Governments Have Always Used The Media To Shape Public Opinion

Alice Salles Comments

Whenever we hear about Russia’s alleged role in persuading the U.S. population into voting for President Donald Trump, reports often mention news organizations operating in the United States that are either solely or partially funded by the Kremlin.

But what we seldom hear being discussed in association with these types of accusations is that the United States government itself, as well as the governments of countless other countries such as the United Kingdom, have all used both official and unofficial news dissemination methods to persuade Americans and foreigners in the past.

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The current trend is to look at government involvement in the news business as an isolated incident, making the subject of concern in this story Russia in particular, not the fact that governments have used their power to influence the public’s minds countless times before, making this phenomenon one that is always linked to the nature of the state itself.

Take the Cold War, for instance. At the time, both Western and Soviet leaders used the radio as well as other media organizations to share stories that were untrue just so that public perception regarding a particular regime or style of government would shift. The same happened during the Vietnam War.

Recently, before and during the U.S. invasion of Iraq, one can argue that the media also helped to fuel the war, shifting public opinion to be more accepting of the military operation.

When news outlets conveniently ignore that they too have been complicit in selling a war that has unquestionably made us all less safe, choosing to, instead, focus solely on allegations regarding foreign intervention through the media domestically, one wonders whether this move is deliberate.

After all, admitting to being complicit in triggering a chain of events that helped to clear the path for militant groups such as ISIS must not be the nicest of feelings, but claiming that another country may have had a hand in influencing the American voter is an easy sell.

When we hear about the possible collusion between government officials and foreign governments, whether it involves Hillary Clinton and Saudi Arabia or Donald Trump and Russia, we must remember that such schemes are only possible because there’s a government standing as a powerful organization, making the bureaucrat a power broker.

This relationship has existed for as long as governments have existed, with special interest groups, whether they are businesses, institutions, or foreign nations, doing all in their power to be part of the sphere of influence that stirs legislation and secures special treatment.

But once you cut the bureaucrat’s power to negotiate favoritism, then all of a sudden, bureaucrats can’t stand to gain anything by serving as power brokers.

So long as there is a government distributing favoritism, there will be a bureaucrat trying to persuade the public to go along with his and her plan. And there’s no better way of accomplishing that than by using the media.

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