Through out chapter four Ewen looks back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when journalism and muckraking was beginning to take off. He discusses the difference between information spread by leaders and information spread from newspapers. Walter Lippmann, a Progressive intellectual, early on became very vocal as to how big business has been taken over, with then President Theodore Roosevelt also agreeing.
Roosevelt said during an interview, “Corporation cunning has developed faster than the laws of nation and State. Corporations have found ways to steal long before we have found that they were susceptible of punishment for theft.” Lippmann and President Roosevelt both understood how much big business had taken over the people and their families. Muckraking did not help to diminish the chaos that was beginning among the people, it only fueled the fire between big business who have so much and middle-class workers who have so little.
French social psychologist and author of The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, Gustave Le Bon, looked closely at how “…the liberal ideal of natural rights had moved beyond its roots in middle-class life and had given rise to more inclusive conceptions of popular democracy” in his book.” The idea of the crowd looked at how the wealthy and corrupt politics has affected “the desolation of the urban poor.” With big business having the power and the feeling of instability, Le Bon’s The Crowd coincided well with President Roosevelt’s and Lippmann’s own worries.
A good friend of Le Bon was Gabriel Tarde focused more on “the public” than “the crowd”. Tarde looked at how the growing media shaped the publics thoughts and opinions, not bug business. He stated, “One pen suffices to set off a million tongues,” meaning that if a nation wide newspaper put a certain idea out to the public it would spread faster among a larger group. “The public” now was seen as one, with one mind that was given information not just nation wide but world wide, from the largest form of communication, the newspaper. “If the crowd was perceived as dangerous, driven by irrational appetites, the public –as an audience of readers — seemed more receptive to ideas, to rationalization, to the allure of factual proof.”
Finally, there was Ivy Lee, who took the idea of “the public” and twisted it a little.
Lee is seen as the father of public relations and is best known for working with the Rockefeller’s after the Ludlow Massacre on “damage control”. Lee brought to attention that the people now had all the power and that bug business needed to accept that, while still looking out for their own interests. He promised to present the real facts and interests of the people with complete accuracy and would share any information he obtained with the press. When Lee was asked to help John D. Rockefeller after the Ludlow Massacre he made sure the public was continually informed with the truth. However, when he testified (after the Ludlow Massacre) in front of the U.S. Commission of Industrial Relations, his answers were very similar to that of a present corporate public relations team.