party. In reality it was the Republican’s who repealed the Jim Crow Laws and passed the voting rights act over Democratic opposition. In fact, Martin Luther King and his message were Republican. Every week Archie would be defeated by his son-in-law while living in his home and sleeping with his daughter; purposely giving a young audience a distorted view of what a family should be. Later Archie’s family would be duplicated with the advent of the Simpsons where the characters came directly from All in the Family, except for Bart who was based on the character Eddie Haskell, the antagonist from Leave it to Beaver. The cartoon series’ creator Matt Groening considers Haskell to be his favorite character.
Today police shows like Law and Order, CIS, and others depict a police force that is above the law, applying violence in support of socialist causes, while depicting the family, private property, profit, and Christianity as being absolutely wrong. The medical series House depicts the virtue of a dysfunctional hospital staff where the central character is a drug addict who slanders truth and virtue at every opportunity. Finally, hundreds of specialty channels have been created to reinforce the class-consciousness of nearly every culture that neo-Marxism has created. There are channels for women, blacks, Mexicans, or anyone else who identifies themselves as a victim of society.
Contrary to assertions by the industry, media companies do not compete with each other. In reality they work together with regulatory agencies in a public-private partnership that constitutes a monopoly on communications. The FCC limits the number of outlets, erects barriers to entry, and creates regulations that only the elite can overcome. This can be seen more clearly with cable TV where federal, state, and local governments consistently grant a monopoly to a single cable company. While advertised as being beneficial to the community, studies show that these monopolies charge more while restricting programming.
Today there are six companies that control a monopoly on mass media in the United States: Viacom, CBS, General Electric, Walt Disney, News Corp, and Time Warner. There are a few independent companies such as Clear Channel and World Net Daily, but they don’t have anywhere near the reach of the big 6. Together with National Public Radio, and PBS, these companies control nearly all Radio, Film, Publishing, and on-line communications, collaborating to provide a consistent message; regardless of what channel you select, or movie you watch the viewer receives the same propaganda.
End of Part 2. Part 3 will discuss the roll terror plays in mass media.
Mr. Peach (visit his website) ·is a retired engineer who spent a great deal of his life traveling the world to solve problems for fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Government.·After serving 8 years in U.S. Naval Air he went to work for Litton Guidance Systems as a field engineer, working in the Middle East and Asia. For the next 12 years he worked as a systems engineer for Hughes Aircraft where he was involved with the F-14D, F-15E, and the F/A-18 tactical aircraft...........read more