Financial insider and commentator Yves Smith wrote an essay
last week entitled "MSM Reporting as Propaganda" arguing that the
government has been using propaganda to make people think that things
are getting better, no one is angry, and - therefore - no one should
Is Smith right? And even if she is, isn't "propaganda" too strong a word?
The message, quite overtly, is: if you are pissed, you are in a minority. The country has moved on. Things are getting better, get with the program...
Per the social psychology research, this "you are in a minority, you are wrong" message DOES dissuade a lot of people. It is remarkably poisonous. And it discourages people from taking concrete action.
Sure, William K. Black - professor of economics and law, and the senior regulator during the S & L crisis - says that that the government's entire strategy now - as during the S&L crisis - is to cover up how bad things are ("the entire strategy is to keep people from getting the facts").
It's true that Business Week wrote on May 23, 2006:
President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations.I can't deny that the Tarp Inspector General said that Paulson and Bernanke falsely stated that the big banks receiving Tarp money were healthy, when they were not.
Okay, the government and Wall Street have traditionally tried to dispense happy talk when there is an economic crash, and Arianna Huffington recently pointed out:
And I'll give you that a recent Pew Research Center study on the coverage of the crisis found that the media has largely parroted what the White House and Wall Street were saying.
But that's not propaganda . . . its just positive thinking, right?
The Other Guy
And the whole word propaganda is a Nazi, communist kind of thing which has no place in the same sentence as America. Right?
Granted, famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein says the CIA has already bought and paid for many successful journalists.
And sure, the New York Times discusses in a matter-of-fact way the use of mainstream writers by the CIA to spread messages.
True, a 4-part BBC documentary called the "Century of the Self" shows that an American - Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays - created the modern field of manipulation of public perceptions, and the U.S. government has extensively used his techniques (but the BBC isn't American, so it doesn't count).
I won't deny that the Independent discusses allegations of American propaganda (but that's a British paper, doesn't count).
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