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I think journalists today — elite journalists at least — absorb the biases of the
ruling class far more readily than they used to do. The media establishment is populated by yes-men.
I do not understand how any skeptical person can, in good conscience, trust a western MSM description
of foreign events. The mainstream media gives us no real news. Just the news they are given. Seeing
how they treat the concept of truth these days, one might think that MSM just don’t care anymore.
Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Media-Military-Industrial Complex > Propaganda
|News||Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Recommended Links||The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment||Demonization of Putin||"Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place|
|Swiftboating: Khan gambit against Trump at Democratic Convention||US and British media are servants of security apparatus||Nation under attack meme||Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?||Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers||Edward Lucas as agent provocateur|
|MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage||Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome"||Deception as an art form||The Deep State||Media-Military-Industrial Complex||Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law|
|Patterns of Propaganda||The importance of controlling the narrative||Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair||American Exceptionalism||Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism||Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"|
|Lewis Powell Memo||Neoconservatism as the USA version of Neoliberal ideology||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism||Anatol Leiven on American Messianism||New American Militarism||The attempt to secure global hegemony|
|Diplomacy by deception||Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources||Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom'||The Real War on Reality||US Presidential Elections of 2016||Bullshit as MSM communication method|
|Neo-fascism||Classic Hypocrisy of British Ruling Elite||Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ?||Big Uncle is Watching You||What's the Matter with Kansas||Media as a weapon of mass deception|
|Soft propaganda||Groupthink||Nineteen Eighty-Four||Propaganda Quotes||Humor||Etc|
|"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given,
rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content.
If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."
Karl Kraus, 1914
WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
We are the world, we are exceptional, we cannot fail. The elite will lie, and the people will pretend to believe them. Heck about 20 percent of the American public will believe almost anything if it is wrapped with the right prejudice and appeal to passion. Have a pleasant evening.
jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com, Feb 04, 2015Journalists manipulate us in the interest of the Powerful
Do you also have the feeling, that you are often manipulated by the media and lied to? Then you're like the majority of Germans. Previously it was considered as a "conspiracy theory". Now it revealed by an Insider, who tells us what is really happening under the hood.
The Journalist Udo Ulfkotte ashamed today that he spent 17 years in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. ...he reveals why opinion leaders produce tendentious reports and serve as the extended Arm of the NATO press office. ...the author also was admitted into the networks of American elite organizations, received in return for positive coverage in the US even a certificate of honorary citizenship.
In this book you will learn about industry lobby organisations. The author calls hundreds of names and looks behind the Scenes of those organizations, which exert bias into media, such as: Atlantic bridge, Trilateral Commission, the German Marshall Fund, American Council on Germany, American Academy, Aspen Institute, and the Institute for European politics. Also revealed are the intelligence backgrounds of those lobby groups, the methods and forms of propaganda and financing used, for example, by the US Embassy. Which funds projects for the targeted influencing of public opinion in Germany
...You realize how you are being manipulated - and you know from whom and why. At the end it becomes clear that diversity of opinion will now only be simulated. Because our "messages" are often pure brainwashing.
"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
--A. J. Liebling, writer (1904 - 1963)
The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900).
The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895, Act I
How does Fake History and Fake News gradually supersede their reality-based version and were enforced on the society as the only acceptable narrative. My impression is that McCarthyism was not exactly only about Communists. It has elements of a more general witch hunt for "dissidents" who question "official Washington narrative". In other words it was a "cult-style" practice of mind control
"The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an "official narrative" that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between "the truth" as defined by the ruling classes and any other "truth" that contradicts their narrative. "
Truth like rare metals seldom lie on the surface. It needs to be mined, and extraction of truth from facts and opinions requires spending time and money. In other words truth is expensive, and always has been. But in modern word the situation deteriorates as there are constant and well financed efforts to pollute the discourse, making extraction of truth impossible. We do not have unlimited time for analyzing the news stream and even if we have but the news stream is completely poisoned you might be able to understand they they are deceiving you due to contradictions in coverage, but you will get very little from such an analysis. In one way or another we depend on "news aggregators" which means media. But there is very little competition within MSM of particular county, especially in foreign news coverage They all repeat the same taking points provided by the government. The key point here is that we should not put all eggs into one basket and diversify as much as possible trying to compare news coverage from media with opposing positions. Much like in court which try to determine the facts of the case if makes sense to listen to the opposing side.
The mainstream media, which theoretically should be among the miners, changed sides and joined the camp of polluters. It now treats concept of truth as redundant, Their coverage of domestic and international news provides a strong impression is that they just don’t care anymore about truth. A large percentage of Americans and Western Europeans know that their media lies to them about this own countries, but they still overwhelmingly assume that it’s telling them the truth about other countries. It’s a passive, default assumption. Groupthink is an immanent feature of human societies.
People have a right to know what’s truly happening to their lives, and their societies. In modern societies this is an increasingly difficult task. It is nearly impossible now if you use only the ‘official’ press (MSM)
Media in modern neoliberal societies has became part of military industrial complex, which now can be called media-military-industrial complex. Like military they now simply follow orders of the power that be. Such a new type of mercenaries. Mercenaries of pen. That is especially visible in foreign events coverage which became 100% authentic, classic war propaganda with its simple laws but now used continuously during peacetime. Principles of such "coverage" are well known since the WWI (Falsehood in War-Time):
1. We do not want war.
2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.
3. The enemy is the face of the devil.
4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.
5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.
6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.
9. Our cause is sacred. "The ages-old 'God bless America' is playing once more."
10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors.
Previous generations used to expect that MSM to provide some basic facts about foreign events correctly. Now it is completely opposite situation. Everything is distorted, twisted beyond recognition: facts. opinions, places and events and even video materials... It's like a world is replaced with some strange computer game that has only superficial connections to reality. "Virtual reality" created by MSM displace all attempts of honest coverage. Foreign correspondents became the direct extension of intelligence services or, in best case, Foreign Office/State Department.
The foreign correspondents, which are actually propagandist at the service of the Empire really wants to own people's conceptual space. They wants to select, limit and define what "facts" and impressions should be included in this conceptual space; wants to dictate which parts of these "facts" and impressions should be considered "good" and which parts should be considered "evil"; which parts are "sane" and which should be considered "crazy"; which parts can be reasonably debated and which cannot.
In other words using less politically correct term all of them are presstitutes (Urban Dictionary)
A term coined by Gerald Celente and often used by independent journalists and writers in the alternative media in reference to journalists and talking heads in the mainstream media who give biased and predetermined views in favor of the government and corporations, thus neglecting their fundamental duty of reporting news impartially. It is a portmanteau of press and prostitute.
I think the USSR won one important aspect of the cold war: it made the media in the US and other Western countries a replica of Soviet media acting as extension and tool of the state. Now the coverage of foreign events is dominated by hypocrisy, half-truths and open lies.
It's really "War is Peace" quote obtained a new more menacing sense, which is somewhat disconnected with never-ending "war with terrorism" (which in many cases is conveniently created by the same three letter agencies that fight it), which became synonym of peace.
This "War is Peace" situation creates completely surreal picture of foreign events, so much injected with "artificial reality" that they has nothing to do with the picture on the ground. Actually propaganda can be defined as the art of creation of artificial reality for the explicit purpose of brainwashing lemmings. And like in the USSR everything is controlled from a single center located in Washington DC, which by chance is also a capital of neoliberal world we live in. Now it is, for example, very difficult to understand what current US State Department talking points are about without listening Jen Psaki briefings, as they are repeated by all MSM.
No longer MSM perform the critical role they should be taking. And forget about finding even half-truth in foreign policy coverage. Here we have real Orwellian situation along the lines "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." Thanks to a MSM and connected to military-industrial complex politicians the essence of elite politics toward the population is exactly the same as formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief
Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Many Americans have a delusion that propaganda which the mainstream media now spread 24 x 7 represents “fair and balanced” coverage. And that MSM for some strange reason are looking out for the interests of average Americans.
Media is now a part of the centrally managed Ministry of Truth, and the basis of any coverage of foreign events is the attempt to justify actions of government and hide or cover inconvenient facts. That means that coverage is based of pre-written talking points -- scenarios of the play called "news coverage" distributed in a form of list of key aspects of coverage of particular event. The latter represents an well organized attempt to create the artificial reality via manipulation of facts and open disinformation when people can't compare various MSM as they all report from the same talking points and thus accept a lie as truth.
That's why seeking alternative sources of information is of paramount importance. In this sense Internet is the greatest thing that mankind invented for countering state propaganda. and that why state tries to neuter attempts to find the second source of information by trying to discredit them. The US MSM regularly demonize alternative sources of information calling them propaganda. It's like the pot calling the kettle black. Especially viciously attacked are RT, Farsnews, and PressTV. This outrage simply means that their coverage deviates most from State Department talking points ;-).
Another interesting set of source are regional newspapers such as New Straits Times, , BuenosAiresHerald, Sputnik International, etc. Large countries have slightly different interests and as such coverage of foreign events is provided from a different angle which increase the possibility of capturing the real picture of event from several distorted views. The are exceptions too. German English language newspapers I browsed were usually a copy of State Department talking points. But it might be that I did not search hard enough. Even The Guardian can be used to read readers comments, which are often of high quality and due to the size of English speaking audience represent variety of views. State Department trolls are pretty much visible in this audience and while they represent a noise they are not able to completely suppress useful signal. It's like listening foreign radio stations in the USSR when the voice still decipherable in most cases despite of jamming.
Here is one telling comment from a Guardian commenter ( Fox News man is 'idiot' for Birmingham Muslim comments – David Cameron, The Guardian)
ephen_Sean -> jacksonofyork, 2 Jan 2015
You'll find the same type of people with similar attitudes in the UK reading Daily Mail as you do Americans watching FoxNews. By the way - I have read both, but I usually read Guardian. I also read Al Jazerra, RT, Jerusalem Post, DT, and Independent just trying to get some perspective from all sides.
News about the USA, and, especially, the US foreign policy, are more accurate in non-US sources ;-). In a way reading news about the US foreign policy from MSM you are reading State Department talking points again and again. There are also interesting sources within the USA such as Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, The Intercept, We should not buy this cheap trick and as adults we can see ourselves what is propaganda and what it not. We do not need somebody from State Department to tell us. All MSM are now can be considered to be state propaganda. That goes without saying. But the goals of propaganda of different state can be different and correlating different propaganda streams you might get a better picture of events. See Some recommendations for resistance to propaganda brainwashing below.
|Seeking alternative sources of information is of paramount importance. In this sense Internet is the greatest thing that mankind invented for countering state propaganda. and that why state tries to neuter attempts to find the second source of information by trying to discredit them. The US MSM regularly demonize alternative sources of information calling them propaganda. It's like the pot calling the kettle black. Especially viciously attacked are RT and Aljazeera but also such sources as Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. We should not buy this cheap trick and as adults we can see ourselves what is propaganda and what it not. We do not need somebody from State Department to tell us. All MSM are now can be considered to be state propaganda. That goes without saying. But the goals of propaganda of different state can be different and correlating different propaganda streams you might get a better picture of events. See Some recommendations for resistance to propaganda brainwashing below.|
Under the neoliberalism the role of press from the forth power doggedly pursuing unpopular truths, changed to a criminal accomplice of large corporation and controlled by them government. The neoliberal (aka free-market) economics model when applied to media naturally leads inevitably to highly controlled and narrow reporting. Which is especially visible in such subjects as oligarchy control of the society and foreign policy. The mainstream American corporate media (the big TV networks, the big newspapers, news magazines, etc) serve to uphold the interests of the elites in this country (political and economic). Basically, the mainstream press will leave the most crucial questions unanswered, if they portray the American elite in a bad light. Herman and Chomsky long ago put forward a "propaganda model" to explain the bias in Western (mostly US) media on international affairs. Their thesis is that, although the US is not a dictatorship where a single leader or a Party can censor the press, the neoliberalism creates a more effective self-imposed censorship which naturally leads to Soviet-style, or even worse, coverage of events, especially international events. Owners of major outlets are simply more interested on delivering audiences to their advertisers and vital corporate sponsors than in providing their readers with balanced and informed news. It cultivates "consumption lemmings" obediently following power that be. As Mark Twain said, "It was a narrow escape. If the sheep had been created first, man would have been a plagiarism."
Like in the USSR with communism, the assumptions behind neoliberal ideology, are rarely challenged; ideologies organize the worldview of the population, constructing the framework in which news events are placed and interpreted.
It looks like power of modern MSM can easily convert an attack into defense, coup d'état into people uprising and perform other amazing metamorphosis. Here are some prominent propaganda operations
Most MSM journalists now seek to disrespect and disregard truth. There have always been accusations of bias in the media, but today we have Fox News along with a smattering of partisan radio talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh. It is clear that they will do anything in overt advocacy for their ideological views.
Another dangerous tendency (which perhaps is even more damaging( is "fake objectivity". to hide that they are highly and irrevocably partisan, many news sites try to fake impression that they are fair and balanced by presenting "both" sides of any issue deemed "controversial". Often when there really aren’t two credible sides and one side is clearly misinforming the public. That isn’t objectivity. As Lee McIntyre noted (The Attack on Truth - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education) healthy skepticism toward MSM now is a must. It is essentially survival skill:
To see how we treat the concept of truth these days, one might think we just don’t care anymore. ...many commentators in the media — and even some in our universities — have all but abandoned their responsibility to set the record straight...
... ... ...
Plato here teaches a central lesson about the philosopher’s search for knowledge, which has ramifications for any quest for true belief. The real enemy is not ignorance, doubt, or even disbelief. It is false knowledge. When we profess to know something even in the face of absent or contradicting evidence, that is when we stop looking for the truth. If we are ignorant, perhaps we will be motivated to learn. If we are skeptical, we can continue to search for answers. If we disbelieve, maybe others can convince us. And perhaps even if we are honestly wrong, and put forward a proposition that is open to refutation, we may learn something when our earlier belief is overthrown.
But when we choose to insulate ourselves from new ideas or evidence because we think that we already know what is true, that is when we are most likely to believe a falsehood. It is not mere disbelief that explains why truth is so often disrespected. It is one’s attitude.
In a recent paper, "Why Do Humans Reason?," Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber, both of them philosophers and cognitive scientists, argue that the point of human reason is not and never has been to lead to truth, but is rather to win arguments. If that is correct, the discovery of truth is only a byproduct.
... ... ...
To fight back, we should remember the basic principles of evidence-based belief and true skepticism that got us out of the Dark Ages. Although behavioral economists, among other scholars, have amply shown that human reason is not perfect, that is no excuse for lazy thinking. Even if our brains are not wired to search for truth, we can still pursue a path that might lead to better answers than those supplied by Kahneman’s "fast" part of our brain.
Truth may not be automatic, but it is still an option. Socrates taught us as much long before we knew anything about cognitive science: Good reasoning is a skill that can be learned.
'What is a "conspiracy theorist?
The pejorative "conspiracy theorist" is meant to demean and ridicule skeptics of official stories.
Most so-called "conspiracy theorists" are really skeptics, by definition. They're skeptical of what the government tells them. They're skeptical of the claim that drug companies are really only interested in helping humankind and have no desire to make money. They're skeptical that food corporations are telling them the truth about what's in their food. And they're also skeptical of anything coming out of Washington D.C., regardless of which party happens to be in power at the time.
People who are not skeptics of "official stories" tend to be dull-minded.
To believe everything these institutions tell you is a sign of mental retardation. To ask questions, on the other hand, is a sign of higher intelligence and wisdom.'
What is interesting that although the term existed before, it was reinvented and popularized by CIA with the specific goal to suppress skeptics of the official version of assassination of JFK:
That all changed in the 1960s.
Specifically, in April 1967, the CIA wrote a dispatch which coined the term “conspiracy theories” … and recommended methods for discrediting such theories. The dispatch was marked “psych” – short for “psychological operations” or disinformation – and “CS” for the CIA’s “Clandestine Services” unit.
The dispatch was produced in responses to a Freedom of Information Act request by the New York Times in 1976.
The dispatch states:
2. This trend of opinion is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization.
The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries. Background information is supplied in a classified section and in a number of unclassified attachments.
3. Action. We do not recommend that discussion of the [conspiracy] question be initiated where it is not already taking place. Where discussion is active addresses are requested:
- To discuss the publicity problem with and friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors) , pointing out that the [official investigation of the relevant event] made as thorough an investigation as humanly possible, that the charges of the critics are without serious foundation, and that further speculative discussion only plays into the hands of the opposition. Point out also that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by … propagandists. Urge them to use their influence to discourage unfounded and irresponsible speculation.
- To employ propaganda assets to and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. The unclassified attachments to this guidance should provide useful background material for passing to assets. Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (II) politically interested, (III) financially interested, (IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (V) infatuated with their own theories.
4. In private to media discussions not directed at any particular writer, or in attacking publications which may be yet forthcoming, the following arguments should be useful:
- No significant new evidence has emerged which the Commission did not consider.
- Critics usually overvalue particular items and ignore others. They tend to place more emphasis on the recollections of individual witnesses (which are less reliable and more divergent–and hence offer more hand-holds for criticism) …
- Conspiracy on the large scale often suggested would be impossible to conceal in the United States, esp. since informants could expect to receive large royalties, etc.
- Critics have often been enticed by a form of intellectual pride: they light on some theory and fall in love with it; they also scoff at the Commission because it did not always answer every question with a flat decision one way or the other.
... ... ...
- As to charges that the Commission’s report was a rush job, it emerged three months after the deadline originally set. But to the degree that the Commission tried to speed up its reporting, this was largely due to the pressure of irresponsible speculation already appearing, in some cases coming from the same critics who, refusing to admit their errors, are now putting out new criticisms.
- Such vague accusations as that “more than ten people have died mysteriously” can always be explained in some natural way ….
5. Where possible, counter speculation by encouraging reference to the Commission’s Report itself. Open-minded foreign readers should still be impressed by the care, thoroughness, objectivity and speed with which the Commission worked. Reviewers of other books might be encouraged to add to their account the idea that, checking back with the report itself, they found it far superior to the work of its critics.
Here are screenshots of part of the memo:
... ... ...
In the article Correcting for the distorted vision of the corporate media - corporate media issues (MediaLens.org) they stresses that essentially 1984 arrived in a slightly modified form and "A customary way for the elite to deflect criticism is to term it a "conspiracy theory", which is common across the ideological system. There is a good reason for it. British elites have built a fundamentally secretive political system for which they are minimally accountable to the public. As noted in chapter 13, they believe the public should have only a marginal say in this system outside elections, and - to judge from some of the views expressed in the Scott inquiry - neither do they think the public should even know what the decision-making processes are. Elites are especially keen to deflect criticism exposing how the system works, which is more threatening than criticizing specific policies (which can be dismissed as "exceptions"). The term "conspiracy theory" is often deployed once criticism has moved beyond the specific and is closer to exposing how the system as a whole works.""
The French philosopher Jean Guehenno has said that "the worst betrayal of intelligence is finding justification for the world as it is". But this is often the role played by experts, to explain the everyday as normal, justifiable, requiring little change, but rather "stability" and few upsets to "world order" unless controlled by us. In fact, the everyday is a horror for many people - the half of the planet that lives in absolute poverty, as well as the victims of torture and repression in the US and British-backed client states, for example.
Elites throughout history have presented their policies as in the natural order of things, which helps to obscure the pursuit of their own particular interests. An important aspect of the ideological system is rendering a single view dominant or "natural", presenting current policies as inevitable, and undermining the possibility of alternatives.
"Globalisation" is presented by elites as such a natural phenomenon, and critics ridiculed as Luddites who cannot stop the inevitable march of history. These curiously Marxist, determinist views mask the elite's goal under globalisation of promoting total global economic "liberalisation" - a far from inevitable outcome, but a strategy chosen by the liberalisation theologists of New Labour, and their allies among the transnational elite.
If the current horrible policies are "normal", the alternatives are "unthinkable". Even to mention the indictment of Tony Blair for war crimes, to oppose British cooperation with the US because it is a consistent supporter of human rights abuses overseas, or even to end arms exports is "unthinkable" in the mainstream and would invite ridicule.
Take the Guardian's Ian Black, who writes that a key aim of the International Criminal Court is to avoid: "politically motivated or frivolous investigations - what one expert calls the 'nutcase factor': for instance, of the possible pursuit of [Northern Ireland secretary] Mo Mowlam or Tony Blair for crimes against humanity". Only "nutcases" could possibly believe Our Leader could ever be guilty of crimes against humanity. (One such "nutcase" is former US Attorney General, Ramsay Clark, who lodged a complaint against Britain in July 1999 for war crimes during its assault on Yugoslavia.)
A customary way for the elite to deflect criticism is to term it a "conspiracy theory", which is common across the ideological system. There is a good reason for it. British elites have built a fundamentally secretive political system for which they are minimally accountable to the public. As noted in chapter 13, they believe the public should have only a marginal say in this system outside elections, and - to judge from some of the views expressed in the Scott inquiry - neither do they think the public should even know what the decision-making processes are. Elites are especially keen to deflect criticism exposing how the system works, which is more threatening than criticising specific policies (which can be dismissed as "exceptions"). The term "conspiracy theory" is often deployed once criticism has moved beyond the specific and is closer to exposing how the system as a whole works.
My view is that "ordinary people" - and I count myself as one of these - generally distrust their sources of information and know, ultimately, not to believe what they read or see. This is partly because ordinary people, in my view, have a much healthier scepticism of those in power than those closer to power or those aspiring to the political class. People have little stake in the elite and therefore have no reason to trust it.
But I do not believe that people can be aware of the extent to which to which they are being misinformed. Foreign policy is different from domestic issues, where you only have to spend time in a hospital or have a child who goes to school, to know the state of public services. But with foreign policy people are overwhelmingly reliant on news rather than personal experience, which makes indoctrination much easier. Even if people have enough self-defence mechanisms to avoid being directly told what to think, it is very likely that the media tells them what to think about.
It is not that one cannot discover much about the reality of government policy. All the sources I have used in this book are public. But you have to make a real effort, and spend considerable time, which is simply not possible for most people. It involves proactively looking for alternative sources of information, usually a variety of different sources, to piece together an accurate picture, and then weighing these against mainstream sources.
It also involves what the great Kenyan novelist Ngugi Wa Thiongo has called "decolonising the mind". Ngugi was referring to Africans needing to free themselves from ideologies often subconsciously adopted under colonialism. The British public needs, in my view, to do the same thing, and consciously unlearn most of what we have been informed about and "educated" on regarding Britain's role in the world. This applies not only to the media, but to school and university too. Again, these are not easy tasks.
Overall, I believe that people are being indoctrinated into a picture of Britain's role in the world that supports elite priorities. This is the mass production of ignorance. It actively works against our interests, which is precisely why the ideological system is critical to the elite, who essentially see the public as a threat.
The basic fact is that anyone who wants to understand the reality of Britain's past and current foreign policies cannot do so by relying on the mainstream. As the chapters on Kenya, Malaya, British Guiana, Iran and others have shown, the reality of British policy is systematically suppressed; whole episodes in Britain's history have become severely ideologically treated. Interpretations of history that accord with the preferences of elites are the dominant ones. Given the extent of this ideological treatment of the past, what has happened is akin to the destruction of history. The task of any independent historian is to reconstruct real-life history, to rescue it from a self-serving web of deceit.
Guardian became neoliberal as soon as Tony Blaire became Prime minister. As any neoliberal publication is subscribes to the notion of "noble lie". The latter actually came from neocons playbook. That's why MSM knowingly try to dumb down their readers substituting important topic with celebrity gossip and hate speech.
Political issue now are "served" to the public as dishes under heavy sauce of personalities involved, which is a perfect way to obscure the subject and distract the readers with celebrity gossip. Demonization of foreign leaders became a standard approach to any country that reject neoliberal doctrine or tries to challenge the US hegemony. Actually German MSM (which are controlled by the US three letter agencies) are more vicious in this then the US MSM even such CIA outlets as "Voice of America" and Svoboda. Even Guardian became standard neoliberal publication and its presstitutes are now not that different from other foreign correspondents and propagate State Department and Foreign Office talking point instead of covering the events.
geronimo -> MurkyFogsFutureLogs 14 Mar 2015 12:31
Under the retiring editor, all politics seems to have been reduced to 'identity' politics. Forget about class, war, class war and so on... If it can't be reduced to Hillary's gender or Putin's, er... transcendental evil... then it's barely worth a comment above the line.
As I've said before, for the Guardian 'the personal is the political' - or rather, for the Guardian as for Hillary, the political reduces to the personal.
A marriage made, not so much in heaven, but somewhere in political-fashionista North London.
We also need to understand that most prominent journalists are on tight leash of "'deep state". To live in a state in which three letter agencies get multibillion budgets and be free from strong, often dominating influence of those agencies on shaping politics, especially foreign policy (and in case of JFK assassination, which was actually a coup d'état political direction of the country) is a pipe dream. Here is one insightful Amazon review of James W. Douglass book:
Nick Anez on June 8, 2008
And We Are All Mortal
In James W. Douglass' outstanding new book, "JFK and the Unspeakable," the author explains the title in his introduction. Coined by spiritual writer Thomas Merton, The Unspeakable refers to "an evil whose depth and deceit seemed to go beyond the capacity of words to describe." Regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Unspeakable succeeded due to deniability by the nation's citizens of the horrifying truth of the event and to plausible deniability by the government agencies responsible for the murder. (Vincent Bugliosi's recent fictional paperweight is a perfect example of the plausible deniability that allows the Unspeakable to thrive.)
Many excellent books have proven that the assassination of JFK was the result of a conspiracy. Douglass verifies the certainty of the conspiracy and, as the subtitle of the book states, explains "Why He Died and Why It Matters." He scrutinizes the historical facts surrounding the assassination, from the creation of the CIA to the gradual obliteration of the freedoms upon which this nation was founded.
This book is primarily the story of John F. Kennedy who changes from a Cold Warrior to an altruistic leader willing to risk his life to ensure that the world's children will not become victims of a nuclear catastrophe. Equal time is spent on JFK's presidency as on the assassination but one of the many rewards of this book is the author's capacity to show the relationship between his policies and his death. And the book is a tragedy because it gradually becomes obvious that each step he makes toward peace steadily increases the hatred of his enemies who will eventually betray him.
It is also the story of the designated patsy, Lee Harvey Oswald. Moved around the country like a pawn by government agencies (as was the second "Oswald"), he was being set up as the scapegoat. Enter some despicable characters, including David Atlee Philips, James Hosty and, of course, Michael and Ruth Paine. Simultaneously, the Soviet Union was being set up as the evil empire behind the assassination, along with its satellite Cuba.
Douglass credibly illustrates the origin of the Crime of the Century. During President Truman's administration, the CIA was empowered to be a paramilitary organization with unlimited powers. Truman's successor, President Eisenhower, fell out of favor with the CIA when he planned a summit meeting with Soviet Premier Khrushchev. This was cancelled after a U.S. spy plane crashed in Russia. Eisenhower had reportedly ordered such flights cancelled and had his suspicions about who had ruined his peace plan. He subsequently issued his warning about the "military industrial complex" in his farewell address. But he didn't defy "this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry." He left that task to his successor, JFK.
The Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba was planned by the CIA to regain control of the island and to re-open the casinos for organized crime. President Kennedy refused to provide air support for the Cuban brigade because he knew that he had been lied to by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and by the CIA; the invasion had been designed to fail without U.S. support but they hadn't told this to JFK who refused to fall into their trap. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK once again enraged the CIA and the Joint Chiefs by resisting their tremendous pressure on him to take military action which would have led to nuclear war.
Following that crisis, JFK became intent on ending the Cold War by establishing a peaceful relationship with the Soviet Union. However, many CIA and Pentagon personnel believed that it was better to be "dead than red" and that it was preferable to destroy civilization rather than let the Communists rule. They also knew that war generated billions of dollars into the arms industry. As a result, they would repeatedly subvert the President's policies and isolate him within his own government. Enter some more despicable characters: Richard Bissell, Charles Cabell, Henry Cabot Lodge, Lyman Lemnitzer, Curtis LeMay and perhaps the most contemptible of all, Allen Dulles. Ironically, JFK learned to trust Khrushchev more than people within his own government.
At American University on June 10, 1963, JFK spoke about his desire for world peace. He communicated his resolve to form a new relationship with Khrushchev. He spoke about the necessity of a pursuit toward disarmament. He related his intentions to establish a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. He acknowledged his country's past faults and recognized the Russian people as wanting peace as much as the American people. "And we are all mortal," he stated. Though this extremely important speech was ignored in the United States, it was disseminated throughout the Soviet Union, per order of Khrushchev, who was prepared to respond favorably to JFK's peace initiative. The speech also certified JFK's death warrant. With so many powerful enemies opposing his policies and hating him, JFK didn't have a chance as he was being maneuvered into the crossfire in Dallas.
President Kennedy was aware of the power of his enemies and he knew the dangers facing him. But he persevered and mandated that all U.S. personnel would be withdrawn from Vietnam; he was determined to never send in combat troops even if this meant defeat. He also refused to intervene militarily in Laos. He exchanged private letters with Khrushchev, which infuriated the CIA, and secretly initiated plans to attain rapproachement with Cuba, which further incensed the Agency. Cuba's Fidel Castro, whom the CIA hated as intensely as it hated Kennedy, was equally eager to begin an American-Cuba dialogue. In fact, Castro was meeting with a JFK representative when the President was murdered. JFK died a martyr and the forces of evil that killed him also killed his vision of peace.
Lyndon Johnson, the CIA's ally, assumed the presidency. He cancelled talks with Khrushchev and refused Castro's pleas to continue the dialogue. He reversed JFK's withdrawal plan from Vietnam as well as his plan to neutralize Laos. The military industrial complex took control of the country. The policy of plausible deniability led the way to assassinations of foreign leaders, the overthrowing of foreign governments and horrors committed all over the globe. If JFK had not been murdered, we would not have had the prolongation of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, Watergate, the purported War on Terror and the steady moral deterioration of America. Interestingly, one month after JFK's assassination, President Truman wrote an article for The Washington Post cautioning about the threat of the CIA taking over America.
The author meticulously examines the evidence and draws conclusions which ring with unassailable truth:
- (1) The CIA coordinated and implemented he assassination of President Kennedy, an act of treason which destroyed democracy in the U.S.
- (2) The Warren Commission was created to propagate lies to conceal the truth from the American people.
- (3)There has been a continued cover-up by successive administrations and their stooges in the mass media.
- (4)The murder of JFK is directly related to the current domination of the American people by powerful oppressors within a shadow government that will continue to insist that only sustained war can keep the country safe from its enemies, never admitting that they themselves are the supreme evil.
This is an exceptional book that will be used by future historians to determine the truth about the assassination and how it changed America. And it will also be used to honor John F. Kennedy as a courageous president who believed in doing God's work on earth. In doing so, he came into conflict with the Unspeakable and his life was extinguished.
As Udo Ulfkotte book attests control by CIA of foreign journalists is a rule, not an exception. While this was known since Operation Mockingbird was revealed, nothing changed. It's the same set of methods that Senator Frank Church investigations uncovered (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) in 1975. In his Congress report published in 1976 the authors stated:
According to the "Family Jewels" report, released by the National Security Archive on June 26, 2007, during the period from March 12, 1963, and June 15, 1963, the CIA installed telephone taps on two Washington-based news reporters. Church argued that misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year.
In February 1976, George H. W. Bush, the recently appointed Director of the CIA, announced a new policy:
"Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station." He added that the CIA would continue to "welcome" the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists.
But at this point only handlers and methods changed, not the policy. They are still all controlled by deep state. The most recent revelations of this fact were published by Udo Ulfkotte’s in his bestseller book Bought Journalists. Here is one Amazon review of the book:
Unicorns & Kittenson May 1, 2015
I've managed to read a bit of the German version ...
I've managed to read a bit of the German version and now I think I understand why this is still not available in English although it was supposed to be released in this and other languages seven months ago. I will be very surprised if this shocking and destabilizing book (which names names) is made available to Americans ... even though it's primarily about the abusive tactics of American intelligence agencies. Please keep asking why it isn't published - despite being a best-seller in Germany -- and how we can get it here on Kindle.
As one Amazon reviewer said "This book will change for ever the way you read and watch the mainstream media! " Here is some additional information from russia-insider:
... ... ...Ironically, however, it’s likely that one of the biggest threats (especially in Europe) to Anglo-American media credibility about Ukraine and other issues is coming from a very old-fashioned medium – a book.
Udo Ulfkotte’s bestseller Bought Journalists has been a sensation in Germany since its publication last autumn. The journalist and former editor of one of Germany’s largest newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, revealed that he was for years secretly on the payroll of the CIA and was spinning the news to favour U.S. interests. Moreover he alleges that some major media are nothing more than propaganda outlets for international think-tanks, intelligence agencies, and corporate high-finance.
“We’re talking about puppets on a string,” he says, “journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what’s really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists are putting on their helmets.” 
In another interview, Ulfkotte said:
“The German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia. This is a point of no return, and I am going to stand up and say…it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe.” 
... ... ...
Apparently, Pomeranzev has forgotten that important October 2004 article by Ron Suskind published in the New York Times Magazine during the second war in Iraq (which, like the first, was based on a widely disseminated lie). Suskind quoted one of George W. Bush’s aides (probably Karl Rove): “The aide said that guys like me [journalists, writers, historians] were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality…That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do’.” 
It’s a rather succinct description of Orwellian spin and secrecy in a media-saturated Empire, where discerning the truth becomes ever more difficult.
That is why people believe someone like Udo Ulfkotte, who is physically ill, says he has only a few years left to live, and told an interviewer,
“I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don’t like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too… We have betrayed our readers, just to push for war…I don’t want this anymore, I’m fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom…” 
Recently, as Mike Whitney has pointed out in CounterPunch (March 10), Germany’s newsmagazine Der Spiegel dared to challenge the fabrications of NATO’s top commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, for spreading “dangerous propaganda” that is misleading the public about Russian “troop advances” and making “flat-out inaccurate statements” about Russian aggression.
Whitney asks, “Why this sudden willingness to share the truth? It’s because they no longer support Washington’s policy, that’s why. No one in Europe wants the US to arm and train the Ukrainian army. No wants them to deploy 600 paratroopers to Kiev and increase U.S. logistical support. No one wants further escalation, because no wants a war with Russia. It’s that simple.”  Whitney argued that “the real purpose of the Spiegel piece is to warn Washington that EU leaders will not support a policy of military confrontation with Moscow.”
So now we know the reason for the timing of the April 15 U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, “Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information.” Literally while U.S. paratroopers were en route to Kiev, the hawks in Washington (and London) knew it was time to crank up the rhetoric. The three witnesses were most eager to oblige.
|“You can fool some of the people all of the time and those are the ones you
want to concentrate on.”
George W. Bush, joking at a Gridiron Club dinner,Washington, D.C., March 2001
Edward S. Herman, political economist and media analyst, has highlighted some examples of doublespeak and doublethink in modern society. Herman describes in his book, Beyond Hypocrisy (1999) the principal characteristics of doublespeak:
What is really important in the world of doublespeak is the ability to lie, whether knowingly or unconsciously, and to get away with it; and the ability to use lies and choose and shape facts selectively, blocking out those that don’t fit an agenda or program.
Propagandists use several rules: The Five Rules of Propaganda
In addition cooked intelligence is selectively shared to increase public fear or willingness to support a war, e.g. War on Iraq.
In this sense the word "propaganda" means the attempt of creation of artificial reality or distorting real events using MSM. We usually distinguish three types of propaganda although they freely mix: hard, soft and doublespeak.
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Where there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, ...
Edward S. Herman outlined in his book, Beyond Hypocrisy the principal characteristics of doublespeak:
What is really important in the world of doublespeak is the ability to lie, whether knowingly or unconsciously, and to get away with it; and the ability to use lies and choose and shape facts selectively, blocking out those that don’t fit an agenda or program.
Doublespeak is an important component of the manipulation of the English language in American media, through a process called ‘dichotomization’; a component of media propaganda involving ‘deeply embedded double standards in the reporting of news’.
For example, the use of state funds by the poor and financially needy is commonly referred to as 'social welfare' or 'handouts', which the 'coddled' poor 'take advantage of'. These terms, however, do not apply to other beneficiaries of government spending such as tax incentives and military spending.
A British judge noted at Berezovsky trial that there is a category of people who naturally lie through their teeth and keep on lying, even after they get caught red handed:
“…..I found Mr. Berezovsky an unimpressive, and inherently unreliable, witness, who regarded truth as a transitory, flexible concept, which could be molded to suit his current purposes. At times the evidence which he gave was deliberately dishonest; sometimes he was clearly making his evidence up as he went along in response to the perceived difficulty in answering the questions in a manner consistent with his case; at other times, I gained the impression that he was not necessarily being deliberately dishonest, but had deluded himself into believing his own version of events. On occasions he tried to avoid answering questions by making long and irrelevant speeches, or by professing to have forgotten facts which he had been happy to record in his pleadings or witness statements. He embroidered or supplemented statements in his witness statements, or directly contradicted them. He departed from his own previous oral evidence, sometimes within minutes of having given it. When the evidence presented problems, Mr. Berezovsky simply changed his case so as to distance himself from statements and in witness statements which he had signed or approved, blaming the “interpretation” of his lawyers, as if this somehow diminished his pleadings and witness statements. "
One lie begets another, and the result there are obvious contradictions in coverage, since the creation of artificial reality is highly complex and resource-intensive process in which some errors always creep. Twisting of reality in desirable direction constantly requires false interpretation of more and more facts and at some point talking points break. and following them became absurd ("Psakism" is now a new term for doublespeak).
piotr , January 31, 2014 at 12:11 ameljay, one can clearly tell your imitation from the genuine psakisms. The concept of doublespeak hardly captures the situation when the official policy makes no sense and the task of the spokesperson is to dissuade any intimation that it could make sense.
At this moment, which can be literally caught on camera in case of Jen Psaki during her briefings, in order to escape embarrassment and damage to the ego the standard hysterical accusation that "you are under influence of propaganda" (Russian, Chinese, French, Israeli, Arab, you name it) is used. In other words the cattle is calling the pot black ;-)In a way political propaganda is similar to cult brainwashing (Political propaganda is cult brainwashing):
A successful induction by a destructive cult displaces a person's former identity and replaces it with a new one. That new identity may not be one that the person would have freely chosen under her own volition.
- Steven HassanNothing is unusual about office holders, political parties and agency bureaucracies taking liberties with facts, when they frame their case and sell their policies and programs. But how many people look upon this process as one designed, not to persuade you; but to indoctrinate you into accepting causes that are not in your own self interest. The techniques of agenda shaping and peer pressure guiding is sophisticated and Sub-Rosa in intent. According to Margaret Thaler Singer, “Thought Reform is not a mysterious process. It is the systematic application of psychological and social influence techniques in an organized programmatic way within a constructed and managed environments. The goal is to produce specific attitudinal and behavioral changes. The changes occur incrementally without its being patently visible to those undergoing the process that their attitudes and behavior are being changed a step at a time according to the plan of those directing the program.”
The Six Conditions for Thought Reform are:
1) Keep the person unaware of what is going on and how she or he is being changed a step at a time.
2) Control the person’s social and/or physical environment; especially control the person’s time.
3) Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person.
4) Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments and experiences in such a way as to inhibit behavior that reflects the person’s former social identity.
5) Manipulate a system of rewards, punishments, and experiences in order to promote learning the group’s ideology or belief system and group-approved behaviors.
6) Put forth a closed system of logic and an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback and refuses to be modified except by leadership approval or executive order.
Since Singer claims that techniques to achieve power through mind control are readily comprehended, the key inquiry is to understand the reason why the general public is so unaware of the assault upon their thought process? The factual historic record leads one to conclude that the limited and select group of participants that seek and attain positions of influence, share one crucial trait. Namely, a desire to preach their adherence to the “Will of the People”; while they exhort democratic rule, their actions conform to governance by the privileged few. Citing the significance of 1984 we find the answer: “Orwell reasoned that if a government could control all media and communication, meanwhile forcing citizens to speak in a politically- controlled jargon, this would blunt independent thinking. If thought could be controlled, then rebellious actions against a regime could be prevented.” Because of the nature of lust for power, moral means to achieve political objectives becomes irrelevant; thus, the motive to conceal real intentions from the citizens. The Sub-Rosa character of the elites is not who they are, but the actual hidden goals they achieve with their policies and control of the State.
Singer concludes: “Orwell’s genius centered on seeing how language, not physical force would be used to manipulate minds. In fact the growing evidence in the behavioral sciences is that a smiling Big Brother has greater power to influence thought and decision-making that a visibly threatening person.”
Now review the following Chart that identifies the progression from individual education to mass control:
Education Advertising Propaganda Indoctrination
Focus of body
to sell and
influence via legal
Change made by
those who pay
for it, based upon
the success of
ad programs by
& in response to
tides in world
politics and on
political need to
stance; No full
part of learner.
can accept or
to retain people
Deceptiveness Is not
Is deceptive. Breadth of
broad goal is
Has a narrow
goal of swaying
promote and sell
an idea, object,
another goal is to
enhance seller &
specific view or
for a specific
something or to
will be changed
one step at a
time to become
No respect for
Mild to heavy
Propaganda leading to Indoctrination has the ultimate objective of Thought Reform.
While many citizens would contest overt indoctrination, most accept that propaganda is a fact of life. But how many are even aware of the final stage - Thought Reform? And even more important, how many are willing to admit to themselves that this conclusive level effectively eliminates all individuality - subjugating each person to endless servitude to the cult regime run by approved elites. Yes, the State is a Cult. The World Book Encyclopedia explains that "traditionally, the term cult referred to any form of worship or ritual observance." We have been conditioned to propaganda - under ability to change - to promote the group nation. Then we have been subjected to indoctrination - under focus of body of knowledge - explicitly designed to inculcate organizational values. And finally we have been manipulated into Thought Reform - type of relationship - to accept group attempts to retain control over people forever.
These techniques are all designed to create and maintain worship to a strong authority figure. We are told to accept that the State is the absolute embodiment of authority. The “Supreme Being” has been replaced with the coercive totalitarian temporal cult, that requires homage, tribute and obedience. The ritual of prearranged elections orchestrates an opera of musical chairs that has the fat lady singing before the first candidate enters the race. The franchise has become a fallacy, the group mission protects the government sect and the existence of independent conduct turns into an illusion. That is the purpose of Thought Reform.
“There are three forces, the only three forces capable of conquering and enslaving forever the conscience of these weak rebels in the interests of their own happiness. They are: the miracle, the mystery and authority.”
- F. Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Cults want wealth and power for the leadership, which should be supplied by members. Government conforms to this model. Both employ the following:
- Miracle - ideology imputing miraculous power to leaders and/or activities.
- Mystery - secrecy obscuring actual beliefs and practices.
- Authority - claims on members' time, talents, bodies, or property to meet group needs.
Robert Lifton and Mikhael Heller conducted studies on Thought Reform. Today we see those applications in our society. The miracle becomes the utopia that politicians promise from their policies administered by an all persuasive government. The mystery incorporates an obsession with secrecy, limited access of forged accounts, with significant news going unreported. And authority being centralized with state power supreme, with the destruction of competing political ideologies.
Those who will resist the characterization of the State as a Cult, demonstrate the success of their own, Reform Thought, re-education. Singer may not be a favorite of those who remain loyal to the principles of Freedom and liberty. However, the outline, progression and methods used by elites to rule, shed much needed light on the nature of the sinister plan that has been used to control our political institutions and conquer our society. The real miracle was our 1776 Revolution. The true mystery is our reliance upon divine providence. And the only legitimate authority comes from God, and resides in the People, who are faithful to His law.
SARTRE - January 14, 2003
|"Hollywood no longer depicts reporters in ruthless pursuit of criminals, high
and low. Now they are the criminals."
Frank Rich NYT, November 2, 2003A term coined by Gerald Celente and often used by independent journalists and writers in the alternative media in reference to journalists and talking heads in the mainstream media who give biased and predetermined views in favor of the government and corporations, thus neglecting their fundamental duty of reporting news impartially. It is a portmanteau of press and prostitute.
Due to pressure from owners 80 or 90% of foreign correspondents became corporate shills who have no human dignity whatsoever. They are just instruments, tools for producing pre-conceived notions beneficial to their handlers for particular audience. Presstitutes, if we use more modern, albeit politically incorrect term. Their job is not to inform readers but support "talking points", the artificial reality agreed upon by higher ups. So support it they need constantly hide real facts in the smoke of disinformation.
In a way they were moved to the position of press officers like Jen Psaki (Standpoint: Propaganda Shouldn’t Pay ):
Let me explain how they are the nearest thing to prostitutes you can find in public life. You might say that biased reporters look more like sex workers, as they try to satisfy their readers' every whim. But there is a small difference. The biased journalist occasionally tells the truth. He might produce propaganda, but his bias or that of his editor will cause him to investigate stories conventional wisdom does not notice. Right-wing journalists uncover truths about corruption in the European Union. Left-wing journalists discover truths about the crimes of Nato armies. They look at scandals others ignore precisely because they do not think like level-headed and respectable members of the mainstream.
Press officers have no concern with truth. It is not that all of them lie — although many do — rather that truth and falsity are irrelevant to their work. Their sole concern is to defend their employers' interests. That they can manipulate on behalf of central government, local authority and other public bodies is an under-acknowledged scandal. The party in power that wishes to stop public scrutiny, or the NHS trust whose executives wish to maintain their positions, use taxpayer funds to advance their personal or political interests. If anyone else did the same, we would call them thieves.
It makes no difference who is in office. Conservatives complained about the spin and manipulation of New Labour but they are no different now. Indeed they are playing tricks those of us who lived through the Blair years haven't seen before.
They withhold information from journalists in the hope of killing a story. If reporters publish nevertheless — as they should — the government tells their editors and anyone else who will listen that they are shoddy hacks who failed to put the other side of the story. An alternative tactic is for press officers to phone up at night, just after an article has appeared online, and try to bamboozle late-duty editors into making changes. I have had the Crown Prosecution Service and the BBC try to pull that one on me. That neither institution is in the political thick of it only goes to show that every dandruff-ridden PR in every backwater office now thinks he is Alastair Campbell.
... ... ...
Once you could have said that my comparison between press officers and prostitutes was unfair — to prostitutes. Poverty and drug addiction drives women on to the street. Press officers are not heroin addicts or the victims of child abuse. Nor do the equivalent of sex traffickers kidnap media studies graduates and force them to work in "comms". PRs do not do what they do because a cruel world has left them with no alternative to selling their souls, but because they want to.
Situation with visual evidence is even worse. In time of Photoshop and powerful editing programs a lot of photos and even "real time" footage displayed about foreign event by MSM represent iether very selective coverage or, more often, staged falsification. With the current technical capabilities to detect this is possible only if you are from the region that is depicted and has intimate knowledge of the subject, and even this might be not enough. Even when there is no direct falsification, just a careful selection of who and when get on camera guarantees that any event can be twisted as owners of particular media outlet want.
An important feature of current MSM landscape is that just 6 gigantic corporations collectively own most of the major mainstream media outlets in the USA. Is not this a sure sign of emerging USSA?
Even if we assume that they somehow can resist "talking points" distributed by State Department, reporters are simply not going to be allowed to report stories that are damaging to the interests of those corporations, which generally are hell bent on promoting globalization and neoliberalism. As neoliberalism displaced communism as a dominant global ideology, it adopted the same methods of propaganda, slightly polishing them due to technology progress.
In other words Pravda methods are alive and well in Washington Post and New York Times. As Soviet people used to Joke "There is no truth in Pravda and news in Izvestia" (the word "Pravda" is translated from Russian as Truth and Izvestia as News ;-). In other words "Pravda on Potomac" and "Izvestia on Hudson" are legitimate descendants or Soviet "Ministry of Truth" outlets. They adopted and enhanced the same methods of creation of artificial reality just for a different country and with much better technical means and financing.
Taking into account the level of control imposed on journalists, who, other then some accidental kamikazes, would never publish anything against the political interests of the owners of those corporations. They want their salaries to be paid and that entails certain, sometimes unpleasant, obligations.
But even with this distortions and limitations press is better then "no press". It is our task as skeptics to learn to dissent the net of propaganda then MSM are trying to wave. This is difficult, requires some work, but entirely possible.
To understand the coverage of Russia in western MSM one needs to understand the mechanism of propaganda. A good starting point is the book Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes (1965/1973) by French philosopher, theologian, legal scholar, and sociologist Jacques Ellul. This book was one the first attempt to study propaganda from a sociological approach as well as a psychological one. It presents a taxonomy for propaganda methods, including such paired opposites as
During World War II, Ellul was a leader in the French resistance after being discharged as a professor from French universities by the Vichy regime. After France's liberation, he became professor at the University of Bordeaux. He authored 58 books and numerous articles over his lifetime, the dominant theme of which has been the threat to human freedom created by modern technology. In 1947, Ellul was appointed chair of law and social history at the Institut d'études politiques that increased his reputation as a social and political philosopher which led to the publication of his works in the United States. Here is an abridged Wikipedia summary:
...."The Institute for Propaganda Analysis, inspired by Harold Lasswell" defined propaganda as "the expression of opinions or actions carried out deliberately by individuals or groups with a view to influencing the opinions or actions of other individuals or groups for predetermined ends and through psychological manipulations".
This definition seemed more accurate and was supported by others such as Goebbels, a German propagandist, who stated, "We do not talk to say something, but to obtain a certain effect."[ Similarly F.C. Bartlett holds an accurate interpretation of the goal of propaganda as not merely as an instrument to increase political understanding of events, but to obtain results through action. Ellul supports the idea that propaganda is made primarily because of a will to action for the purpose of effectively arming policy made by the State. Leonard Doob, an American specialist, defined propaganda in 1948 as "the attempt to affect the personalities and to control the behavior of individuals towards desired ends."
Unending definitions show the uncertainty among specialists and the inability of definitions to encompass all that is propaganda. Just because the term propaganda cannot be defined with any degree of precision does not mean that attempts to define it should be abandoned.
"Very frequently propaganda is describe as a manipulation for the purpose of changing idea or opinions of making individuals 'believe' some idea or fact, and finally of making them adhere to some doctrine—all matters of the mind. It tries to convince, to bring about a decision, to create a firm adherence to some truth. This is a completely wrong line of thinking: to view propaganda as still being what it was in 1850 is to cling to an obsolete concept of man and of the means to influence him; it is to condemn oneself to understand nothing about propaganda. The aim of modern propaganda is no longer to modify ideas, but to provoke action. It is no longer to change adherence to a doctrine, but to make the individual cling irrationally to a process of action. It is no longer to transform an opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief."
...He holds that the main concern of propaganda through psychological influence is sparking action to a desired response by developing learned attitudes. ....
Summary of chapters
Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes is divided into five substantive chapters discussing Ellul’s analysis. Introduction
Regardless of the State, propaganda should be viewed as situated at the center of the growing powers of governmental and administrative techniques.
"Differences in political regimes matter little; differences in social levels are more important; and most important is national self-awareness. Propaganda is a good deal less the political weapon of a regime (it is that also) than the effect of a technological society that embraces the entire man and tends to be a completely integrated society. Propaganda stops man from feeling that things in society are oppressive and persuades him to submit with good grace." Chapter One: Characteristics of Propaganda
Modern propaganda is a technique that requires an analysis of both environment and individual to be subjected to propaganda therefore it is based on scientific analyses of psychology and sociology. Sufficient understanding of these two areas creates the most effective propaganda and without the scientific research of modern psychology and sociology there would be no propaganda. "Step by step the propagandist builds the techniques on the basis of his knowledge of man, his tendencies, his desires, his needs, his psychic mechanisms, his conditioning, and as much on social psychology as on depth psychology." 1.Part One: External Characteristics
Propaganda is first and foremost concerned with influencing an individual psychologically by creating convictions and compliance through imperceptible techniques that are effective only by continuous repetition. Propaganda employs encirclement on the individual by trying to surround man by all possible routes, in the realm of feelings as well as ideas, by playing on his will or his needs through his conscious and his unconscious, and by assailing him in both his private and his public life. The propagandist also acknowledges the most favorable moment to influence man is when an individual is caught up in the masses. Propaganda must be total in that utilizes all forms of media to draw the individual into the net of propaganda. Propaganda is designed to be continuous within the individual's life by filling the citizen’s entire day. It is based on slow constant impregnation that functions over a long period of time exceeding the individual’s capacities for attention or adaptation and thus his capabilities of resistance. In order for propaganda to maintain encirclement, it must be exerted by an organization capable of influencing psychological channels that reach the individual. Psychological and physical actions are inseparable elements to propaganda, however, if no influence is exerted by an organization than there can be no propaganda because it cannot operate in a vacuum. The necessity for a physical organization limits propaganda enterprises and in order to be effective propaganda must work inside a group, principally inside a nation. Propaganda must first organize the masses in order to propagandize within the masses. In general, propaganda is a set of methods employed by an organized group that wants to bring about the active or passive participation in its actions of a mass of individuals, psychologically unified through psychological manipulations and incorporated into an organization. Propaganda should no longer be viewed in terms of an orthodoxy but rather modern propaganda should be seen as an orthopraxy because it aims for participation not adherence. Participation can be active or passive: active if propaganda has been able to mobilize the individual for action; passive if the individual does not act directly but psychologically supports that action. 2. Part Two: Internal Characteristics The second major element that a propagandist must understand is the environment in which the individual operates, mainly the foci of interest of the public. An understanding of the conventional patterns and stereotypes that pre-exist in a milieu provide the propagandist with material from which to build off. Propaganda is not able to create something out of nothing and is confined to developing pre-existing material thereby expressing the fundamental currents of the society it seeks to influence. These currents include accepted structures such as collective sociological presuppositions and myths that are fundamental to society.
"The Four Great Collective Sociological Presuppositions in the Modern World: 1.That an individual's aim in life is happiness. 2.That man is naturally good. 3.That history develops in endless progress. 4.That everything is matter.
The Collective Myths: 1.of Work 2.of Happiness 3.of the Nation 4.of Youth 5.of the Hero"
These currents reinforce society and hold man’s major convictions and propaganda must voice this reality. Propaganda is concerned with timeliness since an individual is only moved to action if he is pushed towards a timely one by propaganda. Once it becomes history it inevitably becomes neutral and indifferent to the individual who is sensitive primarily to current news. "Operational words" are used to penetrate an individual’s indifference. However they lose their value as immediacy passes as old facts are replaced by new ones. The "current events man" is carried along the current of news and caught in the events of today, losing interest in the events of yesterday. The indifferent are apolitical and without opinion, therefore they are outside of propaganda’s grasp. Incidentally, there are also the undecided, people whose opinions are vague, who form the majority of citizens within the collective. These citizens are the most susceptible to control of public opinion that is dictated by propaganda. Lastly, this part discusses propaganda and truth or the ability of propaganda to relay something as true based not on the accuracy of facts but of reality. Propaganda veils the truth with falsehoods even though lying is generally to be avoided. 3. Part Three: Categories of Propaganda Presented in this chapter is a sophisticated taxonomy for propaganda, including such paired opposites as political-sociological, vertical-horizontal, rational-irrational, and agitation-integration.
Political vs. Sociological Propaganda:
Political Propaganda involves techniques of influence employed by a government, a party, an administration, or a pressure group with the intention of changing the behavior of the public. The themes and objectives of this type of propaganda are of a political nature. The goals are determined by the government, party, administration, or pressure group. The methods of political propaganda are calculated in a precise manner and its main criteria is to disseminate an ideology for the very purpose of making various political acts acceptable to the people. There are two forms of political propaganda, tactical and strategic. Tactical political propaganda seeks to obtain immediate results within a given framework. Strategic political propaganda is not concerned with speed but rather it establishes the general line, the array of arguments, and the staging of campaigns.
Political propaganda reversed is sociological propaganda because the ideology is penetrated by means of its sociological context. Propaganda, as it is traditionally known, implies an attempt to spread an ideology through the mass media of communication in order to lead the public to a desired action. In sociological propaganda even media that are not controllable such as individual art work, films, and writing reflect the ideology allowing for an accelerated penetration of the masses and the individuals within them.
Sociological propaganda is a phenomenon where a society seeks to integrate the maximum number of individuals into itself by unifying its members’ behavior according to a pattern, spreading its style of life abroad, and thus imposing itself on other groups. Essentially sociological propaganda aims to increase conformity with the environment that is of a collective nature by developing compliance with or defense of the established order through long term penetration and progressive adaptation by using all social currents. The propaganda element is the way of life with which the individual is permeated and then the individual begins to express it in film, writing, or art without realizing it. This involuntary behavior creates an expansion of society through advertising, the movies, education, and magazines. "The entire group, consciously or not, expresses itself in this fashion; and to indicate, secondly that its influence aims much more at an entire style of life." This type of propaganda is not deliberate but springs up spontaneously or unwittingly within a culture or nation. This propaganda reinforces the individual’s way of life and represents this way of life as best. Sociological propaganda creates an indisputable criterion for the individual to make judgments of good and evil according to the order of the individual’s way of life. Sociological propaganda does not result in action, however, it can prepare the ground for direct propaganda. From then on, the individual in the clutches of such sociological propaganda believes that those who live this way are on the side of the angels, and those who don’t are bad.
Vertical vs. Horizontal Propaganda: Vertical propaganda is similar to direct propaganda that aims at the individual in the mass and is renewed constantly. However, in horizontal propaganda there is no top down structure but rather it springs up from within the group. It involves meticulous encirclement that traps an individual involuntarily in dialectic. The individual is led unfailingly to its adherence by talking about the dialectic until the individual discovers the answer that was set up unconsciously for him to find. Schools are a primary mechanism for integrating the individual into the way of life.
Rational vs. Irrational Propaganda:
Propaganda is addressed to the individual on the foundation of feelings and passions which are irrational, however, the content of propaganda does address reason and experience when it presents information and furnishes facts making it rational as well. It is important for propaganda to be rational because modern man needs relation to facts. Modern man wants to be convinced that by acting in a certain way he is obeying reason in order to have self justification. The challenge is creating an irrational response on the basis of rational and factual elements by leaving an impression on an individual that remains long after the facts have faded away. Individuals are not compelled to act based facts but rather on emotional pressure, the vision of the future, or the myth.
Agitation vs. Integration propaganda: Propaganda of agitation seeks to mobilize people in order to destroy the established order and/or government. It seeks rebellion by provoking a crisis or unleashing explosive movements during one. It momentarily subverts the habits, customs, and beliefs that were obstacles to making great leap forward by addressing the internal elements in each of us. It eradicates the individual out of his normal framework and then proceeds to plunge him into enthusiasm by suggesting extraordinary goals which nevertheless seem to him completely within reach. However, this enthusiasm can only last a short duration so the objective must be achieved quickly followed by a period of rest. People cannot be kept at in a "state of perpetual enthusiasm and insecurity". Rebellion is incited by the propagandist who knows that hate is one of the most profitable resources when drawn out of an individual. Agitation propaganda is usually thought of as propaganda in that it aims to influence people to act. Integration propaganda, on the other hand, is a more subtle form that aims to reinforce cultural norms. This is sociological in nature because it provides stability to society by supporting the "way of life" and the myths within a culture. It is propaganda of conformity that requires participation in the social body. This type of propaganda is more prominent and permanent, yet it is not as recognized as agitation propaganda because it is more permanent manner. Basically, agitation propaganda provides the motive force when needed and when not needed integration propaganda provides the context and backdrop. Chapter Two: The Condition for the Existence of Propaganda
The nature of propaganda has changed over the course of time and yet it is evident that propaganda cannot exist without a milieu. The emergence of propaganda is interconnected with technology and scientific discoveries yet it can only appear and grow under certain conditions. Several events have occurred that have furthered propaganda by increasing its ability in depth and discovering new methods. Modern propaganda could not exist without the mass media or modern means of transportation which permit crowds of diverse individuals from all over to assemble easily and frequently. 1.Part One: The Sociological Conditions
Society must contain elements of both an individualist society and a mass society. Propaganda aims to capture both the mass and the individual at the same time through this dual type of society. A mass society is based on individuals that are reduced to ciphers based on what they have in common to others. First conditions for growth and development of modern propaganda: it emerged in Western Europe in the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth precisely because that was when society was becoming increasingly individualistic and its organic structures were breaking down. Individuals without natural organic local groups are defenseless and more likely to be caught up in a social current. On the other hand, a mass society has considerable population density in which local structures and organizations are weak, currents of opinion are strongly felt creating a certain psychological unity, and individuals are organized into large and influential collectives. Mass society is characterized by uniformity and material life despite differences of environment. Once a mass society is created, public opinion will begin to play a role to help individuals form their own personal opinion. Public opinion can only express itself through channels which are provided by the mass media of communication without which there could be no propaganda. Yet it is important that mass media be subject to centralized control in order to successfully form public opinion without any opposition. Again Ellul mentions that the individual must be caught in wide net of media through all channels. Once opinion has been formed, propaganda is able to reinforce it and transform opinion into action. 2. Part Two: Objective Conditions of Total Propaganda Propaganda thrives off of what individuals have in common with others to develop patterns of behavior and modify cultural opinions. Total propaganda recognizes that within a nation individuals should all have in common a standard of living, a culture, and an ideology. The need of an average standard of living is that people must be able to afford to buy a radio, TV, a newspaper, or go to the movies. It is mostly concerned with the densest mass which is made up of average men and not the very rich or very poor. Poor cannot do this therefore they cannot be subjected to integration propaganda because the immediate concerns of daily life absorb all their capacities and efforts. The poor can only be subjected to agitation propaganda, excited to the point of theft and murder. But they cannot be trained by propaganda, kept in hand, channeled, and oriented. More advanced propaganda can influence only a man who is not completely haunted by poverty, a man who can view things from a certain distance and be reasonably unconcerned about his daily bread, who therefore can take an interest in more general matters.
"For propaganda to be effective the propagandee must have a certain store of ideas and a number of conditioned reflexes that can only be acquired through peace of mind springing from relative security. The establishment of a mode of common life- all this leads to the creation of a type of normal man conveniently leads all men toward that norm via a multitude of paths. Propaganda’s intent is to integrate people into the normal pattern prevailing in society bring about conformance to way of life. To sum up: The creation of normalcy in our society can take one of two shapes. It can be the result of scientific, psycho-sociological analysis based on statistics- that is the American type of normalcy. It can be ideological and doctrinaire- that is the Communist type. But the results are identical: such normalcy necessarily gives rise to propaganda that can reduce the individual to the pattern most useful to society."
"Information" Is an essential element of propaganda, which must "have reference to political or economic reality" to be credible. In fact, no propaganda can work until the moment when a set of facts has become a problem in the eyes of those who constitute public opinion." Education permits the dissemination of propaganda in that it enables people to consume information. Information is indistinguishable from propaganda in that information is an essential element of propaganda because for propaganda to succeed it must have reference to political or economic reality. Propaganda grafts itself onto an already existing reality through "informed opinion". Where no informed opinion with regard to political or economic affairs propaganda cannot exist making it an indispensable aspect. Propaganda means nothing without preliminary information that provides the basis for propaganda, gives propaganda the means to operate, and generates the problems that propaganda exploits by pretending to offer solutions. It is through information that the individual is placed in a social context and learns to understand the reality of his own situation. Information allows us to evaluate our situation feel our own personal problems are a general social problem thus enabling propaganda to entice us into social and political action. Information is most effective when it is objective and broad because it creates a general picture. With information quantity is better than quality, the more political or economic facts believed to be mastered by an individual, the more sensitive their judgment is to propaganda. In fact, only in and through propaganda do the masses have access to political economy, politics, art, or literature. The more stereotypes in a culture, the easier it is to form public opinion, and the more an individual participates in that culture, the more susceptible he becomes to the manipulation of these symbols. Chapter Three: The Necessity for Propaganda
All propaganda is based on a need, a dual need, first there is the need of state to make it and second there is the need of propagandee to receive it. These two needs compliment and correspond to each other in the development of propaganda. Propaganda is an expression of modern society as a whole. 1.Part One: The State's Necessity
The State has the need to make propaganda to integrate citizens into its society, to disseminate information, and to increase participation and involvement of members of society. Sometimes the people want to take part in government affairs. However, the official leaders cannot disconnect themselves from what the people want. Being that the people in charge cant escape the people , bait must be presented to them. This acts as a disguise that must be there to hide what is really happening behind the scenes in the government . Citizens are aware that political decisions affect everybody and governments cannot govern without the support, presence, pressure, or knowledge of the people. Yet the people are incapable of making long term policy so opinion must be created to follow the government because the government cannot be led by opinion. All of this describes the "Mass-Government" relationship characterized by people demanding what has already been decided, in order to appear as though the government is actually caring about what the people need. The next part that the book discuss is psychological warfare. It is believed to be a peace policy that is used between nations as a form of aggression. This type of propaganda changes the public opinion of an opposing regime so that it can be in favor of there regime. 2. Part Two: The Individual’s Necessity The individual needs propaganda to gain satisfaction as a member of society. Individuals want to be informed and to participate in the decisions of the state. Propaganda is the outlet through which individuals obtain the satisfaction of having contributed to the state. It is a necessary instrument of a state or institution to spread information to members of the group or society. But for propaganda to succeed it must respond to a need on the individual’s part as well. The individual is by no means just an innocent victim of propaganda when in fact he provokes the psychological action of propaganda by not merely lending himself to it, but also from deriving satisfaction from it. It is strictly a sociological phenomenon, in the sense that it has its roots and reasons in the need of the group that will sustain it. The great role performed by propaganda is in its ability to give the people the involvement they crave or the illusion of it in order for the masses to be artificially satisfied. Individuals are faced with decisions which require a range of information that the individual does not and cannot have without propaganda. Thus, the individual is unable to accept that he cannot form opinion on his own and is caught between his desire and his inability. People are willing and likely to accept propaganda that allows them to artificially satisfy their desire to have an opinion by hiding their incompetence. The individual does not mind being given preconceived positions because otherwise he would realize that he does not understand the problems of the modern world. The individual would then realize that he "depends on situations of which he has no control" and have to face this reality. The individual cannot live in the state of this harsh reality so he derives satisfaction from the veil created by the ideology and the sense of values it provides. The individual need psychological and ideological reasons why he needs to be where he is and propaganda is the mechanism that the state uses for this very purpose. Chapter Four: Psychological Effects of Propaganda
The psychological effects of propaganda on an individual cannot be ignored. The individual undergoes profound changes while being propagandized mainly the diminishment of personal activity. "Propaganda furnishes objectives, organizes the traits of an individual into a system, and freezes them into a mold by standardizing current ideas, hardening the prevailing stereotypes, and furnishing thought patterns in all areas." The individual is traumatized by the overwhelming force of propaganda that intensifies the prejudices and beliefs until eventually the individual has no control over his own impulses. It seeks to push the individual into the mass until his will fades entirely into that of the mass. Individuality is sacrificed for the greater cause of the nation by uniting him and blending him with others. Critical and personal judgment are subdued and replaced with ready-made attitudes and opinions. Discernment is made nearly impossible for the individual whose ability to judge is destroyed making him dependent on propaganda’s ready-made opinions from then on. The individual can no longer exercise his own judgment and becomes honed into what propaganda tells him. He no longer expresses himself but his group once he accepts public opinion as his own. The artificial, impersonal public opinion created by propaganda is absorbed by the individual and he becomes filled with its conviction. When he is fully integrated in the social group and can no longer distinguish between himself and society than he has reached total alienation. In this process, the individual’s personal inclinations lead to participation in the collective where he loses control and submits to external impulses. The individual is suppressed psychologically so that he can continue to live under the conditions in which society places him by providing an artificial and unreal reality that is the result of powerful propaganda. Chapter Five: The Socio-Political Effects
"In the nineteenth century, the problem of opinion formation through the expression of thought was essentially a problem of contacts between the State and the individual, and a problem of acquisition of freedom. But today, thanks to the mass media, the individual finds himself outside the battle that is now between the State and powerful groups. The freedom to express ideas is no longer at stake in this debate but it has been replaced by mastery and domination by the State or some powerful groups over the formation of opinion. The individual is not in the battle because he is the stake and the battle will determine what voice he will be permitted to hear and which words will have the power to obsess him." 1.Part One: Propaganda and Ideology
An ideology provides society certain beliefs and no social group can exist without the foundation of these beliefs. Propaganda is the means by which an ideology can expand without force. An ideology is either fortified within a group or expanded beyond the borders of a group through propaganda. However, propaganda is less and less concerned with spreading the ideology nowadays as it is with becoming autonomous. The ideology is no longer the decisive factor of propaganda that must be obeyed by the propagandist. The propagandist cannot be constrained by the ideology of his State but must operate in service of the state and be able to manipulate the ideology as if it were an object. The ideology merely provides the content for the propagandist to build off since he is limited to what already is present within the group, nation, or society. The fundamental ideologies are nationalism, socialism, communism, and democracy. 2. Part Two: Effects on the Structure of Public Opinion Public opinion is an instrument of propaganda that is disseminated through the mass media of communication to the masses. While most people view the formation of public opinion as being shaped itself by interaction between different viewpoints on controversial questions, this is incorrect because public opinion is delineated by propaganda as a "truth" which is either believed or not believed. Public opinion ceases to be controversial and can no longer form itself except through channels of mass media. No opinion can be held until it is communicated to the masses through mass media. Propaganda uses public opinion to externalize inner opinions of the organization to the masses that eventually produces conformity. 3. Part Three: Propaganda and Grouping In regards to propaganda, there are two groups: the groups that make propaganda and the groups that are subjected to propaganda. In Ellul's view, there is a "double foray on the part of propaganda that proves the excellence of one group and the evilness of another at the same time to create partitioning". This creates isolation between groups by promoting allegiance to the group one is in and suppressing conversation between groups. The more they listen to their propaganda the stronger their beliefs and the greater their justifications for their actions. Partitioning takes place on many different levels including class, religious, political, national and blocs of nations. A superior group is able to affect the lesser groups, however, groups that have an equal amount of influence will only separate further from one another in that a members allegiance to a group develops closed mindedness. Well-organized propaganda is able to work with different elements that exist within a nation such as religion, political parties, and labor groups. 4. Part Four: Propaganda and Democracy Since democracy depends on public opinion, it is clear that propaganda must be involved. The relationship between democracy and propaganda evidently presents a conflict between the principles of democracy and the processes of propaganda. The individual is viewed as the cornerstone of a democracy which is a form of government that is made "for the people and by the people". However, as discussed in early chapters Ellul described the masses are incapable of making long-term foreign policy and the government needs to make these decisions in a timely manner. This is where propaganda comes into play and projects an artificial reality to the masses to satisfy their need to participate in government while the decisions are really made behind the scenes. This was also describe earlier as the "mass-government" relationship. Democratic regimes develop propaganda in line with its myths and prejudices. Propaganda stresses the superiority of a democratic society while intensifying the prejudices between democratic and oppressive.
Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes builds on prior notions of propaganda to demonstrate that while propaganda is psychological in nature it is just as much sociological in nature as well. Propaganda is not just embedded into the individual's psyche but also the cultural psyche. Propaganda works off the inner characteristics of both the individual and the society that the individual belongs. This thorough analysis made by Ellul illustrates that to downplay the importance of the sociological influences of propaganda to psychological ones is a dreadful error. Propaganda is more threatening when it begins to be recognized as sociological as well psychological in nature. Below are two major themes the first stressing the psychological aims of propaganda the second the sociological aims.
"The Lonely Crowd"
The term "lonely crowd" is used by Ellul to distinguish the two inseparable elements of propaganda, the individual and the masses, which must be addressed by the propagandist at the same time. As an isolated unit, the individual is of no interest to the propagandist unless he is reduced to an average. It is crucial that the individual is never considered as an individual but always in terms of what he has in common with others. The individual is included and integrated into the mass because the propagandist profits from the process of diffusion of emotions through the mass, and at the same time, from the pressures felt by an individual when in a group.
In this setting, "the individual caught up in the mass", the individual's reactions are easier to provoke and psychic defenses are weakened. The individual must always be considered as a participant in a mass and similarly the mass must only be viewed as a crowd composed of individuals. When propaganda is addressed to the crowd, it must touch each individual in that crowd which is in fact nothing but assembled individuals. Conversely, the individual should not be viewed as alone as a listener, watcher, or reader because the individual is nevertheless part of an invisible crowd though he is actually alone. The most favorable moment to influence an individual is when he is alone in the mass, the structure of the mass is extremely profitable to the propagandist concerned with being effective.
Fundamental currents in society
"One cannot make just any propaganda any place for anybody." While propaganda is focused on reaching the individual, it cannot only rely on building off what already exists in the individual. Propaganda must also attach itself to the pre-existing fundamental currents of the society it seeks to influence. The propagandist must know the current tendencies and the stereotypes among the public he is trying to reach. These are indicated by principal symbols of the culture the propagandist wishes to attack since these symbols express the attitudes of a particular culture. Individuals are part of a culture and are therefore psychologically shaped by that culture. The main task of propaganda is to utilize the conditioned symbols as transmitters of that culture to serve its purpose. Propaganda must be a reflection of the fundamental structures of society to be successful and not contradictory of existing opinions. A skillful propagandist does not try to change mass opinion or go against an accepted structure. Only a bad propagandist would make a direct attack on an established, reasoned, durable opinion, accepted cliché, or fixed pattern. "Each individual harbors a large number of stereotypes and established tendencies; from this arsenal the propagandist must select those easiest to mobilize, those which will give the greatest strength to the action he wants to precipitate."
While propaganda cannot create something out of nothing, it does have the ability to build on the foundation already established. More importantly even though it does not create new material and is confined to what already exists, it is not necessarily powerless. "It can attack from the rear, war own slowly, provide new centers of interest, which cause the neglect of previously acquired positions; it can divert a prejudice; or it can elicit an action contrary to an opinion held by the individual without his being clearly aware of it."
Propaganda can gradually undermine prejudices and images in order to weaken them. These fundamental currents in society create the perfect atmosphere for sociological propaganda which influences the individual through his customs and unconscious habits. Sociological propaganda is a phenomenon where a society tries to unify its members’ behavior according to a pattern. Essentially sociological propaganda is to increase conformity with the environment that is of a collective nature by developing compliance with or defense of the established order through long term penetration and progressive adaptation by using all social currents. The propaganda element is the way of life with which the individual is permeated and then the individual begins to express it in film, writing, or art without realizing it. This involuntary behavior creates an expansion of society through advertising, the movies, education, and magazines. "The entire group, consciously or not, expresses itself in this fashion; and to indicate, secondly that its influence aims much more at an entire style of life." This type of propaganda is not deliberate but springs up spontaneously or unwittingly within a culture or nation. This propaganda reinforces the individual’s way of life and represents this way of life as best.
See also  Brainwashing Conformity Ideology Indoctrination Media manipulation Mind control Propaganda Psychological manipulation Psychological warfare Social Influence Socially constructed reality
|Truth is the most precious thing. That's why we should ration it.
“Gentlemen, I am ready for the questions to my answers.”
Western MSM develop a very specific type of brainwashing that parasite on the people desire to be informed. It is called "drawing truth in the ocean of news." So multiple articles about the events are not designed to inform you more, they are designed to inform you less and less. Coverage of the event by guardian is a classic example of usage of this tactics.
For example most Western MSM articles about MH17 tragedy are emotionally charged junk and few facts that I mentioned fail to pass even the test of high school physics and definitely were made without of even laymen understanding of the equipment used (it looks like autonomous radar that rebels had can track targets only below 6.5K meters), so shooing down iether need provocation from lower altitude SU-25 or is impossible from a single standalone battery that rebels supposedly used to have (if and only if it was operational; which is a big if as rebels did not shoot any plane from it before the incident, despite on multiple of target that attacked Donetsk).
If you are not analyst of the General staff on a duty, and analyst of some speculative financial institution, and not professional "digest-maker", permanent connection to the news from Ukraine/MH17/Syria/West Bank in the last thing you need. To be "always on top of the news" is probably the best way to burn your nerves completely. News are like sugar for diabetic person. Remember: if you will learn the news 24 hours later, that will change nothing. But personal advantage of such approach are obvious: you save time, nerves and you sanity. Remember that in 24 hours many "fake" news which might hit you strongly on emotional level will be denied and you will not waste neither your time nor your nerves. From this simple observation here are two also simple but still potentially useful recommendations:
In this sense experience with fighting "artificial reality" created by state propaganda machine accumulated by people of the USSR became again valuable. At the core of this Soviet skill is an assumption that MSM are likely lying about domestic events and always lie about foreign events. So so facts and more objective information foreign events can be obtained only from foreign MSM. That's why despite the fact that people understood the BCC and Voice of America were propaganda outlets they were tremendously popular in the USSR.
The value is that local MSM are trying to create particular variant of the artificial reality but foreigh MSM while also lying try to create different image. And discrepancies shed some light on the real events.
They also took into the fact that some type of lying (so called maintenance lying) is more vulnerable from the point of view of detecting discrepancy the information about new events. People get used to draw certain conclusions from the speeches of the political leaders, but those conclusion were made not of the content of the speeches. Such things as changes from previous position, change of emphasis were much more important. Again I would like to stress that people understood perfectly well the BBC and Voice of America have an agenda and were also lying but the set of lies is different and comparison with Soviet propaganda helps to reveals the truth or at least part of the truth.
All those ideas can be extended and adopted to new Internet-based environment which provides new reference points in comparison with BBC and Voice of America that Soviet people used.
Diogenes44, 09 May 2014 8:43pm
We thank all Ukrainians who are sending us videos that reveal what is going on in Odessa and Eastern Ukraine. The Western press, especially in the US, are virulently anti-Putin and anti-Russian. Thanks to The Guardian that at least posts updated news from that region. One can easily distinguish the lies vs more of the truth w/ such comparisonsdiogenesinope -> Diogenes44
Guardian does provide forum for surfacing of truth, not just one side but many sides. People have better chance to reason and to even use common sense and intuition that is snuffed out with extreme manipulative journalism. We live with that daily in US... CNN, NY Times, major networks. Only Fox will take the government to task, but then they are on the side of neocon thinking. It's lose-lose. I don't mind different opinion from real people. At least that is real and can be part of open dialog. The truth has better chance of surfacing. Why are people so afraid of real Liberty?
Facts are often mentioned, but facts that the contradict the Party line are deemphasized and put in wrong context.
read between the linesFig. to infer something (from something else); to try to understand what is meant by something that is not written explicitly or openly. After listening to what she said, if you read between the lines, you can begin to see what she really means. Don't believe every thing you read literally. Learn to read between the lines.
Another telling sign is whether the new is presented on the top of front page of migrated at the bottom. Statement can be as hawkish as before, but if news went to the bottom you can be pretty sure the Washington Obcom give instructions to deemphases the importance of the event.
Using smokescreen and substituting "smokescreen words with their direct counterparts in another common technique. For example:
The key ideas of this "propaganda should overtake journalism" operation in MSM media were outlined in Lewis Powell Memo. It’s a classical totalitarian document. It lays out a plan of attack through the device of fraudulently accusing its opponent of such a plan. This is is a well developed e strategy that is probably also used by sociopaths and various cults. This is a classic case of adoption of the principles of former bitter enemy -- Trotskyites by neoliberals. Among them:
In addition, reporters are simply not going to be allowed to report stories that are severely damaging to those that spend millions of dollars on advertising (such as pharmaceutical companies) on those mainstream media outlets. At this point, our “news” is absolutely packed with propaganda. Way too often, things are not what they seem to be on television. The mainstream media lies, lies and then lies some more. They give us "artificial reality" that their owners want us to have.
One of such permanent features of this "artificial reality" projected is American Exceptionalism as well as "delusion of global hegemony".
Dialectics suggest that each notion develops into its opposite. It might already happened with press. XXI century can probably be called "the age of disinformation", although the process started long ago with the first totalitarian regimes in Russia, Italy and Germany. In this sense cold war was won by the USSR, because one of the most despicable features of the regime -- totalitarian control of media -- is now completely and on more advanced level replicated by MSM. As Daniel Schorr aptly observed in his csmonitor article A spin cycle out of control:
Washington these days feels a little like Moscow in Soviet times when the government routinely dispensed information to the public and the public routinely didn't believe it. The two main newspapers were the Communist Party organ, Pravda, (Truth) and the Soviet government organ, Izvestiya (News). People used to say, "There is no Izvestiya in Pravda and no Pravda in Izvestiya."
Only a complete idiot now can believe mainstream press. Moreover at least Communists were honest about it and accepted it as an evil, but necessary byproduct of a one-party state. Their official textbooks openly argued that the working premise for MSM is simple: bet on greed, corruption and stupidity. Their view of press was simple, straightforward and is rather attractive, while in general being false, as many other communist ideas -- all professional journalists should be considered to be a special kind of prostitutes :-). Anyway, even if you rightly think that communist's approach is too extreme or simplistic or both, it still make perfect sense always ask who stands to profit and try to find and compare information from the opposition, be it internal opposition (which can be still found on the web), or press of other states.
It is extremely naive to assume that freedom of press can exist in a particular single state. But if you take several antagonistic states then this assumption looks a little bit more realistic.
The level of propaganda smoke screen in particular state is directly proportional to the importance of the event and generally reaches maximum in war coverage ("Truth is the first casualty of war"). As Stephen Gowans wrote in Media Monitors Network
Every war proceeds along this path. Those who stand to be killed, dismembered, and dispossessed, are demonized, turned into the hobgoblins the American journalist H.L. Menken accused practical politicians of using to menace the population into consenting to what would otherwise not be consented to. Few are going to consent to the killing of innocents. So you turn the innocent into the guilty. Butchers. Murderers. Genocidists. Only later are the stories revealed to be gross exaggerations, often outright fabrications.
BTW in most cases Canadian and UK newspapers give more truthful picture of events in the USA and the USA foreign politics that local newspapers. The same is true for Russian press about Ukraine or Poland or Polish and Ukrainian press about Russia. Traditionally UK press was the standard of independent thinking. That largely changed (with Times now controlled by Murdock family) by still in my experience some remnants of this honorable tradition are still present. But you need to put efforts to find those few brave soils, dinosaurs who still try to inform public, not to misinform it. Another important factor is the level of monopolization of the press. Famous economist John Kenneth Galbraith in his latest book The Economics of Innocent Fraud noted that politicians and the media moguls actually form shadow "Ministry of Truth" in best Orwellian traditions, propagating, for example myth about:
..a benign for oligarchs "free market" is the best, that minimal government intervention stimulates the economy, that obscene pay gaps and unrestrained self-enrichment are an inevitable by-product of the system.
Actually this kind of control of media by powerful interests (connected with the state, but necessary directly manipulated by the state) is the essence of the totalitarian state. This is a bad thing. I think, that in such circumstances anybody who has IQ to speak about, should not blindly believe any newspaper or TV station. Any news coverage should be considered more like a question than like an answer. This is especially true for international events. Only by comparing sources from different countries (for example Australian coverage, Asian coverage, GB and Canada coverage) one can get some idea about what's really is going on. In this sense Internet is really the last citadel of democracy. In addition to the internet there is still a couple of good things:
While English is the most important world language it is also the language in which most propaganda distortion are practiced. Still it is the only language that has critical mass of foreign press and as such English (along with Internet) are the main bastions of democracy in a modern world. Of course pro-state bias is also more pronounced in coverage of international events as foreign correspondents, who while not always are on a direct payroll of three letter agencies are often directly or indirectly influenced by them. If you are already thinking along this path you might also enjoy a book by John Ralston Saul called "Unconscious Civilization." Another of his books along the same lines is "Voltaire's Bastards" in which he examines the appropriation of our government/corporations by an unaccountable elite which has co-opted the real power in our society (skip the Canadian identity-related staff)
The key method of propaganda is twisting of the language. For example the word democracy now usually means nothing more the "our bastards" (as in famous Franklin D. Roosevelt - Wikiquote about Somosa "he may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard" ;-). And what is really sad, is that in case of war, or major terrorist events, extreme, Soviet style disinformation is not limited to channels like Fox or Rupert Murdock controlled newspapers.
Peaceful protesters often now mean "armed militants" and corrupt regime any goverment the the USA does not like.
Such twisting can be found all over the political spectrum of English language publications but British are the kings of this subtle art. Moreover the level of distortion of wars in Kosovo and Beslan tragedy and Georgian war (to name several significant relativly recent evets) was actually greater in left press. BBC and NYT, Newsweek, Guardian, Independent, etc really managed to outdid Fox in the art of disinformation in those cases. And it is left press which supported and continue to call wahhabis fanatics with freedom fighters. Like Talleyrand used to say "It is worse than a crime, -- it is a blunder" as wahhabism is a direct threat to the civilized world.
Moreover the story of Osama Bin Laden had shown quite convincingly that they due to the internal logic of the movement they always turn against the very people who were providing them money and PR support.(Osama is essentially a byproduct of the Saudi regime, in particular the hardliners in the regime, and CIA; Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provide necessary but not sufficient condition for the creation of this movement; two other important components were Saudis and CIA). As MSNBC author By Michael Moran stated in his Aug. 24, 1998 article "Bin Laden comes home to roost":
At the CIA, it happens often enough to have a code name: Blowback. Simply defined, this is the term that describes an agent, an operative or an operation that has turned on its creators. Osama bin Laden, our new public enemy Number 1, is the personification of blowback. And the fact that he is viewed as a hero by millions in the Islamic world proves again the old adage: Reap what you sow.
In case of important events nobody now generally expects the government to tell the truth rather than to resort to propaganda. But there is some level in which quantity turns into quality. And "war time coverage" now is extended to less important cases that should not involve "war time" restrictions and mobilization priorities. If powerful interests are involved, then trying to tell the truth is a direct threat to the employment (and in some countries even life) of individual journalists; in the case of the broadcasters can lead to direct or subtle forms of economic retribution. That means that loyalty to one's boss overwhelmingly took precedent over personal honesty and integrity. Also journalists especially in national capitals are regularly bribed by the establishment. Some of the are connected with the establishment by family and other ties.
For that reason, we, as citizens, have to learn to recognize propaganda and media disinformation and within our limited means fight it. The ability to withstand massive "brainwashing" now become an important dimension of non-conformism. Those skills are especially important due to an extremely dangerous development in mass communication -- complete loss of independence (sovietization) of mass media, the phenomenon that is also connected with the creation of military-media-industrial complex (MMIC). Here is a relevant quote from The 50, 26, 20... Corporations That Own Our Media
Of the 1,700 daily papers, 98 percent are local monopolies and fewer than 15 corporations control most of the country's daily circulation. A handful of firms have most of the magazine business, with Time, Inc. alone accounting for about 40 percent of that industry's revenues.
The history the media cowardice, prejudice and gross over-simplification needs to be studied much more completely and materials presented below are far from being such a study. And while I would like to repeat it again: Internet is last bastion of democracy, media conglomerates actually controls a large part of Internet too, so crossing the national borders is extremely important. Portals like Yahoo are just puppets in a big game. Just ask yourself who provides news for Yahoo and similar portals. One should always ask the question, "Who and why put this here?".
Another problem is that it's rather difficult to counter disinformation especially if the message falls within the bounds of your cultural belief systems. That's true for both light and left propaganda. The Internet offers certain advantages in conveying false information because the well known issues of conformity, persuasion and self-justification are amplified by the Net. Here are some relevant quotes:
What the mainstream media is doing with facts is typically terribly wrong. Sometimes it's plain, undisguised lie. And they don't really care if I know it, or you know it, or if millions know it. Again, they don't care -- they are doing their paid job of manipulation of public opinion in the interests of powerful groups (aka elites). It is definitely not anything like what it is supposed to be, which is a reliable and independent information helping us to understand this complex world. Let's face it: political commentators are often a special kind of trained crocodiles, they are just animals trained to maim the prey. The art of disinformation now reached such level that you can suspect anything including the direct transmission from the place of the event to be staged, sanitized or outright manipulated:
If you're reading this, we trust that you're painfully aware of the stranglehold that corporations have on the flow of "news" the world over. In this self-referential hyper-aware media-saturated environment, it's hardly incendiary or revolutionary at this point to imply that most news these days is manipulative moronic crap manufactured to simultaneously subdue and incite The Masses into their ongoing cycle of complacent apathy and egomaniacal patriotism. Or is it?
We won't insult your intelligence by waxing poetic about the self-preserving, dull-witted conspiracy of fools that we conveniently categorize as The Media Elite. You know the ones we're talking about. And in case you're not familiar with exactly how influenced the information that filters down to your front door, car radio or boob tube by The Military Entertainment Complex, have a looksie at who owns what. Yeah, that's right. Show us the money.
And while Internet is the last bastion of democracy, it is extremely important to be aware of the nature of the Internet. Information exists on the Net outside of existing scholarly structures. Sometimes respectable Internet sites are using all the dirty tricks of of yellow press journalism. See Open Directory - Science Social Sciences Psychology Persuasion and Social Influence. Here is an relevant quote from the paper: In Seattle's Aftermath Linux, Independent Media, and the Survival of Democracy:
Why Mainstream Media Won't Tell You the Truth
You don't have to be a genius or a conspiracy theorist to figure this one out. A few global media giants dominate the market; they have huge and growing holdings in virtually every means by which information is disseminated--films, books, TV channels, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines (Herman and McChesney, 1998). And they pressure, whether overtly or not, authors and reporters to put a slant on the news--specifically, a centrist to right-wing slant that favors the interests of the media's corporate owners. That's the reason you hear, over and over, why development matters more than preserving the environment, why free trade matters more than worker's rights, and why the U.S. has the right to impose its military power wherever it pleases.
Apart from the general pressure to slant the news to the center and right, industry associations overtly pressure media outlets to censor certain types of news reporting by threatening to withdraw advertising. For example, thanks to pressure from restaurant associations, newspapers are reluctant to specify local restaurants which violate health department regulations. Even so, overt pressure isn't often needed. When you're in the media business, you know darned well you'd better not run stories that businesses won't like. You tone it down. You run it by them. And if they're not comfortable and you're not comfortable, you don't run it.
In sum, you don't hear the truth because corporations don't want you to hear it and mainstream media are too cowardly to report it. Had you known the truth about Seattle (including substantive discussion of the specific issues concerning WTO policies), you might have thought more deeply about what's at stake. But that doesn't sell beer; why ask why, after all, when doing so is virtually unmarketable? Instead of providing the tools needed to think seriously about national policies, the media would much prefer to socialize viewers into becoming "neurotic in their need to buy advertised commodities", generating "mass spending on goods such as cosmetics, cigarettes, beer, soft drinks, and patent medicines completely out of proportion to the rational use of national income..." and diverting attention from "society's central needs, including public education, health care, [and] democratic economics" (Bagdikian, 1996:10).
At the same time for a thinking person Internet provides a unique possibility to resist this brain-washing campaign by comparing several sources. With some training you can read between the lines in mainstream media reports (people from former "socialist" countries usually have high score in those skills ;-):
The Internet is "dangerous" because it is a medium for the instantaneous and uncontrolled transmission of ideas.
We think of free speech as being a given--almost an absolute--in the United States and much of the Western world. Though everyone knows that certain kinds of speech, such as pornography, are against the law, most of us don't think about the web of social, nongovernmental constraints on legal but disfavored speech.
Unpopular ideas are marginalized in our society, restricted to the fringes of public discourse even without the need for any governmental action. Broadcast television and radio, cable, newsmagazines and book publishers all are--or are owned by--large conglomerates. Many rely on advertising, or own other businesses that do, or are simply owned or controlled by people whose personal involvement in the social web of contacts and constraints guarantees moderation in ideas. No idea sees the light of day until it has been turned over, examined from every angle, and pronounced fit for human consumption. Editors approve articles and books, and are managed by publishers who sometimes intervene in content. Committees decide what news stories to cover and which to ignore.
Let's don't miss this possibility, while it's still exists !!!
Andre Vltchek How to Fight Western Propaganda Information Clearing House - ICH
How to Fight Western Propaganda
By Andre Vltchek
May 15, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - First they manufacture monstrous lies, and then they tell us that we should be objective!
Is love objective; is passion?
Are dreams defendable, logically and philosophically?
When a house is attacked by brigands, when a village is overran by gangsters, when smoke, fire and cries for help are coming from every corner, should we award ourselves with the luxury of time to calculate, analyze and aim at complete logical, ethical, holistic and objective solutions?
I strongly believe no! We are obliged to fight those who are burning our dwellings, to hit with full force those who are attempting to rape our women, and to confront fire with fire when innocent beings are slaughtered.
When the most powerful and the most destructive force on earth employs all its persuasive might, utilizing everything from the mainstream media to educational facilities, in order to justify its crimes, when it spreads its poisonous propaganda and lies in order to oppress the world and suppress hope, do we step back and begin endless and detailed work on precise and objective narratives? Or do we confront lies and propaganda with our own narrative, supported by our intuition, passion and dreams for a better world?
The Empire lies continuously. It lies in the morning, during the day, in the evening, even at night, when most of the people are sound asleep. It has been doing it for decades and centuries. For grand deceits it relies on countless numbers of propagandists who pose as academics, teaches, journalists and “public intellectuals”. Perfection in the art of disinformation has been reached. Western advertising (so much admired and used by the German Nazis) has some common roots with propaganda, although propaganda is much older and “complete”.
It appears that even some leaders of the Empire now believe in most of their fabrications, and most of the citizens certainly do. Otherwise, how could they sleep at night?
The western propaganda apparatus is enormously efficient and effective. It is also brilliant in how it ensures that its inventions get channeled, distributed, and accepted in all corners of the world. The system through which disinformation spreads, is incredibly complex. Servile local media and academia on all continents work hard to guarantee that only one narrative is allowed to penetrate the brains of billions.
The results are: intellectual cowardice and ignorance, all over the world, but especially in the West and in its client states.
What are we, who oppose the regime, supposed to do?
First of all, things are not as hopeless as they used to be.
This is not the morbid unipolar world that we experienced in the early 90’s. Now Venezuela, Russia, China, and Iran support large media outlets that are opposed to the Empire. Powerful television stations emerged: RT, Press TV, TeleSUR and CCTV. Huge English language Internet-based magazines and sites in the United States, Canada and Russia are also exposing the lies of the official Western propagandists: Counterpunch, Information Clearing House, Global Research, Veterans News, Strategic Culture, New Eastern Outlook quickly come to mind. And there are hundreds of important sites doing the same in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese and French languages.
The fight is on: the fight for an intellectually multi-polar world. It is a tough, mortal fight! It is a crucial battle, simply because the metastases of the Western propaganda cancer have spread everywhere, contaminated all continents, and even some of the most courageous countries and brains that are earnestly fighting against the Western imperialism and fascism! No one is immune. To be frank, all of us are contaminated.
Unless we win this battle, by first clearly identifying and proving “their narrative” as fraudulent, and later by offering humanist and compassionate perceptions, we cannot even dream about the revolution, or about any significant changes in arrangement of the world.
How do we achieve victory? How do we convince the masses, those billions of people? How do we open their eyes and make them see that the Western regime is dishonest, toxic, poisonous and destructive? Most of humanity is hooked on the Empire’s propaganda; that propaganda which is not only spread by mainstream media outlets, but also by pop music, soap operas, social media, advertisement, consumerism, ‘fashion trends’ and by many other covert means; cultural, religious and media junk that leads to total emotional and intellectual stupor and is administered like some highly addictive narcotic, regularly and persistently.
Do we counter the tactics and strategy of the destructive and ruthless Empire with our honesty, with research, with telling and writing meticulously investigated facts?
The Empire perverts facts. It repeats lies through its loudspeakers and tubes. It shouts them thousands and thousands of times, until they sink into the sub conscious of people, penetrate the skin, spread all through their brains.
Good will, naive honesty, “speaking truth to power”, could this change the world and the power itself? I highly doubt it.
The Empire and its power are illegitimate, and they are criminal. Is there any point of speaking truth to a gangster? Hardly! Truth should be spoken to people, to masses, not to those who are terrorizing the world.
By talking to villains, by begging them to stop torturing others, we are legitimizing their crimes, and we are acknowledging their power. By trying to appease gangsters, people are putting themselves at their mercy.
I absolutely refuse to be in such position!
To win over billions of people, we have to inspire them, to fire them up. We have to outrage them, embrace them, shame them, make them laugh and make them cry. We have to make sure that they get goose bumps when they see our films, read our books and essays, listen to our speeches.
We have to detox them, make them feel again, wake up natural instincts in them.
Simple truth as a detox agent will not work. The poison of our adversaries has sunk too deeply. Most of the people are too lethargic and too immune to simple, quietly stated truths!
We have tried, and others have tried as well. My acquaintance (but definitely not my comrade) John Perkins, former US apparatchik educated by the State Department, wrote a detailed account of his horrid deeds in Ecuador, Indonesia and elsewhere – “Confession of An Economic Hitman”. It is a meticulous, detailed account of how the West destabilizes poor countries, using corruption, money, alcohol, and sex. The book sold millions of copies, worldwide. And yet, nothing changed! It did not trigger a popular revolution in the United States. There were no protests, no demands for regime change in Washington.
In the recent past, I wrote and published two academic, or at least semi-academic books, packed with great details, quotes and tons of footnotes: one on Indonesia, a country used by the West as a model horror scenario for the rest of the world, after the 1965-US-sponsored military coup. The coup killed 2-3 million people, murdered all intellectualism, and lobotomized the 4th most populous country on earth. The book is called “Indonesia – Archipelago of Fear”. The second book, unique because it covers an enormous part of the world – Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia (“Oceania – Neocolonialism, Nukes and Bones”), showed how the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and France, literally divided and destroyed the great South Pacific island cultures and the people. Now classes are being taught using my books, but only a very limited number of people are influenced by the facts exposed in them. The elites in both Indonesia and Oceania made sure that the books are not widely read by the people.
I have spent years and years compiling facts, researching, investigating. The revolutionary effectiveness of my academic work is – I have to admit – nearly zero.
It is easy to see the contrast: when I write an essay, a powerfully crafted, emotional essay, demanding justice, accusing the Empire of murder and theft, I get millions of readers on all continents, as well as translations to dozens of languages!
Why do I write this; why do I share this with my readers? Because we should all be realistic. We have to see, to understand, what people want – what they demand. The people are unhappy and scared. Most of them don’t know why. They hate the system, they are lonely, frustrated, they know that they are lied to and exploited. But they cannot define those lies. And academic books, exposing the lies are too complex for them to read since the masses have no time to read thousands of indigestible pages or the necessary education to allow them to understand what they are reading.
It is our duty to address those people, the majority, otherwise what kind of revolutionaries are we? After all, we are supposed to create for our brothers and sisters, not for a few researchers at the universities, especially when we realize that most of the universities are serving the Empire by regurgitating official nomenclature and supporting demagogues.
The Empire speaks, writes and then repeats some outrageous lies, about its benevolence, and exceptionality of its rule, or about the “evils” of the Soviet Union, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea or Cuba. This is done daily. In fact it is designed so that almost every human being gets his or her dose of the toxin at least several times a day.
We feel we have to react – we begin spending years of our lives, meticulously proving, step by step, that the Empire’s propaganda is either one big fat lie, or exaggeration, or both. After we compile our arguments, we publish the results in some small publishing house, most likely in the form of a slender book, but almost nobody reads it because of its tiny circulation, and because the findings are usually too complex, too hard to digest, and simply because the facts do not shock anybody, anymore. One million more innocent people were murdered somewhere in Africa, in the Middle East, in Asia; what else is new?
Researching and trying to tell the truth, fully and honestly, we feel that we are doing great, professional, scientific work. All the while the propagandists of the Empire are dying of laughter watching us! We are representing little danger to them. They are winning effortlessly!
Why is that? Doesn’t the detailed truth matter?
It does – from the point of higher principles it matters. Ethically it matters. Morally it matters. Philosophically it matters.
But strategically, when one is engaged in an ideological war, it does not matter that much! The truth yes, always; the truth matters! But simplified, digestible truth, presented powerfully and emotionally!
When immorality is ravishing the world, when it is charging mercilessly, when innocent millions are dying, what matters is to stop the slaughter, first by identifying the murderous force, then by containing it.
Language has to be strong, emotions raw.
When facing murderous hordes, poetry, emotionally charged songs, and patriotic odes have always been more effective than deep academic studies. And so were political novels and films, passionate documentaries, even explicit cartoons and posters.
Some would ask: “Just because they are lying, should we lie as well?” No! We should try to be as truthful as we can. But our message should be often “abridged”, so the billions, not just those selected few, could understand it.
It does not mean that the quality of our work should suffer. Simplicity is often more difficult to achieve than encyclopedic works with thousands of footnotes.
Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” is short, just a pamphlet, straight to the point. And so is the “Communist Manifesto”, and ‘J’accuse!”
Our revolutionary work does not have to be necessarily brief, but it has to be presented in a way that could be understood by many. I am constantly experimenting with the form, while never compromising on substance. My recent book, “Exposing Lies of the Empire” has more than 800 pages, but I made sure that it is packed with fascinating stories, with testimonies of people from all corners of the globe, with colorful description of both victims and tyrants. I don’t want my books to collect dust in university libraries. I want them to mobilize people.
I truly believe that there is not much time for “objectivity” in any battle, including those ideological ones, especially when these are battles for the survival of humanity!
The lies of the enemy have to be confronted. They are toxic, monstrous lies!
Once the destruction stops, millions of innocent men, women and children will cease being sacrificed, and we can return to our complex philosophical concepts, to details and to nuances.
But before we win our final battles against imperialism, nihilism, fascism, exceptionalism, selfishness and greed, we have to fully and effectively utilize our most powerful weapons: our visions of a better world, our love for humanity, our passion for justice. Our determination and our beliefs have to be presented in a loud, potent, even “dogmatic” manner, our voice should be creative, artistic, powerful!
The house is on fire, comrades! The entire town is turning to ashes. The entire planet is plundered, devastated, lobotomized.
We cannot confront bigots with nukes and battleships. But our talents, our muses, and our hearts are here, with us, ready to join the battle.
Let us outsmart our enemies; let us make sure that the world begins laughing at them! Have you seen them, those pathetic losers, the buffoons – the CEO’s? Have you listened to those Prime Ministers and Presidents, those servants of the “market”? Let us convince the masses that their tyrants –the imperialists, the neo-colonialists and all their dogmatic preachers – are nothing more than pitiful, greedy, poisonous fools! Let us discredit them! Let us ridicule them.
They are robbing and murdering millions. Let us begin by at least pissing on them!
Let us fight Western propaganda by first exposing those who are really behind it. Let’s get personal.
Let’s turn this revolution into something creative, hilarious, truly fun!
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”.Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.
There are several case studies that can help you see propaganda in action. Among them:
Here are some relevant quotes:
It's all staged, so we can all laugh at its Bush-licking rendition of the news, its ridiculous "fair and balanced" slogan and this man Bill O'Reilly, whose talk show is really more of a spitting contest gone off track. The Globe and Mail
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