Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Pentagon's Propaganda War Against Americans

In the NYT.

This would be astonishing if it weren't perfectly in keeping with what we already know about the administration's "marketing" of the war. By this point, the most astonishing thing is that the mainstream anti-war folks were so right about almost all their major points. And the central theme, I think, is the "marketing" of the war. This article should prompt massive anger and outrage...but, of course, it won't. We apparently don't have the guts or the gumption to protest government crimes anymore. This article shows how deeply involved the Pentagon was in misleading the American public. They openly spoke of using "Psyops" against us to, in effect, brainwash us into supporting the war. Other keen terms from the government/military/marketing complex: 'mindwar,' 'messaging,' 'surrogates,' and--my personal favorite: 'message-force multipliers.'

Not to keep harping on one of my pet points, but: the worst and most insidious lies very often are not outright lies, but, rather, spin, distortion, and selective emphasis. Emphasize what you want people to believe, hide the 10% or so of the evidence that is least favorable, and spin, spin, spin. Such lies are often more effective, and, importantly, provide you with vaguely plausible deniability so that your surrogates and devoted defenders can continue to fight a delaying action if you get busted. Such defenders don't have to be able to win the argument, they just have to be capable of keeping a cloud of words in the air until the issue cools off or they wear out their opponents. It's also important that such lies even work on the liars themselves. It's difficult to convince yourself with an outright lie, but spin is different. And if you come to semi-believe your own propaganda, you can be an even more effective "message-force multiplier."

This is a very dangerous time for American democracy.


Blogger lovable liberal said...

Thankfully, this is rippling around the liberal blogosphere. I wrote about it, of course, and linked to Whiskeyfire for an apt phrase. I heard about it from Atrios, who also linked to Glenn Greenwald. (Sorry, too lazy to fetch links at the moment.)

11:30 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

Almost forgot: What would really gratify would be some deserved attention in the rest of the traditional media.

11:31 PM  

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