|Mass media is the most powerful tool used by the ruling class to manipulate the masses. It shapes and molds opinions and attitudes and defines what is normal and acceptable. This article looks at the workings of mass media through the theories of its major thinkers, its power structure and the techniques it uses, in order to understand its true role in society.
and the motivations of those who place them there, but it is impossible for me to provide satisfactory answers to these questions without mentioning many other concepts and facts. I’ve therefore decided to write this article to supply the theoretical and methodological background of the analyzes presented on this site as well as introducing the main scholars of the field of mass communications. Some people read my articles and think I’m saying “Lady Gaga wants to control our minds”. That is not the case. She is simply a small part of the huge system that is the mass media.
Programming Through Mass Media
Mass media are media forms designed to reach the largest audience possible. They include television, movies, radio, newspapers, magazines, books, records, video games and the internet. Many studies have been conducted in the past century to measure the effects of mass media on the population in order to discover the best techniques to influence it. From those studies emerged the science of Communications, which is used in marketing, public relations and politics. Mass communication is a necessary tool to insure the functionality of a large democracy; it is also a necessary tool for a dictatorship. It all depends on its usage.
In the 1958 preface for A Brave New World, Aldous Huxley paints a rather grim portrait of society. He believes it is controlled by an “impersonal force”, a ruling elite, which manipulates the population using various methods.
His bleak outlook is not a simple hypothesis or a paranoid delusion. It is a documented fact, present in the world’s most important studies on mass media. Here are some of them:
Walter Lippmann, an American intellectual, writer and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner brought forth one of the first works concerning the usage of mass media in America. In Public Opinion (1922), Lippmann compared the masses to a “great beast” and a “bewildered herd” that needed to be guided by a governing class. He described the ruling elite as “a specialized class whose interests reach beyond the locality.” This class is composed of experts, specialists and bureaucrats. According to Lippmann, the experts, who often are referred to as “elites,” are to be a machinery of knowledge that circumvents the primary defect of democracy, the impossible ideal of the “omnicompetent citizen.” The trampling and roaring “bewildered herd” has its function: to be “the interested spectators of action,” i.e. not participants. Participation is the duty of “the responsible man”, which is not the regular citizen.
Mass media and propaganda are therefore tools that must be used by the elite to rule the public without physical coercion. One important concept presented by Lippmann is the “manufacture of consent”, which is, in short, the manipulation of public opinion to accept the elite’s agenda. It is Lippmann’s opinion that the general public is not qualified to reason and to decide on important issues. It is therefore important for the elite to decide ”for its own good” and then sell those decisions to the masses.
It might be interesting to note that Lippmann is one of the founding fathers of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the most influential foreign policy think tank in the world. This fact should give you a small hint of the mind state of the elite concerning the usage of media.
Some current members of the CFR include David Rockefeller, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, mega-church pastor Rick Warren and the CEOs of major corporations such as CBS, Nike, Coca-Cola and Visa.
Carl Jung is the founder of analytical psychology (also known an Jungian psychology), which emphasizes understanding the psyche by exploring dreams, art, mythology, religion, symbols and philosophy. The Swiss therapist is at the origin of many psychological concepts used today such as the Archetype, the Complex, the Persona, the Introvert/Extrovert and Synchronicity. He was highly influenced by the occult background of his family. Carl Gustav, his grandfather, was an avid Freemason (he was Grand Master) and Jung himself discovered that some of his ancestors were Rosicrucians. This might explain his great interest in Eastern and Western philosophy, alchemy, astrology and symbolism. One of his most important (and misunderstood) concept was the Collective Unconscious.
The collective unconscious transpires through the existence of similar symbols and mythological figures in different civilizations. Archetypal symbols seem to be embedded in our collective subconscious, and, when exposed to them, we demonstrate natural attraction and fascination. Occult symbols can therefore exert a great impact on people, even if many individuals were never personally introduced to the symbol’s esoteric meaning. Mass media thinkers, such as Edward D. Bernays, found in this concept a great way to manipulate the public’s personal and collective unconscious.
Edward Bernays is considered to be the “father of public relations” and used concepts discovered by his uncle Sigmund Freud to manipulate the public using the subconscious. He shared Walter Lippmann’s view of the general population by considering it irrational and subject to the “herd instinct”. In his opinion, the masses need to be manipulated by an invisible government to insure the survival of democracy.
Bernay’s trailblazing marketing campaigns profoundly changed the functioning of American society. He basically created “consumerism” by creating a culture wherein Americans bought for pleasure instead of buying for survival. For this reason, he was considered by Life Magazine to be in the Top 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century.
In 1939-1940, the University of Chicago was the host of a series of secret seminars on communications. These think tanks were funded by the Rockefeller foundation and involved the most prominent researchers in the fields of communications and sociological studies. One of these scholars was Harold Lasswell, a leading American political scientist and communications theorist, specializing in the analysis of propaganda. He was also of the opinion that a democracy, a government ruled by the people, could not sustain itself without a specialized elite shaping and molding public opinion through propaganda.
In his Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, Lasswell explained that when elites lack the requisite force to compel obedience, social managers must turn to “a whole new technique of control, largely through propaganda.” He added the conventional justification: we must recognize the “ignorance and stupidity [of] … the masses and not succumb to democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests.”
Lasswell extensively studied the field of content analysis in order to understand the effectiveness of different types of propaganda. In his essay Contents of Communication, Lasswell explained that, in order to understand the meaning of a message (i.e. a movie, a speech, a book, etc.), one should take into account the frequency with which certain symbols appear in the message, the direction in which the symbols try to persuade the audience’s opinion, and the intensity of the symbols used.
Lasswell was famous for his media analysis model based on:
By this model, Lasswell indicates that in order to properly analyze a media product, one must look at who produced the product (the people who ordered its creation), who was it aimed at (the target audience) and what were the desired effects of this product (to inform, to convince, to sell, etc.) on the audience.
Using a Rihanna video as an example, the analysis would be as follows: WHO PRODUCED: Vivendi Universal; WHAT: pop artist Rihanna; TO WHOM: consumers between the ages of 9 and 25; WHAT CHANNEL: music video; and WHAT EFFECT: selling the artist, her song, her image and her message.
The analyzes of videos and movies on The Vigilant Citizen place a great importance on the “who is behind” the messages communicated to the public. The term “Illuminati” is often used to describe this small elite group covertly ruling the masses. Although the term sounds quite caricatured and conspiratorial, it aptly describes the elite’s affinities with secret societies and occult knowledge. However, I personally detest using the term “conspiracy theory” to describe what is happening in the mass media. If all the facts concerning the elitist nature of the industry are readily available to the public, can it still be considered a “conspiracy theory”?
There used to be a variety of viewpoints, ideas and opinions in popular culture. The consolidation of media corporations has, however, produced a standardization of the cultural industry. Ever wondered why all recent music sounds the same and all recent movies look the same? The following is part of the answer:
As depicted in the graph above, the number of corporations owning the majority of U.S. media outlets went from 50 to 5 in less than 20 years. Here are the top corporations evolving around the world and the assets they own.
AOL Time Warner owns:
The Walt Disney Company owns:
Vivendi Universal owns:
A limited number of actors in the cultural industry means a limited amount of viewpoints and ideas making their way to the general public. It also means that a single message can easily saturate all forms of media to generate consent (i.e. “there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq”).
The Standardization of Human Thought
The merger of media companies in the last decades generated a small oligarchy of media conglomerates. The TV shows we follow, the music we listen to, the movies we watch and the newspapers we read are all produced by FIVE corporations. The owners of those conglomerates have close ties with the world’s elite and, in many ways, they ARE the elite. By owning all of the possible outlets having the potential to reach the masses, these conglomerates have the power to create in the minds of the people a single and cohesive world view, engendering a “standardization of human thought”.
Even movements or styles that are considered marginal are, in fact, extensions of mainstream thinking. Mass medias produce their own rebels who definitely look the part but are still part of the establishment and do not question any of it. Artists, creations and ideas that do not fit the mainstream way of thinking are mercilessly rejected and forgotten by the conglomerates, which in turn makes them virtually disappear from society itself. However, ideas that are deemed to be valid and desirable to be accepted by society are skillfully marketed to the masses in order to make them become self-evident norm.
In 1928, Edward Bernays already saw the immense potential of motion pictures to standardize thought:
These facts were flagged as dangers to human freedom in the 1930′s by thinkers of the school of Frankfurt such as Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse. They identified three main problems with the cultural industry. The industry can:
The notion of escapism is even more relevant today with advent of online video games, 3D movies and home theaters. The masses, constantly seeking state-of-the-art entertainment, will resort to high-budget products that can only be produced by the biggest media corporations of the world. These products contain carefully calculated messages and symbols which are nothing more and nothing less than entertaining propaganda. The public have been trained to LOVE its propaganda to the extent that it spends its hard-earned money to be exposed to it. Propaganda (used in both political, cultural and commercial sense) is no longer the coercive or authoritative communication form found in dictatorships: it has become the synonym of entertainment and pleasure.
A single piece of media often does not have a lasting effect on the human psyche. Mass media, however, by its omnipresent nature, creates a living environment we evolve in on a daily basis. It defines the norm and excludes the undesirable. The same way carriage horses wear blinders so they can only see what is right in front of them, the masses can only see where they are supposed to go.
One of the reasons mass media successfully influences society is due to the extensive amount of research on cognitive sciences and human nature that has been applied to it.
The drive to sell products and ideas to the masses has lead to an unprecedented amount of research on human behavior and on the human psyche. Cognitive sciences, psychology, sociology, semiotics, linguistics and other related fields were and still are extensively researched through well-funded studies.
The results of those studies are applied to advertisements, movies, music videos and other media in order to make them as influential as possible. The art of marketing is highly calculated and scientific because it must reach both the individual and the collective consciousness. In high-budget cultural products, a video is never “just a video,” Images, symbols and meanings are strategically placed in order to generate a desired effect.
Today’s propaganda almost never uses rational or logical arguments. It directly taps into a human’s most primal needs and instincts in order to generate an emotional and irrational response. If we always thought rationally, we probably wouldn’t buy 50% of what we own. Babies and children are constantly found in advertisements targeting women for a specific reason: studies have shown that images of children trigger in women an instinctual need to nurture, to care and to protect, ultimately leading to a sympathetic bias towards the advertisement.
Sex is ubiquitous in mass media, as it draws and keeps the viewer’s attention. It directly connects to our animal need to breed and to reproduce, and, when triggered, this instinct can instantly overshadow any other rational thoughts in our brain.
What if the messages described above were able to reach directly the viewers’ subconscious mind, without the viewers even realizing what is happening? That is the goal of subliminal perception. The phrase subliminal advertising was coined in 1957 by the US market researcher James Vicary, who said he could get moviegoers to “drink Coca-Cola” and “eat popcorn” by flashing those messages onscreen for such a short time that viewers were unaware.
This technique is often used in marketing and we all know that sex sells.
Although some sources claim that subliminal advertising is ineffective or even an urban myth, the documented usage of this technique in mass media proves that creators believe in its powers. Recent studies have also proven its effectiveness, especially when the message is negative.
A famous example of subliminal messaging in political communications is in George Bush’s advertisement against Al Gore in 2000.
Right after the name of Gore is mentioned, the ending of the word “bureaucrats” – “rats” – flashes on the screen for a split second.
The discovery of this trickery caused quite a stir and, even if there are no laws against subliminal messaging in the U.S., the advertisement was taken off the air.
As seen in many articles on The Vigilant Citizen, subliminal and semi-subliminal messages are often used in movies and music videos to communicate messages and ideas to the viewers.
In the past, when changes were imposed on populations, they would take to the streets, protest and even riot. The main reason for this clash was due to the fact that the change was clearly announced by the rulers and understood by the population. It was sudden and its effects could clearly be analyzed and evaluated. Today, when the elite needs a part of its agenda to be accepted by the public, it is done through desensitization. The agenda, which might go against the public best interests, is slowly, gradually and repetitively introduced to the world through movies (by involving it within the plot), music videos (who make it cool and sexy) or the news (who present it as a solution to today’s problems). After several years of exposing the masses to a particular agenda, the elite openly presents the concept the world and, due to mental programming, it is greeted with general indifference and is passively accepted. This technique originates from psychotherapy.
Predictive programming is often found in the science fiction genre. It presents a specific image of the future – the one that is desired by the elite – and ultimately becomes in the minds of men an inevitability. A decade ago, the public was being desensitized to war against the Arab world. Today, the population is gradually being exposed to the existence of mind control, of transhumanism and of an Illuminati elite. Emerging from the shadows, those concepts are now everywhere in popular culture. This is what Alice Bailey describes as the “externalization of the hierarchy”: the hidden rulers slowly revealing themselves.
Occult Symbolism in Pop Culture
Contrarily to the information presented above, documentation on occult symbolism is rather hard to find. This should not come as a surprise as the term “occult”, literally means “hidden”. It also means “reserved to those in the know” as it is only communicated to those who are deemed worthy of the knowledge. It is not taught in schools nor is it discussed in the media. It is thus considered marginal or even ridiculous by the general population.
Occult knowledge is NOT, however, considered ridiculous in occult circles. It is considered timeless and sacred. There is a long tradition of hermetic and occult knowledge being taught through secret societies originating from ancient Egyptians, to Eastern Mystics, to the Knights Templar to modern day Freemasons. Even if the nature and the depth of this knowledge was most probably modified and altered throughout the centuries, mystery schools kept their main features, which are highly symbolic, ritualistic and metaphysical. Those characteristics, which were an intricate part of ancient civilizations, have totally been evacuated from modern society to be replaced by pragmatic materialism. For this reason, there lies an important gap of understanding between the pragmatic average person and the ritualistic establishment.
The “simpler code” devised for the masses used to be organized religions. It is now becoming the Temple of the Mass Media and it preaches on a daily basis extreme materialism, spiritual vacuosity and a self-centered, individualistic existence. This is exactly the opposite of the attributes required to become a truly free individual, as taught by all great philosophical schools of thought. Is a dumbed-down population easier to deceive and to manipulate?
This article examined the major thinkers in the field of mass media, the media power structure and the techniques used to manipulate the masses. I believe this information is vital to the understanding of the “why” in the topics discussed on The Vigilant Citizen. The “mass population” versus “ruling class” dichotomy described in many articles is not a “conspiracy theory” (again, I hate that term), but a reality that has been clearly stated in the works of some of the 20th century’s most influential men.
Lippmann, Bernays and Lasswell have all declared that the public are not fit to decide their own fate, which is the inherent goal of democracy. Instead, they called for a cryptocracy, a hidden government, a ruling class in charge of the “bewildered herd.” As their ideas continue to be applied to society, it is increasingly apparent that an ignorant population is not an obstacle that the rulers must deal with: It is something that is DESIRABLE and, indeed, necessary, to insure total leadership. An ignorant population does not know its rights, does not seek a greater understanding of issues and does not question authorities. It simply follows trends. Popular culture caters to and nurtures ignorance by continually serving up brain-numbing entertainment and spotlighting degenerate celebrities to be idolized. Many people ask me: “Is there a way to stop this?” Yes, there is. STOP BUYING THEIR CRAP AND READ A BOOK.
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.”
Mind Control Methods and Techniques Used by Mass Media