Life is what we pay attention to. [William James] Attention is “key to life and a meaningful life.”
Tim Wu, a Columbia University Law Professor, delves into the history of the advertising industry in his book, The Attention Merchants. Hidden Brain: “In his book, Wu reveals the techniques media companies have developed to hijack our attention. “This sort of of surrender of control over our lives speaks deeply to the challenge of freedom and what i means to be autonomous.”
This Is Your Brain On Ads: How Media Companies Hijack Your Attention
“He’s addressing a crowd of evil Google executives and telling them about the origins of the Information-Government Complex . . . which Google knows all about. Tim Wu talks about how the advertising industry went from the fringes into the mainstream in World War One, when the British government needed to encourage young men to enlist in the war. Prior to that, Wu talks about the New York Sun’s fake reporting on the fanciful creatures they claim they saw on the moon. Though Wu passes over it quickly, the British used the same technique: Lying. In 1916, they created the world’s first Ministry of Propaganda to craft phony stories of German atrocities to manipulate young men into joining the army to “save Christian womanhood from the evil Hun”. According to Gilbert Seldes (who was a reporter there at the time) they’d print entirely fabricated atrocity stories that he knew to be false. He’d be standing in some Belgian square that was peaceful and quiet, and read in British papers that there were stacks of bodies that the Germans killed. (Needless to say, the stacks of bodies were evidently invisible.) You’d read about the Germans crucifying Belgians, turning the fat from their dead-bodies into soap, using babies for bayonet practice, etc. My favorite bogus atrocity was the wooden rape-machines that they claimed the Germans were using on Belgian maidens. One of the members of the Ministry of Propaganda was H.G. Wells. In 1916, he was charged with disseminating propaganda to try and get the Americans to join the war effort. So he published the novel “Mr. Briting Sees It Through”. It cracked me up (about a third way through the book) to see that Wells had included the bogus “wooden rape machine” in his novel. . . . Long story short: Governments lie. And they use the media of their day to try and disseminate the lies to manipulate public opinion and mobilize certain actions. Google is well aware of this, since that;s what they’ve dedicated themselves to: Internet censorship, manipulated search results, algorithms to hide embarrassing news stories, Youtube de-monetization of conservatives (and ONLY conservatives). Bless Tim Wu: He was in the belly of the beast, and telling them straight up: “I know who you are, and I know what you’re doing”.