Been thinking about propaganda

Published May 20, 2021

By Joe Mavretic

This Flu that originated in China has given me time to think about America and propaganda. Seems to me that our country is now the land of twisted truth. 
Propaganda is defined as," Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view."  In a thesaurus, some synonyms for propaganda are advertising, spin, advocacy, indoctrination, brainwashing and "The big lie." There are many propaganda techniques, some of them are: manipulated statistics, testimonials, stereotyping, emotional appeal, reference to science, testimonials, and, "Getting on the bandwagon."
Wikipedia describes propaganda as, "Communication that is primarily used to influence an audience and further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be selectively presenting facts in order to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language in order to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is being presented. Propaganda is often associated with material which is prepared by governments, but activist groups, companies, religious organizations, the media, and individuals also produce propaganda."
When I turn on my television I’m bombarded with  propaganda that pays for "free television"; the magazines to which I subscribe are sustained by propaganda; "freedom of the press" is fertilized by propaganda; universities are awash in propaganda; professional sports are nourished by propaganda; the rationale for much of the national budget is supported by propaganda, and a current issue is a pandemic based upon propaganda. We have become "America the Manipulated!" 
Cartoons, posters, and crowd signs have replaced diligence. Any half-lie that increases market share is worth telling and, when the lying is revealed, all the "Suits" have to do is apologize and appear repentant. The quick platitude has smothered careful evaluation, and the intent of law. Anecdotal evidence has become our public reflection…If it bleeds, it leads!
Somewhere, someone is bleeding every second of every day. Somewhere, someone is dying every minute. Somewhere, someone is starving today or is homeless or has cancer or has been in a wreck or has been murdered. However, a million people aren’t bleeding right now; tens of millions aren’t dying; a hundred million had a good dinner; two hundred million will sleep at home, and three hundred million don’t have cancer, haven’t been in a wreck and weren’t murdered.
Not being murdered is poor propaganda material. Not being hungry makes a poor statistic. Getting home from work without being in an accident, or without being shot, doesn’t arouse guilt or fear. Going to work, obeying our laws, being a good parent….these are not sensational actions that are worthy of the top half of A1 on a newspaper or the first item on the 4:00, 5:00, 6:00,7:00 or 11:00 O’Clock News.

In fact, the propaganda in mass print, and network visual, is now being challenged by personal opinions. Anyone with an electronic device can produce, and distribute, personal opinion propaganda world wide without the constraint of facts or attribution. 
Want panic without proof? Use the Internet.
Want to spread a lie?…..Create a blog.
Want to orchestrate hate?…..Send an email.
Want a trial by accusation? Just claim it happened!
So… Is there an umbrella to keep each of us from being soaked by this monsoon of propaganda? Is there a fence to keep out small group hysteria? Is there a door to shut against individual panic? Or, is a sucker born every minute? 
Seems to me that balance is the best personal response to all this manipulation. Realizing that governments at every level will deceive you. Asking a key statistical question. Knowing when to "Follow the Money." Separating macro from micro. Accepting that God is on the side of every believer. Understanding that there are two sides to every coin. Admitting that advocates and adversaries all believe their positions should prevail. Recognizing that a four-page advertisement for a new drug ought to make you think about results and consequences. Questioning whether six different car models and three pickup trucks can all be the best-of-whatever. 
Just think a bit before you accept and decide.
Here’s a fun game if you can pause a television advertisement. Freeze a frame that has some small print at the bottom, get up close enough to read the small print, and then decide if the big print, message and acting is propaganda. 
If you want to seriously enquire about propaganda, how to use it to twist the truth and control a nation, read Mein Kampfby a chap named Adolph Hitler…he got it!