Long ago, a survey found that 75% of Americans believe violence on television leads to violence in society. The results of that survey were then used as evidence in a Congressional hearing.
Left out is that this was in the 1960s, and the survey was made after several Congressional representatives made this assertion and began talking about their assertion as if it were fact. The media dutifully reprinted their words, creating a broad propaganda message that violence on TV was the cause of violent behavior in society. This led to Congressional hearings and even the cancellation of some TV shows because public momentum was turned away from shows that showed violent scenes.
In effect, this national survey measured the effectiveness of the propaganda campaign as there was no data at the time to support this conclusion.
Unfortunately, most national surveys of “American’s opinions” are surveys of propaganda effectiveness. The survey itself then adds to the growing body of propaganda messaging on a subject and becomes, itself, a form of propaganda.
You can go to news.google.com and find similar surveys.
- 9% of American’s Feel Shingles Vaccination is a Priority
- Many believe race relations will worsen under Trump
- 68% of Americans believe humans are causing warming
- 71% of Americans consider granola bars to be healthy
Surveys often follow a period of concerted propaganda messaging in the media.
In these and other cases, the survey is primarily measuring the effectiveness of the propaganda messaging around a subject. Most American’s understand little of the facts or logic for any of these items (and many more). Survey respondents are regurgitating the view given to them by propaganda messaging and the methods used to persuade masses of people.
A classic example of how opinion surveys are used to influence the public are surveys about state-level voter initiatives. When the initiative appears likely to pass, and is promoted by well funded interests, you will often see many media reports showing “a majority of voters support”. But when the initiative is not supported – and is losing – media reports become scarce or non-existent as the promoters hide the result of their polling show the initiative is failing.
To illustrate the absurdity of national surveys that measure public opinions, consider this actual headline:
- A Poll finds most Americans don’t trust public opinion polls
Unfortunately, what the above survey likely measured is that people don’t trust surveys that indicate they, personally, are out of step with their community. People selectively like surveys, as along as the survey agrees with their opinion.
The purpose of most polling is to identify a ground swell movement. The poll itself is a form of propaganda messaging known as “get on the bandwagon”. The survey results show that everyone else is thinking this way – why you aren’t you on the bandwagon too?
Consequently, most national opinion polls are garbage – and are themselves a component of major propaganda messaging to persuade you to adopt someone’s else agenda, not because of evidence, facts or logic – no, you should adopt their agenda because a bunch of other people are!