A very popular series of jokes in the Soviet Union were the Radio Yerevan jokes.
They often made fun of the propaganda that was spread by the state media. Here are two examples:
Radio Yerevan was asked: “Is it true that the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky committed suicide?”
Radio Yerevan answered: “Yes, it is true, and even the record of his very last words is preserved: ´Don’t shoot, comrades.´”
Radio Yerevan was asked: “Is it true that conditions in our labor camps are excellent?”
Radio Yerevan answered: “In principle, yes. Five years ago one of our listeners was not convinced of this, so he was sent to investigate. He seems to have liked it so much that he hasn’t returned yet.”
In this post I will propose a strategy for defeating propaganda, and the jokes I cited point already to the weakness of propaganda and how it can be defeated but first, a little introduction.
There can be no denying that we are in a political war. It’s not a war we started. It was started by the Left after WWII when it realized that it could not overthrow Western democracies through violent revolution because of the West’s phenomenal economic success which created a broad middle class that had little appetite for revolution. For the first time, a large number of workers could enjoy a decent standard of living.
Having no hope of starting a successfull revolution, the marxists came up with the new strategy of “the march through the institutions” which was in essence the infiltration and subversion of all institutions, especially education and culture. Once successfully infiltrated, education and culture disseminated marxist ideas. Over time these ideas and radical world views spilled over into all kinds of institutions, especially the media.
Of the three institutions that the Left has conquered, education and culture have a long-lasting effect of influencing and shaping minds.
However, the media have a huge short-term effect that is so powerful that it can neutralize the influence of culture and education at any given time.
Why? Because, no matter what your beliefs are, the media can shape perception of reality in such a profound way that it can manipulate you to react in the way they want you to react. The restrictions of our liberties and the authoritarian behaviour of some politicians in these times of the wuhan virus pandemic were made only possible because of the fear, panic and misinformation that the media spread. No matter what your personal beliefs or political views are, we were all manipulated to a certain extent by the media propaganda.
Therefore, it is crucial, that we conquer the media or that we neutralize them.
One strategy is: Destroying the credibility of the “mainstream media”.
Those who, like me, grew up during the Cold War, were taught that our media in the West were not censored and that the media were not spreaders of propaganda.
Well, because this was to a certain extent true, the Western media could spread propaganda much more effectively than the media in communist/socialist countries.
Propaganda is most effective when it’s not perceived as such. Those who grew up behind the Iron Curtain, had developed a much more cynical view of the media than we in the West. They knew that they were lied to. As a consequence they maintained a mistrust of the media even after they had fled or migrated to the West. More and more people in the West, and especially conservatives, find themselves in the same situation.
Because many of us consume alternative media, we can see that the “mainstream media” lie more brazenly and blatantly than ever before.
But how did the people behind the Iron Curtain know that they were lied to? They had no alternative media. They had only the state media.
The answer is a very simple one. The lies of the propaganda media flew so blatantly in the face of reality that everyone could see them correctly as lies.
You see, the media can tell me all they want that I live in a system with a great standard of living. If I and all the people around me have to forage for food and to eat shoe leather just to barely survive, then no amount of propaganda can convince me that I enjoy a great standard of living.
The more the propaganda is in conflict with reality, the less effective it is and the less credibility those who spread it have.
THIS is the key to defeating propaganda.
What then should our tactic be for achieving our strategic goal of destroying the credibility of the “mainstream media”?
We should provoke the “mainstream media” into spreading lies. The more they lie, the more credibility they lose.
However, it is important that they spread the “right kind” of lies. It must be lies about things that can be easily verified by the population.
Example: If we hammer and hammer the social media / alternative media constantly with the theme of inflation and rising prices we might provoke the “mainstream media” and the “fact checkers” into claiming that there is no significant inflation.
That would be a victory. It doesn’t matter what your religion or your political world view is. Your wallet doesn’t lie.
If we can cause the “mainstream media” to spread lies that fly blatantly in the face of reality, we can significantly decrease their credibility and hence the effectiveness of their propaganda.
This tactic is the equivalent of provoking your enemy into attacking a strong, fortified position or into running into an ambush.
There is no guarantee that this tactic will work but given that most “journalists” live in a bubble, separated from the “average Joe”, there’s a good chance that it might work.
The outlined strategy is only one of many possible strategies such as infiltration (Project veritas) or a takeover of media outlets by buying them.
Politcal war follows the same priciples as any other kind of war and we should apply those principles to the fullest extent.
I understand that there might be objections on moral grounds but condemning future generations to live in tyranny and misery is the greater moral evil.
Fortunately, prior generations did not refuse to fight the wars that needed to be fought (US independence, fight against the Nazis/Axis powers).
Finally, when I had a discussion on Citzen Tom’s blog on the same topic he wrote:
“Negative campaigning works because the legacy news media repeats all those lies. The only way around this is to go to our neighbors and to ask them to doublecheck their assumptions about the truth of what they have been taught. The only way around this to is go to our neighbors and to ask them why they believe the big corporate news media, the same people who tell them to tax the rich, the rich who never seem to get taxed even when Democrats have a solid majority.”
Getting around the “mainstream media” by talking directly to our neighbours is an option that is always available to us and it it should be used whenever possible.