Propaganda and the Politics of Perception


The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”
Edward Bernays, Nephew of Sigmund Freud, Propaganda (1928)

“Those unaware are unaware of being unaware”

– Merrill Jenkins, Monetary Realist

The corporate mass-media serve to divert the unwashed masses and reinforce the basic social values: passivity, submissiveness to authority, the overriding virtue of greed and personal gain, lack of concern for others, fear of real or imagined enemies, etc.

“The goal is to keep the bewildered herd bewildered. It’s unnecessary for them to trouble themselves with what’s happening in the world. In fact, it’s undesirable — if they see too much of reality they may set themselves to change it.”

— Noam Chomsky
M.I.T. professor of linguistics
prolific author & U.S. foreign policy critic
What Uncle Sam Really Wants

The enormous gap between what US leaders do in the world and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments of the dominant political mythology.” — Michael Parenti
Political scientist and author of
Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media

“When I was Times bureau chief in Washington, I was a member of the League of Gentlemen ; otherwise I never would have been bureau chief. Time after time, good reporters…complained about not being able to get stories in the paper. And time after time I said to them, ‘You’re just not going to get that in the New York Times… it’s too reliant on your judgement rather than on official judgement, it’s too complex, it contradicts the official record more flagrantly than the conventions of daily journalism allow.’”

— Tom Wicker
New York Times columnist
Guardian (London), February 13, 1985
quoted in Democracy for the Few, by Michael Parenti
and “‘League of Gentlemen’ Rates Media,” by Kevin Kelly

“Following the same course that virtually every other major industry has in the last two decades, a relentless series of mergers and corporate takeovers has consolidated control of the media into the hands of a few corporate behemoths. “The result has been that an increasingly authoritarian agenda has been sold to the American people by a massive, multi-tentacled media machine that has become,
for all intents and purposes, a propaganda organ of the state.”

— David McGowan
from the introduction to Derailing Democracy

“The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous – he simply cannot believe it exists”

– J. Edgar Hoover


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