Global Issues.org reported on War, Propaganda and the Media: “When it comes to propaganda for purposes of war, for example, professional public relations firms can often be involved to help sell a war… Media management may also be used to promote certain political policies and ideologies. Where this is problematic for the citizenry is when media reports on various issues to not attribute their sources properly.”
For example, to sell the Gulf War in Iraq in 1991, John Rendon, the founder of a Washington PR firm, told the cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1996, “I am a politician, and a person who uses communication to meet public policy or corporate policy objectives. In fact, I am an information warrior and a perception manager…”
In varied ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover, and deception, and psyops [psychological operations].
“In March 2005”, Global Issues said, “the New York Times revealed that there has been a large amount of fake and prepackaged news created by US government departments, such as the Pentagon, the State Department and others, and disseminated through the mainstream media.”
In addition, smear tactics often used to discredit, stain or destroy the reputation of someone are increasing in sophistication. With the increasing popularity of the Internet, and search engines such as Google, smearing is taking on additional forms and techniques.
In fact, negative campaigning through the media in America was launched by two lifelong friends, John Adams (second US president–1797-1801) and Thomas Jefferson (third US president–1801-1809), when they ran against each other for the office of President of the United States.
CNN.com says, “Things got ugly fast. Jefferson’s camp accused President Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”
“In return, Adams’ men called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.
“As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.
“But the key difference between the two politicians was that Jefferson hired a hatchet man named James Callendar to do his smearing for him. Adams, on the other hand, considered himself above such tactics.”
Jefferson’s tactics won him the White House but his hatchet man, Callendar, went to prison for slandering John Adams.
Fast forward to December/January 2005, and a piece in the American Journalism Review, which said this of Dirty Politics, “These political campaigns are corroding our electoral process. Who wants to participate in character assassination, Orwellian “doublethink,” dreamland oratory, and outright lies and inflated claims?… The news outlets that used to educate voters are no longer independent (and presumably neutral) sources of impartial information.”
I close this series of posts with the following questions—comparing the media in China and in America, how much of a difference is there in how the people get their news? Either way, can you trust what you read and hear? Is there a difference between a politician, a government official or corporate employee?
In China, the government owns the media and sensitive news is censored. In the US, politicians and the government-manipulate news fed to the media, which in turn manipulates the news to support the political beliefs of the corporate bosses that control the corporations that own the media.
In both countries, the Internet Blogosphere is a free-wheeling madhouse of opinions and news, which may be correct but there is no guarantee. In the end, American and Chinese citizens will believe whatever they want no matter what they read or hear from the media/government.
Return to The meaning of Democracy’s Freedoms and the Nature of the Western Media Beast – Part 4 or start with Part 1
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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