My question concerns the ethics of mass influence, specifically when the

My question concerns the ethics of mass influence, specifically when the

My question concerns the ethics of mass influence, specifically when the intention is to help bring about positive consequences and the means of influence is manipulative. It seems to me that mass communication that is designed to manipulate public opinion is likely to be harmful to reason and rational inquiry, not to mention that it treats people as objects or pawns, it smacks of elitism (which if warranted requires justification), and in some case it can lead to social polarization and even violence. But grandpa here also wonders if he has held onto youthful idealism for far too long, and that maybe a realist would accept that anyone who wants to do good in the world on a large scale has no choice but to at least sometimes engage in some degree of manipulative mass communication, and that this is as ethically justifiable (depending on the situation) as deceiving Kant’s murderer at the door. I’ve searched in vain for philosophical commentary on this specific issue, and I would be particularly interested in hearing from or about philosophers who defend the occasional or frequent manipulation of public opinion on consequentialist grounds.

Read another response by Michael Cholbi
Read another response about Ethics