TURN OFF YOUR
by L. Wolfe
Let's go back to the 'remote control' concept
for a moment. Back in the early days of television, you had what you
could appropriately call some "hands on" brainwashing -- you had that
crew from the
The operative concept is similar to what Adorno describes with his "forced retardation". You create a society based on the infantilism of the majority of its members; that society, when bombarded with television, becomes increasingly more infantile, more 'dissociative', as we learned from Emery and and his fellow Tavistockian Eric Trist. Under such conditions, the so-called creative individuals, operating within the infantile geometry of the society as a whole, produce new ideas that further feed the infantile, carnal impulses of the individual. This, in turn, plunges the society to a new, 'lower' level of thinking -- People become more stupid, led by their stupid "creative leaders".
The oligarchical elite, through their control
over the television and cable networks, as well as the
The New York-Hollywood social community of "creative" people functions in what the brainwashers call a 'leaderless group' -- They are unaware of the real outside forces that control them, especially unaware of their own brainwashing by 30-40 years television viewing. They believe themselves free to create, but they can lawfully only produce banality.
Ultimately, these creators of our television programming turn to their own brainwashed experience and values for their "creative inspiration". One producer was asked by an interviewer how he determined what was in his shows.
"I think of the audience constantly," he replied. But when asked to elaborate on how he knows what would appeal to them, he replied, "I think of myself as the audience. If it pleases me -- I always think that it is going to please the audience."
The authors of "Watching America", who interviewed numerous producers, agreed with the conclusion, "What you see on any television show reflects the morals and conscience of the people on those shows who have influence."
The Invisible Government
The power that such people have over our minds and the way they function as a "leaderless group" was understood by the original theorists of mass brainwashing. Eduard Bernays, Freud's nephew, who was trained with Walter Lippmann at the Wellington House psychological warfare unit in World War I, wrote in a 1928 book entitled "Propaganda":
"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits 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 in our country.
"We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes are formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of .... Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members of the inner cabinet.
"Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or ethical thinking, we are dominated by a relatively small number of persons ... who understand the mental processes and social practices of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness the social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world."
"An invisible government" acting through the power of the television brainwashing medium to control our world! Sounds fantastic, but after what we have shown you, it is impossible to deny. It is important to keep that in mind -- Somebody is responsible for what is happening to you, for how your morals and society have degenerated. "And they planned it to be that way!"
Decoding Some Messages
Now we are ready to apply what we have learned. It's time to take a look at a few more recent shows to see if we can discover how you are being brainwashed. We'll see if we can uncover the "hidden messages".
Let's start with an easy one. Let's take
one of the most popular children's television shows, the one that everyone says
that your kid has to watch in order to successfully adjust to society -- "
That would be bad enough, but, governed by a new
bunch of programmers and child psychologists, "
All of this is sold to people in an advertising
package that tells parents that "
As Neil Postman, a
Some of "
The majority of
And you don't even think it's odd that your three-year-old daughter wants to grow up to be just like Miss Piggy! Look into those blank stares the next time they watch -- See your child being brainwashed.
okay, we'll try another one. Let's take one of those "deeper" shows, the ones the so-called critics tell you are "socially relevant". How about "The Wonder Years"? Here we have a series about growing up in the 1960s, from the perspective of an adolescent.
Does the show focus on any of the real horror of that period? Does it show the chaos, the drugs, the destruction, the collapse of social values, that we talked about? No sir. It was all a good time back then, or so we are told. It was full of simple problems, like how to relate to the girl you had a crush on or your sister's hippy lifestyle or how to make your parents not act so "square." And when some social issue enters into the show, it is handled with the kind of sugary-sweet moralism that has more to do with the current degraded moral values of its producers than it does with the confused history of the 1960s.
"The Wonder Years" is a controlled 'flashback' for baby boomers to what they would "now" like to "think" the 1960s were like. By so doing, the producers have put you in touch with your most infantile and banal emotions, and made you feel nostalgic for them. The "hidden message" -- In these difficult times, one had best cling to memories and values of one's infantile past. The show bonds a 40 year-old infant to a romanticized view of his adolescence, making him that much more infantile. It might even make him pull out one of those old Jimi Hendrix albums.
"The Wonder Years" is part of a genre known as "nostalgia" shows and movies. They made one for the 1950s adolescents, called "Happy Days" which aired in the 1970s, and they will no doubt make one for the 1970s teenagers later this decade.
Try to think of them in another way. Think of television as a big eraser, wiping away your real memories of the past, the reality of the way things really were. With "the slate now clean", the tube superimposes a twisted and distorted view of that reality through an appeal, not to your mind, but to your infantile emotions. If they can make a majority of people believe that the 1960s were whatever they depict them on the screen, then television has created "a new reality, a new history".
We'll take one final example, one of the most popular shows -- "The Simpsons." A cartoon series about a family with three kids, the older one being especially obnoxious and manipulative. The parents are depicted as self-centered and stupid, and extremely banal. The obnoxious kids, especially Bart, are the heroes of the show, around whom the plot develops. This, then is the brainwashers' image for the family of the 1990s -- one dominated and effectively run by obnoxious, almost devilish children, which causes some conflict with the banal parents.
"The Simpsons" family life both mirrors and shapes perceptions of the real, banal life of families outside the tube. The experience is mediated through television, which explains what is happening to them. In a famous episode, the father, Homer, sees a television report that an accident has happened to him, which causes him and his family to try to find out whether it did indeed happen; in the end, they bring their lives into conformity with the screen's image. As Homer, says, "The answers to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a bottle. They're on TV."
The show is popular with all age groups, but has a cult following among children and adolescents. Bart Simpson is the hero of their generation, whose face appears on their tee-shirts, whose mannerisms and whose slang expressions they have adopted as their own. But not just the kids; the whole society has accepted Bart Simpson as a role model, so much so that he is used by the government to preach an anti-drug message. President Bush quotes him. So does Bill Clinton.
"The Simpsons" hidden message -- There exists no real moral or adult authority in this world, save the television; in such a world, it is the children who must assert themselves, assert their right to be infantile; parents are powerless, save for occasional brute force, to do anything but assent. It is the image of the "Clockwork Orange" society packaged in a more palatable fashion; Bart Simpson is the brutal Alex's alter ego.
It's Your Turn
Now, if you remember way back when we started this section on programming, I said that I would ask you at some point to turn on your television sets. Well, we've reached that point.
I want you to turn on your set during prime time for an experiment. I want you to see if you can find the hidden messages in prime time series. Exclude the news and newsmagazine shows; we'll be dealing with them in our next section. But take some other series and see if you can pick up the brainwashers' hidden message. Try this with a few shows.
Don't worry if you make some mistakes. Think about what we have learned in our study of television so far and take a stab at it.
It's a form of therapy -- Once you realize that "you are being brainwashed", your mind still has the power to discover the means by which it is being accomplished. Use your mind and you have started to make yourself less capable of being brainwashed. But be careful -- Don't leave that set on for too long! Remember, watching it for any length of time -- for a few hours - will make you stupid. So shut it off after trying your hand at a bit of "deprogramming".
Next, we'll explain how television news and opinion polling prevent you from understanding the world.
Here Now the News....
I'm not even going to ask if the television set is turned off. I know that it is -- I'd be very surprised if it were not, after what you have learned from the preceding sections of this report.
But I suppose that I should remind people who may not have followed all that we have said or who are coming into this dialogue at this point, of the ground rules. Since watching television limits your powers of comprehension, we require that the set be turned off while you concentrate on what we are saying. So, if there are any sets on out there, now is your chance to turn them off.
Okay, we're ready to begin. In this section of our report, we are going to explain how you are brainwashed and controlled by the "news" that you watch on television.
It's All the Same
"More Americans get their news from ABC News than any other source." So says the trailer to the nightly news broadcast on that network. Let's modify the statement a bit -- More Americans "get their news" from television news broadcasts than any other source. That is the result of recent surveys, but it has been true for almost three decades.
Of the "six to eight hours a day" Americans spend in front of their television sets, one to two hours is spent watching news or news-related programming. On the average, most people watch at least one news broadcast in the evening, either the national network news or local news, and then watch a wrap-up news show in the later evening. A housewife will generally watch an additional "early evening" news broadcast, occasionally leaving the news on in the house continuously between and
Viewership studies, as recent as spring 1991, show that if the television set is on during dinner hours between 5 and 7 p.m., it is more than 80 percent likely to be tuned into news programming.
Content analysis of the news broadcast during these hours, both national network programs and local news, shows that, from channel to channel, the principal stories covered -- the so-called "lead" and secondary "lead" items are "identical" in all major aspects. Flipping the channel from one news program to another, also shows that beyond these "lead" items, most other news items reported are identical in major content, varying only in the order of presentation. The text read by news anchors is also strikingly similar, as are the picture images that accompany the text.
To the extent that there is any variation, it is in what are called news features or human interest stories, and even there the difference in coverage tends to be slight.
Even the breakdown of the time spent for each major category of story on the network news is "identical" across the networks. A 30-minute nightly news broadcast consists of 22 minutes of "news." Each network spends between six and eight minutes on national news, four and seven minutes on international news, seven to ten minutes on so-called special reports and one to two minutes on so-called soft news about entertainment or media, etc. The remaining eight minutes are commercials.
The compositional breakdown of all local news telecasts is similar.
No wonder few viewers could tell the difference between the "content" of the different networks' and local stations' broadcasts. When asked in a recent survey to cite a difference, most could only name the different "anchor" people or sportscasters.
Focus on this for a moment -- Every night, at approximately the same time, nearly every American between the ages of 10 and 80, watches the "same" representation of what has taken place in the world that day.
Think back to what we described in an earlier section of this report about Nazi Germany, about their propaganda machine. Now you can understand why former CBS chairman, the late Bill Paley, once said that television created the capability to "out-Goebbels, Goebbels".
The News, In Brief
And what is it that all of you see and hear, as you "get your news" each evening? A "New York Times" piece on local television news begins with this description:
"Another night, another nightmare. The teenage killer gives way to the subway slasher. The face of the weeping mother dissolves into a close-up of a bloodstained shirt. House fires become 'raging infernos'. Traffic snarls. Kids fall out of windows. Babies die in random shootings. Manhunts are commonplace.
"She killed for love. Details at Six."
All "stories" are told in brief clips, with most running no longer than 30 seconds. A "long" story runs a minute. Voice over pictures. Short interviews, usually only a few sentences. The average 30-minute segment may report as many as 40 items in this manner, in a seamless style, broken only by slightly longer features, followed by a sports report and weather. Is that the world? Are the images and pictures that are being presented true "reality", or only a distorted and edited version of something that the news show "tells" you is reality? How would you know?
Let's ask the question another way -- Given the way the news is presented, in these short items, does your mind ever engage in deliberative thought about any single item? Or. isn't it the case that you watch a news show, never thinking about any item at all, merely taking in the "information".
This would explain the startling results of some studies done by brainwashers to profile TV newscast audiences. They have found that the average viewer cannot remember "facts" from any story presented, even only a few hours after the broadcast. Instead, viewers remember only vague generalities about what they saw, an impression about the way the world looks, according to the news broadcast:
"There were a lot of killings. The economy is doing badly and the President isn't doing anything about it. Donald Trump has a new girlfriend. And, oh yes, the Mets lost."
The items remembered relate to the "emotional connection" made by the individual to the totality of what is being reported. For example, the 'fear' associated with the increase in crime, causes such stories to "pop out." As the stories move from "hard" news to human interest, the tension lessens and infantile emotional connections take over. Although, as we stated, most people remember little about what they saw in general; they remember relatively more about these human interest stories.
The brainwashers call this type of memory 'selective retention'. They say that television causes people to 'suspend' their critical judgment capabilities. Whether a person is watching news or regular programming, the combination of sound and images places the individual in a dream-like state, which limits their cognitive powers. In that condition, a person can merely 'react' to whether what he sees and hears coheres with his opinion of what the world is like.
These opinions created by television news have such power that they will overwhelm a contrary reality. Think about that news broadcast we cited. Most likely the "crime" stories were about blacks killing blacks, or blacks killing whites. In a controlled test, people were shown a story about a white man threatening a black man with a razor. When asked to recall what they had seen, a significant minority of the audience, both blacks and whites of varying ages, responded by saying that the "black man had the razor" and was threatening the white person!
The ordering of stories on a news program helps 'program' this process of "selective perception". The most tension-causing or fearful story of the day is usually put first, followed by stories of decreasing tension. The brainwashers say that this 'encodes' those stories with an order of importance. This is not to say that the programming is trying to make you 'think' about what you are viewing -- They are merely stimulating you enough to 'receive' the message being transmitted. In fact, by watching the news for all these years, you have been conditioned to "expect" this type of ordering. You don't have to judge what is important, it's the first few items they report, isn't it? The rest is merely filler.
Now, let's go back to that report of what one viewer saw, in watching one to two hours of news. Only four items are recalled, or more precisely "played back". The first item is about killings, a collage of reports about violence in international affairs, with some national and local murder stories. That is the principal image -- a violent and degraded society.
Then we have the next item about the state of the national economy and the President -- This is the lead national news item, reduced to its simplest, fear-ridden image. This is the secondary image conveyed in the overall reporting, one that resonates with the fear of daily life.
Then "a big fire," which was probably a story with pictures, that was near the lead of the local news.
Then a "human interest" or entertainment story about "the Donald," the soap opera saga of Trump's affairs, which has been effectively serialized over a period of months and years. The mere mention of such stories is usually enough to cause most of the audience to remember something about them.
Finally, we have a sports score, indicating the viewer's obsession with a local team.
What is the ordering principle? "Primary image": the degraded view of Man as an animal --- killing, murdering, raping, with violence as a primary mode of existence. "Secondary image": economic collapse, fear and hopelessness, leading to a sense of bewilderment. The other stories remembered deal with infantile obsessions.
This, then is the "picture of Man and his society" planted in the minds of Americans watching the news on that given day. That is how the brainwashers use the news -- not to inform, but to paint "a picture in the minds" of viewers of a reality, one that is neither questioned nor thought about, but is simply there.
The Cult of Public Opinion
The brainwashers understand this concept of "painting pictures" in your minds. They call it the making of "public opinion".
In a previous section of our report, we referred to a quote from a book by Walter Lippmann, the famous commentator. we explained that Lippmann had been part of the World War I British psychological warfare unit at Wellington House that studied the manipulation of "mass opinion." Lippmann was also an admirer and student of Freud, and was especially struck by Freud's book, "Mass Psychology". For our present discussion, we draw renewed attention to the following quote:
"Public opinion deals with indirect unseen, puzzling facts and there is nothing obvious about them.... The pictures inside their heads of these human beings, the pictures of themselves, of their needs, purposes, relationships are their public opinions. These pictures are acted upon by groups of people, or by individuals, acting in the name of groups are Public Opinion, with capital letters..."
Lippmannn says many of these pictures are what he calls 'stereotypes', shared, common 'perceptions' of the categories of things: "All blacks are like ... ; all Italians are like ... ; etc." Such "stereotyping" is possible, he says, because people seek simple explanations for complex problems, because they prefer to see every individual as part of some social group or mass. "Everyone knows that all Germans are like ..." Stereotyping, which plays upon individual racial and other prejudices and is reinforced by the media, becomes the principal way that the "image of Man" is socially communicated between groups of men within society.
Lippmann wrote this before the advent of television. His later work discusses the potential for radio to place such "images inside people's minds". But television, with its ability to provide simultaneous audio and visual messages, creates even more powerful and overwhelming "pictures" than radio. And television, as we stated, has the capability to cause one to suspend "critical judgment of reported information".
Remember Hal Becker, the brainwasher from the Futures Group, who calls Man "homo the sap"? Becker contends that through the control of television news programming, he can create "popular opinion" on a nightly basis; and through the control of "popular opinion", he can manipulate the way you think and act about the world you live in. Listen to what he has to say about how easy it is to "shape your opinions":
"Americans think they are governed by some
Before we discuss more about how this is done, we must examine what lies behind Becker's arrogant assertion of how easy it is to manipulate you. To do that, we must show you how closely you actually do act like the animals he asserts you are.
Search for Truth
All human progress is based on the search for eternal Truth. Man, as distinct from the animal species, has been made in the image of his Creator, the living God. He has been endowed by His Creator with the Divine Spark of reason, which gives Him the capacity to perfect His knowledge of the universe. Man seeks Truth, and in His search to discover Truth, learns what is eternal in the universe.
As Man perfects his knowledge, He comes to understand some things that He once believed to be true as no longer so. More importantly, He comes to understand "the assumptions which underlie how He understands things to be true" as no longer correct. Man, using His power of reasoned moral judgment, willfully changes the assumptions which underlie the way in which He thinks. In so doing, "Man becomes increasingly more human", more distinct from the animal, which cannot reason.
Man, his judgment morally informed by the moral teachings of Judeo-Christian religion, is compelled to seek Truth as his highest goal. By so doing, religion gives man an identity that is beyond the sway of the foult of public opinionl. Man must act to do Good, as he understands Good in relation to God's Word. He must answer only to his God and he must never bow to 1public Cr) 4 n4 on~ .
The brainwashers and mind destroyers of the
Tavistock Institute and the
People like Hal Becker, Fred Emery, and Eric Trist, as well as the evil Sigmund Freud, and all those who believe that men are no different than animals, must deny the existence and relevance of a 'higher Being', in order to render all men morally insane.
Freud despised organized religion, and especially the Catholic Church, precisely because it gave Man a "higher moral purpose", because it reinforced Man's moral conscience by defining a relationship between Man and his Creator that was based on "universal truth". Freud saw the Christian apostles, people who refused to be swayed from God's work by the "popular opinion" of their times, as "neurotics"; they were maladjusted people, who made up stories to deceive others, he raved.
Freud and the others who have followed him, reduced religion to "ideology", to one of many conflicting "opinions" about how the world works. Freud claimed that it would ultimately pose no threat to his view of Man, since, robbed of his "higher moral purpose", Man would, as society became more perverse and complex, see His religion as an ineffectual guide for his existence -- it would become "a minority view, a minority opinion".
Freud's successors, like Trist and Emery, also denied the existence of universal Truth, and profanely asserted that they have the power to create reality, or, more precisely, to impose "images of reality" on the sovereign minds of individuals. To them, all Man's thought is reduced to individual "opinion". The majority of those individual opinions become the "popular opinion" which governs the way the "masses" are to act.
In this system, the most Man can aspire to do is to know "true opinion". This is what He gets, for one to two hours each night, from television news. Becker and the others see television, and especially the television news, as a god, a creator of mass opinion. Emery and Trist have compared television viewing to a religious experience, by which Man gets the "logos", the news.
Using the parameters of the same "Freudian mass psychology" that defined the Nazi experiment in brainwashing, they understood the television viewing experience as an externally organized "mass process". People in such circumstances, according to Freud, tend to identify their own thoughts and desires with what they perceive to be the thoughts and desires of those involved in the same process. In other words, their 'identity' becomes something shaped by what others think about them and what they think about others. This is what the brainwashers call being "other-directed" -- a constant and unending desire to act as you perceive others would want you to act.
Television, with its overwhelming presence in your life, both 'creates' popular opinion and "simultaneously validates it". It can do so because you have become so "other-directed" that you have given up the search for Truth.
"If it's a fact, I'll believe it," says the man in a commercial for a popular beer. He has been told that this beer is more popular than another leading brand. "Hey, I saw it on television," he says. "It must be so."
"It must be so". Why? Because I saw it on television. How could the images and sounds of the television news lie? They are right there, right in your living room. As Becker says, "the world is in that box. And it's there every night." Well, it is really there a lot more than that -- six to eight hours a day.
This is a power that the Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels could only dream of, could only imagine. Now, it is in the hands of your brainwashers. And still most of you watch, and more importantly, in the case of the news, accept what is represented as "reality, your reality".
What Do You Know, Really?
Let's have you pull your head out of the tube and the pictures placed there by it. Now, let's think about the news programming from a different perspective, to show you how totally you are brainwashed.
But LaRouche wasn't supposed to win that primary. Therefore, television news, across the nation, was not to report it, let alone feature it. It fell outside what they had been telling you was the "public opinion" of the way the campaign was going. So, unless you are a reader of this newspaper, or caught the chance item in a newspaper wire story, you probably never heard about this. "The television news smothered reality."
The next day, with the television news still not 'validating' the LaRouche win by reporting it, there was some frantic scrambling to actually 'erase' the results. By moving some votes here and there, new results were announced that had LaRouche finishing second, to Ross Perot; still an impressive showing for LaRouche, but with Perot winning, something that more fit the then-current television images of the election campaign.
The point being made here is that the news program doesn't simply brainwash you by what it 'chooses' to report, albeit distorted in content and with an implied "message," as we have discussed. As your chosen "most important source of news", it limits your understanding of the world by what it chooses "not to report and to ignore".
We'll try another image -- Imagine putting your head in a bag and then having the world described to you by someone telling you what "he or she sees". That's how the news operates, and you tolerate it and think it tells you the "truth". So do your neighbors, because they think that you do.
So, if you didn't see it on the television news, it didn't happen. And if it "did" happen and it wasn't on the television news, then it really "wasn't" important anyway. Sounds pretty infantile and stupid, doesn't it?
Let's go back for a moment to the coverage of the state of the economy. There's a point to be made about the 'limits' of the power of television to annul reality. Television news coverage may alter your perception of 'reality', but it cannot, as the arrogant Hal Becker of the Futures Group asserts, "change reality". If something happened in this world, simply because television didn't report it, doesn't mean that it "didn't happen".
If television news failed to report that an avalanche was descending on your town, it wouldn't stop you from being buried by that avalanche. You might get pretty angry if something happened to you that you could have done something about, had you only known about it. Similarly, you'd get pretty angry if you actually caught the television news lying to you, telling you something that you had first-hand knowledge was false.
That is precisely what was happening with the economy. The television news, for a period of several years, told you that the American economy was in good shape. That seemed to cohere with what most people were experiencing -- That was the majority "opinion" of what was happening in the economy.
And, I am certain that you would never question
whether the poll results were "rigged". That would happen only
if the content of the questions were at very sharp odds with your perception of
"popular opinion". The presentation of the poll results
defining that consensus would tend to prevent that from occurring.
So, I think that you can see how easily pollsters can 'trick' you into validating what might be completely spurious propositions. Becker wasn't really being overly boastful, was he?
Over the years, since Bernays and Lippmann, there have been changes in the "techologies", both in polling and in the transmission of results. However, the "basic method", as defined by "Freudian mass psychology", remains the same -- to appeal to the most infantile and therefore most animal-like in Man, to therefore bypass or abort creative reasoning powers, informed by moral judgment.
Polling questions, starting back in the 1920s, were designed to seek not what a person thought about something, but what were his 'feelings'; such questions, in fact, bypass thought and are designed to spur an unreasoned, unthoughtful response -- True opinion is thus a "feeling state".
This fits directly the profile of the American: "Keep it simple," he says, "my time is short." Complicated issues are reduced to simple sets of choices, often "critical choices", in which neither choice is really acceptable. By rigging the choices, the results are easily predetermined.
Let's look at an example of how polls were used in concert with the television news, to alter the way Americans thought about the space program. First, I'll give you a little background that has not been reported on television.
In the mid-1960s, Tavistock, under a grant from NASA, undertook a study of the effect of the space program on the American population. To their dismay, the survey showed the space program had produced an extraordinary number of scientists and engineers, who were in turn reproducing their positive outlook, their "cultural optimism", among wider sections of the population. The surveys, among a wide cross-section of the population, discovered that the success of the space program had produced a renewed faith in the power of science to solve problems, a view of society that saw no limits to either growth or prospects for expanding human dominion over Nature.
Such views were 'contrary' to those of the oligarchical elite that dominates our society and which employs the brainwashers like those taking this survey. They would not tolerate an American society whose "moral outlook" was bound up in the idea of scientific progress, with this idea of progress and hope reaching all layers of society, from the skilled workforce, to the clerks, to the housewives, to young school children. "It threatened to undo 20 years of television brainwashing, because any society whose values are shaped by moral human progress cannot be easily manipulated".
There is evidence to show that this report, called the Rappoport Report, after its Tavistock author, provided the basis for the decision to dismantle the space program by the early 1970s. This decision was followed by a step-up in polling activity directed toward that end.
It was necessary to provide you with this information to help you rethink what you know happened in the period under discussion. It is important that you understand that there is an "invisible government," as Bernays called it in a previously cited quote, that operates to shape your 'opinions' through television and other media, and through the control and shaping of "popular opinion", is destroying our nation and more than 2,000 years of western Christian civilization.
Now, I want you to think back to 1969, to the days immediately after Americans walked on the Moon, as millions watched them do it on Earth. Your immediate response to that event was a great burst of pride in your nation, but even more importantly, a joy in the accomplishment of Man in taking a bold step into the universe. It reinforced your belief in the power of human creativity to solve fundamental problems of science, and gave you confidence that the future for men, all men, was indeed a bright one. You were "optimistic".
But all that was to be changed. Shortly,
that Moon landing was to be eclipsed in the media by a highly publicized
satanic orgy of the counterculture known as
The pollsters phrased their question in the following manner -- Landing on the Moon was a tremendous scientific achievement. But many scientists say that everything that man did on the Moon could be better done by machines. Given the huge budget deficits and the need to spend money on programs here on Earth to help needy people, do you feel that the space program is essential or non-essential in its present form?
A strange way to put the question, but the 'only' way they could put it to get the results they desired. Had the American population been asked, back in 1969, whether "they supported the American space program", they would have answered, in overwhelming numbers, "Yes!"
Instead, a majority of confused Americans, agreeing with the first statement about the glorious scientific achievement, but not sure about the second, since "some scientists" appeared to question the value of manned space flight, and "feeling guilty" about the third, saw reason to 'agree' that the space program 'might' be non-essential.
Other polls questioned whether Americans were giving scientists too much control over their lives. Such polls attempted to play off the well-known, irrational, profiled fear Americans have of "eggheads"; scientists who ran the space program were being lumped with the rightfully hated liberal intellectuals.
As the results were 'played back' over a period of years on television newscasts, Americans were conditioned to accept deep cuts in the space program, first administered in 1970-71 -- even though the majority of Americans did not believe such cuts desirable when the process started!
By now, each network news organization has its own polling operation, or one linked to a newspaper, such as the "New York Times" or "Washington Post", or to one of the national polling operations, such as Gallup or Harris. They are able to provide almost instant responses to breaking news developments, letting each of you know what the "majority opinion" is about what they are reporting. In that way, you are being told what "your appropriate opinion" should be about an event or statement.
Think about any recent news event. Take the Democratic or Republican conventions, for example. As you watched, you were given the results of a network news poll that told you how Americans thought about what was happening.
Now, remember what your response was to all of
this. You listened to
And who determined this so-called "popular
opinion"? The poll results, in general, are based on "very small
numbers of people" who are supposed to reflect a cross-section of a target
population. The total number of respondents to the polls on the
Think about your response to the speech
These results were, in turn, reported on
television as 'meaning' that in the 'opinion' of the majority of Americans,
These same polls show that Americans have a fascination with the numerical presentation of facts in polls. The polls results, as reported on the nightly news, are said to be among the most popular segments of the show, and the ones that people are most able to repeat in detail approximating what is reported.
This brings us to the final point we want to make about polling. In some of the first major national polling work done by the Tavistock crowd in the 1930s and early 1940s, they discovered that our "other-directed" citizens, who determined their opinions about something based upon 'counting' the opinions of their friends, were more susceptible to believing something as true if it were presented as a 'statistical' fact.
The poll results are presented like ball game scores -- There are winners and losers, with the scores telling who won and who lost. More recent studies of the response of people to polls confirm this -- To the extent that questions are asked and posed in a way that shows somebody or something "winning" or "losing," viewers tend to pay more attention to the results and to have a higher retention of the reported outcomes.
A poll was taken near
A recent CBS News - "New York Times" poll shows that most Americans will accept the reduction of the world's population by one billion people, reports Dan Rather on the Evening News. And "that's the way it is". Or is it?
Now we are ready to talk about the news programming itself, to show you how it is designed to brainwash you. Remember that we said the average American now watches one to two hours of news programming each night. That programming breaks down into three categories, and a supplemental category. Each network has its main nightly news broadcast, in prime time, usually around dinner hour, for approximately 30 minutes -- NBC's nightly news with Tom Brokaw, ABC's with Peter Jennings, and CBS's with Dan Rather. These news shows are supplemented by local news, which runs one to two hours over the course of an evening, usually divided between a dinner time broadcast and a late evening "wrap up" show. Such shows may repeat items from the network nightly news, but also include local stories and features, as well as sports and weather.
In addition, there are news feature and interview shows broadcast at various times during the week. We should include in this category shows such as "Meet the Press", ABC's "Nightline", "Face the Nation" and similar shows in a basic interview format. The "McNeil/Lehrer Newshour" on PBS falls into this category, even though each show has a five to eight minute news summary; the basic format of the show is interview and feature. A third category of the show is the "news magazine," which features sensationalist stories of the kinds found in supermarket tabloids, with a healthy dose of titillation and bizarre subject matter. CBS's "60 Minutes" falls into this category, despite the fact that it sticks mostly to "hard news." All the other news magazine shows, such as ABC's "Prime Time Live", more accurately fit the previous description.
Finally, this programming is supplemented by network news features and coverage of "news events," such as the political party conventions.
In all, approximately 10-15 percent of all network television broadcasting is occupied with the "news," as we have described it. That percentage has grown over the last 40 years. However, while some of the news magazine shows, including "6O Minutes", may grab large viewerships with their muckraking stories, studies show that Americans don't consider them a 'reliable' source of news. That is because the shows appear to be 'advocating' something, or as your neighbor might put it, "they have an axe to grind". Such shows are judged as 'entertainment'. Therefore, it should be no surprise that "60 Minutes" was once the top-rated show on all television.
The Bland 'Truth'
It is the network and local news shows that
Americans turn to, to find out the "way it is," as longtime CBS
anchorman, Walter Cronkite used to say. Such shows, for the most part,
display little in open advocacy of any 'apparent' point of view.
According to nearly every study done on the subject in the last 20 years,
Americans in overwhelming numbers believe that they are being told "the
truth" by Rather, Brokaw, and
These survey results reflect the success of the news format as brainwashing. As with other television programming we have discussed, the design of the format, which includes both the organization of material and the 'language' used to describe that material, is the product of years of study of techniques of "mass persuasion" through the use of communications media. Let's try to make some general observations about your nightly news telecasts. Think for a moment about what they have in common. Well, they each have what is called an "anchor person" who reads most of the news, and introduces the other reporters and stories. Those stories, both the ones he reads and the others he introduces, are all short, with most being under a minute and many under 30 seconds. A clip of a newsmaker speaking, for example, is never more than a few seconds long. Even when interviewed by a news reporter, what is shown is always a few short sentences. Now what about the 'language' in the newscasts? Other than the names of individuals or places that might at first seem unfamiliar, do you ever have any trouble understanding what is being said, as you might for example, in a classroom lecture or even when reading a newspaper article? Not really -- The language is extremely simple and direct.
And finally, consider the editing of the show -- Is it ever apparent to you that someone is controlling what you are seeing and hearing, that it is being edited, scripted, and directed, as if it were a movie, or another television show? The newscast, despite its disjointed content, appears to you to be 'seamless', a natural flow of information.
Now, we'll show each of these features of format -- the anchor person, the short content and simple language, and the seamless editing -- comes from the study of "your profiled weaknesses" and are designed to play into them. Back during World War II, a group of Tavistock-linked brainwashers, called the Committee for National Morale, worked on profiling the American population. Among the things they analyzed was the War Bond sales drive, trying to discover what persuaded people to buy bonds.
Although the bonds were pushed by well-known celebrities, they found that celebrity alone was not sufficient motivation to persuade people to buy. Their polls showed that people had to sense that they were "not being preached to", that the person asking them to buy bonds had to have "no apparent or obvious motive" other than his or her desire to do something good for the country.
This principle of "dispassionate, but sincere persuasion" was studied more extensively after the war. Irving Janis, who had worked on a study overseen by Tavistock's Brig. Gen. John Rawlings Rees that profiled the responses of the Japanese and German populations to allied strategic bombing, the so-called Strategic Bombing Survey, helped produce a book, "Communication and Persuasion", published in 1953, just as television news broadcasting was getting underway. Examining survey data from before and after the war, the book concludes that the presentation of a message, to be effective, must be done by "a person whose prestige cannot be challenged". The 'Communicator' of opinion must give the appearance of 'expertness' and 'confidence'.
Most important, said Janis and his fellow editors', the 'Communicator' must never give the impression that it is his intention to persuade others to his point of view. Quoting other brainwashers, he wrote that the best delivery of opinion is in a 'casual' and 'non-purposive' manner. This lowers the resistance of a listener or viewer, who would otherwise put up mental defenses once he knows a person is trying to "convince him" of something. To effectively communicate 'opinion', says Janis, the audience must be predisposed to accept those 'opinions' as cohering with their 'expectations'. Such effective communication does not challenge someone to think, as much as it 'persuades' one to accept the viewpoint of the 'Communicator' as "his own". He further found that people were more apt to accept a message if it were presented in an atmosphere of heightened tension, in which the tension level was both 'raised' and then 'lowered' by the communication -- if the message presented conclusions that appeared to lower the levels of anxiety associated with what was being reported. In that way, the Communicator becomes the person who "makes what is confusing clear, who gives order to chaos".
Even the communication of 'negative' news or opinions will not harm the relationship between the Communicator and his audience. If there is a positive bond between the two, Janis says that the audience will tend to 'dissociate' the source from the bad news he reports.
These observations have their foundation in "Freudian mass psychology". The relationship established between the 'Communicator' and his audience is an infantile emotional bond, in much the same way that a child relies on its parents for its judgment of what is correct in the outside world. As long as the relationship is kept on this infantile level, as a Freudian or a neo-Freudian would observe, it will not involve a challenge to what is being presented.
What Janis discussed, as well as what was discovered in the earlier World War II studies, was incorporated into the formats of early television news broadcasts.
The 'Communicator' became the "news anchor", a person whose delivery of the news was to be reassuring and dispassionate, and who was, at least in those early broadcasts, someone who never offered his own viewpoint. Surveys of viewers of those early news shows most often used the word "trustworthy" to describe the "news anchor". Others found the male anchor to be a "father-like" figure, or even a "grandfather-like" figure; that latter term was frequently associated with CBS's Walter Cronkite in his later years.
In recent years, there have been some attempts to vary this style. Local news, for example, tends now to feature multiple anchors, who chat with each other, and tell jokes. But even this has precedent, in the popular "Huntley-Brinkley Report" on NBC in the late 1950s and early 1960s, which became the first highly rated nightly news broadcast.
Dan Rather, CBS-TV's replacement for "Grandfather" Walter, almost lost his job when surveys showed that audiences found him too hysterical and "preachy". He came across as "too intense", with people saying that they didn't trust him. Network officials told him to "ease up", or he would lose his multimillion dollar contract, at which point he started wearing sweaters under his suit jacket.
The Origin of 'News Speak'
"We try to keep it real simple," said a local news producer of the language used in newscasts. "They want the news, not Shakespeare."
News scriptwriters are told to load their sentences with nouns, to limit themselves to simple verbs, and to stay away from "florid" modifiers. The standard sentence form is the simple declarative statement.
"Dog bites man", says the producer,
"Details at Six". Although the words used in the news broadcast
have some 'nominal' resemblance to the English language, what you hear on the
nightly news is certainly not the beautiful English of Shakespeare, Shelley or
Milton, nor even the English of our Founding Fathers or
It is through language that Man communicates the ideas and principles of his culture from one generation to the next. In many respects, Man himself is defined by the "quality of His language", for it is the means by which the product of His creative reason, that which distinguishes Him from the animal, is communicated and translated into effective action, on both an individual and societal level. It is through the proper use of language that Man transforms His universe, coming to know what is Truth and then acting on that Truth according to Man's free will. In that way, Man willfully changes His world, in accordance with the laws of His Creator.
Man requires a complex language, which can convey all the aspects of the Creation, all of Man's understanding of universal law. To have anything less, is to make Man less than Man, limiting His capacity "to know" and "to understand".
The language of television news is a degraded language. It is 'nominalist', stressing the naming of things, because it seeks to render one passive, a 'receptor', the mechanical term Emery and the other brainwashers use to refer to the television viewer. There is no creative thought going on, no attempt to engage the mind, merely to "imprint an image in a person's brain". Language, properly used, can give Man an understanding of thought-objects which reflect human knowledge of reality. Television news, using its simplified language, 'names' things, and tells you that such "things" are, in fact, all there is to reality. There is no ordering principle, no concept beyond the images and words. This simplified language of television news has its roots in linguistic work during World War II.
Prior to the war, British linguist C. K. Ogden had created an artificial language from the English language. He called it "Basic English", and many British intellectuals, including many writers, found it to be nonsensical.
While this debate raged in intellectual circles,
people at the highest levels of the British oligarchy saw the potential
brainwashing value in what
When the war began, Tavistock-linked people involved with the Ministry of Information, which controlled all broadcasting and news dissemination, decided to try some experiments on the effectiveness of the simplified language. The BBC was asked on an experimental basis to produce some newscasts in Basic, mostly for overseas consumption. The results of this experiment were to be carefully monitored.
Those involved quickly discovered that, with some modification, the language was ideal to present a censored, edited version of the news. Since it lent itself to simple, declarative statements, those statements seemed to have the character of 'fact', even though the information being reported was heavily censored or even "propaganda". Those involved with the experiments and reports requested only that Basic vocabulary be expanded to include certain "news terms" that were required to provide context for a story:
"wire service reports", "according to reliable sources", "a close source", etc., as well as various "news names and places".
These experiments were run in a number of foreign sections of the BBC, including the Indian Section, which included among its operatives "1984" author George Orwell and his close friend, Guy Burgess, who was later to be involved in Britain's biggest postwar Soviet spy scandal.
In September 1943, the "Basic experiment" was placed on the highest priority in the war cabinet by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In a speech at Harvard, Churchill publicly announced his total conversion to the language, stating that it should become the "lingua franc" for the Allied war effort. "Such plans (as for the use and introduction of Basic) offer far better prizes than taking away other people's provinces or lands, or in grinding them down in exploitation", Churchill told his Harvard audience. "The empires of the future will be the Empires of the Mind."
Churchill ordered that a War Cabinet Committee be set up to monitor ongoing experiments and to discuss ways to force the new language on an unwilling population. The War Cabinet Committee's report stressed the importance of the use of "mass communications media", in particular the BBC and BBC news. Among the recommendations in the report was that a substantial portion of BBC overseas output be translated into Basic, and that regular lessons should be given over the air.
In the end, those involved directly with the Basic project found it impossible to strictly adhere to the 850 word vocabulary. They maintained that it had to be updated with words and expressions that reflected current usage. Memoranda from the Ministry of Information discuss the need to keep language "fresh", to make people listening to reports connect. Above all, it must not sound too stilted.
Although Churchill never abandoned his public advocacy of Basic, studies of the British population revealed that people resented being 'told' how they should speak. It is, they found, far more effective to alter people's use of language by example or, even more important, to continue to use the concept of a "reduced vocabulary language" in mass media, such as radio, without making a fuss about it.
The Basic craze tended to die out, at least publicly, quickly after the war. It appears, however, that those involved in control of mass media news dissemination took to heart the studies that found that one could sell the concept of a greatly reduced vocabulary without the rigid and sometimes stilted form of Basic. Radio newscasts, which had been made up of long descriptive commentaries before the war, took on the shorter formats that are featured today. The long sentences, with literary overtones, gave way to shorter, more direct sentences and simple vocabulary.
Keep It Real Simple
From the very beginning, television news adopted this linguistic style - simple direct sentences, with a very, very limited vocabulary. This fit the new medium perfectly, since it had something that radio didn't -- actual visual images. Its producers demanded that news reporters, and ultimately anchor people, let the visual images tell the stories. "We don't want to overwhelm those images, do we?" said one of the producers. "We have to let them grab people."
The simplistic 'verbal' language of television is mirrored in the newspapers. To the extent that people still read, the average person can comprehend at no more than a sixth to eighth grade level. Excepting papers like the "The New York Times" or even "The Washington Post", which still try to pitch to the ruling elites, the average newspaper contains the same simplistic vocabulary and sentence structure as the television newscast. If you don't believe me, grab a copy of "USA Today" and look for yourself. This then is "News speak". It's become so pervasive that when someone seems to break out of the mould, when they speak about newsworthy matters in a manner befitting their importance, using a more literate language and sentence structure, the majority of you out there tend to "turn off".
"We're trying to make sure that people who watch the "Simpsons" understand what we are saying, while people who watch "Masterpiece Theater" (on PBS) are not too horribly offended", said a news producer. "We strike a middle ground, but we err on the side of the 'Simpsons'."
Let's turn our attention to the 'format' of your nightly news show. It starts with a graphic and theme introduction, much like any television series.
That might not seem like an important point, but
it is. The news program is treated like any regular 'recurring'
television program. It is as if you are being presented with a 'serial'
installment of the way the world is each day. There are recurring
characters, such as the President or other "newsmakers", there are
"good guys" and "bad guys", and there are recurring
subplots. What's the latest with that sensational murder trial?
What are the new developments from the civil war in the former
In other words, you are conditioned to watch the news, just like you watch any television series. You look for the same kind of psychological 'cues' - familiar characters, recurring subplots -- to tell what is happening. In the end, it all blurs into a "picture in your head" of "the way the world is". It isn't the whole picture or even close -- A few generalized comments and images of lead stories, and little else.
This concept of showing the news as serialization dates back to the early movie newsreels. If one wants to look for the real antecedent of the television news program, it is those newsreels, with their short items, with voiceovers. Starting in the late 1930s, the same brainwashers who were to work on the design of television programming started profiling audience responses to newsreel showings. They found that audiences remembered little about the stories if they lacked a highly emotionally charged visual image, no matter how many words were spent describing them.
Other studies were done of the 'credibility' of
a story. Not surprisingly, they showed that associating a person like
President Roosevelt with a story tended to make that story more credible.
What was surprising was that the "added credibility" could be
achieved by merely showing a picture of
In the previously cited study of "mass persuasion" techniques edited by the Tavistock-linked brainwasher Irving Janis, Janis found that an opinion should, whenever possible, be presented as quotation or citation from authoritative sources, such as the government or other agencies which the public holds in high esteem or regards as unimpeachable. Janis also discussed the effect of 'negation' of contrary opinion; this is done by 'omission' - i.e., simply ignoring other viewpoints -- or by using sources that have a high degree of 'negative' association with the public. The use of descriptive adjectives that are negatives, if done in a "matter of fact" way, can achieve the same effect.
Another way to accomplish the same end is to place a story about a person whom you want associated with a psychological message near another story that conveys that psychological message. Studies found that a news item about a politician placed near a story about a murder, 'cued' the audience to have "negative associations" about the politician, regardless of the content of the story about him.
All of these concepts have been incorporated into the 'format' of television news reporting. It is designed to place certain images in your head about the world that may have absolutely nothing to do with how that world really is.
Finding an Audience
But before you could be brainwashed by television news, they had to get you to watch it and watch it every evening. That last point is important. Studies show that people who watch the news every night, tend to think of themselves as less confused than those who don't. They seem to feel that they have a "grip" on the world; This leads, the studies indicate, to a 'passivity', to a willingness to accept the world "as it is," with all its problems.
People who don't watch the news, or who tend to get their news from other sources, tend to question more about what they are being told. In part, that is a function of the television medium itself -- As we have said, television, in general, and the television news in particular, tends to cause one to "suspend judgment". Since there is little specific, detailed memory of what you are being shown and told, it is hard to question it, or even reflect on it, at a later point.
So the first job was to get an audience. That wasn't all that easy. The vast majority of Americans read newspapers and listened to the radio for their news. The new medium seemed only to replicate existing sources of news.
Most of all, the early newscasts were 'boring'. They were approximately 15 minutes long. They mixed reportage of international, national, and local events with weather and sports, and human interest stories.
The profilers probed the minds of those who did watch for an idea of what "worked" and what didn't. They found that the weather and sports were items about which viewers had the highest "expectation" that they were being told the truth. The human interest story, meanwhile, was viewed as entertainment, in which the question of truth was not important. Those items created a 'predisposition' to accept the other news items without question -- if only they could get and hold an audience.
In those early years, the news show was mostly a "talking head", a news anchor with a few graphic backdrops, usually the picture of a newsmaker being referred to in a story. Occasionally, there was some filmed information, with voiceover and an even more occasional remote. As such, the shows resembled a radio news broadcast with pictures.
Had television news stayed at this level of technology, the nightly news might never have caught on. But, using poll information, the news producers discovered that they 'did' have something over the other media. They could, through remote live coverage, bring people almost instantaneous coverage of an event, as it was happening. This created a sense of excitement, especially if the event covered involved famous people.
The national party conventions in 1952 were the first such events that gave television a chance to show off. More than 50 million viewers saw the events unfold before their eyes, with network news commentators explaining what was happening. The events were handled as 'serialized' spectacle -- it wasn't that the audience really learned anything about what was happening as much as they participated in a "television" experience. News was shown to be 'entertaining'. As a result, a new audience was created for network and local news.
With its audience expanding, the controllers of network news saw a new power they could "create as almost instant controversy" and then cover it as "news."
Both the live news event coverage and the confrontational "camera in your face" style, initially popularized in newsreels of sensational trials, created a bond between the audience and the new medium.
All the power of this early television "attack" journalism was deployed in 1954 against a set-up target, the red-baiting Senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy. The news programmers brought the final assault on this wretched fellow, the "Army-McCarthy hearings," 'live', to a large national audience, glued to the soap opera-like drama, in their living rooms or in the local bar. But the television was not a passive spectator -- It jumped in on the winning side, with interview and other shows aimed at castigating McCarthy. Leading the charge was CBS "star" reporter, Edward R. Murrow, the most famous of early television journalists and a direct product of the Frankfurt School networks. Television, through its news broadcasts and commentators like Murrow, boasted of its triumph and the service done for the nation. They ignored the fact that the new medium, like all other mass communications media, had earlier helped to boost McCarthy's career since, at that point, the powers that controlled the networks found him a useful tool. They helped create the "public opinion" that McCarthy was the leader of a glorious "anti-Communist crusade." Now, having outlived his usefulness, he became television news' first national "scalp". In the space of less than half a decade, the new medium had been the most important factor in altering the national image of a major political personage, and making television news a "national power".
During this same period, other stylistic tricks were used to lock in the news audience. One was the so-called "man-in-the-street interview". Here, someone just like yourself was being asked to respond to a poll-type question about an event of the day. That person's opinion was used as a yardstick for 'validating' your own opinions. But even more important, such interviews helped reduce the apparent distance between the viewer and the news, by bringing the viewer, as it were, "into the story". These stylistic tricks changed the boring newscasts into something more immediate, more exciting. Polls in the mid and late 1950s started showing a preference for television news over any other form of news reportage.
As the audience expanded, the news coverage started having a major impact on politics. If you weren't 'seen' on the news, if you were politically 'invisible', you didn't exist. In addition, if you "looked a certain way", regardless of what you said or even what was said about you, your career was affected -- People now expected their leaders to 'look' a certain way and if they didn't, their prestige dropped and so did their vote totals. By the beginning of the 1960s, the news shows had increased to half-hours, while there were more and more "live" remotes of breaking news. The national news shows dropped weather and sports, except for breaking stories in those areas, leaving such coverage to local news. Other than that, the format stayed basically the same.
Most Americans were now watching at least one of the three major network nightly news broadcasts, as well as one or more versions of local news. Contemporary studies showed that people who were asked questions about current events now more frequently answered that they had "heard about something" on television. Few could answer questions about what it was they heard, but "they knew that they had seen it on the television news". Most Americans could name one or more of the network anchors, who had by then become celebrities. In fact, more people could identify Walter Cronkite, Howard K. Smith, and Chet Huntley and David Brinkley than they could their congressman or senator!
The pollsters profiling audience response to news broadcasts no longer even bothered to ask whether the viewer thought that what they were watching was true or not. The issue of truth was, in fact, no issue at all. Television news was creating 'reality', whether those images were "true or not mattered little, because people believed them to be real and immediate".
As the brainwasher Emery and others indicated, the more a person watches, the less he really understands, the more he 'accepts', the more he becomes "dissociated from his own thought processes". By the mid 1960s, viewers never questioned the validity of what they were watching. To do otherwise would force them to 'confront' the news, to think about what they were viewing; they accepted what they saw as coherent with "popular opinion" and therefore self-validating. But Emery and the other brainwashers 'know' that the "reality" conveyed by television news is 'myth'. "Television is much more magical than any other consumer product because it makes things normal", writes Emery of news and similar telecasts. "it packages and homogenizes fragmentary aspects of reality. It constructs an acceptable reality (the myth) out of largely unacceptable ingredients. To confront the myth would be to admit that one was ineffective, isolated and incapable... It (the television image) 'becomes' and 'is' the truth."
Emery and others say that we have now become "information junkies". We are hooked on the images and sounds that we're told represent the reality outside our living rooms. We drink it like alcohol, he says, comparing it to drug-taking. We operate, he writes, from the basic assumption "that all we need is information...." The news broadcasts 'inform', but by the nature of television viewing, they can't educate or make people understand. Instead, the medium 'misinforms', manipulating perceptions to the point where people are "incapable of reasoning about the world they live in".
Looking at this through the brainwashers' prism of "information theory", people like Emery describe two kinds of information being presented -- "the messages", or what are called the "true information" and the "noise", the mental equivalent of static in radio broadcasts, which tends to obscure or mask the messages. From a brainwasher's standpoint, the idea in presenting a news show is to provide enough "noise" to prevent the viewer from thinking about the "messages".
Look at the "news entertainment shows", the news magazines, as 'noise' in this context. Their sensationalist character and banal stories, presented with movie-like graphics, provide a sharp contrast to the more staid news programs. The studies show that few people believe most or even any of the stories on these shows, or believe that they are important to their lives. They watch them for 'excitement', a degrading form of entertainment similar to pornography.
Compared to the 'noise', the news programs are thought to be authoritative. Their 'message', their presentation of a "daily slice of reality", is eagerly 'consumed' by the audience. It is never questioned.
Emery and others predicted this development in the 1970s, stating that the nightly news could not afford to lower its image, to present advocacy or sensationalist reportage, without lowering its general credibility. Under no circumstances would the powers that control the networks risk such a development. They were right.
But even the 'noise' carries a message. Think about any one of those tabloid shows. The stories all revolve around sex and violence. Do the stories presented challenge any image of society that you have from watching other shows, or the news? The answer is no. Thus, they 'reinforce' your opinion of what the world looks like outside your living room. It is the same image that you see on television. This fact, in part explains why, when asked by pollsters, people say that they have not been told anything that they didn't already know by such shows as "Hard Copy" or "A Current Affair".
Let's pull back a moment. The television news 'shows' you that your fellow man is nothing but a violent and degraded beast, murdering, raping and destructive. These images are intended to negate any higher moral sense of Man, or that Man is created in the image of God and that all life is sacred.
The violence in the news is not new. The early news shows always had a certain section of crime reports. But starting in the 1960s, the violence became more graphic and more shocking. Millions watched as Jack Ruby murdered the assassin of John F. Kennedy in November, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald. Although he had no trial, and now evidence indicates that he may have been framed, at the time polls showed overwhelming numbers of Americans felt relieved by Oswald's murder.
Later that decade, we watched in color as blood poured from the head of Robert Kennedy as he lay mortally wounded on a hotel kitchen floor in Los Angeles. Again, polls taken immediately after event on June 6, 1968, showed Americans wanted vengeance against the man soon arrested for the crime, Sirhan Sirhan. Meanwhile, television news was bringing the bloody images of the slaughter in Vietnam into the living rooms. Again, it wasn't the first time that Americans had seen such images in the news. They had witnessed them before in newsreels during World War II. But it was the first time that you sat down and ate with your family, while watching young soldiers and civilians die before your eyes.
Now, we'll jump ahead to 1992 in New York City, one of the most violent cities in the country. The local news shows it in all its gory details. In the case of the local news especially, there is little 'emotional' distinction from the content of the most sleazy tabloids.
The news producers must "keep people happy", they say. They expect the violence, sex, and sleaze, because "that is the world". Behind the push for such stories is a desire to keep them short and snappy, the kind that can hold the attention of people weaned on 40 years of television, or kids who are part of the "MTV generation". Make the stories simple -- violence and crime are simple. "It is the murder du jour", says a former news producer. Every day, the fourth network, Fox, long thought to be the leader in this "sleaze journalism", has a half hour of news at 7 p.m., with 25 stories and three commercial breaks. The top story, the closing of Alexander's Department store, throwing 5,200 onto the unemployment lines, is long -- it runs 2 minutes and 15 seconds. A drug bust in Newark runs 13 seconds. A feature on models over 40 years old received about the same time as did a report on an organized crime trial. Sixteen pieces clocked in at under one minute. Then came the weather.
A Fox executive says that the newscast is trying to present "a comprehensive view of what happened in the world". He approved an "11 second" item on whether Boris Yeltsin might be an alcoholic. It's also important to have a "good news" story, to keep people happy, he says. He adds a story about a boy receiving a heart transplant; it runs for 41 seconds.
That's Fox. What about another network, say NBC? The 6 o'clock news on WNBC-TV was advertised with a four-second lead in: "Water guns lead to a shooting in New York." The news began with a report on the actor Ben Vereen, being hit by a truck in Malibu, followed by a short piece on the number of children killed with guns. An update on a bus strike in Queens. Another update on the soap opera-like saga of Amy Fisher, a Long Island teenager who is charged with the murder of her boyfriend's wife. The program closes with a piece on a Long Island pet cemetery and a 'live' report about bear attacks in New Jersey.
Can anyone make any sense of such reporting? Does anyone even try?
"We run a ton of garbage," said senior WNBC-TV reporter Gabe Pressman. "The whole thing is can we be more outrageous and sensationalist than the next guy? Can we tease people into the 10 o'clock news?"
Is it really all that different on the nightly news? The blood and gore shifts to foreign settings for a while. A minute with pictures on the murderous civil war in Yugoslavia. A half-minute on a terrorist bombing in Italy. A bank holdup kills four - A fire in Baltimore kills five children...
The stories are all short, presented in a matter of fact way. The world has gone insane, but that is "the way it is", as "Grandfather" Walter used to tell us every night - Now Dan Rather says the same. So does Brokaw. So does Jennings. The muddle of so-called information explains nothing, teaches us nothing. The more "staid" news networks, such as CNN, merely report more of this muddle.
I want you to remember something that we discussed earlier. Recall the description of the deranged society in the novel "A Clockwork Orange". There is unspeakable violence and perversion. "Nobody ever explains how things got that way; no one ever asks why." People turn on their television set each night and watch who has been killed or raped on the news, and express thanks that it is not them or a loved one. They imagine that it is not 'their' kids who are doing all these horrible things. It is a way of life, this "Clockwork Orange" world. "That's just the way it is", says one of the violent young punks in the novel.
Man, the Enemy
Now, concentrate on this for a moment. In every war, there is an image of the enemy, what the Germans call "Das Feindbild" In World War II, it was Hitler and Japan's Tojo; they were the vile enemy that had to be defeated. In the Cold War, it was the Soviets and Stalin. In Vietnam, to the extent that an image was created, it was Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Cong.
For the last 30 years, you got those images of the enemy from watching the television news. They were pictures painted in your head, the popular opinion of what is to be despised, feared or hated. Look at the news today. Who is the enemy? It is your fellow man. It is the "image of Man" himself that television news is making into "das Feindbild", the source of destruction of our society.
When you see the latest murder on the news, do you feel compassion for the murderer, or do you see him as a fellow human who has gone wrong and committed an awful and sinful act? Or, do you merely associate with the image of the violence, and as a result, feel rage and hate towards your fellow man, especially if he is black or Hispanic, because such people are what is "shown to be "murderers"? The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who believed Man to be a beast, had said that the terror of everyday life would ultimately force Man to give up the values of His religion and to see them as the cause of His neurosis. The television news images, especially the violence, help create the terror that the followers of Freud and others believe will drive Man to this end. Think for a moment -- Where is your sense of Christian love and charity as you watch the news? It is driven farther and farther from your 'conscious' thoughts, as your rage and hatred of your fellow man is brought to the surface. We are losing the battle for man's soul to an evil worse than Hitler, the television set.