Opinions should come with knowledge | PostIndependent.com

Opinions should come with knowledge

Some things continue to amaze me. High on that list are people with little or no political governmental experience living in relative obscurity that have such hard, uncompromising opinions about not only the state of the American government but of every other world power. Not only that, they purport to understand the heart and motivations of the inhabitants of these lands.

The question then arises, does this knowledge come from some divine inspiration or is there some more complex source? Then a more interesting question, who really is “the government”?

Edward Bernays (1891 – 1995) was a nephew of Sigmund Freud and was the founder of modern public relations. He stated that “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

Read that again and let it soak in. All dictatorial governments work hard at manipulating public opinion to maintain their power. It may be rallies, a show of force, public art (statues, etc.) or media pronouncements. One of the primary gimmicks of dictators is fear, real or imagined, of some other people, religion or ethnic group that is allegedly responsible for societal conditions.

Here in the good old USA the situation is somewhat different. Who is it that manipulates public opinion? Where does the average citizen get the information on which he bases his opinions? (Or knowledge as he sees it) Based on Bernays insight, I suggest that the media, principally, television, is really our unseen but very real government. The scary part is that they know it and work it. When you watch the news, ask yourself some questions. Where is the reporter? How many times is a certain scene repeated? Where and why are they placing the blame? What kind of incidents do they make into a big deal? Do they feature good and encouraging things or just major on tragedy? Do they give you comparison between Iraq and Vietnam? Whatever happened to the Bosnia war? Do they seem to work at making Christianity look bad? Do they feature racial conflict and ignore racial cooperation? There are many other questions you could ask to determine objectivity.

Bias (manipulation) can be very subtle, the emotional impact of selected pictures or simple negligence in reporting. We are totally flooded with information, opinions and advertisements. There are also deliberately staged events presented as news. How can you sort it all out? How can you not be influenced?

The media is not the only invisible government. Government schools are also engaged in the “conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses.”

Government schools promote and teach things that go way beyond the three R’s. They promote environmental issues, religious issues and sexual issues, all of which influence the way the student (future voter) thinks about culture and society. This influence culminates in the form government takes and the laws that are enacted.

Here’s the bottom line, everyone disseminating information has an agenda. How then do you sort out truth? Some believe that the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth? I, for one will keep on searching with great anticipation.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User