Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: War Engine # 2594

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

War Engine # 2594

Stuart Ewen's "PR!" - "House of Truth" - Chapter 6

In the 21st century America, when citizens are discussing the role of the "progressives," the discussion continually revolves around all the good that the progressives have brought to America at the turn of the century. However, as discussed in Stuart's "PR!," the progressive movement did initially originate from the belief that the common people are capable of reasoning, but as the journalist's started to fear the low-class Americans, the "capability" of average Americans was put into questions.

In simple terms, what started as a movement for the betterment of the common people, resulted into a movement that would in the future mold and shape every bit of the common people's idea. As thoroughly discussed in chapter 6, the progressive journalism lobbied the federal government to allow them to establish this "laboratory" in which the common people would be educated and their ideas would be shaped according to a few "selected intelligent people." This gave a new definition to the progressives, in which only the "elite" are capable of handling truth, just as Lippmann believed. The progressive journalists took this advantage to take up the role of becoming the "architects" of the common people.

This idea gave birth to executive order # 2565, establishing the CPI - Committee on Public Information. This would later become not only a "committee on Public Information," but rather a committee comprised of those "elites," which Lippmann discusses in the previous chapter, who would go on this mission of creating a society, in which they hold complete authority on the "masses." This in a nut shell was the central role of the CPI, and its establishment.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post on a key point.

The CPI was created by the progressive administration of Woodrow Wilson. Wilson appointed George Creel, a progressive newspaper man, to run the operation. Ewen argues that the
CPI was an extension of the work of the what he calls the "progressive publicists" who were using the media to expose corruption and promote reform. Many of the themes of CPI propaganda grew out of the idealism of the progressive era.

2/23/2009 8:35 PM  

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