The political process provides ample opportunity to utilize crowd-manipulation techniques to foster support for candidates and policy. From campaign rallies to town-hall debates to declarations of war, statesmen have historically used crowd manipulation to convey their messages. Public opinion polls, such as those conducted by the Pew Research Center and www.RealClearPolitics.com provide statesmen and aspiring statesmen with approval ratings, and wedge issues.
Ever since the advent of mass production, businesses and corporations have used crowd manipulation to sell their products. Advertising serves as propaganda to prepare a future crowd to absorb and accept a particular message. Edward Bernays believed that particular advertisements are more effective if they create an environment which encourages the purchase of certain products. Instead of marketing the features of a piano, sell prospective customers the idea of a music room.
The entertainment industry makes exceptional use of crowd manipulation to excite fans and boost ticket sales. Not only does it promote assembly through the mass media, it also uses rhetorical techniques to engage crowds, thereby enhancing their experience. At Penn State University-University Park, for example, PSU Athletics uses the Nittany Lion mascot to ignite crowds of more than 100,000 students, alumni, and other visitors to Beaver Stadium. Among the techniques used are cues for one side of the stadium to chant "We are..." while the other side responds, "Penn State!" These and other chants make Beaver Stadium a formidable venue for visiting teams who struggle to call their plays because of the noise. World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), formerly the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) employs crowd manipulation techniques to excite its crowds as well. It makes particular use of the polarizing personalities and prestige of its wrestlers to draw out the emotions of its audiences. The practice is similar to that of the ancient Roman gladiators, whose lives depended upon their ability to not only fight but also to win crowds. High levels of enthusiasm are maintained using lights, sounds, images, and crowd participation. According to Hulk Hogan in his autobiography, My Life Outside the Ring, “You didn’t have to be a great wrestler, you just had to draw the crowd into the match. You had to be totally aware, and really in the moment, and paying attention to the mood of the crowd.”
A flash mob is a spontaneous gathering of individuals, usually organized in advance through electronic means, that performs a specific, usually peculiar action and then disperses. These actions are often bizarre or comical—as in a massive pillow fight, ad-hoc musical, or synchronized dance. Bystanders are usually left in awe and/or shock.
The concept of a flash mob is relatively new when compared to traditional forms of crowd manipulation. Bill Wasik, senior editor of Harper's Magazine, is credited with the concept. He organized his first flash mob in a Macy’s department store in 2003. The use of flash mobs as a tool of political warfare may take the form of a massive walkout during a political speech, the disruption of political rally, or even as a means to reorganize a crowd after it has been dispersed by crowd control. A first glance, a flash mob may appear to be the spontaneous undoing of crowd manipulation (i.e. the turning of a crowd against its manipulator). On September 8, 2009, for example, choreographer Michael Gracey organized—with the help of T-Mobile cell phones and approximately twenty instructors—a 20,000+-person flash mob to surprise Oprah Winfrey during her 24th Season Kick-Off event. Following Oprah's introduction, the Black-Eyed Peas performed their musical hit "I Gotta Feeling". As the song progressed, the synchronized dance began with a single, female dancer up front and spread from person to person until the entire crowd became involved. A surprised and elated Oprah found that there was another crowd manipulator besides her and her musical guests at work.  Gracey and others have been able to organize and manipulate such large crowds with the help of electronic devices and social networks. But one does not need to be a professional choreographer to conduct such an operation. On February 13, 2009, for example, a 22-year-old Facebook user organized a flash mob which temporarily shut down London’s Liverpool Street station.
Media manipulation is an aspect of public relations in which partisans create an image or argument that favours their particular interests. Such tactics may include the use of logical fallacies and propaganda techniques, and often involve the suppression of information or points of view by crowding them out, by inducing other people or groups of people to stop listening to certain arguments, or by simply diverting attention elsewhere.
As illustrated below, many of the more modern mass media manipulation methods are types of distraction, on the assumption that the public has a limited attention span.
Distraction by nationalism
Main article: Transfer (propaganda)
This is a variant on the traditional ad hominem and bandwagon fallacies applied to entire countries. The method is to discredit opposing arguments by appealing to nationalistic pride or memory of past accomplishments, or appealing to fear or dislike of a specific country, or of foreigners in general. It can be very powerful as it discredits foreign journalists (the ones that are least easily manipulated by domestic political or corporate interests).
· Example: "You want to know what I really think of the Europeans?" asked the senior United States State Department official. "I think they have been wrong on just about every major international issue for the past 20 years.".
· Example: "Your idea sounds similar to what they are proposing in Turkey. Are you saying the Turks have a better country than us?"
· Example: "The only criticisms of this proposed treaty come from the United States. But we all know that Americans are arrogant and uneducated, so their complaints are irrelevant."
· Example: The "Support Our Troops" campaign created by the Republican party during the War on Terror implies that opposing the war effort detracts support away from the individual soldiers fighting the war. Thus patriotic support of the troops becomes a form of support for the war in general.
Straw man fallacy
Main article: Straw man
The "straw man fallacy" is the lumping of a strong opposition argument together with one or many weak ones to create a simplistic weak argument that can easily be refuted.
· Example: Grouping all opposed to the 2003 invasion of Iraq as "pacifists", so they can be refuted by arguments for war in general. As with most persuasion methods, it can easily be applied in reverse, in this case, to group all those who supported the invasion together and label them as "warmongers" or "lackeys of the United States".