Manipulating public opinion
For the misled and deceived public, including those in supposedly intelligent discussion forums in social media, the word “manipulation” often has pejorative connotations, implying unfair or deceptive strategies. But the Webster Dictionary defines it more broadly as an act of change by artful or unfair means to serve one’s purpose. Manipulation therefore may be either artful or deceptive. If it is artful, people may show admiration; if it is deceptive, the reaction may be outrage.
When public opinion is manipulated by agents of the government and its friends in the media to deflect criticism of its policies or performance or for some malicious purpose like demonizing a sitting vice-president who’s seen as an unworthy successor to the incumbent president, the absence of public outrage is very disconcerting. Major newspapers and television networks carry in their daily reportage unfounded allegations of corruption against the vice president. Even the social media like Facebook and Twitter are replete with opinions or messages bordering on libel that assail the integrity of the vice president and his family for unexplained wealth and their political dynasty.