“Propaganda is to democracy what the bludgeon is to the totalitarian state”
~ Noam Chomsky
I’m no fan of Noam Chomsky, but he got that right.
I suspect that a good deal of what we see, hear, and read in the public domain is manipulated. I posted on one aspect of that, the kowtowing of media companies to the wishes of advertisers and sponsors, here: When Truth Doesn’t matter. (Come back to it later?)
Now, deliberate programs of mis-direction, mis-information, obfuscation, and ridicule have a name: “Astroturfing”
I dislike the term, but here it’s apt; this is “must see“.
As a take-away, here’s what you need to watch out for when you’re trying to work out whether some position, opinion, or argument is truth or lying propaganda:
The truth usually comes calm and factual. Liars and spinners use emotive rhetoric to cloak their lack of facts and proof.
Ad Hominem attacks.
If you can’t beat the argument, attack your opponent’s character. Ridicule, discredit, impugn. Straight from the Saul Alinsky playbook.
Questioning those who question authority.
Classic misdirection. If they’re not questioning “authority”, but rather, questioning those that do, you have to wonder about their motivation.
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And because I fear that there’s serious astroturfing going on at a macro-political level, we’ll give the last word to a master of lying big:
“We have made the Reich by propaganda”
~ Joseph Goebbels