Thursday, March 4, 2010

Propaganda in the 21st century

Benen has two separate posts up today that show just how ridiculous "news" coverage is today. The first piece, looks at the branding of reconciliation as "controversial." Basically, it shows that a review of media coverage from 2003 when reconciliation was used to pass the "temporary" Bush tax cuts shows that reconciliation was not considered controversial back then. In fact, the only reason it's "controversial" now, is because Republicans say it is.

As Benen notes:

Scholars of propaganda could write an impressive paper on the Republican campaign on reconciliation in recent months. Partisan hacks have managed to convince an entire political world and a media establishment that use of a fairly routine Senate procedure is not only problematic, but genuinely scandalous.

But never ones to rest on their laurels when it comes to outright lying to the electorate, Republicans are not done. The second piece documents the Republicans newest "controversy:" President Obama's nomination of Rep. Jim Matheson's (D-UT) brother for a federal judgeship -- which apparently they think is an attempt to "buy" Rep. Matheson's vote on HCR.

Republicans gleefully circulated a Weekly Standard piece yesterday that asked if Obama was trying to buy Matheson's vote by nominating his brother, Scott, to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Both the White House and Matheson's office swiftly answered the question with a resounding 'no.' And both Republican senators from Matheson's home state of Utah support the nomination.
Is there anything to this "scandal?" No. Matheson's brother, Scott Matheson, is a law school dean, a former Harvard law professor, Rhodes scholar, respected attorney and former Federal prosecutor. His nomination is supported by Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Bob Bennett and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, all Republican members of Congress, who have all rejected the idea that this is some kind of tit-for-tat.

But that hasn't stopped Congressional Crazy Person Michelle Bachman and Professional Crazy Person Glenn Beck from going batshit over this "controversy." In fact, South Carolina's own Sen. Jim DeMint even weighed in to Beck that on Obama administration: "They really do think we're stupid."

Well...uh...more like shameless and willing to say absolutely anything...but sure, Jim, we'll go stupid too. this kind of crap propaganda?

Propaganda must always address itself to the broad masses of the people. (...) All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed. (...) The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses. The broad masses of the people are not made up of diplomats or professors of public jurisprudence nor simply of persons who are able to form reasoned judgment in given cases, but a vacillating crowd of human children who are constantly wavering between one idea and another. (...) The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.


Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favourable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side. (...) The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble.
So, you tell us. Does that sound like it applies? If so, it comes from the father of propaganda, Hitler, right out of his blueprint for Nazi propaganda: Mein Kampf. Now, are we saying these people are Nazis? No. But they sure seem to be playing right out of the same playbook, huh?

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