featuring journalist and scholar John Maxwell Hamilton and author of Manipulating the Masses: Woodrow Wilson and the Birth of American Propaganda.
Controlling propaganda is one of democracy’s thorniest problems. Like the plant deadly nightshade, which can promote sanity or bewitch, depending on how the potion is administered, government information can sustain democracy or undermine it. The American government has enormous power to use taxpayer’s dollars to shape citizens’ views but does not always use them wisely. Jack Hamilton explores this problem in his definitive history of the Committee on Public Information. The CPI, created by President Wilson, was our first and only propaganda ministry, and it lasted only for the duration of the Great War. But it set the pattern for presidential propaganda ever since. Among the CPI’s accomplishments was it's pioneering of the concept of public diplomacy. Hamilton argues forcefully for checks on presidents’ capacities to push the boundaries of their communication powers.
Hamilton, a longtime journalist and founding dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University, is the Hopkins P. Breazeale LSU Foundation Professor and a Global Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Manipulating the Masses was just awarded the Goldsmith Prize, the second time he has won this award.
This program is a regularly scheduled First Monday Forum cosponsored by the Public Diplomacy Association of America, the Public Diplomacy Council, and USC's Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.
We look forward to "seeing you" on May 3, 2021.