Lecture 1B Notes
- ►Balloon hoax . Family creates false story about child trapped in balloon floating through sky in order to get fame and become a celebrity.
- ►Koran-burning: 2010 Florida Pastor Terry Jones announced plans to burn Korans. “As pseudo-events go, this was a landmark – not for Jones’ abhorrent prejudice… but for the outsized reaction to one obscure gadfly desperately seeking publicity” David Sirota, “Synthetic Novelty vs. the Occupation of Two Islamic Countries” Commondreams.org, September 17, 2010 [posted on Web-CT]. Sirota argues that the media was complicit in helping to create Jones’s pseudo-event.
►Gordon Brown ‘bigotgate’ - Brown leaves with his microphone on. Sky news reported everything Brown said when he called one of the voters a “bigoted woman”. They record Brown, Then play it back to the woman. Then take the woman’s reaction and plays it back to Brown on a radio show and records Brown’s reaction. The whole event shows the feedback loop between media and politics.
►Shirley Sherrod ‘racism’ scandal – forced to resign as Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the US Department of Agriculture – after a (highly edited) video was circulated on the web and publicized by Fox News, which appeared to show her making discriminatory remarks. It later emerg
- ►Award ceremonies e.g. Oscars
►Photo opportunities/ political stage management: Mission Accomplished (May 1,
2003): President Bush’s May 1, 2003 ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech aboard USS
Abraham Lincoln. Bush arrived on the carrier in a military jet and greeted the crew while
wearing a military flight suit. He declared that major combat operations in Iraq were
over, speaking in front a banner with the words ‘Mission Accomplished’
► Celebrity scandals: OJ, Michael Jackson, Tiger Wood
►Public relations = making pseudo-events?
Edward Bernays – pioneer of public relations (PR) – and nephew of Sigmund Freud. “Bernays’s great opportunity came with the outbreak of the first world war. President Woodrow Wilson realized the government needed to bring on board the many doubters who saw it as a capitalist’s war that their country should shun. Bernays and other leading PR men were recruited to a new Committee on Public Information (CPI), a vast propaganda operation. They were to put into practice one of Bernays’s main findings from the studies of mass psychology by Uncle Sigmund and others: that thepublic’s first impulse is usually to follow a trusted leader rather than consider the facts for itself. In small towns across the country the CPI recruited bank managers and other local authority-figures as ‘four-minute men’. They gave brief, supposedly impromptu,speeches in cinemas and other public places. Many made the bogus claims that antiwar sentiment was being fomented by German agents, and that America risked being overrun by Prussians.