Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Mass Control Through Mass Manipulation

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mass Control Through Mass Manipulation

In Chapter 7 of PR!, entitled “Social Psychology and the Quest for the Public Mind,” author Stuart Ewen discusses the transformation of public relations as a craft of corporate and government mind control in America.  After the end of WWI, PR agents and theorists concluded that advertisement and propaganda could be used to sway the mass public.  In order to do so, they applied psychological theories to methods of advertising in order to influence the way people felt about things and play upon their emotion in crowds.  This ultimately changed publicity which was no longer based upon rational argumentation, but instead focused on the premise of “psychological manipulation” and “seductive appeals to the subconscious recesses of mental life,” (Ewens, 132). 

Ivy Lee, a founding father of public relations stated that “We must remember that people are guided more by sentiment than by mind,” (Ewens, 132).  This statement shows how these theorists undermined the general population as not having the ability to logic during decision making.  Robert Ezra Park also undermined the intellect and ability of the general public to make decisions based on logic reasoning.  He argued that the “so-called public opinion is generally nothing more than a naïve collective impulse which can be manipulated by catchwords,” (Ewens, 135). 




Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very good post. Clear and to the point. Manipulate the sentiments with catch-phrases. One point that stands out from this material is a judgement about the mental capacity of the public. What are the implications of this idea about the nature of public opinion for democracy?

3/11/2009 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My God, I've been thinking about these things because I typically think outside of the box, and suddenly here it is right before my eyes. Most people's thoughts are a simply a collection of corporate slogans, motto's, popular sayings and so on. When stimulated on a particular subject matter during any given conversation, an associated catchphrase is recalled and promptly spewed out. On top of all, the subject seems to be both completely helpless and unaware. Robbing people of their individual personalities for profit seems to be acceptable these days.

4/10/2009 4:49 AM  

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