Mind Control & Cults
Articles & Interviews
During the second half of the 1930s, the Rockefeller Foundation underwrote much of the most innovative communication research then under way in the United States. There was virtually no federal support for the social sciences at the time, and corporate backing for the field usually remained limited to proprietary marketing studies. The foundation’s administrators believed, however, that mass media constituted a uniquely powerful force in modem society, reports Brett Gary, 28 and financed a new project on content analysis for Harold Lasswell at the Library of Congress, Hadley Cantril’s Public Opinion Research Project at Princeton University, the establishment of Public Opinion Quarterly at Princeton, Douglas Waples’ newspaper and reading studies at the University of Chicago, Paul Lazarsfeld’s Office of Radio Research at Columbia University, and other important programs.
As war approached, the Rockefeller Foundation clearly favored efforts designed to find a “democratic prophylaxis” that could immunize the United States’ large immigrant population from the effects of Soviet and Axis propaganda. In 1939, the foundation organized a series of secret seminars with men it regarded as leading communication scholars to enlist them in an effort to consolidate public opinion in the United States in favor of war against Nazi Germany — a controversial proposition opposed by many conservatives, religious leaders, and liberals at the time — and to articulate a reasonably clear-cut set of ideological and methodological preconceptions for the emerging field of communication research. 29
Harold Lasswell, who had the ear of foundation administrator John Marshall at these gatherings, over the next two years won support for a theory that seemed to resolve the conflict between the democratic values that are said to guide U.S. society, on the one hand, and the manipulation and deceit that often lay at the heart of projects intended to engineer mass consent, on the other. Briefly, the elite of U.S. society (“those who have money to support research,” as Lasswell bluntly put it) should systematically manipulate mass sentiment in order to preserve democracy from threats posed by authoritarian societies such as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.
One Rockefeller seminar participant, Donald Slesinger (former dean of the social science at the University of Chicago), blasted Lasswell’s claims as using a democratic guise to tacitly accept the objectives and methods of a new form of authoritarianism. “We [the Rockefeller seminar] have been willing, without thought, to sacrifice both truth and human individuality in order to bring about given mass responses to war stimuli,” Slesinger contended. “We have thought in terms of fighting dictatorships- by-force through the establishment of dictatorship-by-manipulation. 30 Slesinger’s view enjoyed some support from other participants and from Rockefeller Foundation officers such as Joseph Willits, who criticized what he described as authoritarian or even fascist aspects of Lasswell’s arguments. Despite this resistance, the social polarization created by the approaching war strongly favored Lasswell, and in the end he enjoyed substantial new funding and an expanded staff courtesy of the foundation. Slesinger, on the other hand, drifted away from the Rockefeller seminars and appears to have rapidly lost influence within the community of academic communication specialists.
World War II spurred the emergence of psychological warfare as a particularly promising new form of applied communication research. The personal, social, and scientific networks established in U.S. social sciences during World War II, particularly among communication researchers and social psychologists, later played a central role in the evolution (or “social construction”) of U.S. sociology after the war. A detailed discussion of U.S. psychological operations during World War 11 is of course outside the scope of this book. There is a large literature on the subject, which is discussed briefly in the Bibliographic Essay at the end of this text. A few points are worth mentioning, however, to introduce some of the personalities and concepts that would later play a prominent role in psychological operations and communication studies after 1945.
The phrase “psychological warfare” is reported to have first entered English in 1941 as a translated mutation of the Nazi term Weltanschauungskrieg(literally, worldview warfare), meaning the purportedly scientific application of propaganda, terror, and state pressure as a means of securing an ideological victory over one’s enemies. 31 William “Wild Bill” Donovan, then director of the newly established U.S. intelligence agency Office of Strategic Services (OSS), viewed an understanding of Nazi psychological tactics as a vital source of ideas for “Americanized” versions of many of the same stratagems. Use of the new term quickly became widespread throughout the U.S. intelligence community. For Donovan psychological warfare was destined to become a full arm of the U.S. military, equal in status to the army, navy, and air force. 32
Donovan was among the first in the United States to articulate a more or less unified theory of psychological warfare. As he saw it, the “engineering of consent” techniques used in peacetime propaganda campaigns could be quite effectively adapted to open warfare. Pro-Allied propaganda was essential to reorganizing the U.S. economy for war and for creating public support at home for intervention in Europe, Donovan believed. Fifth-column movements could be employed abroad as sources of intelligence and as morale-builders for populations under Axis control. He saw “special operations — meaning sabotage, subversion, commando raids, and guerrilla movements — as useful for softening up targets prior to conventional military assaults. “Donovan’s concept of psychological warfare was all-encompassing,” writes Colonel Alfred Paddock, who has specialized in this subject for the U.S. Army War College. “Donovan’s visionary dream was to unify these functions in support of conventional (military) unit operations, thereby forging a ‘new instrument of war.’” 33
Donovan, a prominent Wall Street lawyer and personal friend of Franklin Roosevelt, convinced FDR to establish a central, civilian intelligence agency that would gather foreign intelligence, coordinate analysis of information relevant to the war, and conduct propaganda and covert operations both at home and abroad. In July 1941 FDR created the aptly named Office of the Coordinator of Information, placing Donovan in charge. 34
But that ambitious plan soon foundered on the rocks of Washington’s bureaucratic rivalries. By early 1942 the White House split the “white” (official) propaganda functions into a new agency, which eventually became the Office of War Information (OWI), while Donovan reorganized the intelligence, covert action, and “black” (unacknowledgeable) propaganda functions under deeper secrecy as the OSS. Officially, the new OSS was subordinate to the military leadership of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but the relationship between the military and the civilian OSS was never smooth. Donovan frequently used his personal relationship with FDR to sidestep the military’s efforts to restrict the OSS’s growing influence. 35
Similar innovations soon spread through other military branches, usually initiated by creative outsiders from the worlds of journalism or commerce who saw “psychological” techniques as a means to sidestep entrenched military bureaucracies and enhance military performance. Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, a longtime Wall Street colleague of Donovan, established a small, highly secret Psychologic Branch within the War Department General Staff G-2 (Intelligence) organization. (McCloy is probably better known today for his later work as U.S. high commissioner of Germany, chairman of the Chase Bank, member of the Warren Commission, and related posts). 36 McCloy’s Psychologic Branch was reorganized several times, briefly folded in the OSS, shifted back to military control, and renamed at least twice. The Joint Chiefs meanwhile established a series of high-level interagency committees intended to coordinate U.S. psychological operations in the field, including those of the relatively small Psychological Warfare Branches attached to the headquarters staffs of U.S. military commanders in each theater of war. If this administrative structure was not confusing enough, the psychological warfare branch attached to Eisenhower’s command in Europe soon grew into a Psychological Warfare Division totaling about 460 men and women. 37
These projects helped define U.S. social science and mass communication studies long after the war had drawn to a close. Virtually all of the scientific community that was to emerge during the 1950s as leaders in the field of mass communication research spent the war years performing applied studies on U.S. and foreign propaganda, Allied troop morale, public opinion (both domestically and internationally), clandestine OSS operations, or the then emerging technique of deriving useful intelligence from analysis of newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts, and postal censorship intercepts.
The day-to-day war work of U.S. psychological warfare specialists varied considerably. DeWitt Poole — a State Department expert in anticommunist propaganda who had founded Public Opinion Quarterly while on sabbatical at Princeton before the war-became the chief of the Foreign Nationalities Branch of the OSS. There he led OSS efforts to recruit suitable agents from immigrant communities inside the United States, to monitor civilian morale, and to analyze foreign- language publications for nuggets of intelligence. Sociologists and Anthropologists such as Alexander Leighton and Margaret Mead concentrated on identifying schisms in Japanese culture suitable for exploitation in U.S. radio broadcasts in Asia, while Samuel Stouffer’s Research Branch of the U.S. Army specialized in ideological indoctrination of U.S. troops. Hadley Cantril meanwhile adapted survey research techniques to the task of clandestine intelligence collection, including preparations for the U.S. landing in North Africa. 38
There were six main U.S. centers of psychological warfare and related studies during the conflict. Several of these centers went through name changes and reorganizations in the course of the war, but they can be summarized as follows: (1) Samuel Stouffer’s Research Branch of the U.S. Army’s Division of Morale; (2) the Office of War Information (OWI) led by Elmer Davis and its surveys division under Elmo Wilson; (3) the Psychological Warfare Division (PWD) of the U.S. Army, commanded by Brigadier General Robert McClure; (4) the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) led by William Donovan; (5) Rensis Likert’s Division of Program Surveys at the Department of Agriculture, which provided field research personnel in the United States for the army, OWI, Treasury Department, and other government agencies; and (6) Harold Lasswell’s War Communication Division at the Library of Congress.
Dozens of prominent social scientists participated in the war through these organizations, in some cases serving in two or more groups in the course of the conflict. The OWI, for example, employed Elmo Roper (of the Roper survey organization), Leonard Doob (Yale), Wilbur Schramm (University of Illinois and Stanford), Alexander Leighton (Cornell), Leo Lowenthal (Institut fur Sozialforschung and University of California), Hans Speier (RAND Corp.), Nathan Leites (RAND), Edward Barrett (Columbia), and Clyde Kluckhohn (Harvard), among others. 39
(The institutions in parentheses simply indicate the affiliations for which these scholars may be best known.) OWI simultaneously extended contracts for communications research and consulting to Paul Lazarsfeld, Hadley Cantril, Frank Stanton, George Gallup, and to Rensis Likert’s team at the Agriculture Department. 40 OWI contracting also provided much of the financial backbone for the then newly founded National Opinion Research Center. 41
In addition to his OWI work, Nathan Leites also served as Lasswell’s senior research assistant at the Library of Congress project, as did Heinz Eulau (Stanford). 42 Other prominent contributors to the Lasswell project included Irving Janis (Yale) and the young Ithiel de Sola Pool (MIT), who, with Leites, had already begun systematic content analysis of communist publications long before the war was over. 43 Lasswell’s Library of Congress project is widely remembered today as the foundation of genuinely systematic content analysis in the United States. 44
At the Army’s Psychological Warfare Division, some prominent staffers were William S. Paley (CBS), C. D. Jackson (Time/Life), W. Phillips Davison (RAND and Columbia), Saul Padover (New School for Social Research), John W. Riley (Rutgers), Morris Janowitz (Institut fur Sozialforschung and University of Michigan), Daniel Lerner (MIT and Stanford), Edward Shils (University of Chicago), and New York attorney Murray Gurfein (later co-author with Janowitz), among others. 45 Of these, Davison, Padover, Janowitz, and Gurfein were OSS officers assigned to the Psychological Warfare Division to make use of their expertise in communication and German social psychology. 46 Other prominent OSS officers who later contributed to the social sciences include Howard Becker (University of Wisconsin), Alex Inkeles (Harvard), Walter Langer (University of Wisconsin), Douglas Cater (Aspen Institute), and of course Herbert Marcuse (Institut fur Sozialforschung and New School). 47 0SS wartime contracting outside the government included arrangements for paid social science research by Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia, Princeton, Yale’s Institute of Human Relations, and the National Opinion Research Center, which was then at the University of Denver. 48 Roughly similar lists of social scientists and scholarly contractors can be discovered at each of the government’s centers of wartime communications and public opinion research. 49
The practical significance of these social linkages has been explored by social psychologist John A. Clausen, who is a veteran of Samuel Stouffer’s Research Branch. Clausen made a systematic study during the early 1980s of the postwar careers of his former colleagues who had gone into the fields of public opinion research, sociology, and psychology. 50 Some twenty-five of twenty-seven veterans who could be located responded to his questionnaire; of these, twenty-four reported that their wartime work had had “lasting implications” and “a major influence on [their] subsequent career.” Clausen quotes the reply of psychologist Nathan Maccoby (Stanford): “The Research Branch not only established one of the best old-boy (or girl) networks ever, but an alumnus of the Branch had an open door to most relevant jobs and career lines. We were a lucky bunch.” Nearly three-fifths of the respondents indicated that the Research Branch experience “had a major influence on the direction or character of their work in the decade after the war,” Clausen continues, “and all but three of the remainder indicated a substantial influence…. [F]ully three-fourths reported the Branch experience to have been a very important influence on their careers as a whole.” 51
Respondents stressed two reasons for this enduring impact. First, the wartime experience permitted young scholars to closely work with recognized leaders in the field — Samuel Stouffer, Leonard Cottrell, Carl Hovland, and others-as well as with civilian consultants such as Paul Lazarsfeld, Louis Guttman, and Robert Merton. In effect, the Army’s Research Branch created an extraordinary postgraduate school with obvious scholarly benefits for both “students” and the seasoned “professors.”
Second, the common experience created a network of professional contacts that almost all respondents to the survey found to be very valuable in their subsequent careers. They tapped these contacts later for professional opportunities and for project funding, according to Clausen. “Perhaps most intriguing” in this regard, Clausen writes,
was the number of our members who became foundation executives. Charles Dollard became president of Carnegie. Donald Young shifted from the presidency of SSRC [Social Science Research Council] to that of Russell Sage, where he ultimately recruited Leonard Cottrell. Leland DeVinney went from Harvard to the Rockefeller Foundation. William McPeak … helped set up the Ford Foundation and became its vice president. W. Parker Mauldin became vice president of the Population Council. The late Lyle Spencer [of Science Research Associates] . . . endowed a foundation that currently supports a substantial body of social science research. 52
There was a somewhat similar sociometric effect among veterans of OWI propaganda projects. OWI’s overseas director Edward Barrett points out that old-boy networks rooted in common wartime experiences in psychological warfare extended well beyond the social sciences. “Among OWI alumni,” he wrote in 1953, are
the publishers of Time, Look, Fortune, and several dailies; editors of such magazines as Holiday, Coronet, Parade, and the Saturday Review, editors of the Denver Post. New Orleans Times-Picayune, and others; the heads of the Viking Press, Harper & Brothers, and Farrar, Straus and Young; two Hollywood Oscar winners; a two-time Pulitzer prizewinner; the board chairman of CBS and a dozen key network executives; President Eisenhower’s chief speech writer; the editor of Reader’s Digest international editions; at least six partners of large advertising agencies; and a dozen noted social scientists. 53
Barrett himself went on to become chief of the U.S. government’s overt psychological warfare effort from 1950 to 1952 and later dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and founder of the Columbia Journalism Review. 54
It is wise to be cautious in evaluating the political significance of these networks, of course. Obviously Herbert Marcuse drew quite different political conclusions from his experience than did, say, Harold Lasswell, and it is well known that even some of the once closely knit staff of the Institut fur Sozialforschung who emigrated to the United States eventually clashed bitterly over political issues during the cold war. 55 Nevertheless, the common experience of wartime psychological warfare work became one step in a process through which various leaders in the social sciences engaged one another in tacit alliances to promote their particular interpretations of society. Their wartime experiences contributed substantially to the construction of a remarkably tight circle of men and women who shared several important conceptions about mass communication research. They regarded mass communication as a tool for social management and as a weapon in social conflict, and they expressed common assumptions concerning the usefulness of quantitative research-particularly experimental and quasi- experimental effects research, opinion surveys, and quantitative content analysisas a means of illuminating what communication “is” and improving its application to social management. They also demonstrated common attitudes toward at least some of the ethical questions intrinsic to performing applied social research on behalf of a government. The Clausen study strongly suggests that at Stouffer’s Research Branch, at least, World War II psychological warfare work established social networks that opened doors to crucial postwar contacts inside the government, funding agencies, and professional circles. Barrett’s comments concerning the Psychological Warfare Division suggest a similar pattern there. As will be discussed in more depth in the next chapter, the various studies prepared by these scientists during the war — always at government expense and frequently involving unprecedented access to human research subjects — also created vast new data bases of social information that would become the raw material from which a number of influential postwar social science careers would be built.
The CIA and the Founding Fathers of Communication Studies
Turning to a consideration of CIA-sponsored psychological warfare studies, one finds a wealth of evidence showing that projects secretly funded by the CIA played a prominent role in U.S. mass communication studies during the middle and late 1950s. The secrecy that surrounds any CIA operation makes complete documentation impossible, but the fragmentary information that is now available permits identification of several important examples.
The first is the work of Albert Hadley Cantril (better known as Hadley Cantril), a noted “founding father” of modem mass communication studies. Cantril was associate director of the famous Princeton Radio Project from 1937 to 1939, a founder and longtime director of Princeton’s Office of Public Opinion Research, and a founder of the Princeton Listening Center, which eventually evolved into the CIA-financed Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Cantril’s work at Princeton is widely recognized as “the first time that academic social science took survey research seriously, and it was the first attempt to collect and collate systematically survey findings.” 70 Cantril’s The Psychology of Radio, written with Gordon Allport, is often cited as a seminal study in mass communication theory and research, and his surveys of public opinion in European and Third World countries defined the subfield of international public opinion studies for more than two decades.
Cantril’s work during the first decade after World War II focused on elaborating Lippmann’s concept of the stereotypethe “pictures in our heads,” as Lippmann put it, through which people are said to deal with the world outside their immediate experience. Cantril specialized in international surveys intended to determine how factors such as class, nationalism, and ethnicity affected the stereotypes present in a given population, and how those stereotypes in turn affected national behavior in various countries, particularly toward the United States. 71 Cantril’s work, while often revealing the “human face” of disaffected groups, began with the premise that the United States’ goals and actions abroad were fundamentally good for the world at large. If U.S. acts were not viewed in that light by foreign audiences, the problem was that they had misunderstood our good intentions, not that Western behavior might be fundamentally flawed.
Cantril’s career had been closely bound up with U.S. intelligence and clandestine psychological operations since at least the late 1930s. The Office of Public Opinion Research, for example, enjoyed confidential contracts from the Roosevelt administration for research into U.S. public opinion on the eve of World War 11. Cantril went on to serve as the senior public opinion specialist of the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (an early U.S. intelligence agency led by Nelson Rockefeller and focusing on Latin America), of the World War II Office of War Information, and, in a later period, as an adviser to President Eisenhower on the psychological aspects of foreign policy. During the Kennedy administration, Cantril helped reorganize the U.S. Information Agency. 72
According to the New York Times, the CIA provided Cantril and his colleague Lloyd Free with $1 million in 1956 to gather intelligence on popular attitudes in countries of interest to the agency. 73 The Rockefeller Foundation appears to have laundered the money for Cantril, because Cantril repeatedly claimed in print that the monies had come from that source. 74 However, the Times and Cantril’s longtime partner, Lloyd Free, confirmed after Cantril’s death that the true source of the funds had been the CIA. 75
Cantril’s first target was a study of the political potential of “protest” voters in France and Italy, who were regarded as hostile to U.S. foreign Policy. 76 That was followed by a 1958 tour of the Soviet Union under private, academic cover, to gather information on the social psychology of the Soviet population and on “mass” relationships with the Soviet elite. Cantril’s report on this topic went directly to then president Eisenhower; its thrust was that treating the Soviets firmly, but with greater respect — rather than openly ridiculing them, as had been Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’ practice — could help improve East-West relations. 77 Later Cantril missions included studies of Castro’s supporters in Cuba and reports on the social psychology of a series of countries that could serve as a checklist of CIA interventions of the period: Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, and others. 78
An important focus of Cantril’s work under the CIA’s contract were surveys of U.S. domestic public opinion on foreign policy and domestic political issues — a use of government funds many observers would argue was illegal. 79 There, Cantril introduced an important methodological innovation by breaking out political opinions by respondents’ demographic characteristics and their place on a U.S. ideological spectrum he had devised — a forerunner of the political opinion analysis techniques that would revolutionize U.S. election campaigns during the 1980s. 80
A second-and perhaps more important — example of the CIA’s role in U.S. mass communication studies during the 1950s was the work of the Center for International Studies (CENIS) at MIT. The CIA became the principal funder of this institution throughout the 1950s, although neither the CENIS nor the CIA is known to have publicly provided details on their relationship. It has been widely reported, however, that the CIA financed the initial establishment of the CENIS; that the agency underwrote publication of certain CENIS studies in both classified and nonclassified editions; that CENIS served as a conduit for CIA funds for researchers at other institutions, particularly the Center for Russian Research at Harvard; that the director of CENIS, Max Millikan, had served as assistant director of the CIA immediately prior to his assumption of the CENIS post; and that Millikan served as a “consultant to the Central Intelligence Agency,” as State Department records put it, during his tenure as director of CENIS. 81 In 1966, CENIS scholar Ithiel de Sola Pool acknowledged that CENIS “has in the past had contracts with the CIA,” though he insisted the CIA severed its links with CENIS following a bitter scandal in the early 1960s. 82
CENIS emerged as one of me most important centers of communication studies midway through the 1950s, and it maintained that role for the remainder of the decade. According to CENIS’s official account, the funding for its communications research was provided by a four- year, $850,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, which was distributed under the guidance of an appointed planning committee made up of Hans Speier (chair), Jerome Bruner, Wallace Carroll, Harold Lasswell, Paul Lazarsfeld, Edward Shils, and Ithiel de Sola Pool (secretary). 83 It is not known whether Ford’s funds were in fact CIA monies. The Ford Foundation’s archives make clear, however, that the foundation was at that time underwriting the costs of the CIA’s principal propaganda project aimed at intellectuals, the Congress for Cultural Freedom, with a grant of $500,000 made at CIA request, and that the Ford Foundation’s director, John McCloy (who will be remembered here for his World War II psychological warfare work), had established a regular liaison with the CIA for the specific purpose of managing Ford Foundation cover for CIA projects. 84 Of the men on CENIS’s communication studies planning committee, Edward Shils was simultaneously a leading spokesman for the CIA-backed Congress for Cultural Freedom Project; Hans Speier was the RAND Corporation’s director of social science research; and Wallace Carroll was a journalist specializing in national security issues who had produced a series of classified reports on clandestine warfare against the Soviet Union for U.S. military intelligence agencies. 85 In short, CENIS communication studies were from their inception closely bound up with both overt and covert aspects of U.S. national security strategy of the day.
The CENIS program generated the large majority of articles on psychological warfare published by leading academic journals during the second half of the 1950s. CENIS’s dominance in psychological warfare studies during this period was perhaps best illustrated by two special issues of POQ published in the spring of 1956 and the fall of 1958. Each was edited by CENIS scholars-by Ithiel de Sola Pool and Frank Bonilla and by Daniel Lerner, respectively — and each was responsible for the preponderance of POQ articles concerning psychological warfare published that year. The collective titles for the special issues were “Studies in Political Communications” and “Attitude Research in Modernizing Areas.” 86
CENIS scholars and members of the CENIS planning committee such as Harold Ina”, Y. B. Damle, Claire Zimmerman, Raymond Bauer, and Suzanne Keller 87 and each of the special issue editors” provided most of the content. They drew other articles from studies that CENIS had contracted out to outside academics, such as a content analysis of U.S. and Soviet propaganda publications by Ivor Wayne of BSSR and a study of nationalism among the Egyptian elite by Patricia Kendall of BASR that was based on data gathered during the earlier Voice of America studies in the Mideast. 89
The purported dangers to the United States of “modernization” or economic development in the Third World emerged as the most important theme of CENIS studies in international communication as the decade of the 1950s drew to a close. Practically without exception, CENIS studies coincided with those issues and geographic areas regarded as problems by U.S. intelligence agencies: “agitators” in Indonesia, student radicals in Chile, “change-prone” individuals in Puerto Rico, and the social impact of economic development in the Middle East. 90 CENIS also studied desegregation of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, as an example of “modernization.” 91
In these reports, CENIS authors viewed social change in developing countries principally as a management problem for the United States. Daniel Lerner contended that “urbanization, industrialization, secularization [and] communications” were elements of a typology of modernization that could be measured and shaped in order to secure a desirable outcome from the point of view of the U.S. government. “How can these modernizing societies-in-a-hurry maintain stability?” Lerner asked. “Whence will come the compulsions toward responsible formation and expression of opinion on which a free participant society depends?” 92
In The Passing of Traditional Society and other texts, Lerner contended that public “‘participation’ [in power] through opinion is spreading before genuine political and economic participation” in societies in developing countries 93 — a clear echo of Lippmann’s earlier thesis. This created a substantial mass of people who were relatively informed through the mass media, yet who were socially and economically disenfranchised, and thus easily swayed by the appeals of radical nationalists, Communists, and other “extremists.” As in Lippmann’s analysis, mass communication played an important role in the creation of this explosive situation, as Lerner saw it, and in elite management of it. He proposed a strategy modeled in large part on the campaign in the Philippines that combined “white” and “black” propaganda, economic development aid, and U.S.-trained and financed counterinsurgency operations to manage these problems in a manner that was “responsible” from the point of view of the industrialized world.
This “development theory,” which combined propaganda, counter- insurgency warfare, and selective economic development of targeted regions, was rapidly integrated into U.S. psychological warfare practice worldwide as the decade drew to a close. Classified U.S. programs employing “Green Beret” Special Forces troops trained in what was termed “nation building” and counterinsurgency began in the mountainous areas of Cambodia and Laos. 94 Similar projects intended to win the hearts and minds of Vietnam’s peasant population through propaganda, creation of “strategic hamlets,” and similar forms of controlled social development under the umbrella of U.S. Special Forces troops can also be traced in part to Lerner’s work, which was in time elaborated by Wilbur Schramm, Lucian Pye, Ithiel de Sola Pool, and others. 95 Lerner himself became a fixture at Pentagon-sponsored conferences on U.S. psychological warfare in the Third World during the 1960s and 1970s, lecturing widely on the usefulness of social science data for the design of what has since come to be called U.S. -sponsored low-intensity warfare abroad. 96
The Special Operations Research Office’s 1962 volume The U.S. Army’s Limited-War Mission and Social Science Research and the well-publicized controversy surrounding Project Camelot 97 show that the brutal U.S. counterinsurgency wars of the period grew out of earlier psychological warfare projects, and that their tactics were shaped in important part by the rising school of development theory. 98 Further, the promises integral to that theory — namely, that U. S. efforts to control development in the Third World, if skillfully handled, could benefit the targets of that intervention while simultaneously advancing U.S. interests — were often publicized by the USIA, by the Army’s mass media, at various academic conferences, and in other propaganda outlets. In other words, as the government tested in the field the tactics advocated by Lerner, Pool, and others, the rationalizations offered by these same scholars became propaganda themes the government promoted to counter opposition to U.S. intervention abroad. 99
The important point with regard to CENIS is the continuing, inbred relationship among a handful of leading mass communication scholars and the U.S. military and intelligence community. Substantially the same group of theoreticians who articulated the early cold war version of psychological warfare in the 1950s reappeared in the 1960s to articulate the Vietnam era adaptation of the same concepts. More than a half-dozen noted academics followed this track: Daniel Lerner, Harold Lasswell, Wilbur Schramm, John W. Riley, W. Phillips Davison, Leonard. Cottrell, and Ithiel de Sola Pool, among others. 100
* Excerpts from The Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare 1945-1960, by Christopher Simpson (Oxford University Press, 1994)
“Worldview Warfare” and World War II (pp.22-30)
The CIA and the Founding Fathers of Communication Studies (pp. 79-85)