“Modify the standards of the in-group”: On Jews and Mass Communications — Part One of Two

“To be successful, mass propaganda on the behalf of out-groups would have to modify the standards of the in-group.
Samuel H. Flowerman, Mass Propaganda in the War Against Bigotry, 1947.
[1]

“The whole story is transparently barmy.” This is what Guardian journalist Jason Wilson had to say in a 2015 article discussing “conspiracy theories” about Cultural Marxism. Barmy, for the uninitiated, is a British informal adjective with the meanings “mad; crazy; extremely foolish.” Wilson continues by attempting to explain “the whole story”:

The vogue for the ideas of theorists like Herbert Marcuse and Theodor Adorno in the 1960s counterculture culminated with their acolytes’ occupation of the commanding heights of the most important cultural institutions, from universities to Hollywood studios. There, the conspiracy says, they promoted and even enforced ideas which were intended to destroy traditional Christian values and overthrow free enterprise: feminism, multiculturalism, gay rights and atheism. And this, apparently, is where political correctness came from. I promise you: this is what they really think … The theory of cultural Marxism is also blatantly antisemitic, drawing on the idea of Jews as a fifth column bringing down western civilisation from within, a racist trope that has a longer history than Marxism.

Re-reading this article recently, I wondered what Mr Wilson would say if I told him I possessed a document wherein an influential Jew linked to Marcuse and Adorno unambiguously sets out a scheme for the capture of the media, the mass brainwashing of White populations with multicultural propaganda, the manipulation of in-group culture to make it hostile to its own sense of ethnocentrism, the spreading of a culture of political correctness, and, ultimately, the co-option of the West by small ethnic clique pursuing its own interests under the guise of “promoting tolerance.” I wonder what he’d say if I told him the same Jew operated a network of hundreds, if not thousands, of other Jewish intellectuals engaged in the same single task — unlocking a psychological “backdoor” to White culture in order to completely reorient it. I think I’m correct in assuming that Mr Wilson would call me “barmy,” and accuse me of regurgitating the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. I suspect he would believe I’m a fantasist and an anti-Jewish conspiracy theorist. I know he’d dismiss even the possibility that such a document might actually exist. And yet it does exist.

The Intellectual Context

It’s quite possible that none of you have heard the name Samuel H. Flowerman, but I can say with certainty that you all, in a sense, know him nonetheless. If you’re even remotely familiar with the Frankfurt School, then you’re familiar with one aspect of his work. And, as we will soon discuss, if you find yourself living in a culture brainwashed into self-hatred then you’re familiar with another, though related, aspect of his work. Flowerman, it must be conceded, has been largely forgotten by history. He lurks in larger shadows left by “the exiles.” But Flowerman was in some respects as crucial a member of the Frankfurt School circle as any other. Of course, he wasn’t German-born. Nor was he a member of the Frankfurt School for Social Research. Instead, he was born in Manhattan in 1912, the grandson of a jeweler who arrived by ship from Warsaw’s Jewish district in 1885. And yet he would later achieve enough influence within his own group, as both activist and psychologist, to act as Research Director for the American Jewish Committee, and, most famously of all, to direct and co-edit the Studies in Prejudice series with Max Horkheimer.

For most who have in fact heard of him, this is perhaps the greatest extent of their knowledge of Flowerman. But for an accident, it would certainly represent the limits of mine. Very recently, however, I was conducting some research on Jewish activism in the cultural background preceding Brown v. Board of Education, and found myself, as I have so many times before, tumbling down the proverbial rabbit hole. After initially focusing on the figures of Jonathan Kozol and Horace Kallen (whose influence extends well beyond the popularisation of what he coined “cultural pluralism”), I came across a 2004 article in the Journal of American History by Howard University’s Daryl Scott titled “Postwar Pluralism, Brown v. Board of Education, and the Origins of Multicultural Education.”[2] Scott mentioned Flowerman because of the latter’s desire (pre-Brown) to inject theories derived from Studies in Prejudice into the education system, believing that moulding children was one of the best methods to achieve long-term and sustained socio-cultural change [see here for evidence the policy is continued to this day by the ADL].

Flowerman, a fan of post-Freudian psychoanalysis, possessed a background in both the study of education and of mass communication, and this heavily informed his thinking and activism.[3] In particular, he was doubtful that mass propaganda could, by itself, directly affect significant change among the White masses and make them abandon their “prejudice and latent authoritarianism” [i.e. acknowledging their own ethnic interests]. He was fascinated instead by the way peer group pressure exerted influence on the individual school children he had studied, along with the potential influence of teachers as shapers of minds as well as mere educators. For example, in a 1950 article for New York Times Magazine titled “Portrait of the Authoritarian Man,” Flowerman argued that, in order to produce “personalities less susceptible to authoritarian ideas, we must learn how to select better teachers and to train them better; we must see them as engineers of human relations instead of instructors of arithmetic and spelling.”[4]

The combined result of his research and thinking in these areas was his argument that it should be desirable for people like him to obtain control over the means of mass communication. Not only, argued Flowerman, should this control be used for blanket “pro-tolerance” propaganda, but it should also actively reshape in-group standards — thus reforming peer group pressures to become antagonistic to in-group ethnocentrism. His (then) highly ambitious goal was a culture that policed itself: a politically correct culture in which Whites, via peer pressure, conformed to new values — values much more user-friendly to Jews. His views and goals were later summarized by Herbert Greenberg, a colleague and co-ethnic in the same field, in 1957:

Flowerman de-emphasized the value and effectiveness of propaganda as a technique for reducing prejudice. He also agrees with the conception that techniques based on group structure and inter-personal relationships are the most effective.[5]

Flowerman and Greenberg were just two members of what was effectively a series of interlinked battalions of Jewish psychologists and sociologists operating with a kind of religious fervour in the fields of “prejudice studies,” opinion-shaping, and mass communications between the 1930s and 1950s, all with the goal of “unlocking” the White mind and opening it to “tolerance.” In a remarkable invasion (and creation) of disciplines similar to the Jewish flood into the medical and race sciences in the 1920s and 1930s, Jews also flooded, and then dominated, the fields of opinion research and mass communications — areas of research that overlapped so often under Jewish scholars like Flowerman that they were practically indistinguishable.

Even a quick review of lists of Past Presidents reveals that Jews were vastly over-represented in, if not dominated, the membership and presidencies of both the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the World Association of Public Opinion Research (WAPOR). And of the four academics considered the “founding fathers” of mass communication research in America, two (Vienna-born Paul Lazarsfeld and Kurt Lewin) were Jews. Of the two European American founding fathers, most of Harold Lasswell’s graduate students were Jewish[6] (e.g., Daniel Lerner, Abraham Kaplan, Gabriel Almond, Morris Janowitz, and Nathan Leites) and he also sponsored the Institute for Social Research’s project on anti-Semitism.[7] The fourth, Carl Hoveland, had an equally Jewish coterie around him at Yale, where he operated a team of researchers along with Milton Rosenberg and Robert Abelson. Historian Hynek Jeřábek notes that Lazarsfeld’s influence in particular can’t be understated — by 1983, seven years after his death, “the directors of social research at the three largest media networks in the United States, CBS, ABC, and NBC were all his former students.”[8] Another Jew, Jay Blumler, has been called “a founding father of British media studies.”[9]

In fact, the Jewish dominance of the study of public opinion (and the potential for its manipulation) simply can’t be overstated. In addition to those already named, Joseph Klapper, Bernard Berelson, Fritz Heider, Leo Bogart, Elihu Katz, Marie Jahoda, Joseph Gittler, Morris Rosenberg, Ernest Dichter, Walter Weiss, Nathan Glazer, Bernard J. Fine, Bruno Bettelheim, Wallace Mandell, Hertha Hertzog, Dororthy Blumenstock, Stanley Schachter, David Caplovitz, Walter Lippmann, Sol Ginsburg, Harry Alpert, Leon Festinger, Michael Gurevitch, Edward Shils, Eugene Gaier, Joseph Goldsen, Julius Schreiber, Daniel Levinson, Herbert Blumer, I. M. A. Myers, Irving Janis, Miriam Reimann, Edward Sapir, Solomon Asch, and Gerald Wieder were just some of the hundreds of highly influential academics working in these fields that were born into Jewish families, associated heavily with other Jews, contributed work to Jewish organizations, married Jews, and yet concerned themselves with a degree of fanaticism with White opinion and ethnocentrism in America. This is to say nothing of their graduate students, who numbered in the thousands.

Despite some superficial differences in the titles of “opinion research,” “prejudice studies,” and “mass communications,” these academics all worked with each other to some degree, if not directly (in organisations or in co-written studies or papers) then via mutual associations. For example, it is a matter of historical fact that, in addition to three of the four founding fathers of mass communications research being Jews, all three were also very intimately involved with the Frankfurt School and the broader Jewish agenda to ‘adapt’ public opinion. Paul Lazarsfeld and Kurt Lewin, the two gurus of mass communication, together attended a 1944 conference on anti-Semitism organized by the research department of the American Jewish Committee (headed by Samuel H. Flowerman) and the Berkeley faction of the Frankfurt School in exile (headed by Theodor Adorno).[10] David Kettler and Gerhard Lauer also point out that Lazarsfeld was in regular communication with Max Horkheimer, was “strongly supportive of the Horkheimer Circle and its work,” and even furnished the latter with “notes and recommendations for the Horkheimer Circle’s unpublished ‘Anti-Semitism Among American Labor.’”[11] He was also a colleague at Columbia with and close confidante of, Leo Lowenthal.[12] By the late 1940s, Lazarsfeld’s ex-wife and mother of his child, Marie Jahoda, had even come to act as an American Jewish Committee liaison between Horkheimer and Samuel H. Flowerman, and co-wrote a number of articles on “prejudice” with Flowerman in Commentary.

One should by now begin to see clear connections forming between the American Jewish Committee, the Frankfurt School, “prejudice studies,” Jewish dominance of the academic field of “mass communications,” and, finally, the flow of influence from this field into the mass media (most clearly in the positions at CBS, ABC, and NBC quickly obtained by Lazarsfeld’s students). These connections will be important later.

A reasonable working hypothesis for such a sudden concentration of mutually networking Jews (often from different countries) in these areas of research would be that Jewish identity and Jewish interests played a significant part in their career choices, and that the trend was then accelerated by ethnic nepotism and promotion from within the group. Jeřábek appears to concur when he states that “Paul Lazarsfeld’s Jewish background, or the fact that many people around him in Vienna were Jewish, can help to explain his future affinities, friendships, or decisions.”[13] Setting aside the deep historical context of conflict between Jews and Europeans, a contingent and contemporary explanation might be that Jews were moved into fields involving mass opinion and perceptions of prejudice because they were deeply disturbed by the rise of National Socialism.

A more general, but, perhaps more convincing explanation considering their activities over time, is that these Jews were in fact disturbed by any form of ethnically defined and assertive White host culture. For example, some of the foreign-born academics listed above, such as Marie Jahoda and Ernest Dichter, had even been arrested and detained in pre-Anschluss, pre-National Socialist Vienna as cultural and political subversives in the early 1930s. They then made their way to the United States or the United Kingdom where they more or less continued the same behavior. It is highly likely that these individuals sought both to understand and change the mechanics of opinion and mass communications in their host populations in order to make it more amenable to Jewish interests. When they were effectively exiled from one host population they merely transplanted their ambitions to a new one. The only alternative hypothesis, long used in Jewish apologetics for any similar instance of Jewish over-representation, is that huge numbers of mutually networking Jews convened in these disciplines purely by accident. Nathan Cofnas and Jordan Peterson, for example, might argue that Jews accidentally entered these areas of study en masse simply because they possessed high IQs and liked living in cities.

The problem with such reasoning is that the work produced by these academics and activists was so highly focused against White American opinion, rather than appearing random or accidental, that it strongly indicates these scholars entered the field of mass communications with a clear and common agenda. For example, Jewish mass communications scholar Bernard Berelson was not just a researcher in public opinion, but also conducted a series of propaganda tests on how to make White Americans find their own ethnocentrism abhorrent. In 1945 he conducted a study in which a cartoon was shown to the public that made connections between Fascism and American culture. The cartoon, titled “The Ghosts Go West…,” showed ghosts leaving the graves of Hitler, Mussolini, and Goebbels, and flying to America carrying a banner that read: “Down with Labour Unions, Foreign Born, Jews, Catholics, Negroes.” The message was clearly that “intolerance” in America was basically the demonic ghost of fascism. Interestingly, however, the study found that Jews exposed to the cartoon were so fixated on the banner that they missed the underlying message altogether and believed the cartoon was a far right creation. The potentially confusing nature of the piece meant it was never deployed as a “pro-tolerance” propaganda weapon.[14]

Berelson was also later a colleague and friend of Frederick S. Jaffe, the Jewish then-Vice President of Planned Parenthood. Both Jaffe and Berelson later became somewhat notorious because of a memo (known in history as the Jaffe Memo) sent in 1969 from the former to the latter, in which anti-White sociopath Jaffe put forth his own series of protocols that included a table that summarized many proposals from various sources regarding population control. This table contained proposals such as compulsory abortions for out-of-wedlock births, sterilizations for women with more than two children, encouraging homosexuality, and encouraging women to work. Both would also later work together on the infamous 1972 Rockefeller Commission Report which incorporated many of Jaffe’s proposals. We thus see more links between Jewishness, “prejudice studies,” the discipline of mass communications studies, and anti-White Jewish activism more generally.

In reality, the work of all these scholars orbited the same themes, if not openly, then more secretively (as in the case of Lazarsfeld’s work with the Institute for Social Research). Marie Jahoda, the ex-Austrian subversive, produced a series of studies that were mere variations on the theme of White ethnocentrism, something she pathologized most famously in Antisemitism and Emotional Disorder (1950).[15] In the same year, Morris Janowitz and Bruno Bettelheim worked together to produce Dynamics of Prejudice.[16] Meanwhile Joseph Gittler produced such works as “Measuring the Awareness of the Problem of Group Hostility,”[17] and “Man and His Prejudices.”[18] Herbert Blumer produced “Race Prejudice as a Sense of Group Position.”[19] Fritz Heider worked with Kurt Lewin and Solomon Asch on unlocking the ways in which conformity could alter group behavior and individual opinions.[20] Ernest Dichter believed his studies of the mass communications in marketing could lead to the development of persuasive techniques that could “stop the new wave of anti-Semitism.”[21] The work of Walter Weiss concerned “mass communication, public opinion, and social change as they bear on changing racial attitudes.”[22] And aside from his secretive work with the Institute for Social Research, Paul Lazarsfeld, while working at the Bureau of Applied Social Research at Columbia University, introduced the notion of “social bookkeeping,” a systematic service that would note and evaluate “prejudice” in any material appearing in mass media of communications. I could go on.

Marie Jahoda

What we see here is the origins of an extensive Jewish joint enterprise in which the unlocking and alteration of White American public opinion is the goal. This is not conspiracy theory, but an established and provable fact. In a sense, the Frankfurt School, or Institute for Social Research, was the tip of an iceberg. The work of Horkheimer, Adorno et al, both drew from, and enthused, a large and growing army of Jewish academics working in the fields of public opinion and mass communications. This was a body of academics and activists keen to translate theories on “prejudice and the authoritarian personality” into action — to change the opinions and thinking of the host population. They would go on to develop forms of testing and analysis to further these goals, and their students would go on to take dominant positions in the fields of the mass media and mass communications. In many cases these academics speak openly of the need for control of the media and the mass dissemination of sophisticated propaganda (all of which could be tried and perfected at the expense of their universities in the name of ‘prejudice research’). Of all these activists, however, none produced a work more bluntly subversive than Samuel Flowerman’s 1947 essay “Mass Propaganda in the War on Bigotry.” It is to the protocols of Samuel H. Flowerman that we now turn our attention.

Go to Part 2.


[1] Flowerman, S. H., “Mass propaganda in the war against bigotry,” The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 42(4), (1947) 429-439.

[2] D. M. Scott, “Postwar Pluralism, Brown v. Board of Education, and the Origins of Multicultural Education,” Journal of American History, Vol 91, No 1 (2004), 69–82.

[3] For an example of Flowerman’s thoughts on Freud and psychoanalysis see S. H. Flowerman, “Psychoanalytic Theory and Science,” American Journal of Psychotherapy, Vol. 8, No. 3, 415-441.

[4] S. H. Flowerman, “Portrait of the Authoritarian Man,” New York Times Magazine, April 23 1950, 31.

[5] Herbert Greenberg, “The Effects of Single-Session Education Techniques on Prejudice Attitudes,” The Journal of Educational Sociology, Vol. 31, No. 2 (1957), 82-86, 82.

[6] Ido Oren, Our Enemies and US: America’s Rivalries and the Making of Political Science, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, (2003), 13.

[7] Thomas Wheatland, The Frankfurt School in Exile (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009), 384.

[8] Hynek Jeřábek, Paul Lazarsfeld and the Origins of Communications Research, (New York: Routledge, 2017), 18.

[9] James Curran, “Jay Blumler: A Founding Father of British Media Studies,” in Stephen Coleman (ed) Can the media save democracy? Essays in honour of Jay G. Blumler (London: Palgrave, 2015).

[10] John P. Jackson and Nadine M. Weidman, Race, Racism, and Science: Social Impact and Interaction (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press), 176.

[11] David Kettler and Gerhard Lauer, Exile, Science and Bildung: The Contested Legacies of German Emigre Intellectuals (New York: Palgrave, 2005),  184.

[12] James Schmidt, “The Eclipse of Reason and the End of the Frankfurt School in America,” New German Critique 100 (2007), 47-76, 47.

[13]Jeřábek, Paul Lazarsfeld and the Origins of Communications Research, 23.

[14] Bureau of Applied Social Research, “The Ghosts Go West”: A Study of Comprehension, (Unpublished), 1945, Directed by Bernard B. Berelson. Cited in Flowerman, S. H., “Mass propaganda in the war against bigotry,” 438.

[15] See for example, “The dynamic basis of anti-Semitic attitudes,” The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 2, (1948); “The evasion of propaganda: How prejudiced people respond to anti-prejudice propaganda” The Journal of Psychology, 23 (1947), 15-25; Studies in the scope and method of “The authoritarian personality. (New York, NY, US: Free Press, 1954); “Race relations in Public Housing,” Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 7, No. 1-2 (1951).

[16] Morris Janowitz and Bruno Bettelheim, Dynamics of Prejudice (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1950).

[17] Joseph Gittler, “Measuring the Awareness of the Problem of Group Hostility,” Social Forces, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Dec., 1955), 163-167.

[18] Joseph Gittler, ”Man and His Prejudices,” The Scientific Monthly, 69 (1949 ), 43-47.

[19] Herbert Blumer, ““Race Prejudice as a Sense of Group Position,” Pacific Sociological Review, 1 (Spring 1958), 3-7.

[20] Irvin Rock and Stephen Palmer, “The Legacy of Gestalt Psychology,” Scientific American, Dec 1990, 84-90, 89.

[21] Ernest Dichter, The Strategy of Desire (New York: Routledge, 2017), 15.

[22] Bert T. King and Elliott McGinnies, Attitudes, Conflict, and Social Change (New York: Academic Press, 1972), 124.

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