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The war in Iraq may be remembered as the point at which the propaganda model perfected in the twentieth century stopped working: the world is too complex, information is too plentiful, and-as events in Iraq reveal- propaganda makes bad policy. The Best War Ever is about a war that was devised in fantasy and lost in delusion. It highlights the futility of lying to oneself and others in matters of life and death. And it offers lessons to the current generation so that, at least in our time, this never happens again. As the team of Rampton and Stauber show in their first new book since President Bush's reelection, the White House seems to have fooled no one as much as itself in the march toward a needless (from a security perspective) war in Iraq. As the authors argue, one of the most tragic consequences of the Bush administration's reliance on propaganda is its disdain for realistic planning in matters of war. Repeatedly, when faced with predictions of problems, U. S. policymakers dismissed the warnings of Iraq experts, choosing instead to promulgate its version of the war through conservative media outlets and PR campaigns. The result has been too few troops on the ground to maintain security; failure to anticipate the insurgency; and oblivious disregard, even contempt, for critics in either party who attempted to assess the human and economic costs of the war. Even now that withdrawal seems imminent, however, the administration and its allies continue their cover-ups: downplaying civilian deaths and military injuries; employing marketing buzzwords like "victory" repeatedly to shore up public opinion; and botched attempts, through third-party PR firms, at creating phony news. The Bush administration entered Iraq believing that its moral, technological, and military superiority would ensure victory abroad, and that its mastery of the politics would win support at home. Instead, it found a morass of problems that do not lend themselves to moralistic, technological, or propaganda-based solutions.
Discusses the public relations andustry and its impact on all of us.
Fearless investigative journalists Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber ( Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! and Mad Cow U.S.A.) are back with a gripping expos of the public relations industry and the scientists who back their business-funded, anti-consumer-safety agendas. There are two kinds of "experts" in question--the PR spin doctors behind the scenes and the "independent" experts paraded before the public, scientists who have been hand-selected, cultivated, and paid handsomely to promote the views of corporations involved in controversial actions. Lively writing on controversial topics such as dioxin, bovine growth hormone, and genetically modified food makes this a real page-turner, shocking in its portrayal of the real and potential dangers in each of these technological innovations and of the "media pseudo-environment" created to obfuscate the risks. By financing and publicizing views that support the goals of corporate sponsors, PR campaigns have, over the course of the century, managed to suppress the dangers of lead poisoning for decades, silence the scientist who discovered that rats fed on genetically modified corn had significant organ abnormalities, squelch television and newspaper stories about the risks of bovine growth hormone, and place enough confusion and doubt in the public's mind about global warming to suppress any mobilization for action. Rampton and Stauber introduce the movers and shakers of the PR industry, from the "risk communicators" (whose job is to downplay all risks) and "outrage managers" (with their four strategies--deflect, defer, dismiss, or defeat) to those who specialize in "public policy intelligence" (spying on opponents). Evidently, these elaborate PR campaigns are created for our own good. According to public relations philosophers, the public reacts emotionally to topics related to health and safety and is incapable of holding rational discourse. Needless to say, Rampton and Stauber find these views rather antidemocratic and intend to pull back the curtain to reveal the real wizard in Oz. This is one wake-up call that's hard to resist.
The authors of Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! unmask the sneaky and widespread methods industry uses to influence opinion through bogus experts, doctored data, and manufactured facts. We count on the experts. <P><P>We count on them to tell us who to vote for, what to eat, how to raise our children. We watch them on TV, listen to them on the radio, read their opinions in magazine and newspaper articles and letters to the editor. We trust them to tell us what to think, because there's too much information out there and not enough hours in a day to sort it all out.We should stop trusting them right this second.
Weapons of Mass Deception reveals: How the Iraq war was sold to the American public through professional P.R. strategies. "The First Casualty": Lies that were told related to the Iraq war. Euphemisms and jargon related to the Iraq war, e.g. "shock and awe," "Operation Iraqi Freedom," "axis of evil," "coalition of the willing," etc. <P><P>"War as Opportunity": How the war on terrorism and the war on Iraq have been used as marketing hooks to sell products and policies that have nothing to do with fighting terrorism. "Brand America": The efforts of Charlotte Beers and other U.S. propaganda campaigns designed to win hearts overseas. "The Mass Media as Propaganda Vehicle": How news coverage followed Washington's lead and language. <P>The book includes a glossary -- "Propaganda: A User's Guide" -- and resources to help Americans sort through the deceptions to see the strings behind Washington's campaign to sell the Iraq war to the public.
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