Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Several Thoughts on the "Primary Documents"

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Several Thoughts on the "Primary Documents"

It's not surprising to see that ever since Spanish American war, whenever America wants to wage a war on other nations, it always embellishes its whole behaviors with the slogan that this war is " civilization against barbarism, freedom against oppression, education against ignorance, progress against retrogression and democracy against totalitarian", which is a great disguise of its internal incentive of pursuing self-interest as well as covering up its domestic problems. just as in the promotion of the Spanish American war where America was portrayed as the humanitarian savior to free the cuban people from Spanish cruelty, the same philosophy applies to Iraq as well while America comes to end Saddam Hussein's totalitarian government and bring democracy and autonomy to the Iraqi people. no matter where Americans are, they are the incarnation of " democracy, freedom, humanitarian and equality".

We can't fail to see the power of media both in Spanish American war and WWI, to list the obvious two, where the media is penetrating almost every porn of ordinary people's life. Like CPI, it covers almost all daily aspects in shaping the public opinion. just as E.L. Godkin illustrated in " The Growth and Expansion of Public Opinion" that " Newspapers are made to sell; and for this there is nothing better than war. war means daily sensation and excitement...whether the war brings victory or defeat makes little defference." In this sense, the government and the media are just like two reciprocal friends where either part can take the initiative to be the propagandist. like in the Spanish American war, the media took the lead to change people's attitude from" pacifism" to "Jingoism", while in the Iraqi war, the government is the real bellwether and exerting a tremendous influence on the media. However, no matter who is the leader in the propaganda process, they can't live without each other and must react to each other as quickly as possible.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

An intersting post, I am not sure that the American people were particularly pacifistic before the war. Clearly the media helped to bring out our belligerence. One of the distinctions between the War of 1898 and WWI is that the CPI did not exist in 1898. The campaign to avenge the Maine and confront the Spanish was not led by a government department it was raised by an independent media that was pursuing their own interests. The themes that you are discussing are a part of American culture and tradition. The trick to moblizing the population is to present the war as an extension of the deepest beliefs of the population.

2/16/2006 12:17 AM  

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