Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Making the situation better

Sometimes, I will hear people say the darnedest things. Like, does propaganda work? The obvious reply is, of course, it works! Corporations wouldn't spend $250 billion a year on advertising if it didn't. Most people, though, don't really think of advertising as propaganda per se. I'm baffled as to why that is, but they don't.

They usually think of propaganda as something the government does to lie to the public or, in more benign forms, convince the public of something that they would otherwise have reason to doubt. Which is true. Propaganda is that, too. But does that work, they will ask. The answer to that question should be obvious given our current and likely never-ending predicaments in Iraq and Afghanistan. These programs depend on a number of factors, such as how subtle is the job, whether it is presented as "news" by operationally separated entities, the density of presentation. What is certain is that such programs neither have, nor do they need, any relationship with the truth.

As regards our current epoch, the government propaganda campaigns we have seen executed in the so-called news media have been very effective indeed. So effective, in fact, that the government press releases and talking points can no longer be distinguished from news reporting by nominal viewers. Even the news media themselves seem unable to distinguish these at times, the "video news release" and administration-paid talking head scams being cases in point. But after the exposure of the lies about Iraq and reports of the various fake news efforts conducted by the Bush administration, the fallout has been remarkable for one notable feature: there hasn't been any. The fallout from these disastrous propaganda campaigns has, in fact, been non-existent. People still seem willing to buy into whatever the White House and the Pentagon say, as long as they hear often enough. Or rather, as long as it is pushed at them with a certain frequency and intensity. Which is where the corporate media come into the equation.

Lately, there has been quite an uproar over various disingenuous reports about "progress" in Iraq, the O'Hanlon/Pollock op-ed being the most feverishly discussed. These reports, which appear to be nothing more than pleas for continued, deadly indulgence, follow on the heals of brief trips to Iraq hosted by the US military. Yet our media, including all the major networks and the New York Times, hosted and boasted the line that things in Iraq were looking up based solely on what the US military chose to expose to these jejune pipsqueaks. You wait! just another six months! None sought to report that, as O'Hanlon and Pollock skipped a merry path from one one television show to another, electricity in Baghdad had become all but non-existent, which has now led to severe water shortages. Malnutrition among Iraqis, especially children, has been on the rise and continues to sky rocket, with one third of Iraqi children now thought to be malnourished to the point of emergency. But of this, not a word. Not a fucking word.

Which is why the latest Gallup poll should strike us with some bemusement.
In the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, taken Friday through Sunday, the proportion of those who said the additional troops are "making the situation better" rose to 31% from 22% a month ago. Those who said it was "not making much difference" dropped to 41% from 51%.
There is no metric nor combination of metrics that could lead anyone to this conclusion. This has been only the result of the recent cavalcade of war stars, shining brightly and saying that things are looking up. It's working.

I now suspect that a full court press could once again convince the morons in Congress and a larger portion of the American public that attacking Iran is an absolute must. In fact, this does not appear to be the hurdle the Cheneyites face but, rather, they face a resistance within the establishment, namely the Pentagon, to attacking Iran at some pre-determined time. Coercing a public so easily manipulated into accepting such a "need" appears not to be much of a problem at all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I share both your frustration and your astonishment. The same lies being spewed by the same lying Bozos who`ve been spewing them for years now. It`s like living in The Matrix or something. For example, how can a FUBAR putz like Bill Kristol(among many!), who hasn`t been right or truthful about any-fucking-thing since puberty, be allowed anywhere near a keyboard or microphone, for jebus sake? If he`s breathin`, he`s lyin`! They`re relentless ideologues with no shame. Blather. Rinse. Repeat.
Goering said that if a Big Lie is repeated often enough, with the right embellishments, it will eventually become part of the Conventional Wisdom, and that the recipe for doing so is effective in any society or political structure. Other than blogtopia(h/t skippy), Our Side, as yet, doesn`t have much in the way of countermeasures against the Murdochs, et al.

Steve in Austin

12:13 PM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Brian Eno wrote an op-ed talking about the lies leading up to the Iraq invasion. He was discussing the age of propaganda in the Soviet Union under Brezhnev:

"It must have been strange being so completely immersed in propaganda," said Eno.

"Ah, but there is the difference. We knew it was propaganda," replied his Russian friend.

from Lessons in How to Lie About Iraq

4:31 PM  
Blogger theBhc said...

"Our Side, as yet, doesn`t have much in the way of countermeasures against the Murdochs, et al."

That, fortunately and unfortunately, is the nature of the beast, I'm afraid.

4:11 AM  

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