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Misleading the Public: A New Kind of Public Relation “It’s all, you know…thinking ahead. Thinking ahead. That’s what producing is. It’s like being a plumber. You do your job right, nobody should notice.

” These words are script from the movie ‘Wag the Dog’ which directed by Barry Levinson. Have you ever thought that your beliefs are manipulated? The movie ‘Wag the Dog’ is about the U. S. president’s story which has an election in a few days and causes sex scandal with a high school girl who visited White House for school’s field trip. The U. S. ass media starts blaming and criticizing the U.

S. President. Thus, the President’s administration hires a famous Hollywood producer secretly to manipulate the U. S. mass media. By making a faked War with computer graphic technologies and broadcasting war scenes on television, Americans’ concern about the President’s scandal move to war. Then, the scandal issue becomes raging out and the President’s approval rating increases radically.

People are easy to forget what happened before when they meet new issues that more affect their life such as poisoned foods, nature disasters and War.Mass media sometimes use these people’s characteristics to change people’s concern and interest and get more attention and support. However, it is difficult for people to aware of the manipulation of mass media. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; of abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (United States of America). This is text from the first amendment of the U.S. constitution.

In this paper, I will discuss how mass media plays a role of manipulating truth and cheating people who are not aware of these manipulations in giving example of Iraq War and CIA. Then, I will analyze how people’s freedom of speech and press is threatened by the U. S. mass media. One side, Iraq war was manipulated by mass media and the Bush administration used to mass media to justify the invasion of Iraq. There were many antiwar movements against the Bush administration’s decision that responds of September 11 attacks of Iraq War.Protests against Iraq War asserted that Iraq War basically violates international law and human rights.

“International ANSWER which is organized the first post-September 11th national anti-war demonstration on September 29, 2001, drawing over 25,000 protesters to Washington, D. C. to protest and “warn that the Bush Administration’s war policies were a risk to world peace” (Simonson 7). However, the bush administration and the U. S. mass media kept asserting that the purpose of Iraq war is the regime change that gives Iraq people freedom and liberty and the country would be signal of one of freedom countries in the Middle East.However, according to the top Bush officials, “the invasion of Iraq even before Bush took office, but waited until September 2002 to inform the public, through what the White House termed a product launch” (Rampton and Stauber).

In addition, in justifying the invasion of Iraq War to Americans including Protestants against Iraq War, the U. S. mass media coverage reported wrong information repeatedly. For example, Washington Post publicized the headline of “Iraqis Celebrate in Baghdad” instead of giving truth that Iraq people think about American as their liberator, not their enemy and Muslim Cleric were friendly to the Americans.The U. S mass media continued describing Iraq people as aggressive and dangerous. Moreover, the U.

S. mass media broadcasted that the 20,000 Iraqi people rallied to oppose the U. S. military presence which is not true (Rampton and Stauber). By covering mass media’s intention to lie, how would Americans know what is real happening? Iraq War is one of representative examples of people’s freedom of press and speech is violated. In the case of Iraq War, mass media plays a role of cheating Americans in telling lies. Another example is the manipulation of mass media by CIA.

Mary Louise states, “the CIA’s secret actives, covert missions and connections of control are all done under the pretense and protection of national security with no accountability whatsoever, at least in their minds” (Louise). CIA uses every trick to complete their activities. According to the Association for Responsible Dissent, 6 million people were died until 1987 because of CIA covert operation. Moreover, CIA formed Office of Policy Coordination which was formed for covert action and people who served as director of this department were elites such as Frank Wisner, Allen Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham.Since late 1940s, Operation Mockingbird which was the secret project by CIA was started with intentionally buying influence of major outlets. Elite directors ordered to recruit American news organization and become spies to journalists. Most of major media such as ABC, NBC, CBS, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, etc and 400 journalists joined with Operation Mockingbird of CIA and accomplished their assignments secretly.

Thus, most of news was controlled by government.In addition, by pressure about deregulating and privatizing from the IMF, World Bank and US government, a small number of super-powerful media corporation control global commercial media system which cause global markets and the CIA agenda. In addition, according to Ralph McGehee who worked for CIA agent for 25 years in South-East Asia, he saw bombing and napalming of village and this experience was one way for him to examine what really CIA is about. Ralph wrote about Vietnam’s Phoenix Program and published the book “Deadly Deceits” in 1983 with long efforts for CIA censors.He was harassed by CIA and FBI with bodily injury. He claimed that CIA never has been central intelligence agency. CIA was full of covert action arm of the President’s foreign policy advisors that provide disinformation and American citizens are first target of their lies.

In addition, CIA involved with drug traffickers in Italy, France, Corsica, Indochina, Afghanistan and Central and South America for more than 40 years (Parenti). Extended congressional investigations handled these activities and these are matters of public record.For instance, San Jose Mercury News published series of news about CIA-Contra crack shipments which flooded East side of Los Angeles in 1996 and major mass media restrain these news. However, because these stories were already known to people, these series could not be hidden and mass media started its assault. Many media such as Washington Post, The New York Times and PBS broadcasted that “there was no evidence of CIA involvement” and described San Jose Mercury News as “bad journalism”. In the modern age, in which the Mass media is so influential, it has become an effective tool for “informing” the public.However, this information is not just facts.

This information comes with values injected into it, either from the network itself or the people giving the news. Media manipulation is now one of the most effective tools (as it has been since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt) of shaping public opinion, which is the cornerstone of a free country and democracy. Roosevelt personally oversaw that, for example, stories of devastating U-boat attacks in 1942 were never printed. This was done in the interest of maintaining wartime moral, and keeping a positive image of his presidency despite his declining health (Dirck 63).In modern times, we see the same thing happening. We see public opinion being engineered by sophisticated public relations campaigns between the government and the people. These campaigns deemphasize concrete successes and put in their place ideological slogans and triumphant images.

It is beyond doubt that the federal government has the power to directly influence mass media and shape public opinion. It is simply a matter of discovering to what extent this is happening at the current moment and what effect it is having on the course being taken.But one needs to recognize that the media does not need to be “biased” in order to present a dangerously destructive view of the world. Public opinion and public ignorance go hand in hand, and the media plays a role in both. Sometimes, the media can be influenced by some organization, like the government or a corporation. But often there is no direct manipulation; rather, just a complete failure to present the facts as they are. While it is very often tricky differentiating between deliberate and non-deliberate misinformation, it is far more difficult identifying what is misinformation and what is a mistake.

Numerous examples, like morphing al-Qaeda into Iraqis and running “War on Terror” banners both while reporting on Afghanistan and Iraq, serve to show this difficulty. Regardless, the public is still being misinformed and it is equally as dangerous. A University of Maryland study found that consumers getting news from commercial television were very likely to hold at least one of three fundamental “misperceptions” (namely, that Iraq had been directly linked with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, that WMDs had been found, or that world opinion favored an American invasion of Iraq) (Cohen).This misperceptions stand in the way of any useful discussion on whether a war in Iraq is either necessary or justifiable. A free and unbiased media that presents facts as facts (and not values as facts) is a necessary condition for any functional democracy. The rise of mass media and more accessible forms of media has made it easier for it to occur on massive scales, which poses an even greater danger. History is a source full of examples: for centuries governments have seized control over seemingly impartial agencies and manipulated their message for their own purposes.

Prevention of this is written into the United States Constitution; however, the methods of subverting the first amendment are more subtle. It occurs by mixing misinformation with factual information such that the majority of what we hear is real, but corrupted with propaganda. Citizens develop a trust of a particular source of news and cannot look past the lies. A democracy cannot exist without a free-standing media because the whole point of a democracy is that the citizens have the information they need to make informed decisions about their representatives.This condition is not met when the information is not available to them and making an informed decision is impossible. Manipulation of the media is most likely to arise in wartime, as was the case with World War II and is the case with the Iraq War. Such manipulation is designed to boost morale and provide a positive image of the war as to avoid criticism for its high costs.

As a result the public cannot decide what is true and what is not, and takes the images the media gives to be descriptive of the whole situation. Like in the case of the Iraq War, the enemy is marginalized and treated as complete enemies.