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How do you know you are being SPUN?

Propaganda Vs Persuasion

By Laura Dawn Lewis

November 29, 2003, Portland, OR.: This is the first of the three-part series covering propaganda and the tools employed by it. This will not be an easy essay to read; many will be infuriated.  Infuriation toward differing presentations of facts, objectives or motivation is a byproduct of propaganda with its built-in denial and refusal to acknowledge, consider or accept.

Propaganda currently is entrenched in US policy and public opinion, accepted as fact and evident through nearly every area of social concern from foreign policy, health care and conservation to the Gay Rights movement.  One spends hours sifting through messages to distinguish propaganda from reality.  Once one element uncovers, three more challenges pile atop.  Superior propaganda entrenches itself within society's minds, self-perpetuating through acceptance and shared argument as those succumbing defend it even when they may suspect it.  It is an art form and science based on agendas that rely on viral and repetitive perpetuation by the masses.  Through its very nature, it supplies its own defense often built on illogical exceptions; those whom buy in, passionately defend it.

To control a population's opinion, those driving any agenda need only control directly or through influence 25% of the media, education, cultural sources like film, books and music and other sources of accredited information.  For example, Rupert Murdoch, (News Corp: FOX, 20th Century FOX, TV Guide, New York Post and others) at this time controls all satellite transmissions to the world’s media except one. If the FCC rulings proceed without reversal and Murdoch is allowed to buy this last line of satellite transmission, he will own them all. The consequences of one  man controlling 100% of all satellite news media transmissions and 100% of the news distributed by this vehicle worldwide are yet to be determined; yet such power over the information available cannot be ignored and News Corps' properties continue to gain in influence and importance as evident by the current war in Iraq and the US's new sights on Iran.

The complexity of propaganda's entrenchment unfolds as those whom normally wouldn't support the agenda, become its advocates and defenders based upon the information they receive.  A conspiracy is not necessary; the majority become the unknowing administrators.  Propaganda becomes self-fulfilling. TOP

The Motivation for this Series


Since 9-11, like many I received a wake-up call.  At that time I started paying close attention to the media.  One thing that continues to nag is the fact we've had very little investigation into 9-11. Think about that. Normally in a plane crash we reconstruct the whole thing, even if the evidence is at the bottom of a lake.  It's been two years.  Where are the follow-up reports?  A docu-movie was presented that was hailed as improbable by engineering experts, yet no further investigation?  The questions were buried and never addressed.  The largest attack on American soil occurred and we promptly destroyed the evidence by melting it down and shipping it overseas? And why the gag orders on the crews working at ground zero?  This lack of protocol and many, many strange occurrences since, including inconsistencies in our reporting and several disturbing social trends, raised the red flags in my mind.  The hatred of Americans turning on each other further alarmed me; a phenomenon played throughout international history where the common thread inevitably is propaganda.

"How does one take an educated population of basically good people and turn them against their principles, while at the same time motivating them to actively participate, promote and defend atrocities?"

This question first haunted me when I began researching the Holocaust in 1977.  For the past twenty-five years I've studied mob and crowd psychology, marketing and propaganda.  One of the promises I made to myself was that if ever saw something happening like what happened in Germany, I would do what I could to stop it.  While I was busy studying history, I failed to notice reality; like most Americans I didn't question what we were fed.   September 11th made me aware of this as I dug deeper.

Upon doing so, I realized how pervasive propaganda is today in America, and how as the Germans once did, Americans blindly follow the same path built on the power of brilliantly executed propaganda.  What happened in Germany is happening, only this time it is the American people funding it, defending it and believing it.  Unbelievable…another tactic of propaganda: a big lie is easier to accept than a little lie. TOP

I don't expect the majority of Americans to accept what is written in this 3-part essay. That will come with time.  Each of us must discover for ourselves or we'll never be convinced.  What follows is a process that ultimately redefines reality and produces a period of anger, confusion and disgust.  This is a personal journey everyone will eventually take, and history shows eventually everyone does.

What I do hope is that by pointing out some of the tactics and through examples, Americans will begin to question critically what we're fed and perhaps research some of the examples presented.  What I hope is that if people know what to look for, we'll begin to see.  Once we begin to see, the propaganda loses its effect.  Propaganda can only work on a population that refuses to question, remains apathetic, distracted or self-absorbed and self-righteous by setting aside its core values in favor of the values espoused by the agenda.  Propaganda's potency faces destruction one heart and one mind at a time, and it's that destruction I hope to instigate with this series. -Laura Dawn Lewis

Part I

Propaganda Vs Persuasion

Part 1 of 3

The differences illustrating persuasion and propaganda revel within shades of gray.  Persuasion uses facts, quantifiable and verifiable coupled with emotion, generally fear, guilt, humor or curiosity.  It weighs heavily upon opinion, but this opinion is discernable from fact. Through these tactics, persuasion makes its point.  Both sides of an issue define the facts presented within persuasion equally. Dissention does not exist concerning factual credibility. Its goal is to persuade you in one direction or another as it rallies emotion and appeals to common sense, law or desire. TOP

Well known examples exist, the most prominent being the anti-smoking campaigns.   Whether you smoke or not, no person can argue the fact that smoking destroys your health, is annoying to people that don't smoke, causes birth defects and a host of other diseases. Hedonistic, it is habit benefiting only those whom enjoy the habit and those who manufacture the tool of enjoyment. Quantifiable and scientific research confirms the dangers of smoking; even people that smoke will agree without argument.

How do you know you are being SPUN? Part 2.





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