For most of my working life, I worked in marketing and advertising, so I know how people are influenced, persuaded or swayed by branding and repetitive advertising. Companies spend millions of dollars to brainwash you subtly, to align you with a specific brand, product or belief.
The book Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard was written in 1957 and provided us with revealing insights into how we are exploited with all sorts of manipulative techniques. Updated versions of his book are available.
“It accounts for the research people, the advertising agency psychologists who analyse consumer desires and discover how to make people buy the things the agencies are paid to promote. Personalities, techniques, symbols, and approaches are discussed, and some leading advertising psychologists are interviewed.”
All manner of persuasive techniques, including sex and deceptive packaging, to solicit your goodwill, loyalty and outrageous lying are explained. They even measure the eye blink rate of women from hidden cameras in supermarkets to test colour reactions. Yes, it’s that sophisticated. And brand loyalty is what they want. (Ask yourself why Australia doesn’t have a sugar tax).
In the United States, the advertising industry employs more psychologists than the health industry. It is all calculated to take power over your decision-making. And it works.
The same can be said for Australian mainstream media; it also wants your brand loyalty and the power to coerce you into its way of thinking. It uses techniques similar to the advertising industry; the main ingredients are untruth and creating perceptions with subliminal messages.
In the media, it is easy to apply. It can be a distorted headline, a one-liner slogan like “stop the boats“, a photoshopped photograph, and, on television, how you lead a story or conduct an interview.
The industry manipulates us beyond free will. The often-repeated blatant lie takes precedence and is the best tool to use for an audience that is uninformed and, in a malaise, and thus susceptible to this sort of propaganda.
Of course, they have another tool: “Opinion journalism.”
Now let me add that there is nothing wrong with opinions so (we all have them) long as they are diverse and truthful. But we don’t have diversity, and we would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served by a media that controls a large percentage of news in our major cities. We can add self-interest groups and lobbyists.
Unfortunately, less-informed voters vastly outnumber the more politically aware and are the apparent victims of mainstream media deception, where everything is stripped down to simplistic slogans. The No case in the upcoming referendum is a case in point.
The opinion makers on the right of this issue use all manner of tantalising, seductive and provocative words and imagery to win you over to what they want you to believe. Media is no longer about reporting the facts. It is about persuasion by opinion.
It must have occurred to you whilst reading that it would seem unremarkable with a background like mine if I didn’t use some of my learnt techniques to persuade you.
I don’t. The nearest I come is with the use of my fiction writing skills. But then it is only to make an article more attractive to the enquiring minds who appreciate my work and those who let me know when I get the slightest fact wrong.
Unlike people like Andrew Bolt, who has to write for an average age of 13 to suit the demographic of the publication he writes for, I, as do the other writers for citizen journalism, seem to attract people of a higher level of thinking with a greater sensitivity of inquiry for things that matter.
As is often the case, I get responses to my writing from many people. 99% are interested in what I have to say about matters of public interest or why they agree or disagree or fall somewhere in the middle.
Others use the platform to let off steam, express anger, look for a fight, want to be sarcastic, change the subject to suit their argument and many more.
In the main, most have something important to say. The last cohort, however, for all their buffoonery, requires patience because they are, in this case, being skilfully manipulated by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and his equally skilful acolytes.
With all that said, I hope to have explained that the origin of my writing on the referendum stems from a long-held interest in social justice and inequality. And to improve the standard of governance our politicians are expected to deliver.
Despite the laboriousness of writing at my age, I am grateful that I have a megaphone by which I can express my opinions and await the comments that will adjudicate their worth. Being independent of mainstream media makes this possible.
The No case outlined in a recently published pamphlet is so full of ambiguous ravings that if the AEC could, it would burn the lot of them based on false advertising.
Read these Clayton’s arguments against the Voice:
“This Voice specifically covers all areas of “Executive Government.”
“This means no issue is beyond its reach. The High Court would ultimately determine its powers, not the Parliament.”
It risks legal challenges, delays, and dysfunctional government, says the No.
Eminent jurists and constitutional experts have said that this could not happen. In any case, the Parliament can knock back anything placed before it by the advisory council – the ultimate veto.
My thought for the day
Finding the truth and reporting it is more important than creating a narrative where controversy matters more.
PS: My writing is the glue that keeps my days together.
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!
Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.
You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969