Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Propaganda Machine Tools: Glittering Generalities

There are many words in our language that illicit strong emotions. In name calling the propagandist tries to attach a negative emotional message to what seems like a normal communication. Glittering generalities involves the skillful use of words that already have an emotional message attached to them. Glittering generalities carry a positive emotional message that many people can identify with and at the same time can mean different things to different people. A good example of a glittering generality used by the current propaganda machine is the word Christian. For many people in the United States the word Christian sends a positive emotional message. Even people who don’t participate in organized religious activities or people who have even a small degree of exposure to the fundamentals of Christianity feel emotionally positive about the word Christian. At the same time the word Christian means one thing to me and an entirely different thing to a fundamentalist Christian. A skilled propagandist can use a glittering generality to help win approval for a communication that is non-logical or non-intuitive. A statement like, “ It is the duty of this Christian nation to fight for democracy and freedom” is a good example of the use of glittering generalities. This message can be interpreted in many ways and is cloaked with the glittering generalities; Christian, democracy, and freedom. One only has to turn on the TV or read a newspaper to see glittering generalities being constantly used by the surrogates of the conservative propaganda machine. President Bush’s talking points are filled with them. Their effectiveness lies in how they are able to get all of their surrogates to use the same talking points with the same glittering generalities at the same time. They are then repeated again and again in the willing corporate media. Before long it is almost impossible to separate the issue they are trying to perpetuate from the glittering generalities that have been used to disguise it.

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Attention: Liberal, Progressive, Left Wing Bloggers

The Terri Shiavo case is not news. The Terri Shiavo case is not an issue. The Terri Shiavo case is not something that is worth writing about. We all know what the real issues are! The Terri Shiavo case is not a real issue. It is an attempt by the conservatives to send an emotional message to their faithful and distract the rest of us from their lies and deceit. It appears that bloggers all over the country are posting and commenting on this corporate media generated circus. We need to stick to the issues that we all know need to be addressed and let the clowns run their circus.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Propaganda Machine Tools: Name Calling

The first and one of the most effective tools of the propaganda trade is in the category of word games. “Name calling” is a powerful tool. A skillfully attached bad name can sometimes have nation changing consequences. If a negative emotional response can be attached or linked to a person or an idea in the form of a bad name, there is almost an unbreakable non-logical, non-intuitive association. It is almost impossible to remove the bad name attachment if it has been skillfully propagated. Skillful propaganda involves sustained repetition in the media. There must also be repetition that includes both the bad name and the events or circumstances that supposedly precipitated its creation. Once the link between the event or circumstance is established, the negative emotional association becomes part of the name itself. From that point forward it is only necessary to use the bad name and the negative emotional response is automatically activated. Repetition in the media then spreads the name to the point where it self-replicates itself through conversations and debates between ordinary citizens.

A more subtle form of name calling uses emotionally charged words in descriptions or characterizations. For example, Democratic candidates are always being called “tax and spenders,” while the Republicans characterize themselves as “fiscally conservative.” The GOP propaganda machine has been able to attach the “tax and spend” label to the Democrats, so that regardless of the facts, the emotional response is to conjure up visions of people who first take your money and then spend it foolishly. The GOP, the right wing conservatives, and the Christian fundamentalists combined with a willing media have used both overt name calling and subtle emotionally charged characterizations with a devastating effect. Their propaganda machine was able to turn a war hero into an unpatriotic war protester who helped the enemy and hurt our troops. They turned non-issues into issues and issues into non-issues. Their ability to use overt name calling and emotionally charged characterizations to perpetuate their agenda is almost completely unchecked.

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Iraq: 2 Years and Counting Without the Truth!

We need to start thinking about how we will answer the questions that will be asked more and more as this spirals to its bloody conclusion. “What did my child die for?” - will be in the minds and then on the lips of the loved ones. “What have we accomplished?” “What was our mission?” “Why has a pointless crusade of madmen taken what is most precious to me?” Do we lie and say, “Your son died to protect democracy?” Or do we speak the truth and say, “Your son died for NOTHING?” We must honor our fallen countrymen, we must comfort their families, we must have them in our thoughts and in our prayers but we must also SPEAK the TRUTH about their needless sacrifice.

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Propaganda Machine: Basic Principles

Propaganda is designed to actively spread a philosophy or a point of view. What separates propaganda from “normal” communication is the way the message attempts to shape opinion. As opposed to “normal” communication, propaganda is designed to induce an emotional response. This emotional response becomes attached to the message. These emotionally charged messages are designed to suggest non-logical or non-intuitive relationships between concepts. Most adults have learned through life experiences, education, cultural norms, and spiritual insight an intuitive sense of right and wrong. As we grow older this intuitive sense grows in us. It enables us (if we listen), to have an inner guide to decision making and coping with the world around us. As we get older, this intuitive sense can manifest itself to become wisdom. The emotionally charged messages of propaganda challenge and then replace the logic of our intuition. It is illogical or non-intuitive that a particular racial group would be considered so inferior they would deserve extermination. No large group of free thinking adults would on their own come to the conclusion that it is logical to exterminate an entire race of humans. But under the right conditions and with the skillful use of emotionally charged messages (propaganda), a large group of people can be conditioned to believe that killing on a mass scale is a logical and justified act. There is a tendency to blame the flawed ideology in cases where there are extreme outcomes like genocide. We lose sight of the fact that these aberrant ideologies owe their mass acceptance to well executed propaganda campaigns. Without mass acceptance, these aberrant ideologies would most likely become mere footnotes in history.

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Friday, March 04, 2005

Welcome……. To The Machine!

After the last election, millions of us stood in disbelief of the reelection of George Bush. This combined with defeats in the House and the Senate handed the entire government to the GOP. How could this happen? This makes no sense? How could a president and his party not only survive the errors of the last four years but actually strengthen their grip on America? The Bush administration has in the last four years created enough problems to bring any two administrations down. Yet millions of Americans support this president and conservative power structure he represents! Can they not see the forest for the trees? Are they blind to the lies, the half-truths, and the deceptions? Do they not understand that instead of being in a “war,” we are really in an “occupation” of a foreign country? Do they not remember that this President and his party sold themselves as being fiscally responsible? Are the American people blind to the truth?

Yes, a large segment of the American people do not see or comprehend the realities of our situation. Our population has been and is right now being subjected to what can only be described as “mass opinion conditioning.” The most efficient propaganda machine that has ever existed is at work in our country. It has all the tools it needs and thousands of skilled practitioners with millions of dollars at their disposal.

Over the course of the next few publications, I am going to try to examine this subject. I will do my best to expose the characteristics of the propaganda machine we now face. It is my hope that I will at least provide some insight into how and why this machine has been so effective. And finally, it is my ultimate goal to expose the collective cognitive dissonance that is created by and then exploited by this propaganda machine. Stay tuned!

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