Here is author and former New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges speaking at McMaster University for the 14th Annual Gandhi Lecture on Nonviolence on January 15, 2013.

In his role as a foreign correspondent and journalist, Hedges is always one to favor clarity.  His experiences at the NYT’s led him to the belief that something was simply awry with the way modern media functions as well as how it influences the popular culture.

His research to explain where things started to go wrong led him back to the inception of WWI when it became clear that anti-war beliefs were actually, despite what official history claims, very high among the population (and many politicians) at that time.  It dawned on those powerful interests that wished to promote the war and mobilize the citizenry that a way had to be devised to convince the population as well as the intellectual classes to go along with the war agenda.

Enter the political writer and  reporter Walter Lippmann who constructed what might be described as the intellectual blueprint for what became the modern public relations industry.  He realized that since people were not naturally inclined to desire war, they had to be convinced, or rather their consent had to be manufactured.  Lippmann later coined the phrase manufacturing consent to describe this process in his 1922 book Public Opinion ( hence the title of Edward Herman’s and Noam Chomsky’s 1988 book Manufacturing Consent).

It’s a fascinating starting point to this lecture which then goes on to trace the fateful effects this industry has had on our media, culture and political landscape since that time.

Thanks to McMaster Humanities for the post.

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