Monday, July 18, 2011


George Creel was an old-fashioned Mississippi newspaper editor. Rugged, sometimes radical, but a man President Woodrow Wilson liked and trusted. That made Creel the President's choice for a job never done before.

When America entered World War One, the public was divided. To win public approval President Wilson needed unity, enthusiasm, a lust for enemy blood.

Creel was named to head a committee of public information. It was his job to shape public opinion for winning the war. Creel managed the war news. It had never been done before.

There was a little domestic propaganda during the Civil War and some excitement came from sensation seeking newspapers during the Spanish-American war, but it took George Creel to invent modern public relations, and until he did it, no one thought it possible for a central government to control the emotions of its citizens without force.

Creel created the Uncle Sam poster that says " I want You." It's still in use today. He rallied school children to donate dimes for a warship and he selected a preacher for the house of Representatives who prayed against the "wolfish Hun whose fangs drip with blood" and he had propaganda movies made showing the Germans plundering Belgium.

Creel and his team shaped history. It was only after the war that people saw the questionable use of such tactics. Public manipulation was loosed from Pandora's box and truth would never be that simple again. The government learned it well, but "We The People" have forgotten to question, to verify and to demand accountability.

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