I think that the argument can be made that the American people are the most propagandized people in the history of history. While most are at least somewhat aware of the increasing concentration of the media in the hands of a few corporations and possibly aware that a small number of billionaires control vast amounts of the media there are many other aspects of information management that are utilized to control the narrative of how Americans are indoctrinated to "think what they think" about any and every issue under the sun.
Consider one example of how propaganda works in the American education system itself. Take your grade and/or high school history books. Have you ever wondered who wrote that chapter on "The Civil War" or "The American Revolution" that appears in your monolithic 8th grade history textbook? Who produces those textbooks, who writes them, who profits from them and how are the historical narratives determined? There are rarely if ever any clearly defined authors in such books- it's as if god has sent down scripture to our local school and we as "good citizens" are to accept these holy words in these sacred texts as absolute truths.
What's always been amazing to me is how strongly Americans hold on to their opinions no matter how little research or critical thinking they have actually done on the matter. And how quickly those "strongly held opinions" devolve into sloganeering once these gossamer thin opinions are deconstructed.
Consider the matter of the current "debate" on health care. Think about how this issue has been largely covered in the US media and why it is covered this way. When you're talking about media conglomerates you are talking about large corporations that have investments in innumerable areas of commerce- not just the media. These large media companies, for example, are often large stockholders in the various facets of the medical industry. It also a famous Wall St./DC past time to be forever spinning in the Revolving Door of corporate lobbyists, consultants and board members. Board members from these media giants often also sit on the board of giant pharmaceutical companies, for example, and so forth.
Given that this is the way things work in the corporate boardrooms in the United States how do you think that a media company is going to cover issues surrounding health care. If an honest depiction of any aspect of the health care debate is going to negatively impact the bottom line of a pharmaceutical company that that company holds stock in and thusly damage that media's company portfolio do you think that this media company will present that debate in an honest fashion? Of course not- if any journalist or editor did so they would quickly find themselves looking for another job or career.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
“The western world now obeys the precepts of commerce. A bloody demanding religion, if you ask me. The do's and don'ts change every season and your "everyone" doesn't want to be left out, so they rush headlong to comply. That continuous change has a function, a single aim. Maximum consumption. They want to go on milking you. From the cradle to the grave. Face it: You're a brain washed , walking purse, a robot, the fuel multinationals run on.”
― Esther Verhoef
“Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man's rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints. It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion. The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.”
― Edward L. Bernays, Propaganda
"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