Rent A Crowd “Crowds on Demand” – and How Absolutely Everything is Fake

A local politician came out to speak to an enthusiastic audience? Could be an entirely fake audience of paid participants.[1]

A local protest takes to the streets to demand ACTION over whatever – and gets extensive media coverage? Could be a fake group of paid participants. Or sometimes, it is a mix of paid actors plus others who think its an organic, grass roots event. But its fake too.

There are “public relations” firms (a.k.a. propaganda firms) that specialize in hiring crowds of people to create a media friendly spectacle. Here is a screen capture (August 14, 2017) of crowdsondemand.com:

Source: Crowds on Demand | Celebrity Experiences for Rent | Entourages, Paparazzi and Fans| Strategic Publicity Stunts | Corporate Events

We are surrounded by public relations/propaganda messaging campaigns 24 x 7. The term “grass roots” refers to an action that is allegedly coming “from the people”. The term “astroturf” refers to fake “grass roots” programs, like the above, designed to trick politicians and leaders into taking action based on a false perception of a “grass roots” effort. Most “grass roots” efforts today are actually “astroturf” operations run by professional propaganda outfits. More on our blog, here.

Powerful people in our society use rent-a-crowds to give the appearance of support to their own agendas. They could could be a business (say wanting to expand a building and needing local public support), a property developer wanting to build a new development, a non profit activist group seeking to raise donations, a politician seeking support for legislation – and on and on.

I first learned about this from an item shared on social media, an item, which like the “fake photos”, is incorrectly attributed to the Charlottesville, Virginia riot. Here it is – note the ad actually references Charlotte NORTH CAROLINA – not Charlottesville, Virginia.

Notes

[1] The flip side of this is the use of paid audience members who are trained to help shape the discussion in the direction the politician or other leader desires. This is done even at local community meetings. Ostensibly a meeting is held to obtain community input. In reality, the decisions have already been made and the purpose of the meeting is to steer the group into a consensus around the decision that was already made. Techniques include rearranging seating to avoid “organized blocks” from emerging, the use of “planted” audience members who are called upon and give feedback supporting the desired meeting outcome, and other methods. These are methods of persuasion, propaganda and control. We are subjected to them daily without even realizing that we’ve been “had”.

Update to Oregon Health Authority Propaganda Story from yesterday: Director fired today

Propaganda, propaganda, propaganda:

Oregon Health Authority Lynne Saxton has resigned in the wake of news of her involvement in a plan to plant negative and misleading news about a local nonprofit health provider to influence lawmakers.

Source: Pamplin Media Group – Oregon Health Authority Director Lynne Saxton resigns in the wake of planted news coverage

OHA has a long track record of incompetence and poor management and leadership and public relations staff that tell lies.

 

Advertising IS Propaganda, and is the business model for Google and Facebook

“Facebook and Google get their revenue from advertising, the effectiveness of which depends on gaining and maintaining consumer attention.”

Source: My Google and Facebook investments made a fortune, but now they’re a menace

The very essence of Google and Facebook, at their core, is to operate as the world’s most sophisticated propagandists. Their business model is based on advertising, which is literally propaganda messaging intended to encourage you to adopt someone’s agenda, specifically, to buy something (products and services) or to agree with something (politics).

Each company builds electronic dossiers on every individual user of their service. They scan your emails, they examine your text messages, they use ad networks to track your online web site visits, they track your “Likes” and “Shares” (each of which tells them what you are interested in) they examine your list of friends to seek out what may be common interests – and then use their knowledge of you to create idealized advertising messages and ad placements to “hit” you when you are most vulnerable to those messages.

Social media is the most powerful, friction-less propaganda medium in world history. Google and Facebook are both mammoth entities that are in the position of controlling the world’s future. Facebook claimed that political propaganda on Facebook had no impact on recent elections – while simultaneously selling itself as a platform for highly effective advertising, which is just another word for propaganda messaging. Facebook is either lying or deluding itself.

Oregon sought propaganda campaign to publicly demean nonprofit health care provider

Oregon’s Oregon Health Authority put together a taxpayer funded “communications plan” (a.ka. propaganda program) to publicly demean and malign a non-profit health care provider because the OHA did not want the state legislature to pass laws supported by the non-profit health care provider.

OHA was responsible for Oregon’s failed Cover Oregon, a health exchange that never enrolled anyone before being shut down after wasting nearly 1/2 billion taxpayer dollars and disrupting the lives of hundreds of thousands of citizens.

OHA claims the plan was never implemented. However,

“The Portland Business Journal, Willamette Week, Portland Tribune, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oregonian and The Lund Report have all received targeted press releases aimed at bolstering the state’s case, as well as personalized emails to journalists and other outreach.”

This is a classic example of how “public relations” is a polite way of saying propaganda. This case illustrates the danger of government turning its propaganda apparatus loose on the public – this is a soft form of totalitarianism.

Portland Tribune: State sought to plant negative stories about nonprofit, 

The non-profit health care provider is now exploring its legal options against the state.

Recent positive national news stories about Reno, Nevada were planted by a PR agency

I’d read several of the recent national press stories about Reno, Nevada, all of which acted as cheerleaders for the area. Turns out, and not surprisingly, these stories were planted by a public relations agency:

The national news stories began popping up about two years ago, celebrating Reno’s economic revival, touting the city as “actually pretty cool” and ruminating on the region’s Silicon Valley-esque potential.

Just two weeks ago, a Bloomberg story titled “Reno Is Starting to Look More Like Silicon Valley” hit social media with great fanfare, continuing the trend of celebratory Reno articles appearing nationally about twice a quarter since 2015.

But the positive press isn’t a coincidental timing of national publications suddenly realizing Reno is shedding its image as a tired casino town.

In fact, the coverage has been carefully orchestrated at local taxpayers’ expense to help rebrand the region in an effort to boost economic development — a cost to date of $110,000.

Source: Reno’s looking like Silicon Valley? You helped pay for that headline

Glad to see Reno’s local paper doing real journalism and exposing the charade. “Public Relations” is the term Edward Bernays invented to be used in place of “propaganda”. War time propaganda efforts, especially by Goebbels in World War II, gave the original term “propaganda” a bad taste.