Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lessons in Propaganda: Fraudclosure Mess Edition

Yves Smith has a new post up on rumors that the state attorneys generals are nearing a settlement with the banksters.

Yves is highly skeptical, but that's because she still believes that the rule of law matters.  Nevertheless, she is extremely sharp and attuned to the propaganda (aka public relations) techniques pioneered by the likes of Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays, and she does a good job of parsing the "news" (rumors, really).  She could well be right.

Anyway, one of the things you learn in working with crisis management public relations firms is how to identify your constituents and market your message to all of them.  (I speak from experience; it wasn't fun, but it was educational.)  Perhaps a lot of these rumors about Congress passing a law to sweep the fraudclosure mess under the rug were really aimed at the state AGs: either you play ball and get something; or you don't and get nothing.

Do not underestimate the depth of the game that is being played.  A settlement is the best solution for the banks and the Obama administration, and false rumors of settlement could actually bring settlement about, if the AGs believe that the alternative is worse (and breathless rumors of the revivification of H.R. 3808 don't help).

And, no, this is not a conspiracy theory.  It's the art of manipulation, of manufacturing consent.

Here are links to Bernays' Propaganda, and Lippmann's Public Opinion.  These are the bibles of manipulating the public mind.