I talked to about media and amygdala conditioning (“Don’t Think of an Elephant“). I have not used the term “propaganda,” but since it’s out there: “propaganda.”
Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban
Propaganda that was supposed to target foreigners could now be aimed at Americans, reversing a longstanding policy. “Disconcerting and dangerous,” says Shank.
Posted May 18, 2012 4:27pm EDT
An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned.
The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee’s official website.
The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.
The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State….
Oh, how darling. How perfectly retro!
MADE IN RUSSIA
Jim Fleming: Peter Pomerantsev is a British TV producer and developer. In 2006 he was invited to be a player in the booming Russian TV industry, so he moved to Moscow to help develop TV shows based on already successful models from the UK, like The Apprentice. But the Russian television industry was unlike anywhere he’s ever worked. Russian TV audiences were even stranger. He told Steve Paulson about his new job.
Peter Pomerantsev: My mission was to go to the heads of Russian TV channels and get them to sort of essentially let us make sort of successful Western formats for them, like The Apprentice, Come Dine With Me, Survivor, any of these things we’ve know for a long time in the West. So I would go and meet with channel heads and you know, try to persuade them to let us make these programs for them….
And I heard this:
Pomerantsev: The ones [Reality Shows] I worked on were, that’s maybe part of the reason they failed, but in Russia there’s a very, very old cynicism from Soviet times about television because in Soviet times television was purely about propaganda. I mean it was such blatant lies that nobody believed it. So there’s always a cynicism about what goes on on television and whether television is a trusted medium. Unlike in the West where however cynical we are, we’re a friend. So Russians are very, very jaded about TV. So the TV audiences are already skeptical.
But later on down, I heard something that made my ears prick up:
Paulson: Hm, you also write about some TV shows that they’re actually quite successful, kind of a quasi documentary. Like there was one about mold.
Pomerantsev: This was, I don’t know if it’s changed since then, it was the most expensive documentary in the history of Russian TV. It was very, very beautifully made, very, very expensive graphics, and it looked like a very sensible Discovery or BBC nature documentary. And it was about the way mold is taking over the earth and we’re all under the threat from evil mold, and the mold will come and get us soon; your children will die.
And when I first switched it on I thought it was a satire, but it wasn’t. It was completely serious, hugely successful you know. There are all these old grannies running around the next day sort of shrieking about how the mold is coming to get them. Yeah, so that was very, very strange.
Paulson: Wasn’t there another very popular documentary about the psychic powers of the government?
Pomerantsev: Yeah, that was hilarious. That was called Call of the Void and basically it alleged that the government had, and this was completely serious again. I mean I thought it was satire; it wasn’t, it was completely serious, in primetime, produced by a ministry. Again, very expensive to be done with expensive reconstructions, it looked just like a Western TV show.
So it was basically about the way the KGB had these they called sleepers. Sleepers are special psychics that can go into a deep trance and get into the brain of opposition politicians in different countries, and they’ve been saving Russia over the last 15 years. They’ve managed to get into Bush’s brain and realize he had this evil plan to I think it was kill Yeltsin or something. And then they’ve managed to get into the brain of his, of one of Bush’s assistants and stop him from fulfilling this plan.
And all of this was you know, given completely seriously and in a way when something is said so seriously and so convincingly you kinda go well maybe they do have that. And you know, there were witnesses there and experts talking about a little machine showing the science behind it…
And I remembered that Goebbels quote again:
Propaganda, too, has a system. It cannot be stopped and started whenever one wishes. In the long run, it can only be effective in the service of great ideals and far-seeing principles. And propaganda must be learned. It must be led only by people with a fine and sure instinct for the often changeable feelings of the people. They must be able to reach into the world of the broad masses and draw out their wishes and hopes. The effective propagandist must be a master of the art of speech, of writing, of journalism, of the poster, and of the leaflet. He must have the gift to use the major methods of influencing public opinion such as the press, film, and radio to serve his ideas and goals.
from the film “Judgement At Nuremberg”
This is particularly necessary in a day when technology is advancing. Radio is already an invention of the past, since television will probably soon arrive. On the one hand successful propaganda must be a master of these methods of political opinion, but on the other it may not become stale in using them. It must find new ways and methods every day to reach success. The nature of propaganda remains the same, but the means provided by advancing technology are becoming ever broader and far-reaching. One need only consider the revolutionary impact of the invention of radio, which gave the spoken word true mass effectiveness. The technology of propaganda has changed greatly in recent years, but the art of propaganda has remained the same… [Nuremberg Rally 1934.]
And, I got down on my knees and thanked Gawd Almighty that I live in a Land of Total Freedom and am protected from propaganda by Federal Law, and can trust what they tell me on the Almighty TV.
But, just in case, here are Goebbels’ techniques, just as a way of spotting any telltale warning signs:
Based upon Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda by Leonard W. Doob, published in Public Opinion and Propaganda; A Book of Readings edited for The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.
1. Propagandist must have access to intelligence concerning events and public opinion.
2. Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority.
a. It must issue all the propaganda directives.
b. It must explain propaganda directives to important officials and maintain their morale.
c. It must oversee other agencies’ activities which have propaganda consequences
3. The propaganda consequences of an action must be considered in planning that action.
4. Propaganda must affect the enemy’s policy and action.
a. By suppressing propagandistically desirable material which can provide the enemy with useful intelligence
b. By openly disseminating propaganda whose content or tone causes the enemy to draw the desired conclusions
c. By goading the enemy into revealing vital information about himself
d. By making no reference to a desired enemy activity when any reference would discredit that activity
5. Declassified, operational information must be available to implement a propaganda campaign
6. To be perceived, propaganda must evoke the interest of an audience and must be transmitted through an attention-getting communications medium.
7. Credibility alone must determine whether propaganda output should be true or false.
8. The purpose, content and effectiveness of enemy propaganda; the strength and effects of an expose; and the nature of current propaganda campaigns determine whether enemy propaganda should be ignored or refuted.
9. Credibility, intelligence, and the possible effects of communicating determine whether propaganda materials should be censored.
10. Material from enemy propaganda may be utilized in operations when it helps diminish that enemy’s prestige or lends support to the propagandist’s own objective.
11. Black rather than white propaganda may be employed when the latter is less credible or produces undesirable effects.
12. Propaganda may be facilitated by leaders with prestige.
13. Propaganda must be carefully timed.
a. The communication must reach the audience ahead of competing propaganda.
b. A propaganda campaign must begin at the optimum moment
c. A propaganda theme must be repeated, but not beyond some point of diminishing effectiveness
14. Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans.
a. They must evoke desired responses which the audience previously possesses
b. They must be capable of being easily learned
c. They must be utilized again and again, but only in appropriate situations
d. They must be boomerang-proof
15. Propaganda to the home front must prevent the raising of false hopes which can be blasted by future events.
16. Propaganda to the home front must create an optimum anxiety level.
(See “The Terror That Stalks Texas“)
a. Propaganda must reinforce anxiety concerning the consequences of defeat
b. Propaganda must diminish anxiety (other than concerning the consequences of defeat) which is too high and which cannot be reduced by people themselves
17. Propaganda to the home front must diminish the impact of frustration.
a. Inevitable frustrations must be anticipated
b. Inevitable frustrations must be placed in perspective
18. Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.
(Later became “The Tea Party Express”)
19. Propaganda cannot immediately affect strong counter-tendencies; instead it must offer some form of action or diversion, or both.
And, if you SEE anyone engaged in unlawful propaganda, report them to your nearest U.S. Marshal. After all, that’s what they’re there for.