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Its the intent, not the content.

Hitler developed propaganda into a fine art. That is not to say he did not have instruction; he did in the battlefields of WWI. And now we are going him one better. We are so extreme about it, our Information Age might be better labeled the Progaganda Age. By "we" we mean all of humanity, all societies. Extremism lives on and by propaganda.

Visit various news sites after a terror event. Listen to radio and TV reports. Include eastern and western organs. What do you see? Do all western sources agree? Do the eastern? Does European media see it the same as US sources?

What we see for the most part is that media within a country or region have as much variation as sources between countries and regions. When trying to decide what is propaganda and what is not...well that is a bit more difficult.

Do we decide on what feels most comfortable, or do we search for descriptions in common? Is either good enough? Kris Rosenberg had one answer in a question: "Are you working a Paint-by-Number life or are you working on an original?" In the latter event, you look not just at the news stories to decide, but at their total context in view of history.

  • What does each news organ leave out? What is editorial and what is real event?
  • Does the editorial give equal time to all sides?
  • Does the editorial make sense?
  • Is it self consistent?
  • Does it use judgmental, inflammatory or derisive language?
  • Does it sound like a saw, harping on one idea?
  • Does it appeal heavily to emotions at the expense of logic?
  • Does the editorial content use terms in a sense opposite to, or different from, the dictionary meaning? (Certain world leaders are/were experts on this one.)
  • Does it combine words that would not normally be used together in another age?

Answer those questions and we will be much closer to perceiving the reality of an event or how and why it happened.

If we have a mind to combat propaganda from all quarters , one option is to develop an internal Locus of Control.

Having said all that, there are cultures that use the word "propaganda" in the legitimate sense of advertising. But where does one draw the line?

The answer might not matter much except for one very disturbing thing Bob Altemeyer puts his finger on:

    We have covered nine attitude-change experiments on the effects of hate literature upon university students. The studies showed such propaganda "worked." It made people believe less that the Holocaust occurred, it made them less accepting of and nore hostile toward homosexuals, and it effectively wiped out support for feminist professors...

    ...Moreover, three of the studies found that the students were not influenced by truthful accounts of the Holocaust.


Propaganda is also used to motive the troops and instill fear into the "enemy" not to mention change a social order as Hitler did and justify invading Iraq as Bush did.

Maybe we need to once again explain our politics. It has three basic pillars and their importance changes with the direction the wind is blowing. We are not so single minded we cannot change course in pursuit of discovering how we can advance the cause of peace. We address problems as they develop, and right now the major problem is still sitting in the White House.

1 We are fiscally conservative. Our commentary is consistent with balancing our national finances. We support living within our means as a society and nation. We support those with similar values.

2 We are socially liberal. Again our commentary follows the vein that all peoples, we mean all peoples on earth, should feel and experience equal opportunity, freedom, liberty, and education free of dogma. We support people who share these values. We also support honest reporting about logos issues.

3 We are anti violence. This is our motive for sponsoring this web site. Violence embraces genocide, war, terrorism, rackets, extortion, small time criminality, and yes violence in the schools and neighborhoods, and domestic violence in homes. We support people who work for peace.

To say we must provide equal air time to all political parties is like telling us we must support a person who openly states for the world to hear: "I am a war president." This is not the America our founding fathers had in mind. We believe we are consistent when we praise Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Eisenhower, while criticizing Johnson. We deplore what Nixon did to the image of the White House, and the Neocons who began gathering strength during his administration.

Posted by RoadToPeace on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 14:10:17

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