By Gary Langer
Just as the most poisonous form of disorder is the mob incited from high places, the most immoral act the immorality of a government, so the most destructive form of untruth is sophistry and propaganda by those whose profession it is to report the news. —WALTER LIPPMANN, 19201
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society . . . We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of . . . who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
=== Propaganda,1928 ( Edward Bernays)
The engineer of consent must create news . . Newsworthy events, involving people, usually do not happen by accident. They are planned deliberately to accomplish a purpose, to influence our ideas and actions.
==Engineering of Consent ( Edward Bernays)
Obama is on the way out. He did what he was advised to do and his apparently uncomfortable stay in the White House, as far as he may be concerned, is a waning issue on his mind. He can look forward to a Clintonesque lifestyle of global adulation ( yes there will still be plenty out there who will still bow before him) sufficient to feed his insatiable narcissism and wealth beyond his wildest dreams of avarice. And of course, plenty of golf.
To think that this one, inexperienced and rather odd human being is the ultimate “decider” in all things is ludicrous. There is very likely a game being played with the minds of the American people that is too subtle to be discovered, but always, absolutely always do not believe that what you see and hear from the administration or the media propagandists is reality. What is distinctly possible is that there is a sophisticated game of good cop/bad cop being played here.
Obama, reflecting the mood of the American people over the past year is showing the hesitance and war weariness of a nation in his deliberative actions in dealing with ISIS and even the Russians in Ukraine. But the Ukraine ploys have shown themselves far too prone to deconstruction as the aggression blame game seems to not have resonance, particularly as the MH17 atrocity and the administrations bumbling performance at laying the event at the feet of the evil Putin has been increasingly, visibly debunked, so ISIS is front and center as the best enemy to fan the flames of American hubris and war fever. The press has been going full bore in setting the right stage for the next phase of the “Empire’s last stand”, war in the Levant and ultimately, very likely, war directly or by proxy, in the Ukraine.
Obama has been dutifully cognizant of the prior American anti-war mood, but a few beheadings here and there, perhaps a terrorist attack in the “homeland” and with the propaganda machinery fanning full throttle, the cries of the nation for war will be echoing from coast to coast. And, of course, Obama, hearing the voice of the people will be “forced” against his better judgement to oblige. How carefully choreographed this dance has been and most of us, the braying sheep of this nation, are being preconditioned to accept the human slaughter to come.
Whenever John McCain is rolled out on the stage over and over again, you know where this nation is headed. We, dear citizen, are headed for war.
Barack Obama’s rating for strong leadership has dropped to a new low in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, hammered by criticism of his work on international crises and a stalled domestic agenda alike. With the midterm elections looming, Americans by a 10-point margin, 52-42 percent, see his presidency more as a failure than a success.
Just 38 percent now approve of Obama’s handling of international affairs, down 8 percentage points since July to a career low; 56 percent disapprove, a majority for the first time. Fifty-two percent say he’s been too cautious in dealing with Islamic insurgents in Iraq and Syria. And the public is ahead of Obama in support for a military response to that crisis, with 65 percent in favor of extending U.S. air strikes to Syria.
See PDF with full results and charts here.
With the president set to address the nation on the issue Wednesday, concern is at a peak. A vast 91 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, see the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as a serious threat to U.S. vital interests. After its execution of two American journalists, support for air strikes against ISIS in Iraq has swelled from 45 percent in June to 71 percent now. Support for arming their Kurdish opponents is up by 13 points, to 58 percent, in just the past month.
At home, with Obama holding off his promised executive action on immigration reform, a new low of just 31 percent approve of his handling of immigration. Fifty-nine percent disapprove, up by a broad 18 points from spring 2013, when progress on the issue seemed imminent.
In general assessments, moreover, Americans by a 17-point margin say Obama has done more to divide than to unite the country, a rating worse than George W. Bush’s early in his poorly rated second term – and one that’s deteriorated among Obama’s supporters as well as among his critics. Just 43 percent call Obama a strong leader, down 11 points in the past year to the fewest of his presidency. And his overall job approval rating, at 42 percent, is a point from its all-time low this spring.
NOVEMBER – The risks to Obama’s party in the November elections are great – but they’re mitigated, all the same, by the Republican Party’s concurrent problems. While Americans by 55-38 percent say Obama has done more to divide than to unite the country, that expands to a 63-27 percent negative view of the Republicans in Congress on the same question. And just 21 percent approve of the way congressional Republicans are handling their jobs, a point from their low in polling dating back 20 years.
Vote preferences for November are closely matched; registered voters divide by 46-44 percent between the Democrat and the Republican in their congressional district. Among those who say they’re certain to vote, that goes to a 47-44 percent Republican-Democratic race, underscoring the GOP’s customary advantage in midterm turnout. As a rough guide, when the Democrats lack a double-digit lead among registered voters in the generic matchup, they’re at some risk.
Indeed, independents side substantially more with GOP candidates – by 47-35 percent among registered voters. That puts all the more pressure on Democrats to boost their turnout, or suffer.
At the same time, even with Obama’s problems, Democratic voters in this survey are a bit more energized than their Republican counterparts. Among those who intend to back the Democrat in their district, 71 percent say they’re enthusiastic about doing so. Among those who favor the GOP candidate, fewer, 63 percent, are enthusiastic about it.
The extent of Obama’s impact on the election remains to be seen, but – given his ratings – he’s not helping his party. Registered voters are more likely to say they’ll be casting their midterm ballot to show opposition to Obama than support for him, by 27 percent vs. 19 percent – not an overwhelming gap, but one similar to the result on Bush in 2006, a sweep year for the out-party. Further, Democrats win broad support from voters who see Obama as a strong leader and approve of his performance on a range of issues, international affairs and immigration among them. To the extent that these ratings continue to suffer, his party could feel the pain.
The economy and jobs prevail by a substantial margin as the issue of top concern in the election; while views of the economy are their least negative since the start of the Great Recession, 69 percent still say it’s in bad shape, and just 42 percent approve of how Obama’s handling it. It follows that 65 percent say the country is “seriously off on the wrong track,” twice as many as say it’s headed in the right direction. And even more, three-quarters, are dissatisfied with the way the federal government is working.