Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Power of the Press

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Power of the Press

Primary Documents: "The Whole Country Thrills With War Fever"

The press truly holds the power to manipulate society's beliefs. During the Spanish American war, the press wrote articles with language that was so persuasive that the people usually believed everything that they read. Some of the articles said things such as:
"I saw what was left of these poor bodies immediately after the troops had left...The skulls of all were split to pieces down to the eyes. Some of these were gouged out. All the bodies had been stabbed by sword bayonets and hacked by sabers until i could not count the cuts: they were indistinguishable."
Language like this is used to paint a picture in the readers mind, and that it did. Strangely, many of the authors of such articles did not experience these accounts first hand. They just wrote off of information they received through word-of-mouth. This brings up the question: Is the press really so powerful, or is society very gullible? Even though either of these may be the truth, the press is there to inform the citizens. The truth may have been exaggerated but it was the only form of information the citizens had on the war.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post.

Are reporters writing to meet a demand for sensational, bloody content, or is just a case of reporting the facts? Is it possible that both are factors? There really were atrocities committed in Cuba, these reports may have been embellished or based on flimsy documentation (if any,) but would they have been reported in the same way if such coverage did not attract readers?

2/10/2009 11:24 AM  

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