December 11, 2018
However, with the advent of the printing press and a growing literacy in the population, the question of informational control was less certain and with the growing movements in Europe and the American colonies for less restriction and more public expression, the power elites found it necessary to find the means to prevent unpleasant information from being proclaimed throughout their lands and unto all the inhabitants thereof.
The power elites realized that if they could not entirely prevent inconvenient and often dangerous facts to emerge and threaten their authority, their best course was not censorship but to find and develop the means to control the presentation and publication of what they wished to keep entirely secret.
The first method was to block or prevent the release of dangerous material by claiming that such material was a matter of important state security and as such, strictly controlled. This, they said, was not only for their own protection but also the somewhat vague but frightening concept of the security of their people.
The second method was, and has been, to put forth disinformation that so distorts and confuses actual facts as to befuddle a public they see as easily controlled, naïve and gullible.
The mainstream American media, which theoretically was a balance against governmental corruption and abuses of power, quickly became little more than a mouthpiece for the same government they were supposed to report on. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, most American newspapers were little better than Rupert Mudoch's modern tabloids, full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing. President Wilson used the American entry into the First World War as an excuse for setting up controls over the American public. Aside from setting up government control over food distribution, the railroads, and industry involved in war production, he also established a powerful propganda machine coupled with a national informant system that guaranteed his personal control. In 1918, citing national security, Wilson arrested and imprisoned critical news reporters and threatened to shut down their papers.
Wilson was a wartime president and set clear precidents that resonated very loudely with those who read history and understood it's realities.
During the Second World War, Franklin Roosevelt, another wartime leader, not as arrogant or highhanded as Wilson (whose empire fell apart after the end of the war that supported it) set up informational controls that exist to the present time. And after Roosevelt, and the war, passed into history, the government in the United States created a so-called Cold War with The Soviet Union, instead of Hitler's Germany, as the chief enemy. Control of the American media then fell into the hands of the newly-formed Central Intelligence Agency who eventually possessed an enormous, all-encompassing machine that clamped down firmly on the national print, and later television media, with an iron hand in a velvet glove. Media outlets that proved to be cooperative with CIA propaganda officials were rewarded for their loyalty and cooperation with valuable, and safe, news and the implication was that enemies of the state would either be subject to scorn and derision and that supporters of the state and its policies would receive praise and adulation.