The American Propaganda Machine

Most of us outside the borders of the USA know this, but nothing we do or say will probably have any kind of effect on the status quo: The American government is supported by an extremely efficient propaganda machine that ensures that the majority of its citizens will support it in its most barbaric of ventures. The big problem is that this propaganda machine consists primarily, contrarily to tradition, of “independent” media entities.

This article mentions some of the interesting manifestations of the American propaganda machine.

This one specifically irks me: “Editors across the US also worked hard to avoid the grisly images of war, especially scenes of dead Iraqi civilians and Americans, while Europeans saw uncensored horrific images.” I believe that if more Americans had seen the gruesome impact of their army on the innocent mothers, fathers and children of Iraq, they would be thinking differently at the moment.

A quote by John MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s magazine, wraps it up quite succinctly: “The concept of a self-governing US republic has been crippled by this propaganda,” MacArthur says. “The whole idea that we can govern ourselves and have an intelligent debate, free of cant, free of disinformation, I think it’s dead.”

He makes an extremely important point which I will rephrase and broaden: Democratic government only works if it is kept in check by an active and very critical media that is willing to show the voters absolutely anything and everything that it finds. It should be obvious that without more objective input, normal people can not make reasonable decisions and form objectively defensible opinions.

5 thoughts on “The American Propaganda Machine”

  1. Pingback: Ed's Weblog
  2. Of course here in the R of SA, criticism of the government by the independant media is racist, unpatriotic and contrary to the spirit of democracy. Or something. This is the opinion of the ruling party anyway. A ruling party which suffers from the classic pseudo-Marxist problem of being not being able to differentiate between being a member of the party and being a member of the government *formed* by that party. Party == State, and don’t you dare forget it.

    In closing, remember the words of one Thami Mazwai, who, when being inteviewed for a seat on the board of the South African public broadcaster, said “media freedom and editorial independence should never, ever be elevated above the national interest”. And he got the seat on the board, too.

  3. You should probably only read further for critical purposes, so that you can supply me, the political ignoramus extraodinare, with some tips on where enlightenment can be obtained. But here goes my unenlightened two cents worth anyway:

    I noted said issue regarding CNN/BBC coverage during the war. Interesting to note how effective CNN America was at changing average American opinion regarding the war from “They’re gonna shoot us with them darn chemical weapons if we don’t do it to them first”, to “Pray for our fighting sons and daughters”, to “Don’t worry about the weapons, were just freein’ them from Saddam.” And not a word about how Uncle Sam was part and parcel of Saddam’s rise to power, and how there were plenty of opportunities to get rid of S previously, etc.

    Also interesting is CPB’s statement “bad media = bad democracy”. I noted a related flaw related to this issue, though only recently (if you can supply a link with an idiot’s guide to political systems and typical downfalls for a wally like me, lemme know):

    Remember the piece of research regarding the “best joke in the world”. The best joke was democratically chosen. The result: the best joke is the most banal, prosaic, boring quasi-jest which the lowest common denominator (flea-bitten illiterate yack-dung-eating halfwit in generic yack-infested third world country) could understand.

    Therefore, if your democratic voter pool is driven and well-educated (Scandinavian countries, most West-European countries), it would seem that you would have a critical and effective appraisal and stabilising control by the public of it’s chosen leaders. If your voter pool is not driven and relatively poorly educated (USA, the good old RSA and other African Democracies), your government can get away with murder, easily sanctioned by the gross majority. Wait for the day when the average “level” of voter drops below X. Below X is the majority, which vote that those sustaining the country, above level Y, should now support them unconditionally, as those below X feel it’s too much trouble to bother. Those above Y are therefore foolish to continue, and would be wise to drop below X as well, resulting in general decline (hmmm, sounds sorta Atlas Shrugged-ish).

  4. Hi Charl,

    Nice to see that you MT up and running. US society has really reached a low point right now in terms of critical thought and even though it happens whether it is through more alternative sources like indymedia or more mainstream ones like Harpers a lot of people are not listening or reporting or engaging.

    The protests here in the last 6 months were massive and explosive in SF at times. They mainstream media had to report on it but they seriously diluted their coverage. It was very frustrating. But I think some seeds have been planted that I hope will break through a certain form of apathy and uncritical acceptance that marks this country right now.

  5. i was just 5 minutes thinking about this very topic and scaring the shite out of myself when i came across this site. It was like seeing god or something. we must act fast as the people who have seen this first. it is good to be able to see this massive lie before evidence of its existance disappears forever. We dont know 1/500th of what actually happened in everything that we know as a truth that has been brought via media. it is so much of our consciousness that it must be destroyed. what has happened nationally the past few years are closer to fascism than anything the world has ever seen. we are under a perfect propaganda creator. we know better than anyone what is wrong. a war must be fought inside of the united states. a war against the mass media, so that its shell may fall behind which to see the tyrants that control every aspect of our minds. viva la revolution de las americanas. it will soon be fought, and we must strengthen our end of the sword.

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