Propaganda & Mass Persuasion

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Is Truth ??

George Creel like to call the CPI the "House of Truth." This nickname forces us to ask the question "What is Truth?" This question is at the center of any discussion about the CPI. Truth is Truth and for it to be truth there has to be an agreement on what truth is.

I believe that much of the CPI information was really "truth with the government's spin on it." Rather than convey facts from which the population could make truthful conclusions, i believe the CPI under George Creel eventually turned into an advertising agency promoting the war effort regardless of truth. surely they were quite successful. Creel and the CPI were very good at what they did:

"Acknowledging the already considerable power of advertising in American society, by 1917 Creel was approaching the conclusion that 'people do not live by bread alone; they live by catch phrases?' If advertising techniques could sell soap or face cream or biscuits, he reasoned, why not war?"

George Creel was actually confused about what his goal should be. Most soap or face cream advertising does not have conveying truth as its main objective and if a certain soap or face cream really is not the best, they are not going to tell you to buy some other company's product. The same was true of George Creel. In his desire to sell the war, I believe he was GeorgeCreel and the CPI said it was:

"Yet underneath this pledge of openness, an atmosphere of suppression was taking hold."

"individual critics of the war and wilson's program were rounded up by the government, often without warrants of arrest, hustled to jail, held incommunicado without bail, (etc)"

ignoring the constitution of the United States and high-minded principles of democracy such as expressed by Abraham Lincoln:

" (that) government is of the people by the people and for the people"
was no way to discover or communicate the truth.

Woodrow Wilson took pride in his goal of making the world safe for democracy. Yet, George Creel and the CPI as well as the Wilson administration were sinking as low as the enemy they were fighting in their disregard for the constitution and for truth itself. That fact is a truth that George Creel certainly was willing to ignore because He eventually got his priorities mixed up.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A very thoughtful discussion. Always cite the source of your quotations clearly.

I agree that Creel was selling the "truth" of the war to the American people. Were the "truths" of the Wilson administration a problem? Or are you just objecting to the "selling" of the truth? Some people object that an idea becomes "true" when it is sold to enough people, in that sense Creel and the CPI were creating truth in the course of their advertiaing campaigns. Are catch-phrases inherently untrue?

3/11/2009 9:10 PM  

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