When I started this assignment I automatically assumed that my agreement would be that public relations had changed significantly since the example given in the Burson-Marstellar case study. In fact I was well into my assignment before I realized that I didn’t feel that public relations had changed as much as I would have liked. The research that I uncovered in fact suggested that the use of propaganda was alive and well in society today.
This could be in part that I live with a person that trusts nothing he sees and little that he reads from main stream media. Call my husband a conspiracy theorist, call him a skeptic, but at the end of the day, some of the glaring questions remain and can’t be ignored.
Edward Bernays’s name and practices are synonymous with conspiracy theories. It only takes a quick search on YouTube to see that his theories and beliefs are still being analyzed today.
Examples of propaganda
Most recently, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has come under very careful scrutiny and allegations of being an elaborate hoax meant to support gun control. "The underlying theme in all the theories is that the media, the government, and the Obama administration specifically either manipulated or orchestrated the shooting to move political opinion on gun control," says Laura Edwins at The Christian Science Monitor. Analysts say the theories may be a way to deflect blame from guns to imaginary culprits. (Spaeth, Ruth, 2013)
Did the shooting actually happen? Could it be true that the entire thing was a carefully orchestrated hoax meant to tug at the heart strings of the world and usher all Americans behind the gun control lobbyist?
What about in the case of the USA Today journalist that were the target of a smear campaign meant to disparage their claims that the government had spent a huge t amount of money marketing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the local public. (Silverstien, Amy, 2012)
USA Today claims that the reporters working on this story were victims of propaganda themselves. "Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments," USA Today said. The journalist’s integrity was attacked through these social media tools and they were even accused of being sponsored by the Taliban.
Of course, the government did not admit to this campaign against the journalist the question of who was involved hasn’t been answered. Could this have been an elaborate scheme cooked up by the PR practitioners employed by the government to distract from the claims the journalist had made?
With access to the internet, weighing through the truth and theories can be extremely difficult. Who do we believe? The government always has our best interest in mind don’t they? As much as I love my husband and enjoy the often daily banter of who says what about who, it can become overwhelming at times.
Working on this assignment, I really began to question…