The corporate con job continues
Expanded from the 4-18-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune
Barbwire wins second straight Nevada Press Association first-place award
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The program premiers were available to every television set in the region because of a high-mileage media hybrid.
The shows appeared on both commercial and community stations. The non-corporate entity produced the events, commercial TV greatly expanded distribution.
Thus began an ongoing series of sane public interest programs which generate both entertaining heat and more than a little light.
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Be well. Raise hell.
Barbwire column on the depredations of Charter Communications and the Reno City Council wins 2009 Nevada Press Association first-place award
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With all the racist hatred being spewed by angry white guys whipped into mob frenzy by corporate-funded fronts, it's time to revisit some Barbwire advice from Sept. 4, 1994:
Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, is universally considered the father of the art of the con, better known as public relations.
Working for our World War I propaganda machine, Bernays learned firsthand that information is power. As the Great War approached, there were about as many reasons to intervene on the side of the Germans as on the side of the British and French. The U.S. had large numbers of German-Americans in major population centers.
The public was whipped into a hate-the-Hun frenzy through horror stories about undisciplined Hessian hordes bayoneting babies. The war stories proved totally false, but they worked. I wonder if Uncle Sigmund ever warned young Edward that in the wrong hands, information on motivation paves the way for mass manipulation.
In 1990, the huge public relations firm of Hill & Knowlton (remember that name) was retained by the Emir of Kuwait to sell America on another war. The outfit came up with surprise, surprise babies bayoneted in their incubators by Saddam's bloodthirsty Hussein hordes.
Another totally effective fabrication.
Bernays call his WWI experience "the first time the U.S. used ideas as weapons of war...If this could be used for war, it can be used for peace."
He founded the first P.R. firm in 1919 and did well by doing good, sparking the building of Route 66, the forerunner of the interstate highway system. His client, Mack Trucks, wanted the taxpayer to fund roads to facilitate the company's business.
On the dark side, Bernays sold women on smoking. Plenty of men had come back from WWI as addicts after those patriotic cigarette companies sent shiploads of "good quality American tobacco products" to "our boys over there."
Women just would not adopt the filthy habit until Bernays arranged fashion magazine spreads showing chic models with cigarettes in hand. The New York Times and papers across the country ran front page photos of puffing cadres of young ladies marching in the 1934 New York Easter Parade.
Cancer as a fashion statement.
Today at age 103, Bernays remains ashamed of that campaign. You've come a long way, baby.
The new "science" of public relations began to win fans throughout corporate America and it was all tax-deductible.
When congress finally got around to granting workers some rights in 1935, big business decided to put away some (but not all) of the baseball bats it had used to bust unions for about 100 years. The boardroom boys added propaganda to the arsenal.
Allegations of communist leanings, socialism and treason were used to bloat the military-industrial complex during the Cold War, to destroy President Truman's national health care initiative in the late 1940s and to kill the Consumer Protection Agency Act in the 1970s.
The same techniques are being used to ravage the public interest today. Look at the current health care hassle. (In 1994, the health care industry was busy killing what came to be known as Hillarycare.)
"The manufacture of consent was supposed to have died out with the appearance of democracy," legendary New York Times columnist Walter Lippman wrote in 1922. "But it has not...Under the impact of propaganda, it is no longer possible to believe in the original dogma of democracy," that it necessarily reflects the popular will in any significant way. (Lippman had been a colleague of Bernays in the army's WWI propaganda apparat.)
"Beginning in 1945," the late University of New South Wales Prof. Alex Carey stated, "the post-war conservative assault on public opinion revived the two dominant themes of the 1930s: (1) Identification of the traditional American free enterprise system with social harmony, freedom, democracy, family, church and patriotism, and (2) identification of all government regulation of affairs of business, and all liberals who supported such interference, with communism and subversion."
This is rhetoric later regurgitated by muttonheaded sheep from Ronald Reagan to Lush Rambo.
Only government and labor are big enough to check unbridled corporate power, Carey noted.
The middle class is shrinking, mothers have been forced to take jobs, the ranks of the poor and homeless increase daily.
President Clinton was the first leader in a long time to say that we must return to an America which has a job for everyone who wants one.
Over the past 70 years, corporate propaganda has managed to totally re-frame the issue into "what are acceptable levels of unemployment," International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers executive Jim Rudicil told a (1994) gathering of Reno-Sparks workers.
For decades, corporate America has spent billions on "corporate communications," forcing helpless workers into "economic education" and "human relations" classes.
It worked. A good number of union workers voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980.
For 70 years, corporate America has daily distributed hundreds of free newspaper editorials and magazine articles, often under the auspices of some high-sounding think tank or "policy research" center. The Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution, the American Enterprise Institute and many others dance to the tune of the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable. They ship pamphlets, tapes and films to schools and companies across the land, all subsidized by the worker who pays taxes.
Shortly before President Richard Nixon appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court, Lewis Powell wrote a memorandum for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He urged business "to buy the top academic reputations in the country" to put out slanted studies backing up the anti-worker, anti-government line.
"It was a virtual manifesto for the Neo-conservative movement," Carey stated.
In 1978, when corporate America was spending a billion dollars a year on propaganda, Justice Powell authored a majority decision upholding the taxpayer subsidy of such claptrap.
Conservative Justice Byron "Whizzer" White strongly dissented: "The special status of corporations has placed them in a position to control vast amounts of economic power which may, if not regulated, dominate not only the economy but also the very heart of our democracy, the electoral process. The State need not permit its own creation to consume it," White wrote.
I give you the killing of national health care '94 (and its 2010 dilution by delusion).
Prof. Carey made some recommendations on how to battle the P.R. beast.
Advocacy advertising unrelated to a company's product or service is not tax deductible "but there is in fact much tax evasion in this connection," so IRS enforcement must be tightened, he said. Image advertising should be likewise disallowed.
"The success of propagandists depends at least in some measure on the voluntary cooperation of their victims,"* he stated. "Impede the effective use of corporate propaganda by simply refusing to cooperate in surveys and opinion polls."
To this, I would add Frederick Douglass' famous advice to a young man: "Agitate, agitate, agitate."
And organize, organize, organize.
The only way for the United States to stop its long-term decline lies with workers who say "no more."
Agitate. Agitate. Organize.
HELP WANTED . Regular readers know that I have been raising money to help Sierra Nevada Community Access Television fully benefit from a matching foundation grant of $40,000. Contributions are tax-deductible. If you can help, give me a holler at (775) 882-TALK or drop me a line.
HELP WANTED, PART DEUX. The Reno-Sparks NAACP will hold its annual Freedom Fund Banquet on May 22 at the Peppermill in Reno. For ticket and sponsorship information, go to RenoSparksNAACP.org or contact me. This is important.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, chair of the Nevada César Chávez Committee, producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration, second vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, labor/consumer/civil rights advocate, member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO and editor of NevadaLabor.com. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Check local listings for other Nevada cable systems. E-mail email@example.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks Tribune since 1988.
Nevada Press Assn. annual award winners announced
State of Nevada
Secretary of State
City of Las Vegas
Reno City Council
Sparks City Council
Washoe County Commission
Washoe Registrar of Voters
The campaign against forcibly-paid newspaper obituaries
And they wonder why the newspaper business is dying?
The Dean's List
The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006
The 2009 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
Tony the Tiger & the flaky NFL
Barbwire / 11-30-2008
Deregulation is never having to say you're sorry
Barbwire / 8-3-2008
Nevada: A good place to visit, but do you want to live here?
Barbwire / 6-15-2008
The 2008 first-place Nevada Press Association award winners
The price of a piece / 6-17-2007
Boxing Pandora /9-23-2007
The Lady in the Red Dress
BARBWIRE Nevada Corporate Welfare Archive
Propaganda fuels gasoline price fixing
Donate to the cable ratepayer legal defense fund at our PayPal-enabled ReSurge.TV Consumer War Room
Phillips, Kevin; Numbers Racket: Why the economy is worse than we know
Harper's Magazine; May 2008; page 43
Phillips has authored numerous books on history and politics over the past 40 years. His most recent, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, was published by Viking on April 15, 2008.
NAOMI WOLF: Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
There are some things common to every state that's made the transition to fascism. Author Naomi Wolf argues that all of them are present in America today.
Johnson, Chalmers; REPUBLIC OR EMPIRE? A National Intelligence Estimate on the United States; Harper's magazine; January, 2007. I love it when heavy hitters validate what I've been saying for years in the tiny Sparks Tribune.
Barlett, Donald L. and Steele, James B.; America: What Went Wrong? (1992); America: Who Really Pays the Taxes? (1994); America: Who Stole the Dream? (1996) ; Andrews & McMeel/Universal Press Syndicate.
Review of Alex Carey's Taking the Risk Out of Democracy:
Propaganda in the US and Australia
The Orwell Diversion by Alex Carey
Excerpted from the book available below
ORDER Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty
By Alex Carey
Edited by Andrew Lohrey
Foreword by Noam Chomsky
University of Illinois Press
SEE ALSO: Lapham, Lewis H.; Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill, A Brief History; Harper's Magazine cover article; September, 2004, page 32.
By one conservative estimate, the corporate right has spent about $3 billion over the past three decades manufacturing public opinion to suit big business goals. Lapham's number covered the early 1970's to the present day. Alex Carey noted that by 1948, anti- New Deal corporate propaganda expenditures had already reached $100 million per year, not adjusted for inflation, for advertising alone. (Carey, ibid; page 79)
Adjusted for inflation, that 1948 $100 million becomes $801,659,751.04 in 2005 dollars.
Conservatives Help Wal-Mart, and Vice Versa
As Wal-Mart struggles to rebut growing criticism, it has discovered a reliable ally: conservative research groups.
New York Times 9-8-2006; Free registration may be required.
BARBWIRE: Labor Day '94: People vs. corporate con job, 9-4-94
Chilling forecasts from Alex Carey
BARBWIRE: The Nevada Republican Party Becomes Communist, 3-30-97
A prescient Plato on the dangers of oligarchy
The sands of time do not cloud the long memories of the sheiks of Araby
Rinfret, Pierre A.; Peace is Bullish; Look magazine, 5-31-1966
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Copyright © 1982-2010 Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org; and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as second vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.
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