Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Truth and Opinion

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Truth and Opinion

In, 1908, during a time when there was a growing concern for government and corporate corruption Upton Sinclair stated:
“We are just like Rome. Our Legislatures are corrupt; our politicians are unprincipled; our rich men are ambitious and unscrupulous. Our newspapers have been purchased and gagged; our colleges have been bribed; our churches have been cowed. Our masses are sinking into degradation and misery; our ruling classes are becoming wanton and cynical ( Stuart Ewen,PR!, pg 49).”

So, how could these concerns be addressed? My belief is that circumstances don’t change until the people are willing to work for change. Henry Lloyd might agree with my statement for he believed that it was in the power of public opinion that social change could be forged. Lloyd proclaims that “publicity is the great moral disinfectant”. The problem here is how can the public unite over issues and form an opinion? The news might be a useful tool in informing the public, but can it be trusted? The news paper is a business in itself, perfectly susceptible to corruption.

Opinions are formed by truths, but what is truth? William James describes truth as an Idea. He states: “It becomes true, made true by events”. What I interpret this as, is that a corrupt business or government is not considered corrupt until it takes actions that affect the majority on an individual and personal level. When enough people are affected it is only than that public opinion becomes public truth. When this occurs, a fight for change or social reform can begin.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post. It is true that the newspapers are a business and editors have been bought off at one time or another. However, Lloyd believed that the newspaper could be used to expose and move public opinion into action. Is that no longer the case? Is the era of investigative reporting and reform politics long gone?

2/23/2009 4:54 PM  

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