Well, I pretty much side with Apotheosis on this matter. Social psychology has a lot to say about human manipulation and brainwashing. McMurphy, you claim that it is primarily human nature that dictates people's prejudices. I don't disagree with that assertion. However, mainstream media outlets tend to report the same information with little digression or variety between the network sources. People exposed to the same regurgitated information over and over again will to some degree conform to the skewed slogans and double-speak. In addition, false dichotomies, either-or thinking and artificial binary choices dominate network news sources. You are either politically left or right you either support war efforts or are anti-American etc. These are obviously simplistic examples, but one cannot deny that at the end of the day, news sources encourage individuals to conform to two polar viewpoints without much digression. Of course, individuals will tend to seek out information that confirms their own biases, yet these personalized biases do not usually deviate too far outside the prevailing opinions provided, pre-packaged opinions that are often distorted to adhere to the specific culture's reinforced conventions. This reinforcement naturally retards critical analysis and the desire to research information outside the narrow range that has been normalized. What must also be taken into account is that the probability of a given person falling prey to indoctrination is dependent on one's personality and environment in which they were raised. This suseptibility exists on a continuum, with conformist and either-or attitudes often falling to individuals who more-or-less have authoritarian personality styles. Confirmation bias, stereotyping, reactionary attacks on alternative perspectives and the tendency to uncritically conform to higher authorities predominate. It should be noted, authoritarian personality styles are found in all societal groups, whether they be liberal or conservative, religious or atheist etc.
Propaganda and brainwashing are nothing new. It's been around since the ancient times. Back in the day religion was the manipulative technology implemented. Today it is television and the skewed data provided by mainstream academia and research institutions. Welcome to the new world, same as the old world.
Personally, I think Icke has some good information. I don't agree everything he says, but he was impetus that got me to start thinking outside the maze of boxes we are stuck in. Planet earth is a big laboratory and we are the rats. There is always something higher on the food chain.