What is Propaganda…is it different from Fake News?…and when is it good?

World War I Posters That Reveal The Roots Of Modern Propaganda
By All That’s Interesting
Published December 26, 2016
Updated July 10, 2019
These World War 1 propaganda posters courtesy of the U.S. government provide a fascinating look at the America of a century ago in the midst of the Great War.

Propaganda is the more or less systematic effort to manipulate other people’s beliefs, attitudes, or actions by means of symbols (words, gestures, banners, monuments, music, clothing, insignia, hairstyles, designs on coins and postage stamps, and so forth). Deliberateness and a relatively heavy emphasis on manipulation distinguish propaganda from casual conversation or the free and easy exchange of ideas. Propagandists have a specified goal or set of goals. To achieve these, they deliberately select facts, arguments, and displays of symbols and present them in ways they think will have the most effect. To maximize effect, they may omit or distort pertinent facts or simply lie, and they may try to divert the attention of the reactors (the people they are trying to sway) from everything but their own propaganda

Britannica.Com on propoganda

If you spend a little time absorbing this definition, which I have no quarrels with, you realize that what has been called Fake News IS largely propaganda. And it IS what the US main ‘news’ channels have been practicing either somewhat accidentally or wholly on purpose for the last four + years. They have been sliding this way for decades, but it has slid down the slippery slope to this end state quickly over the last few. (Read my post on the Slippery Slope…Looking at this topic I realize this fits into that type of situation where the Slippery Slope IS real, all of the actors are in the game and the rational observers have no impact on the discussion AT ALL.)

Is propaganda ever appropriate? I can’t tell. I want to say NO not just ‘no’ but HELL NO. But I also see how difficult it is to get everyone on the same page and can see that in general if there is a societal good that can be defined as good then making sure everyone is on board is also Good.

But….a big one.

I think that with the internet and the explosion of ‘near news’ outlets propaganda and its bastard child fake news, become a very bad thing, an evil. Everyone learns about propaganda and they get a sense that in the right hands it is good, in the wrong hands evil. So it becomes something of a standard tool, because most of us sees ourselves as ‘one of the goodies.’

The problem is that all sides of an argument get a say. And the general populace do not have any deep sense of the reality of the situation, the nuances etc. If you are generally democrat you see mostly democratic outlets. If Republican, only that line. While some resources have centrist voices, they always shade one way or the other, and many outlets are purposefully hard over. One sides group gets propagandized into believing their trope. The other side…the other trope.

So as Scott Adams points out you get two radically different views of the same events. To the point that the objective reality is not even in view of those Propagandized. Take the Capital Intrusion, one side, clearly nonviolent non threatening, good people protesting an at least murky election. Other side clearly violent, threatening, evil people trying to overturn a fair election.

In this war of propaganda the sides are purposefully pushed apart because the two sides cannot allow ‘their’ segment to wander. They rationalize deleting and spinning evidence because it is not important and muddles the message.

But…but…but…Journalism!

Journalism has always had an element of propaganda. Yes there was a period when it was portrayed as noble to present just the facts but the reality was this was at best a hope and and worst cover. The same schools essentially TEACH propaganda methodology as part of the general curriculum. Again in one view to inoculate the innocent learner against it, in the alternate view because there are a lot of jobs in public relations and advertising (commercial propaganda) as well as in government (propaganda straight up though usually for neutral topics.)

And….”If it bleeds it leads”…news of any kind is a business. Yes you can point to billionaire liberals propping up various operations. But at the end of the day news is a good way of turning a billionaire into a millionaire over time. The operation has to support itself or it cannot last long. What Fox showed was that you could get an audience by bending the news in a certain way and feeding them ‘red meat.’ They tried (mostly succeeded) in a combination of pretty clearly factual reporting and pretty clearly politicized editorial content though you were left to guess which was which. What a lot of the other operations couldn’t really afford to do was the factual reporting. Editorializing everything with a left bend…but left the audience to believe they were giving ‘just the facts.’ And probably excusing themselves by closing their senses to the much more complex nuanced reality…Though it is not clear most of those smiles even have a clue that such a thing exists.

Sigh…and so it goes…have not watched TV/Video news in years, probably never will again, despise its superficiality and bias. Even the talk shows are uselessly one sided these days, making the whole realm a danger to the Republic rather than the safety valve it was supposed to be.

Unspeakable Truths…

Unspeakable Truths about Racial Inequality in America

by Glenn Loury in Quillette

Read it, it says things I cannot and says them better and from a stronger place than I ever could. There is a great tragedy occurring in this country and it is not the one the lying liars pontificate endlessly from their platforms.

Presidents

A comment – link at Maggiesfarm

Here is an off the cuff list of the best: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Grant, Theodore Rosevelt, Coolidge, The war FDR, Eisenhaure, Maybe Reagan, Clinton, Trump.

It is not the man so much as a mix of philosophy, administration and legacy.

To me Lincoln seems like the greatest but at the time he was hated by as many or probably more, than he was loved.

I believe Trump the president was also great.

Trump the man as president…not so much. But it is not clear to me that Trump would have been as successful as he was any other way than the way he was.

That left the opening for a lot of very rapid damage to be done by the following administration when he became a one term president due the to the machinations of the machine.

Why is he hated so much when once he was beloved of the very elites that rabidly snarl at his ankles today? Because he stayed true to himself , he is not, never was, a conservative, he’s an updated 1950’s Anti Communist Centrist Liberal.

He is, as were they in some significant sense, populist and anti elite while connecting to the elite, and he got down and did real work for most of his life. OK executive and then star work, but work of a significant type for many years.

That may be the biggest difference between liberalism of early twentieth century and today…those liberals (even anti communists) were populists of a rather socialist bent who got down and got working guy grubby (which made a lot of those earlier left liberals much more attractive than the modern soy boy type.)

Of ratchets and slopes, slippery or otherwise

Crossbow and the crank/ratchet for cocking it medieval period, WikiCommons

As commented on before I pay attention to Scott Adams of Dilbert fame as an interesting thinker with a fairly well defined but undefinable political gestalt. Uber liberal realist Trump supporter is maybe the best description.

One of his mantra’s is that Slippery Slopes are Not a Thing.

The following is my interpretation of his position.

A point of view/policy item with a broad ‘option space’ and supporters on both ends, say like gun control, will slide in a direction that is acceptable to the general polity (something like the Overton Window) until some point it will no longer be acceptable. Those who wish to push the policy towards one end or the other will eventually meet resistance and be unable to move the policy further ‘their way’ until some change occurs. That change may move the policy ‘back’ or ‘forward’ but it is acceptability that controls. This says that the idea of a ‘slippery slope ‘with its imagery of reaching a point where you lose control and slide to some end point it false on its face.

Having thought about this I agree with the premise in a general sense.

Two, I think important, quibbles:

1) That in a highly emotional and very dynamic situation such as one might have in the ancient Demos of Greece, or say a Constitutional Congress, a French State Committee…, the slippery slope appears to me to be a real threat. The whole of the polity is in the fight as it were and there is no stable base of opinion to dampen high flights of rhetoric and emotion. In such situations you have a tendency to move to the end state without the intermediary and if this is then enforced on the outside world the results are likely to be calamitous if the topic is one with a high degree of emotional attachment with the broader public. The Demos were tiny isolated city states and they killed a few important people and destroyed themselves but it was in the end fairly evolutionary. The US constitution was very conservative in its basis and while the result was ‘liberal’ it was not that crazy and was in line with most of the populous, plus it was a huge area with a tiny population, where malcontents could often go west if they wanted. The French Revolution was a bloody multi decadal disaster because it didn’t have any other damper than time and blood….To a large degree I don’t see this as that active other than in a Social Network Today…to some degree it explains some of the crap that goes on in odd corners of the web.

2) More important than 1) is the fact that the ratchet is IMO real. That once a law or regulation is in place it tends to create a new baseline and constituency. If the issue is fairly hot there will be pushback but in general people are for stability and a law or regulation will become entrenched. It only takes time for that to then be the jumping off point for a new effort to extend whatever policy. This may not be very logical on its face but it is a reality and is one of the reasons that any human system tends to atrophy with time. So the party who tends to desire more law and regulation have a tendency to have the edge here and they will turn the crank on the ratchet whenever they get the chance.

While England is not the US in any sense one should look at it as a bit of a case study, though the lack of the 2nd Amendment is a huge factor. A century ago guns were rare more because of their cost than anything else. Then regulation started to build up. Because of no 2A and it was very gradual there was not much push back. Today not only is any kind of firearm in private possession effectively illegal so are any edged/pointed device inclusive of scissors. The ratchet is real…the slippery slope is a thing only in very constrained cases.

Deep Funk

Gallup Pole, Deepest dive ever recorded.

Makes one wonder, no proof that the election was stolen or that there was massive irregularities. Also not really proof that Big Business and Big Labor agreed to suppress any push back on the result. And maybe that is all right. Is it possible that Orange Man Bad helped defeat himself? That he was both so toxic to the pretty elite and beloved by the deplorable that a large number of people who supported the Trump administration but deplored the man voted Blue in the conviction that Orange Man Bad would win anyway. Convinced he would win they were fairly positive about the future….now…deep funk.

Just sayin… as the niece has said.

A little air, a bit of heat, some light

What Global Warming? 148 New (2020) Scientific Papers Affirm Recent Non-Warming, A Degrees-Warmer Past at WattsUpWithThat

Climate Change Horror Porn is another tool of the apparat to frighten us. In realty there is an objective truth out there…none of us know it. Two sides largely aligned Left and Right though not precisely have taken sides and because the liberal left is ascendant and deeply intwined in academia and the media they are trying to ‘scare us straight.’ It might be well intentioned in many cases, but ideologues, abusers, users and grifters have gathered around a powerful ideological tool that can be used to manipulate the population.

  • The science such as it is….which is a lot…but not what you are told it is by the media and the ideologues who want to use it.
    • Climate science
      • What climate was/is/will be:
        • Is based on models of how the whole atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere work.
          • Early simple models were very illuminating.
          • Complex models are horribly sensitive to incorrect knowledge and unknowns.
        • A lot of it is based on prior history comparing things like plant and sea life growth vs temperature, CO2 etc.
          • But most of this knowledge is based on proxies up until a decade or at most two ago.
          • Plus sparse and non technical accounts up until the modern era
          • Has a sparse and erratic technical record from about a century and a half.
          • Decent deep record for a couple of decades.
          • Can see what it is today in fair but not omniscient detail.
        • We model the future based on models that we ‘test’ against the past. Like the stock market sometimes these models can do an ok job. But that is only because of parameter fiddling to ‘match the curves.’ The models are by necessity highly simplified and often just plain wrong. For example:
          • recent discovery that cloud impact on surface temperature can increase not decrease surface temperature. And that it may depend on where you are in the world.
          • Recent discovery that CO2 concentration’s affect on green house is not linear and tapers quickly at higher concentrations.
          • That the planetary heat balance is highly affected by cooling at the poles, and that the magnetosphere/sun link into the climate also is highly linked at the poles.
          • Etc.
        • While the first climate models that brilliant men and women came up with less than a century ago have been proven to be largely correct, the details are practically, hardly better modeled today than they were in the 1950’s.
        • Today there are literally hundreds of complex computer models and that are run many times with many different start parameters. They generate families of predictions, effectively at random. Those predictions are never even close to right at a rate greater than chance.
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The Woke Purge is Beginning

From Maggies Farm: The Woke Purge is Beginning in total because it’s short and very clear:

“ Parler being dumped by Amazon Web Services wasn’t the first shot. Gab was in 2018. Gab is still around, though it is private now and subscription only. That may be the future for Parler and others like it which fill a need.

But going private isn’t the only solution, there are other solutions. But private is probably bes. However, being aware and adept at meeting the Progressive/Leftist challenges to free speech is essential. I am particularly fond of The Mises Institute’s approach.

This is a space in which I’m uniquely informed and aware. I’ve been seeing this slowly developing for years, and it’s been a growing concern. I’ve been told for years “oh it will never get that bad” and now it really is that bad. Many said Net Neutrality was necessary because the provider of the pipes would throttle, reduce and limit ability for sites and apps to work. Ironically, the purported supporters of Net Neutrality are the very same businesses who are throttling free speech – you know, the free speech they felt Net Neutrality was required to prevent OTHERS FROM THROTTLING THEM. Except, they will argue, ‘this is different’. It’s not. And Net Neutrality would have given these tech oligarchs more power to do this very kind of thing.

That said, because all this has happened slowly at first, then suddenly (due to the Capitol incident), Hemingway’s description of bankruptcy fits these moves restricting the freedoms on speech very well. When it’s taken, unlike bankruptcy – which is usually noticeable, this is going largely unnoticed and unmentioned. Or, at least, it’s being done in a manner many consider ‘acceptable’. Because the main beneficiaries are the very groups doing damage to free speech – the tech oligopolists. Who know ‘better than you’ about how things should be done, how you should live your life, and what you can or should say.

Don’t get me wrong. Tech in’t bad. Social media isn’t bad. It’s not inherently evil. It is ambivalent to morality. But individuals themselves can be good or bad, and as a result can have overbearing and long-lasting impacts on our realities. I’m sure Gutenberg was not loved by leaders of the day and “War of the Worlds” certainly sent many scurrying to talk of the damage radio can do. TV was described as a “vast wasteland” and Bill Gates felt there was little commercial value to the internet.

What is happening now requires individual awareness and action. It does NOT require fighting or violence. Just intelligence and smart, cordial and meaningful action. The Progessives are just starting, in my view. I don’t believe violence will help solve issues – it will be used to justify positions. But being louder, smarter and more aware will make a difference.Posted by Bulldog in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 17:06 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
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Freedom vs Liberty

We talk a lot about freedom but it seems to me that this is a word that has a lost its gravitas in the current era. Maybe the older more difficult word liberty is the one we should use when we talk about fundamentals.

Freedom starts with that word Free, which may have had a noble meaning once but essentially triggers the ‘free stuff’ consumer sales instinct today. Free education, Free care, Free food, Free….whatever it is you think someone should have a right to for whatever reason.

The very word Free has been degraded to a economic term that means ‘worth less’ or worthless. One could see this as intentional neo-marxist thought war. It is certainly one of the reasons that a lot of low info types don’t realize that what they are asking for is has a great cost. Gov’t Free stuff is not free.

The word Liberty still has its gravitas. When you say you have liberty of conscience, liberty of person, liberty of property, liberty of word, liberty of action, you are saying things that seem to have weight and maybe make you and others think.

The US was set up as a nation of individual liberty, the individual sovereign over the government, the state strictly limited in its ability to interfere with the individual.

Giving up Freedom of speech to some seems almost trivial, it was free after all right? But if you are saying the government is effectively limiting your liberty of conscience, word and action, I think even those with a limited understanding of the issue might think again.