DEATH BY PROPAGANDA
by Carolyn Dean MD, ND and Elissa Meininger
February 16, 2006
“The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy." --Alex Carey (Australian academic)
Looking back over how corporate power became the dominant force in our everyday life and how government now follows in lockstep to suit every corporate whim, it is useful to understand its origins. In all, it’s been a long, deliberate process that continues to become evermore sophisticated in its manipulation of us, the American public.
One of the principle architects in the takeover of the American mind is a fellow named Edward Bernays, who is considered the father of the American public relations industry. If his name doesn’t ring a bell, then maybe his Uncle Sigmund Freud’s will.
In 2002, the BBC broadcast a four-part documentary called “The Century of Self,” covering the story of the relationship between Freud and his American nephew, as Bernays learned about the human mind and how to manipulate the masses. Bernays’ goal, from the early part of the 20th Century, was to be able to teach corporations how to make people want things they didn’t need through a variety of manipulative techniques appealing to people’s unconscious fears and desires.
What makes this production interesting is that it covers post-war America and illustrates how politicians and policymakers learned to use Freud’s ideas in their desire to control the masses as well. It shows how Sigmund Freud’s daughter, Anna, and his nephew Bernays, were central players, along with the U.S. Government, corporate America, and the CIA in believing that by controlling the masses via “engineering consent,” they could avoid the debacle of Nazi Germany where all the baser elements of the human character had committed atrocious acts.
Interestingly, during the 1960s, thanks to others in the psychological field, reactions against Freud’s ideas emerged, resulting in the idea of the “Me Generation” where individualism, not Freudian conformity, became the norm. Corporate America quickly adjusted by using focus groups, an idea first developed by the psychoanalyst industry, and learned how to further manipulate us by appealing to the unconscious desires in all of us to be “individualistic.”
“The Century of the Self” has been turned into a feature length documentary film that is now making the rounds in art movie houses here in the states. It is not yet available on DVD or VHS, but, nevertheless, is one of those “must see” films. [Read]
The basis upon which all of us are being manipulated, whether we realize it or not, rests on Freud’s basic theory that deep down, all human beings possess dangerous fears and desires that need to be controlled. The goal is to condition us like Pavlov’s dogs! The moment we hear our cue, we, in perfect unison, are motivated to think and act as we have been conditioned to do, even if the conditioning we received was outside our conscious awareness.
In Bernays 1928 book, Propaganda, which was recently re-issued, he talks about the invisible governance by manipulation.
"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. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smooth functioning society."
A “smoothly functioning society” molded by advertising is what we now have as corporate America and Big Pharma think nothing of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the promotion of one drug alone. The fact that the drug may be harmful further illustrates their understanding of the power of propaganda.
Bernays, thanks to his relationship to his Uncle Sigmund, believed that the “group mind” does not think but, instead, it has impulses, habits, and emotions. The first of these impulses, according to Bernays, is to follow the example of a trusted leader. In the area of medicine and disease, use of doctors, scientists, government officials, private or public agencies associated with public health, and prominent social leaders and celebrities all should be drafted to carry the propaganda message.
Bernays had a gift for cooking up extravagant public relations campaigns and one of his most famous ones was when he was hired by the American Tobacco Company. The head of the company, George Washington Hill, want to make Lucky Strikes the most smoked cigarette in America by opening up a whole new market of prospective smokers - women. At the time, people thought women who smoked were of low character and those in the better classes who did smoke, did so in secret.
The first part of the campaign was to launch the slogan “Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet.” Arthur Murray, the famous dancing school founder was then engaged to claim that his dance instructors smoked to keep their slim figures instead of overeating the food and punch offered at public gatherings.
This propaganda pitch was quickly followed by finding a doctor to endorse the idea that smoking after a meal had several health benefits including being able “to disinfect the mouth and sooth the nerves.” Hotels were then urged to add cigarettes to their dessert menus! Menus prepared by House and Garden were circulated that recommended smoking instead of eating dessert as part of a healthful diet.
No venue was missed by Bernays. Homemakers were told to be sure to stock up on cigarettes as they were now household kitchen staples like salt, sugar and the like. The popular Ziegfield Girls formed a club so they could pledge giving up fattening food and take up smoking to control their weight. Bernays even asked a psychoanalyst colleague of Uncle Sigmund’s to claim that women in the workforce who had no desire to be homemakers and mothers had a need to see smoking as a feminist statement that they were equal to men--and cigarettes, to them, were torches of freedom.
A bevy of debutants were then drafted to join the fight for equal rights between the sexes by strolling down Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday smoking their torches of freedom.
In my book, Death by Modern Medicine, in addition to providing detailed information about how Bernays built his reputation as America’s PR wunderkind, I also describe how Albert Lasker picked up where Bernays left off and became the “Father of Modern Advertising.”
This is another important branch of America’s propaganda industry. More importantly, I cover in detail Lasker’s central role in creating the money hungry machine we call the National Institutes of Health, which began when he retired as the richest man in the history of advertising.
Lasker and his wife, Mary, longtime board members of the American Cancer Society, realized that really big money could be had for research, if only the public could be convinced that tax dollars -- if poured into research year after year -- might lead to cures for all sorts of diseases, particularly cancer.
Over the years, Lasker had developed a number of Madison Avenue propaganda techniques similar to Bernays that he applied to motivate people to generously fund the American Cancer Society (ACS). Lasker’s campaign strategy was based on our fear of death and the hope that with enough money, we could cure cancer. He coached his friend, Elmer Bobst, president of the American branch of Hoffmann-LaRoche and later Warner-Lambert drug company, to start every fundraising speech with the following statement, "One in five of us here - every fifth person in the audience - will die of cancer.” He would then turn the fear he had engendered into hope with his next line, "We want to cure cancer in your lifetime…donate generously.”
Starting in the 1950s, those public donations he and his colleagues raised turned into vast pools of annual government funding when Lasker sold Congress on the idea of massively expanding the scope and size of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to cover all diseases. Since then, charities like the American Cancer Society, the Arthritis Foundation, the American Diabetes Association and other charities have become the public relations arm for their respective diseases.
Disease charities, both nationally and at the local level, keep each disease visible through well-organized local fund drives, special public events, and the like, but most people don’t know that much of the money they give to these organizations locally may go to lobbyists in Washington to garner the big bucks –from our tax dollars! From a meager $3 million budget in 1945, and thanks to a well-oiled propaganda campaign that has gone on ever since, the NIH had been transformed into a fat $28 billion world headquarters for medical research by 2003. Today, there are 27 institutes and centers financed by taxpayers who all fear disease and all hope for a cure –if only enough money can be raised.
Albert Lasker coached his ACS associates on the need to keep cancer in the minds and hearts of the general public as much as possible. The idea was to make sure that when the annual fund drives came around, the people, like Pavlov’s dogs, would dig deep into their pockets and give. And so would Congress, convinced by Mary Lasker and her minions that the American people would be willing to use tax dollars to fund the search for cancer cures. And, more importantly, while each of us gives money, “to help the cause,” we also become “feel good” representatives to what has become a massive propaganda machine immersing us with all manner of fear and hope messages 24/7 so we are trained to want to raise billions for cancer research.
These days, the American Cancer Society promotes no fewer than 23 special propaganda campaigns each year, scheduled by the month for campaigns with names like “National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month,” “National Minority Cancer Awareness Week,” “Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month,” “National Cancer Survivors Day,” “Childhood Cancer Month,” and the like. As each of these cancer awareness calendar dates rolls around, appropriate press releases, photo ops and special publicity events are staged to make sure that there is not only news coverage of the moment, but also free advertising time (aka “public service announcements”) provided to make the public aware of this “feel good” cause.
Corporate America has by no means been left out in the cold on cancer promotion projects. While many corporations give checks and are willing to lend their name to sponsor public events, some go all out and make corporate commitments to raise money, using the full assets of the corporation to achieve what has become part of the official good-corporate-citizen agenda.
One of the most all-encompassing propaganda campaigns about the issue of cancer is that which is called “The Pink Ribbon Campaign.” This campaign is quite likely the largest propaganda campaign ever organized and has, over the years, followed, to the letter, Bernays’ formula of getting the most prominent people, corporations, public agencies, celebrities private foundations involved in a single project. – Raise money to educate people about the perils of breast cancer.
All anyone has to do is google “Pink Ribbon Campaign” on the net to see just how much this campaign has become part of our shared global culture. It is not just the old American Cancer Society with a million volunteers going from door to door in their neighborhoods. It’s corporate America “partnering” with the project and carrying the torch to every hamlet and village on the planet.
Annual “Walk for the Cure,” “Race for the Cure,” and other public events are staged in the name of the Pink Ribbon Campaign. Fabric companies have manufactured special “pink ribbon” designs so quilters involved with “quilt for the cure” quilting contests can do so with the official pink ribbon fabrics. Entire lines of clothing, especially jogging togs, have been designed along with accessories and hundreds of individual products so every entrepreneur can get in the act, not just the usual souvenir T-shirt folks. In addition, every corporation and retailer that wants to be a visible part of the local event has something tangible to sell “for the cause.”
While it is easy to take pot shots at companies that want to come across as corporate good guys and have chosen cancer as their vehicle, keep in mind that Cancer Incorporated has spent decades worming its way into the policymaking cloakrooms in Washington and crafting brilliant propaganda campaigns to the public. It’s a popular and politically correct disease to support. So, if somebody in any of these companies came out and questioned the wisdom of promoting cancer fund drives, how in the world could they convince anybody to think clearly about it? Worse yet, what would others think of them?
That’s how pervasive the cancer propaganda campaign has become. Who dares to question the prevailing wisdom of the American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health? Only committed people like the folks at Prevent Cancer Coalition who make it their business to look under the carpet for the facts and are willing to stand up and shout. [Read]
The plain fact of the matter is that the American Cancer Society is not in the business of finding the causes and the cures for cancer. It is in the business of raising money to spread around to any entity that wants to support the agenda of keeping cancer a money-making proposition. According to Prevent Cancer Coalition (PCC) and others who have been critical of Cancer Incorporated, the ACS is not only the wealthiest “non-profit” with assets close to a billion dollars, it focuses only on improving access to screening (drumming up more customers), diagnosis and treatment (read: more use of medical services, particularly drugs) and not on real prevention, thanks to its alliances and financial dependence on the cancer industry.
In a 1996 press release, Prevent Cancer Coalition publicly cut the boloney factor out of the longtime National Breast Cancer Awareness campaign.
“Commenting on the anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), Dr. Samuel Epstein, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC) stated, ‘A decade-old multi-million dollar deal between National Breast Cancer Awareness Month sponsors and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) has produced reckless misinformation on breast cancer.’
Zeneca Pharmaceutical, a U.S. subsidiary and recent spinoff of ICI, has been the sole funder of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month since 1984. ICI is one of the largest manufacturers of petrochemical and chlorinated organic products, such as acetochlor and vinyl chloride, and the sole manufacturer of Tamoxifen, the world's top-selling cancer drug used for breast cancer. Financial sponsorship by Zeneca/ICI gives them editorial control over every leaflet, poster, publication, and commercial produced by NBCAM. NBCAM is promoted by the cancer establishment, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Cancer Society (ACS), with their corporate sponsors.
ICI has supported the NCI/ACS blame-the-victim theory on the causes of breast and other cancers. This theory attributes escalating cancer rates to heredity and faulty lifestyle, rather than avoidable exposures to industrial carcinogens contaminating the air, water, food, consumer products, and the workplace.
‘The ICI/NBCAM public relations campaign has prevented women from knowing of avoidable causes of breast cancer,’ concluded Dr. Epstein." [Read]
Anyone who is involved with The Pink ribbon Campaign in good faith, might well read the testimony we’ve listed at the end of this article from The House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight held in 1998 in regards access to alternative therapies. We’ve highlighted several specifically related to breast cancer and cancer in general and we have also provided the link to the entire list of testimonies. Burying the grim realities of breast cancer in an upbeat Pink Ribbon Campaign we find somewhat tasteless, to say the least.
While Cancer Incorporated has managed to develop a total emersion propaganda system for their empire, other corporate empires gin up their own brand of health-related propaganda. One of the more bizarre of such projects just revealed in the British newspaper, The Guardian, is that an organization called Arise (Associates for Research into the Science of Enjoyment), founded in 1988, claimed it was made up of a worldwide group of “eminent” scientists who could act as independent commentators.
In the 1990s, Arise cooked up a project to promote the virtues of eating chocolate, smoking, drinking tea, coffee, and alcohol! The idea was to produce scientific studies to be used as propaganda fodder for press consumption.
The scientific excuse to promote these particular lifestyle habits was to avoid guilt, which the researchers rationalized, could increase stress and undermine the immune system. This could then lead to forgetfulness, eating disorders, heart problems or brain damage. In short, as Arise spokesmen said, “The ‘health police’ could be causing more harm than good.”
This lifestyle assessment project, which lasted from September 1993 to March 1994, generated 195 newspaper articles, radio and TV interviews in some of the world’s top media outlets. Much of this coverage centered around a poll Arise claimed it commissioned called “Naughty but Nice.”
In documents that have now just become available, Guardian reporter, George Monbiot, reports that funding for this project originated from Coca-Cola, Phillip Morris, British American Tobacco, and RJ Reynolds, among others.
Elissa and I recommend that you read the entire Guardian article, as it reveals all kinds of tidbits of how disinformation propaganda is created. [ Exposed: the secret corporate funding behind health research]
Big Pharma is also no stranger to smoke and mirrors propaganda and manages to crank up a goodly number of other techniques to make sure that everyone in America is bombarded with the message that the cure for what ails you lies in chemistry and nothing else works. We challenge you to remember the number of “news” stories you’ve heard in the last few months about the development of a new drug (not yet FDA approved) or new technique (not yet on the market), or new scientific ‘breakthrough” that has just happened that is so important that it makes the headlines as a ‘PROMISING NEW blah blah blah.” The fact that whatever it is never materializes as promised doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are constantly bombarded with the promise of what lies ahead in the wonderful world of scientific research and miracle drugs. (subliminal message: send more money!)
Running in a parallel track of this same well-oiled smoke and mirrors “nothing ever works but chemistry” propaganda machine is the concerted effort to trash the value of dietary supplements in the press. In the last two years, there have been headlines trumpeting absolutely ridiculous, false and misleading “news.” See which ones you remember:
1. Vitamin E is bad for people who smoke.
2. Herbs kill people.
3. Echninacea doesn’t work to prevent colds.
4. St. John’s Wort doesn’t work to treat depression.
5. Dietary supplements are unregulated.
One of Elissa’s favorite propaganda techniques to watch for is when some reasonably positive story is reported about some natural substance or treatment. There always has to be a Qualifier in the story to suggest this great news might not be true, and some MD who knows nothing is usually interviewed (as the "medical expert”) so he can warn people to be cautious.
These cautionary comments no longer rise to the level of those the AMA used to peddle for almost a century against the chiropractic profession. The chiros got sick of being maligned, so a group of them sued under the Sherman Anti-trust Act and the Federal Court ruled the AMA could no longer make claims against the profession. Up until that ruling in the 1990s, the AMA encouraged its members to condemn the chiropractic profession as being “unscientific,” “unproven,” “dangerous” and "absolute quackery.” [[2016 UNDOCTORED (Movie)]]
While there is no longer a large volume of blatantly insulting propaganda, there is the consistent and insidious practice of ignoring genuine news about dietary supplements.
One study published in JAMA found that there was a 24% reduction in deaths among healthy female users of vitamin E but that fact was ignored in favor of focusing on the finding that the vitamin E in the study had no effect on cardiovascular disease or cancer prevention. This distorted news story came from an official NIH press release where the good news was buried in the fine print at the end of the release, which the news media never bothered to read before running with another headline news.
Another story in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported an intravenous vitamin C study, which concluded that intravenous vitamin C could reach blood concentrations 70 times greater than oral vitamin C and that at that level, vitamin C could kill cancer cells. This landmark study was never picked up by the news media so the world did not learn that it confirmed similar studies by two-time Nobel prize-winners Dr. Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron done 28 years earlier. Ignoring significant studies linking successful treatment of cancer with vitamin C has become standard operating procedure to the press, as well as official medical reference listings such as the National Library of Medicine. Dr. Pauling’s studies have been systematically ignored, though there are many of his papers published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.
The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, although in publication for 38 years, has never been listed on the government database MEDLINE. These and other ignored papers can be found on the Orthomolecular website: www.orthomolecular.org. You can also ask your employee, Sheldon Kotzin, who is the Scientific Review Administrator at the National Library of Medicine and who oversees MEDLINE, exactly why the JOM is not represented on MEDLINE. His work email is email@example.com.
Another trick of the trade, to create false information in the public eye to blur the truth, includes a report that a dietary supplement derived from grapes was found to have anti-aging properties due to its ability to repair DNA and might even lower risks of cardiovascular disease. This information was widely disseminated but quickly denied by other researchers funded by a drug company who claimed that the supplements used were not “biologically available,” a falsehood that ignored the fact the supplements were already being successfully used in a European cancer study.
One of the biggest bugaboos about hiding the real truth from the public is how Big Pharma’s biggest screwups go unreported, sometimes ending in the death of patients who should have been warned of the risks. Vioxx is the most blatant and widely reported example of a coverup gone wrong. In this case, Vioxx manufacturer Merck, couldn’t hide all the bodies, as it is believed that the drug killed at least 27,785 people and caused 160,000 heart attacks and strokes. David Graham, whose job at the FDA was to report dangerous drugs, was told to shut up when he warned about Vioxx. The New England Journal of Medicine printed glowing reports about Vioxx’s virtues, neglecting to publish the dirty little secret that it killed people in higher numbers than acceptable--even for drugs! And, in the end, when the truth came out that tens of thousands of people died because the truth was suppressed, one of the Vioxx developers was still willing to lie in court about its safety and for six years never bothered to correct the article, either.
The truth is, I could write a whole book on the follies of propaganda being used to dull us into submission and to make us “feel good” about surrendering our bodies to modern medicine. However, until that time comes, here are some “Cliff Notes” you may want to keep at hand to keep the scorecard straight:
1. 784,000 people die every year in America using modern medicine’s products and services. Here’s the research paper I wrote to prove it, as well as a one page chart from that paper as a quick reference. [Death by Medicine----Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, Martin Feldman, MD, Gary Null, PhD, Debora Rasio, MD (2003/4) ]
2. It would take ONE BILLION uses of both natural products and services to kill 14 people TOTAL, and here’s the paper and the charts to prove it.
3. You want to know why modern medical experts can’t figure out how natural healing arts actually work. Here’s a great summary explaining the dirty secret we have to tell. Simply put, there are TWO branches of medicine and the natural guys’ methods have worked for a long time and they don’t kill people!
Since both Elissa and I believe the most powerful people in the health freedom movement are folks like you and us, the next time you see some propaganda piece that rubs you the wrong way, please send some of the above documents to your media that keeps putting out the big lies. Let these media folks know that the truth is available and is waiting to be told.
And one final thought—before this article becomes a book! Here in America, in particular, we have been conditioned to believe that cancer is a scary thing and we’ll all die if we don’t give money for research. People in the natural healing arts don’t buy into the fear and "hope propaganda" campaign. Many of us have bothered to seek the truth about how we can keep our bodies healthy by lifestyle changes and by avoiding environmental hazards. If we get cancer, we gather information from a broad number of sources outside of Cancer Incorporated and make choices that produce incredible results that are never reported in the press. We invite you to check out the following resources: For part 1 click below.
1. Politics in Healing: The
Suppression and Manipulation of American Medicine, by Daniel Haley
2. Cancer Gate: How to Win the Losing Cancer War by Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.
3. Cancer Cure Foundation, directory
4. Cancer Control Society
5. Congressional Testimony Regarding Cancer Industry and Treatment - Breast Cancer Victim
6. Breast Cancer Victim
7. Cancer Industry Critic
8. Former Congressman - Victim of Prostate Cancer
10. Full list of testimonies
ACT FOR HEALTH FREEDOM NOW:
Go to www.friendsoffreedominternational.org view and purchase the new movie on Codex and Free Trade called "We Become Silent" by Kevin Miller
Also purchase "Death by Modern Medicine." Proceeds from the sale of these products are crucial to help us fund our health freedom action. For state action go to: www.nationalhealthfreedom.org.
© 2006 Carolyn Dean - All Rights Reserved