As a famous example, Galileo was directly warned not to widely publish certain information. That information was identified by certain powerful interests as an indirect threat to their dominance. So, he was warned (to the best of my knowledge) not to widely publish the information, then he did so in direct disrespect of a clear threat from an institution that he knew to be immensely powerful as well as aggressively violent. He knew that the same institution had organized massive invasions called Crusades and yet he was arrogant enough to openly challenge them in the heart of their territory and with not even a single armed militant to support him.
Further, some institutions might be so powerful as to publicize ideas not based on accuracy but based on usefulness. They may seek to govern the attention of the masses (creating obsessions with certain issues and disgust and terror in regard to others). The may seek to govern the values, presumptions, interpretations, and perceptions of the masses. Finally, they may seek to govern the behaviors of the masses, and, because behaviors are responsive to perception, they govern the perceptions in order to govern the behaviors. Further, by governing the focus and attention of the masses, they can best program their perceptions (and thus the responses to their programmed perceptions).
Of course not. Similarly, no parents repeatedly announce to their small children that the accuracy of the story of Santa Claus must not be questioned. That would raise suspicions in the children about the possibility of a systematic deception of children by their parents and other adults.
Further, when a secret is not as important to keep, then they may publicize the issue but popularize an alternative explanation in order to bias the public in regard to future revelations of evidence about the subject. This eventually creates a scandal and the scandal about that issue distracts the public from the more basic secrets which will of course never be widely referenced at all.
One of the most famous examples of a conspiracy theory is the theory popularized by President George W. Bush about a series of attacks made in the US on September 11, 2001. Rather than asserting that the various crashes and explosions were all accidents or all coincidences, the President presented the idea that each incident was a conspiracy (such as a group of people who secretly conspired to hijack a plane). Further, not only as each incident a conspiracy, according to the President, but the entire set of incidents was all alleged to be a conspiracy that had been engineered by the same planners and organizers.
In human history, there has probably never been a conspiracy theory that was so rapidly publicized as that conspiracy theory articulated by President Bush and broadcast by a variety of media outlets. Of course, the theory of the conspiracy was probably not invented by the President, but was authored and edited by his speech-writers. He was just reading a script. He was just performing a role within a much more elaborate production.
So, when a public school textbook in the US makes reference to the events of 9/11, it is likely that there will only be a single conspiracy theory mentioned. Students may be tested in regard to practicing the ideas taught in the textbook. If they mindlessly repeat the ideas that the teacher programs them to repeat, then they will be rewarded. If not, they will be subject to social humiliation.
If other alternative theories or facts are presented about 9/11 in a public school classroom, they are likely to be dismissed or even ridiculed. In the US, the ideas of the public there about that issue will be so important to certain interests that they will make certain that a common curriculum or doctrine is presented to every single student not only in school but in most of popular culture (such as movies and TV shows).
In contrast, imagine that public schools in other parts of the world may not mention the topic of President Bush’s conspiracy theory at all. Or, they may reference the popular conspiracy theory, but with an element of skepticism or even with favoritism toward other theories.
USMC Major General Smedley Butler wrote and spoke extensively about the standard procedures of military propaganda in the US. He indicated that keeping secrets was very important to the success of the conquests of the US military, as well as deception, misinformation, corruption and intimidation. In order to promote the commercial interests of US-owned agricultural companies, Butler led US marines in attacks to intimidate Central American populations in to cooperating with the interests of the US-owned agricultural giants.
Edward Bernays also wrote about his role in deceiving the public of the US in regard to tricking them in to supporting the first US invasion of Europe (which is now known as World War One). He detailed how he concocted fictional stories that would trigger terror and rage in the public, as well as how he arranged for those stories to be widely publicized through a “cartel” of cooperative newspapers.
Is it possible that the same interests that have had the influence to kill a US President would also have had the influence to govern how public school textbooks referenced the incidents? Is it possible that the ideas publicized by the mainstream media in regard to those assassinations may have been influenced by the interests of those mainstream media outlets?
What major media outlet that is subject to a loss of license would publicize information that they believe to be a threat to their license (and their continued operation)? We do know that a few medical doctors have taken actions that they knew could result in a loss of their medical license (or worse), but they are much more independent than a major media outlet. Imagine a huge medical institution such as the AMA, AHA, ADA, or FDA openly announcing that for decades they have been promoting an idea which they knew never had any scientific merit but was very beneficial to the interests of their institution?
As surprising as it may be, institutional bias is not exclusive to governments, militaries, the mass media, or public schools. When commercial interests favored research that demonized the consumption of fat, that research was funded, publicized, and celebrated. The fact that the research may not have conformed to the most minimal standards of science as a secondary issue to the commercial interests of the institution. Contrary research that was in fact rigorously scientific was ignored then dismissed then ridiculed.
The government of Sweden (which is much less targeted by lobbyists than the US government) eventually reversed its position on dietary fat (after decades of contributing to an anti-fat hysteria). They openly published research showing that diets high in healthy fats not only present no special danger, but regularly reduce rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and many other conditions. The same research showed that diets low in high quality fats and high in low quality carbohydrates would consistently produce obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and so on.
Institutions have huge biases (relative to individuals). Individuals also all have bias.
Bias mean any notable familiarity with a particular point of reference. We tend to be more receptive to something that is already familiar, right? We tend to be more skeptical of what is unfamiliar.
So, we see that the primary function of both the mass media and the public school system is to program biases. We could say that infants do not have bias because they have not developed any special familiarity. However, consider that a human infant is biased to note certain frequencies of sound relative to a puppy (which can hear higher pitches than a human infant).
Were Galileo and the Pope equal? When President Clinton pardoned convicted criminal Marc Rich, were the two of them equal in political power? When President G.W. Bush interrupted the criminal prosecution of Weinberger (who had recently been indicted but was never even tried or convicted), were the two of them equal in power?