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The Grand-Uncle of the Co-Founder of Netflix on Propaganda

Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos…Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.

Edward Bernays, Propaganda (1928), pp. 9-10

This originally appeared in a Reddit post by user 7katalan, which is being reproduced below for archival purposes.

The Netflix Connections

TL;DR: Netflix’s two founders are heavily related to those in fields of weaponry and war, information, signalling and detection, television, politics, brain waves, public broadcasting, intelligence agencies, psychology, and propaganda. THIS IS PROBABLY NOT A COINCIDENCE.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how Netflix has a lot of really fucked up programming that seems designed to enculture us to certain things. Prison being fun is a big one I’ve been noticing. So I was looking up their original shows and thought it was strange that their very first bit of original programming was House of Cards. Then I decided to look up the founders and HOO BOY does it get fucked up.

It was founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph.

The first of the founders, Hastings, is the great-grandson of Alfred Lee Loomis and Ellen Holman Farnsworth. Loomis was an investment banker and scientist involved in development of radar and the atomic bomb, and also helped develop the electroencephalogram and studied brain waves with it. His laboratory was a meeting place for many very famous scientists like Einstein, Fermi, Bohr, Heisenberg. His cousin was Henry L. Stimson, the Secretary of War for Taft, FDR, and Truman, and Secretary of State for Hoover, and who oversaw the Manhattan Project which created the atomic bomb. One of Alfred Lee Loomis’ children–Henry Loomis, Reed Hastings’ grand-uncle, was the director for the Voice of America under Eisenhower, and president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting under Nixon, both of which are public broadcast arms of the U.S. government (foreign and domestic, respectively.) . Henry Loomis also directed research for the United States Information Agency and served on the board of the Mitre Corporation, who worked with the CIA and DoD. Alfred Lee Loomis also predicted the Great Depression and bought a ton of gold beforehand, then got even richer by buying the stocks of companies at their lowest. In a final point that I need to confirm his wife, Ellen Holman Farnsworth, has the same surname as Philo Farnsworth, inventor of the television, and I’m pretty sure they are related.

The second founder, Randolph, has connections that are perhaps even crazier. His great-granduncle is Sigmund fucking Freud, pioneer of psychology, who studied unconscious desires that control people, the effects of trauma, the effects of childhood incidents, etc. Even more insane is Randolph’s grand-uncle, Edward Bernays, an Austrian-American who was heavily involved in the field of propaganda, and who basically started the modern field of ‘public relations’. He worked in PR for the United Fruit Company, who was involved with the CIA’s overthrow of Guatemala’s democratically elected government in 1954. Here are some quotes about how Bernays felt about propaganda and the common man (direct quotes in bold):

“Bernays argued that the covert use of third parties was morally legitimate because those parties were morally autonomous actors.”

“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.” He later called this scientific technique of opinion-molding the engineering of consent*.”

*“This phrase quite simply means the use of an engineering approach—that is, action based only on thorough knowledge of the situation and on the application of scientific principles and tried practices to the task of getting people to support ideas and programs.”

“instead of a mind, universal literacy has given [the common man] a rubber stamp, a rubber stamp inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of tabloids and the profundities of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man’s rubber stamp is the twin of millions of others, so that when these millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints…The amazing readiness with which large masses accept this process is probably accounted for by the fact that no attempt is made to convince them that black is white. Instead, their preconceived hazy ideas that a certain gray is almost black or almost white are brought into sharper focus. Their prejudices, notions, and convictions are used as a starting point, with the result that they are drawn by a thread into passionate adherence to a given mental picture.”

“Bernays’ vision was of a utopiansociety in which individuals’ dangerous libidinal energies, the psychic and emotional energy associated with instinctual biological drives that Bernays viewed as inherently dangerous, could be harnessed and channeled by a corporate elite for economic benefit. Through the use of mass production, big business could fulfill the cravings of what Bernays saw as the inherently irrational and desire-driven masses, simultaneously securing the niche of a mass-production economy (even in peacetime), as well as sating what he considered to be dangerous animal urges that threatened to tear society apart if left unquelled.

Bernays touted the idea that the “masses” are driven by factors outside their conscious understanding, and therefore that their minds can and should be manipulated by the capable few: “Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos…Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

“Propaganda was portrayed as the only alternative to chaos.”

Sound like coincidences to you?

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