Walter Lippmann, Edward Bernays and the other social scientists who made up the Creel Commission developed the techniques of advertising, public relations and propaganda. These men manipulated the American public into World War I at the behest of US and British bankers.
Wait. World War I wasn’t about freedom and democracy?
US President Woodrow Wilson, who ran on a platform of neutrality, was desperate to fulfill his obligations to these bankers, who stood to lose everything if Germany should prevail, by putting the US into the war as they wished. But Wilson was having little success with public opinion at home as few Americans wanted to enter the European conflagration. In 1917 Wilson founded what was called The Committee on Public Information, or more commonly known as the Creel Commission after the name of the leader of the commission. They used every weapon available to spread their message to, as George Creel would later say, “turn the American people into one white-hot mass of hatred . . .”
It’s not too much to say that the Creel Commission shaped our modern world beyond our knowledge, creating a cluster of images and ideas so powerful that, in a sense, they colonized the American imagination. It is impossible to fundamentally grasp the social, political, economic and cultural developments of the past 100 years without some understanding of their legacy. Everything we have seen, read, or heard that demonized other nations, usually leading to military intervention or “color revolutions”, stems from their template.
The propaganda they developed drives the entirety of US foreign policy on the global stage today. No ordinary American benefits from the US having troops in Syria, sanctioning Venezuelans to death, supporting Saudi Arabia while it destroys Yemen, garrisoning the planet with military bases and working to subvert any nation which refuses to bow to its diktats.
The only way to get Americans to consent to any of these agendas is to propagandize them into doing so.
Until the First World War, these theories of creating an entirely false public opinion based on misinformation, then manipulating this for population control, were still only theories, but the astounding success of propaganda by Bernays and his group during the war laid bare the possibilities of perpetually controlling the public mind on all matters.
In his main work titled Propaganda, which he wrote in 1928, Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy in which individuals were inherently dangerous (to the elite control of America) but could be harnessed and channeled by these same elites for their economic benefit. “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”
Bernays, who was Sigmund Freud’s nephew, was apparently stunned by the outstanding success of the Creel Commission in swaying public opinion in favor of war, and so immediately began to apply his model to peacetime enterprises. For example, he deployed the same techniques of manipulation to encourage cigarette smoking amongst woman, with his Torches of Freedom advertising campaign.
The propaganda developed by the Creel Commission is the single most overlooked and under-emphasized aspect of our society, bar none. It’s so pervasive that most of us don’t even notice it. It’s like that old joke about the two fish who are asked “How’s the water?” and then turn to each other and say “What’s water?”
Most American vehemently reject out of hand the notion that they are propagandized. They consider themselves “rugged individuals” who make up their own damn mind, without any pointy-headed, psychologists funny ideas, thank-you very much.
They would be wrong. Propaganda is as American as apple pie. This is what led CIA Director William Casey to state, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”
I’ve personally witnessed four propaganda campaigns designed to whip Americans into a war fever. The first Gulf War, where the conflict was sold to the American public by the Rendon Group. The invasion of Iraq, where the men who sold the war were so sure of the outcome that they could boast that “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” Russia-gate, which I’ve written about exhaustedly; and now the, ongoing effort to demonize China.
The latest polling data on American’s attitudes towards Russia and China demonstrates just how powerful our all-American propaganda system is.
US military force is never, ever conducted with the American people’s informed consent. Literally never. Consent is always manufactured for US wars by lies and mass media propaganda, one hundred percent of the time, without exception. The bigger the military operation, the more egregious the deceit used to manufacture consent for it.
Americans are subject to a nonstop deluge of distorted and outright false narratives about their military and the nations it targets for destruction. Every aspect of the US-centralized power alliance is propped up by a relentless deluge of mass-scale propaganda that was scientifically refined by Bernays and Lippmann.
It’s getting worse.
The increasing censorship on the internet and control over information is but one manifestation of elite fear of popular rage and desperation. So, too, is the related attempt by the corporate media to regain their monopoly over news and discourse by discrediting anyone in opposition to them. It’s why Julian Assange rots in a British prison.
Indeed, the increasingly despised corporate elite will seek to weaken that which most threatens their interests and power: a discourse and a democracy that they can no longer manipulate and control. After all, if you let people think for themselves, you lose the ability to control everything.
All our major problems are caused by a lack of awareness and can be alleviated by exposing the “invisible government” that manipulates our country. This is why fighting propaganda, opposing censorship, protecting press freedoms and exposing the truth of what’s really going on in our world is so important.