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Main articles: "Media manipulation and "Propaganda

The crowd manipulator and the propagandist may work together to achieve greater results than they would individually. According to Edward Bernays, the propagandist must prepare his target group to think about and anticipate a message before it is delivered. Messages themselves must be tested in advance since a message that is ineffective is worse than no message at all.[34] Social scientist "Jacques Ellul called this sort of activity "pre-propaganda", and it is essential if the main message is to be effective. Ellul wrote in Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes:

Direct propaganda, aimed at modifying opinions and attitudes, must be preceded by propaganda that is sociological in character, slow, general, seeking to create a climate, an atmosphere of favorable preliminary attitudes. No direct propaganda can be effective without pre-propaganda, which, without direct or noticeable aggression, is limited to creating ambiguities, reducing prejudices, and spreading images, apparently without purpose. …

In "Jacques Ellul's book, "Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes,it states that sociological propaganda can be compared to plowing, direct propaganda to sowing; you cannot do the one without doing the other first.[35] Sociological propaganda is a phenomenon where a society seeks to integrate the maximum number of individuals into itself by unifying its members' behavior according to a pattern, spreading its style of life abroad, and thus imposing itself on other groups. Essentially sociological propaganda aims to increase conformity with the environment that is of a collective nature by developing compliance with or defense of the established order through long term penetration and progressive adaptation by using all social currents. The propaganda element is the way of life with which the individual is permeated and then the individual begins to express it in film, writing, or art without realizing it. This involuntary behavior creates an expansion of society through advertising, the movies, education, and magazines. "The entire group, consciously or not, expresses itself in this fashion; and to indicate, secondly that its influence aims much more at an entire style of life."[36] This type of propaganda is not deliberate but springs up spontaneously or unwittingly within a culture or nation. This propaganda reinforces the individual's way of life and represents this way of life as best. Sociological propaganda creates an indisputable criterion for the individual to make judgments of good and evil according to the order of the individual's way of life. Sociological propaganda does not result in action, however, it can prepare the ground for direct propaganda. From then on, the individual in the clutches of such sociological propaganda believes that those who live this way are on the side of the angels, and those who don't are bad.[37]

Bernays expedited this process by identifying and contracting those who most influence public opinion (key experts, celebrities, existing supporters, interlacing groups, etc.).

After the mind of the crowd is plowed and the seeds of propaganda are sown, a crowd manipulator may prepare to harvest his crop.[34]


The manipulator may be an orator, a group, a musician, an athlete, or some other person who moves a crowd to the point of agreement before he makes a specific call to action. Aristotle believed that the ethos, or credibility, of the manipulator contributes to his persuasiveness.

Prestige is a form of "domination exercised on our mind by an individual, a work, or an idea." The manipulator with great prestige paralyses the critical faculty of his crowd and commands respect and awe. Authority flows from prestige, which can be generated by "acquired prestige" (e.g. job title, uniform, judge's robe) and "personal prestige" (i.e. inner strength). Personal prestige is like that of the "tamer of a wild beast" who could easily devour him. Success is the most important factor affecting personal prestige. Le Bon wrote, "From the minute prestige is called into question, it ceases to be prestige." Thus, it would behoove the manipulator to prevent this discussion and to maintain a distance from the crowd lest his faults undermine his prestige.[38]


The manipulator's ability to sway a crowd depends especially on his or her visual, vocal, and verbal delivery. Below is advice from two famous statesmen, Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler, who made personal commitments to become master rhetoricians.

Winston Churchill in Durban in the British Cape Colony in 1899. Delivering a speech after escaping from a South African prisoners' of war camp.

At 22, "Winston Churchill documented his conclusions about speaking to crowds. He titled it "The Scaffolding of Rhetoric" and it outlined what he believed to be the essentials of any effective speech. Among these essentials are:

Still frames of Adolf Hitler during a speech show his use of emotion and body language to convey his message.

"Adolf Hitler believed he could apply the lessons of propaganda he learned painfully from the Allies during World War I and apply those lessons to benefit Germany thereafter. The following points offer helpful insight into his thinking behind his on-stage performances:



Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for president

The political process provides ample opportunity to utilize crowd-manipulation techniques to foster support for candidates and policy. From campaign rallies to town-hall debates to declarations of war, statesmen have historically used crowd manipulation to convey their messages. "Public opinion polls, such as those conducted by the "Pew Research Center and " provide statesmen and aspiring statesmen with approval ratings, and wedge issues.


Ever since the advent of mass production, businesses and corporations have used crowd manipulation to sell their products. "Advertising serves as propaganda to prepare a future crowd to absorb and accept a particular message. "Edward Bernays believed that particular advertisements are more effective if they create an environment which encourages the purchase of certain products. Instead of marketing the features of a piano, sell prospective customers the idea of a music room.[44]

"WWF superstar "Hulk Hogan works a crowd during a televised wrestling match.
The Penn State "Nittany Lion warming up a crowd of 100,000+ college football fans.

The "entertainment industry makes exceptional use of crowd manipulation to excite fans and boost ticket sales. Not only does it promote assembly through the mass media, it also uses "rhetorical techniques to engage crowds, thereby enhancing their experience. At "Penn State University-"University Park, for example, PSU Athletics uses the "Nittany Lion mascot to ignite crowds of more than 100,000 students, alumni, and other visitors to "Beaver Stadium. Among the techniques used are cues for one side of the stadium to chant "We are..." while the other side responds, "Penn State!" These and other chants make Beaver Stadium a formidable venue for visiting teams who struggle to call their plays because of the noise.[45] "World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), formerly the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) employs crowd manipulation techniques to excite its crowds as well. It makes particular use of the polarizing personalities and prestige of its wrestlers to draw out the emotions of its audiences. The practice is similar to that of the ancient "Roman gladiators, whose lives depended upon their ability to not only fight but also to win crowds.[46] High levels of enthusiasm are maintained using lights, sounds, images, and crowd participation. According to "Hulk Hogan in his autobiography, My Life Outside the Ring, "You didn't have to be a great wrestler, you just had to draw the crowd into the match. You had to be totally aware, and really in the moment, and paying attention to the mood of the crowd."[47]

Flash mobs[edit]

Flash mobs
A flash mob "pillow fight breaks out in "Warsaw in 2009

A flash mob is a gathering of individuals, usually organized in advance through electronic means, that performs a specific, usually peculiar action and then disperses. These actions are often bizarre or comical—as in a massive "pillow fight, ad-hoc musical, or synchronized dance. Bystanders are usually left in awe and/or shock.

The concept of a flash mob is relatively new when compared to traditional forms of crowd manipulation. "Bill Wasik, senior editor of "Harper's Magazine, is credited with the concept. He organized his first flash mob in a "Macy's department store in 2003.[48] The use of flash mobs as a tool of political warfare may take the form of a massive walkout during a political speech, the disruption of political rally, or even as a means to reorganize a crowd after it has been dispersed by crowd control. A first glance, a flash mob may appear to be the spontaneous undoing of crowd manipulation (i.e. the turning of a crowd against its manipulator). On September 8, 2009, for example, choreographer Michael Gracey organized—with the help of cell phones and approximately twenty instructors—a 20,000+-person flash mob to surprise "Oprah Winfrey during her 24th Season Kick-Off event. Following Oprah's introduction, "The Black Eyed Peas performed their musical hit ""I Gotta Feeling". As the song progressed, the synchronized dance began with a single, female dancer up front and spread from person to person until the entire crowd became involved. A surprised and elated Oprah found that there was another crowd manipulator besides her and her musical guests at work.[49] Gracey and others have been able to organize and manipulate such large crowds with the help of electronic devices and "social networks.[49] But one does not need to be a professional choreographer to conduct such an operation. On February 13, 2009, for example, a 22-year-old "Facebook user organized a flash mob which temporarily shut down London's "Liverpool Street station.[50]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Adam Curtis (2002). The Century of the Self. British Broadcasting Cooperation (documentary). United Kingdom: BBC4. 
  2. ^ Edward L. Bernays and Mark Crispin Miller, Propaganda (Brooklyn, NY: Ig Publishing, 2004): 52.
  3. ^ Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes (New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965): 15.
  4. ^ Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, Kindle Edition, Book I, Chapter 1 (Ego Books, 2008).
  5. ^ John M. Kenny; Clark McPhail; et al. (2001). "Crowd Behavior, Crowd Control, and the Use of Non-Lethal Weapons". The Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies, The Pennsylvania State University: 4–11. 
  6. ^ Waller, Michael (2006). ""The American Way of Propaganda", White Paper No. 1, Version 2.4". Institute of World Politics. 4. 
  7. ^ Nye, Jr, Joseph S. (2005). Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. Cambridge, MA: PublicAffairs. 
  8. ^ Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric, translated with an introduction by H.C. Lawson-Tencred (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2004): 1–13.
  9. ^ Cheryl Glean (1997). Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition from Antiquity through the Reniassance. Illinois: SIU Press. pp. 33, 60. 
  10. ^ "manipulate". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010. Retrieved March 24, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Le Bon, Book I, Chapter 1.
  12. ^ Bernays, 109.
  13. ^ Morton C. Blackwell, "People, Parties, and Power", adapted from a speech to the Council for National Policy on February 10, 1990.
  14. ^ "crowd". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010. Retrieved March 24, 2010. 
  15. ^ G. A. Tawney (October 15, 1905). "The Nature of Crowds". Psychological Bulletin. 2 (10): 332. "doi:10.1037/h0072490. 
  16. ^ Kenny, et al., 13.
  17. ^ John Drury; Paul Hutchinson; Clifford Stout (2001). "'Hooligans' abroad? Inter-Group Dynamics, Social Identity and Participation in Collective 'Disorder' at the 1998 World Cup Finals" (PDF). British Journal of Social Psychology. Great Britain: The British Psychological Society. 40: 359–360. "doi:10.1348/014466601164876. "PMID 11593939. 
  18. ^ Clifford Stott (2009). "Crowd Psychology & Public Order Policing: An Overview of Scientific Theory and Evidence" (PDF). Liverpool School of Psychology, University of Liverpool. p. 4. 
  19. ^ Kenny, et al., 12.
  20. ^ Stott, 12.
  21. ^ Kenny, 12–20.
  22. ^ Drury, J.; Reicher, S. & Stott, C. (2003). "Transforming the boundaries of collective identity: From the 'local' anti-road campaign to 'global' resistance?" (PDF). Social Movement Studies. 2: 191–212. "doi:10.1080/1474283032000139779. 
  23. ^ Stott.
  24. ^ Waller, 1-4.
  25. ^ a b Curtis.
  26. ^ Paul Johnson, Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. , 2001): 11–44; 231–2; 435, 489, 495–543, 582, 614, 632, 685, 757, 768.
  27. ^ Wilson P. Dizard, Jr., Inventing Public Diplomacy: The Story of the U.S. Information Agency (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004): 204.
  28. ^ Smith-Davies Publishing, Speeches that Changed the World (London: Smith-Davies Publishing Ltd, 2005): 197–201.
  29. ^ David E. Campbell, "Public Opinion and the 2008 Presidential Election" in Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier and Steven E. Schier, The American Elections of 2008 (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009): 99–116.
  30. ^ Kenny, et al.
  31. ^ John Poreba (2010). "Speeches at the Brandenburg Gate: Public Diplomacy Through Political Oratory". 
  32. ^ Melissa Eddy, "Obama to speak near Berlin's Brandenburg Gate". Associated Press, July 20, 2008.
  33. ^ American Rhetoric. "George W. Bush, Bullhorn Address to Ground Zero Rescue Workers". American Rhetoric. 
  34. ^ a b Bernays, 52.
  35. ^ Ellul, 15.
  36. ^ Ellul, Jacques (1973). Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes, p. 62.Trans. Konrad Kellen & Jean Lerner. Vintage Books, New York. "ISBN 978-0-394-71874-3.
  37. ^ Ellul, Jacques (1973). Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes, p. 65.Trans. Konrad Kellen & Jean Lerner. Vintage Books, New York. "ISBN 978-0-394-71874-3.
  38. ^ Le Bon, Book II, Chapter 3.
  39. ^ Winston S. Churchill, "The Scaffolding of Rhetoric", in Randolph S. Churchill, Companion Volume 1, pt. 2, to Youth: 1874-1900, vol. 1 of the Official Biography of Winston Spencer Churchill (London: Heinmann, 1967): 816–21.
  40. ^ Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, trans. Ralph Manheim (Mariner Books, 1998): 176–186.
  41. ^ John Poreba (2010). "Tongue of Fury, Tongue of Fire: Oratory in the Rise of Hitler and Churchill". 
  42. ^ Le Bon, Book II, Chapter 4.
  43. ^ Gustave Le Bon, "L'Homme et Societes", vol. II. (1881): 116."
  44. ^ Bernays, 19-20.
  45. ^ J. Douglas Toma, Football U.: Spectator Sports in the Life of the American University (University of Michigan Press, 2003): 51-2.
  46. ^ Rachael Hanel, Gladiators (Mankato, MN: The Creative Company, 2007): 24.
  47. ^ Hulk Hogan and Mark Dagostino, My Life Outside the Ring (New York, NY: Macmillan, 2009): 119-120.
  48. ^ Anjali Athavaley (April 15, 2008). "Students Unleash A Pillow Fight On Manhattan". "Wall Street Journal. 
  49. ^ a b "Oprah's Kickoff Party Flash Mob Dance (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. September 11, 2009. Retrieved August 12, 2016. 
  50. ^ "Facebook flashmob shuts down station". February 19, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

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