Unpacking Propaganda: What Is It? What Can You Do About It?

America is awash with harmful and dangerous propaganda, but few people understand what it is, how it works and what can be done to overcome it. This article examines the nature, structure and intent of propaganda so readers can increase awareness and discernment.

Propaganda Defined

According to The Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, “Since propaganda and public relations both share the goal of using mass communication to influence public perception, it can be easy to conflate the two. Propaganda, however, traffics in lies, misinformation, inflammatory language, and other negative communication to achieve an objective related to a cause, goal or political agenda.”

Britannica affirms this thought by defining propaganda as “dissemination of information – facts, arguments, rumors, half-truths or lies – to influence public opinion.”

The Oxford English Dictionary states that it is “the systematic dissemination of information, esp. in a biased or misleading way, in order to promote a political cause or point of view.”

Modern propaganda was defined by Edward Bernays (1891-1995) in the early 1920s. Bernays is credited as being the “father of public relations”, but many of his ideas came from his uncle, psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. Neither were friends of society.

According to Bernays,

“Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society (propaganda) constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country… we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

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New Owner of Politico Accepted Millions From the CIA to Print State Propaganda

The new owner of Politico, a mainstream media news outlet, has a lengthy track record of collusion with the Central Intelligence Agency to print stories considered favorable to the agency’s policy preferences.

Axel Springer SE is a German media conglomerate set to acquire Politico for a billion dollars by the end of October. The company, founded by and named after a German journalist who started his career writing for an antisemitic newspaper affiliated with the Nazi Party, accepted millions of dollars during the Cold War era to print editorial content at the behest of the CIA. Journalist Murray Waas has cited sources within the intelligence community who indicate Springer had accepted more than seven million dollars in the 1950’s to print CIA propaganda. Axel Springer’s relationship with the American CIA seems to have continued for several decades, with the corporation going so far as to train Afghan mujahideen armed and equipped by the CIA to film their encounters with Soviet forces.

An editor of Axel Springer’s flagship magazine Bild- fired this week for sexual misconduct with subordinate employees of the publication in the workplace- had accused journalist Glenn Greenwald and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden of enabling terrorism and cooperation with Al Qaeda.

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Refreshingly Honest Billionaire Says Media Purchase Will Be Used For Propaganda

The billionaire CEO of the multibillion-dollar corporation that recently purchased the news media outlet Politico has said that its newly acquired employees will be required to support Israel and the capitalist world order.

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the German publisher Axel Springer, said that Politico staffers will be required to adhere to a set of principles which include “support for a united Europe, Israel’s right to exist and a free-market economy, among others.”

“These values are like a constitution, they apply to every employee of our company,” Mr. Döpfner told WSJ. People with a fundamental problem with any of these principles “should not work for Axel Springer, very clearly,” he said.

I mean, how refreshing is that? How often does a billionaire corporation buy up a media property and just straightforwardly tell you they’re going to be using it to push propaganda? They even say what the propaganda will be. It makes you feel like your intelligence is being respected.

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It Takes A Lot Of Education To Keep Us This Stupid

The oligarchic empire is working harder and harder to bolt down our minds in service of its agendas.

Silicon Valley is working more and more openly in conjunction with the US government, and its algorithms elevate empire-authorized narratives while hiding unapproved ones with increasing brazenness.

The mass media have become so blatantly propagandistic that US intelligence operatives are now openly employed by news outlets they used to have to infiltrate covertly.

NATO and military institutions are studying and testing new forms of mass-scale psychological manipulation to advance the still developing science of propaganda.

transparently fake “whistleblower” is being promoted by the US political/media class to manufacture support for more internet censorship and shore up monopolistic control for institutions like Facebook who are willing to enforce it.

Wikipedia is an imperial narrative control operation.

They’ve imprisoned a journalist for exposing US war crimes after the CIA plotted to kidnap and assassinate him.

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Failing New York Times Caught Publishing More Fake News

When the New York Times audio documentary “Caliphate” won the Peabody Award, Times executive editor Dean Baquet took a victory lap, saying: “‘Caliphate’ was one of the best works of journalism of the year, created by a team of fearless journalists who shed new light on something as complex as ISIS and terrorism.” There was just one problem: “Caliphate” was largely based on the recollections of Shehroze Chaudhry, who admitted in Canadian court Friday that he made up the stories he told the Times’ “fearless journalists” about having been an Islamic State executioner. Rather than being “one of the best works of journalism,” “Caliphate” is actually the newest in a long string of object lessons proving that the New York Times is not a reliable news source. The newspaper is really a far-Left propaganda organ that cannot be trusted even when it is not retailing Democratic party agitprop.

In exchange for his admission, prosecutors dropped charges of a terrorism hoax against Chaudhry, apparently accepting the assertion of the fake terrorist’s lawyer, Nader R. Hasan, who said the stories Chaudhry told that fooled the Times were “mistakes borne out of immaturity — not sinister intent and certainly not criminal intent.”

Yes, of course. He likely became a fake terrorist because he knew that the Times, and particularly its star counterterror “journalist,” Rukmini Callimachi, would eat up the stories he would tell and publish them uncritically. After all, it wasn’t as if he was pretending to have been someone the Times really hates and fears, such as a right-wing Trump supporter. Nonetheless, Chaudhry’s lies caused a furor. According to the Times, “the release of that series in 2018, and other reports based on Mr. Chaudhry’s tales, created a political firestorm in Canada’s Parliament among opposition parties that repeatedly attacked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government for seeming to allow a terrorist killer to freely roam the streets of suburban Toronto.”

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The Science Of Propaganda Is Still Being Developed And Advanced

We live in a far less free society than most of us think.

It looks like we’re free. We don’t get thrown in prison for criticizing our government officials. We can vote for whoever we want. We can log onto the internet and look up information on any subject we’re interested in. If we want to buy a product we have many brands we are free to choose from.

But we’re not free. Our political systems are set up to herd people into a two-party system that is controlled on both sides by plutocrats. The news media that people rely on to form ideas about what’s going on and how they should vote are controlled by the plutocratic class and heavily influenced by secretive government agencies. Internet algorithms are aggressively manipulated to show people information which favors the status quo. Even our entertainment is rife with Pentagon and CIA influence.

How free is that? How free is your speech if there are myriad institutional safeguards in place to prevent speech from ever effecting political change?

It doesn’t matter what you’re allowed to say if it doesn’t matter what you say. It doesn’t matter if you’re allowed to call the oligarchic puppet put in office by the last fake election a dickhead. It doesn’t matter if you’re allowed to Google any information you want only to find whatever information Google wants you to find.

What is the functional difference between a regime which directly censors the internet to prevent dissent and a regime which works with Silicon Valley plutocrats to control information via algorithms and has a system in place which prevents dissent from having any meaningful impact?

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