Tag Archives: propaganda

The Reality Conversation from My Dinner With Andre

A clip from “My Dinner With Andre”, a film I’ve been meaning to see for years, if for no other reason than it stars the wonderful Wallace Shawn.

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Brilliant New Pilger Documentary Highlights The Lies We Are Told

John Pilger has a great new documentary called “The War You Don’t See” and it’s up on YouTube in its entirety. I highly recommend it, as a lot of the subject matter is what I’m covering in my new book “You Are Blind”. Pilger interviews a wide range of people, including Dan Rather and a plethora of journalists, about how the western media were accomplices in spreading lies and misinformation in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. He also explains how this isn’t a new meme – the media have been spinning lies to justify war during the entire 20th century. We tend to think this happened back the “olden days” and doesn’t happen today but the opposite is actually true. It happens more now than ever – in the era of 24-hour news and media organisations with incredible wealth and concentrated power, the wool is pulled over our eyes more than ever. Of course, the lies don’t stop with the reasons we go to war – it’s much more widespread than that. We are fed corporate propaganda all day, every day, about every aspect of living in our so-called democracies. The propaganda isn’t just the stories we are told, it’s also about the absence of the stories we are NOT told. We may think we have a free media but when your media is owned by corporations with their own agenda – maintaining their own wealth and power – the stories we are told will always reflect the version of the truth that they want us to think.

Instead of watching more crap reality TV tonight, I suggest you watch this instead.

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Chomsky: America’s Rank Hypocrisy — Why Is it Only an “Atrocity” When Other Countries Do It?

I’m about 20% of the way into my new writing project “You Are Blind” – a look at how propaganda works in a corporatocracy – and it’s going very well.

Meanwhile, OpEdNews has this excellent new article by Noam Chomsky.

He starts by quoting  international affairs scholar James Peck who states:

“In the history of human rights, the worst atrocities are always committed by somebody else, never us” — whoever “us” is.

Chomsky then presents a few recent examples of how the western media loves to focus on atrocities by “the bad guys”, such as Syria, while ignoring (or justifying) similar or worse atrocities committed by “our side”. Or they highlight China’s treatment of dissidents like Chen Guangcheng while ignoring 0r justifying American treatment of dissidents like Bradley Manning.

It’s all part of what I’m writing about in my book. We are programmed from birth by our governments, corporate media, corporate PR departments, the education system (co-financed by the government and the wealthy elite) and religions to believe that a certain set of truths are self-evident – and that this programming is so pervasive that we don’t even notice it.

don't ask, don't tell

don’t ask, don’t tell

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The Propaganda Model

 

The propaganda model is a theory advanced by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky that alleges systemic biases in the mass media and seeks to explain them in terms of structural economic causes.

The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.

First presented in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media, the propaganda model views the private media as businesses selling a product — readers and audiences (rather than news) — to other businesses (advertisers) and relying primarily on government and corporate information and propaganda. The theory postulates five general classes of “filters” that determine the type of news that is presented in news media: Ownership of the medium, the medium’s Funding, Sourcing of the news, Flak, and Anti-communist ideology.

The first three (ownership, funding, and sourcing) are generally regarded by the authors as being the most important. Although the model was based mainly on the characterization of United States media, Chomsky and Herman believe the theory is equally applicable to any country that shares the basic economic structure and organizing principles the model postulates as the cause of media biases. After the Soviet Union disintegrated, Chomsky said terrorism and Islam would be the new filter replacing communism.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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Know Which Fight You’re In

We just got back from the first Brisbane meetup around #nocleanfeed. It was a pretty huge turnout, I’d guess 100 people. Well done to @nicholasperkins and everyone else involved in pulling it together.

I gave a short talk, mostly trying to convey the idea that this isn’t a campaign that we will win by trying to be RIGHT. This isn’t about FACTS. This is a propaganda war about ideology, the ideology of the Christian Right, a group that Conroy, Rudd, Abbott and Fielding are all card-carrying members of. And you can’t fight a propaganda war by trying to be RIGHT. The only way to fight a propaganda war is to counter it with your own propaganda and by knowing how propaganda campaigns actually work. There’s no use taking a knife to a gun fight.

As a long-time student of people like Chomsky and Pilger, I have some understanding about how modern propaganda works. I quote tonight from 20th century French philosopher and Christian theologian (not often you’ll catch me using a Christian theologian to make a positive point) Jacques Ellul who explained that modern propaganda isn’t telling lies, it’s about telling half truths, limited truths and truths out of context. That’s what Conroy et al are master of. They don’t lie when they talk about the feed, they just limit their use of the truth.

So we need to fight a propaganda war. Fortunately, we are all very-savvy little new media / social media types, so this shouldn’t be too hard to do, as long as know what kind of fight we’re getting into.

The one idea that I didn’t have time to get across tonight was that I don’t think we can win this if we just focus on the mandatory filter. It’s too thorny an issue and too easy for Conroy to deflect criticism . I believe we need to make this a battle against the ALP. I believe we need to focus on weakening their credibility in the upcoming election by getting in their faces on a range of issue where they have either under-performed, such as the environment, indigenous welfare, immigration, etc, or where they have just flat-out turned out to be as bad or worse than Howard (the internet filter, bailing out the banks, failing to rein in corporate executive salaries, etc).

We need a campaign that attacks the ALP’s credibility and performance across the board. We need put pressure on then across multiple fronts, not just on the filter. It’s pretty clear that the mainstream media will give them an easy ride in the upcoming election. So it’ll be up to social media to put the heat on them.

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