Deep in the SpinWatcher’s paranoid world view is the idea that the public is being systematically deceived by mind control exercised by the PR industry. While they claim to be defending the public – the unspoken meaning is that the choices people make are not their own, but made for them by ‘organizations’ that ‘are deliberately shadowy and cultivate a mystique, rendering their critics more liable to be dismissed as conspiracy theorists’ (David Miller et al, Arguments Against G8, 2005, p 224).
The ‘shadowy’ forces make people buy things they do not want, through ‘the extreme power of marketing and branding in the West’ which ‘continue to take children prisoner at younger and younger ages’. (Ibid. 228-9, While Miller thinks that Capitalism will collapse without selling us more and more stuff we don’t need, the IMF is today pressuring countries to reduce consumer spending.)
Where do the SpinWatchers’ get their dim view of the public? It goes way back. Miller learned to think of people as automatons from the Glasgow University Media Group.
To the GUMG it seemed clear that televion was the main force to ‘shape people’s thoughts or actions’ and ‘has a profoud effect’ because it ‘has the power to tell people the order in which to think about events and issues’ and ‘it very largely decides what people will think with: television controls the crucial information with which we make up our minds about the world’ (Greg Philo et al, Really Bad News, 1982, p 1)
Paranoiacs often think that they are getting mind control messages from the television and other electrical equipment. Nowadays, we know that that is a delusion that people with a poorly anchored personality suffer from. But for Professor Miller and the SpinWatchers, the delusion that the rest of us are in the grip of the mind controllers, and only they know the truth, a delusion that they reinforce in each other, seems to carry the weight of scientific fact.