Another innovation in the influencing of public opinion was the printing press (and publications like newspapaer and magazines). Later, that became raido and TV and so on. Again, the media outlets focus on certain issues and ignore or dismiss others.
So, centralization of authority ALWAYS corresponds to less receptivity to certain kinds of content as well as “bias” toward big funders. When there is a decentralized set of media outlets, then it can be challenging for a single “tyrant” to influence every single media outlet (or school or church). It is harder to censor or suppress information without centralized distribution and control mechanisms.
In particular, the “wire services” of AP & Reuters allow for huge numbers of media outlets to all program the masses with the same “curriculum.” Further, when there is a regulatory power like the FCC watching every move by AP and Reuters, then that effects content, too.
Plus, there are many cases of fabricated propaganda that governments create and then feed to the private media. Edward Bernays wrote about the deceptions that he used as a US government contractor to get the US public to be more receptive to the idea of invading Europe. He “sold” World War 1 to the US public. How? Deception was a reliable method (consistently effective). He made up emotionally-charged accusations and then had a big budget to get those stories published as “news.”
In WW2, while our allies the USSR were slaughtering tens of millions of their own citizens, they also massacred about 22,000 Polish people and blamed it on the Nazis. Because the USSR was our ally and the Nazis were our enemy, the US (and UK) media publicized the Katyn Forest Massacre as another Nazi atrocity. It was not.
Further, the idea of a massive holocaust in Germany is notable relative to the devastation conducted by the USSR in Ukraine and elsewhere. The popular figure for the total deaths in the German holocasut is 6 million. Not only is that figure considered by many to be immesnely inflated, but it is still dwarfed by the series of genocide conducted by the USSR (the US ally).
But the US government’s “ministry of information” did not “feed” AP & Reuters stories about the genocides of our communist allies. Instead, the Katyn Forest massacre was blamed on the Nazis as well as a variety of emotionally-charged stories, like making soap from human flesh or using human skin for lampshades. If some of these stories were “recycled” inflammatory content created by Edward Bernays, they were not publicized for accuracy but for emotional impact.
So there are many layers to the issue of centralizing information. There are clear cases of falsehood like the Gulf of Tonkin “attacks against the US” that the US used to justify aggression against Vietnam. Basically, the US Navy traveled many thousands of miles to bring immense military power to the edge of Vietnam, then publicized a report of an attack against a US vessel, then “retaliated.” The report of the original attack was later admitted as entirely false, but the invasion itself did not stop because of that detail.
The current “official” version of the story is that the US Secreatry of Defense McNamara intentionally deceived President Johnson. However, some radicals assert that the US invasion of Vietnam was a choice made long before that, with the assassination of JFK to remove him as a “barrier” to the invasion. LBJ may have been ignorant and naive or may have just been smart enough to have a lower-ranking agent (lower than his rank) be the “bad guy.”
What about matters of health? Would commercial interests lobby for the creation of US government agencies to advance the interests of the lobbyists? Would the lobbyists try to influence their agency (the one that they created) so as to protect the economic interests of the lobbyists?
If margarine sales depended on a demonization of saturated fat, could the commercial interests get the FDA to approve the use of margarine (whether safe or healthy or what) and also permit a demonizing of saturated fat? What if the lobbyists could get the FDA to do the demonizing itself and at the expense of taxpayers? That would be a great result for a lobbyist or PR firm, right?
The idea that the FDA or the CDC ever had any scientific credibility or integrity is an interesting idea. Where did you learn it? From the government-operated schools and government-regulated media?
Consider the allegation by the FDA that cholesterol is a dangerous substance. Millions of species of animal on this planet all have livers and all of those livers are constantly producing cholesterol, which can then be made in to estrogen and cortisol and vitamin D. How many of those animals are harmed by cholesterol?
The FDA can publicize the idea that all of those animals are harmed by cholesterol. That is not only false, but ridiculous. Even now, though, if you go to a grocery store or search online for cholesterol, you can find reference to “lowering cholesterol” as if that is a good thing. (What if there is extensive evidence that lowering cholesterol has huge long-term detriments?)
What is the actual issue that led to the demonization of cholesterol? Cholesterol is sent to damaged tissue to help repair it. So, there is a correlation between cholesterol and various kinds of medical conditions.
The FDA, as an instrument of lobbyists, publicized the idea that cholesterol caused the damage to the tissue. This is exactly like saying that the presence of paramedics CAUSES medical emergencies. It has no scientific credibility and never did.
However, demonizing cholesterol was recognized as a profitable promotion. This allowed for the creation of a new industry: toxic drugs to impair the function of the liver in regard to the manufacturing of cholesterol.
Some radicals assert that the FDA has always been an instrument of special commercial interests (created by them and directed by them). They say things like “the only thing the FDA has ever done is to conduct a war on science.”
However, anonymous sources within the FDA have issued statements saying “we operate only to promote the interests of you personally and of all of the other human resources that we manage.” Hillary Clinton recently said, “This is a huge relief to know, right?”
So, as to the issue of “holding the government officials accountable,” who will do that? Other government agencies? Really?
The wise thing to do is to “wake up” to the nature of governments. They are systematically violent and deceptive.
In the case of the 1979 Iran hostage situation, certain US politicians took actions to delay the release of the hostages to promote the campaign of Reagan over Carter. Among the leading agents of the operation were Oliver North and Caspar Weinberger. They illegally laundered drug money from central America and they illegally traded in weapons in order to convince the Iranians to keep the US hostages captive until Reagan’s inauguration.
North was later convicted (and sentenced) and Weinberger was indicted (plus 4 others) and awaiting trial. President GWH Bush had the legal right to interrupt all of those legal punishments and did so.
Marc Rich was not as well known. He was involved in illegal smuggling of oil out of Iran during the embargo of the late 1970s. After massive donations to causes “near to the heart of Bill Clinton,” Clinton also reversed the convictions against Marc Rich (which included tax evasion and fraud, etc).
Those are events within our lifetimes. Prior to our lifetimes, were governments less violent or less deceptive? Government propaganda all over the world may suggest that “our government, which is so unlike the evil governments of so many other places and times, has always been the best one ever.”