Today I went to the library. I went there in the hopes to research a man I have just recently learned about named Rupert Murdoch, the owner of several newspapers and cable channels, including Fox News. I heard about him from an Internet documentary called “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s war on journalism”. What I did not know about him is that his father Keith Murdoch was in business with a man named Lord Northcliffe. Northcliffe had the idea of creating newspapers that reported news but in an entertaining sensationalist manner. He was one of the creators of the tabloid as we know them today and among the group of people that Northcliffe and Murdoch were associated with was Joseph Pulitzer, who evidently started the world first journalism school.
I have started to research these types of individuals that have a heavy amount of media control because I take heavy interest in that type of power. In the “outfoxed” documentary I learned that they use media in ways that are similar to mind control. They use tactics that make them appear to be fair and balanced so that they can sway public opinion anyway they wish. I plan to keep researching these individuals as well as the companies that they own and how they operate and I intend to use this in some of my artwork. It is not my purpose to demonize them but rather to make people see what modern-day propaganda is doing to control the general public. Some ideas that I’ve come up with to express these ideas is possibly to create a storyline with characters that are based off of real life composites. Like Orwell I wish to show society itself what it looks like by depicting a fictional society that is similar but with a different setting. One of my first ideas was to make my own propaganda. Maybe create a false politician that is running for a local office possibly in Milwaukee or Waukesha. I would make him seem like a Christian conservative, which are common in this area. I would create posters that are similar to the posters that the United States and the Soviet Union used during World War II to persuade citizens do things that would help the nation. Of course there would be very nice illustrations on the posters that would originally have been painted and then printed below the image would then be a shortened phrase or slogan that grabs the attention of the viewer. These posters would also have been name of the fake politician and would help his platform and describe it. Topics might include popular wedge issues that conservatives care about deeply such as abortion, immigration, and gay marriage. Also I would create a website that could easily be found if you search the fake politician’s name and then would reveal the project. The project I think would be called “the election project” and on the website it would explain the overall concept to the general public. I believe that it would be a good idea to maybe use Bible passages that twist the positions that conservatives have on these issues such as “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”.
After researching at the library I thought I had gathered enough information that I could bring it all back home. When I exited the building there was a man who had some sort of petition in his hand and was talking to a younger guy probably over the age of 18 and was explaining to him that he thinks that Florida should be removed from the union. The young man asked him “Why we he would want to get rid of the state of Florida?” and the man responded angrily that “They are against a basic Christian principle!” The man then saw me and asked me if I was over 18 which I responded with “No” and I walked away. That was ironic to me because I was inside researching the reasons why people like him believe any crazy notion the media creates to get people riled up and the power behind this. It was disheartening to see that at all times I am only a few paces away from somebody that is brainwashed by the media. In doing this research I realized I was one of these individuals at one point or another as well. In my queries I looked for books about Rupert Murdoch and there were plenty of them available at the public library. There were some that simply told facts about Murdoch, some that demonized him, and some that praised him. Interestingly enough the ones that praise him were published by companies that he owned himself. There is no escape from his influence.
In learning about Murdoch, I could not help but be reminded of Stalin’s hold on the Soviet Union and the propaganda that he used to control the minds of millions. I queried the subject matter about propaganda and I came across a book called “All Art is Propaganda” by George Orwell. Orwell is someone that I have slowly begun to admire. I read Orwell’s “1984” in high school as well as “Animal Farm”, which I have still yet to finish. I love these stories because it solidified loose ideas and observations that I had about our society already and it made me more confident in myself as a thinker and laid these ideas out in organized fashion. “All art is propaganda” is a collection of his essays in which he analyzes politics, art, theater, and culture. I want to write like him but I think I’m more of an artist than a writer. His use of the English language is probably better than anything I could achieve in my lifetime. However I do believe that I can create art that is just as good as his writing, perhaps sometime in the future.