It is quite evident that only to a tiny degree are public wishes or public needs satisfied by the manner in which an election takes place, for everybody who properly estimates the political intelligence of the masses, can easily see that this is not sufficiently developed to enable them to form general political judgments by themselves.
Whatever definition we may give of the term ‘public opinion,’ only a very, small part of it originates in personal experience or individual insight. The greater portion of it results from the manner in which public matters have been presented to the people through an overwhelmingly impressive and persistent system of ‘enlightenment.’ [by mass media].
By far the most effective part in political education (best expressed by the word ‘propaganda’) is that played by the press. The press is the chief means employed in the process of political ‘enlightenment’. It represents a kind of school for adults.
[Hence the vital need for the newspaper that will appeal to the broadest masses. On December 25th, 1920, the Nazis got exactly such a newspaper – the (in)famous Völkischer Beobachter].
It takes the press only, a few days to transform some ridiculously trivial matter into an issue of national importance, while vital problems were completely ignored or shelved and hidden away from public attention.
The press succeeded in the magic art of producing names from nowhere within the course of a few weeks. It made it appear that the great hopes of the masses were bound up with those names, and made their bearers more popular than many a man of real ability could ever hope to be in a long lifetime; at the same time old and tried figures in the political and other spheres of public life quickly faded from the public memory and were forgotten as if dead, though still in the full enjoyment of their health.