1. information, ideas or rumours deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, instituion, nation, etc.,
2. Official government communications to the public that are designed to influence opinion. The information may be true or false, but it is always carefully selected for its political effect.
I have always had a keen interest in the power of propaganda, as well as the other forms it takes such as, the art of persuasion and marketing. One of my favorite novels is 1984 by George Orwell. The two definitions above best describes what I consider propaganda to be, but my interest lies more in its power to shape public opinion and more importantly to cause a desired action.
Which leads me to Glenn Beck.
I don’t watch a lot of the American cable news networks. They are extremely weak on international news content and very predictable with their pro-American (regardless of whether it’s so-called “right/left”), bias reporting of events. I will periodically surf through FOXNews, MSNBC and CNN to see what they are gabbing about and I do like to watch a segment or two of Morning Joe on MSNBC as I have breakfast. However I get most of my daily doses of news reports from BBC World News and CBC Newsworld. There are particular news and talk shows that I do watch regularly: HardTalk (BBC World), Meet The Press (NBC), The Tavis Smiley Show (PBS) and more recently Glenn Beck (FOXNews).
I started watching Glenn Beck because, ironically, of all the publicity he was receiving via African-American bloggers. Although I had occasionally watched segments of the primetime talking heads on FOXNews and MSNBC, I found them all pretty much narrow-minded and obnoxious in their own way. O’Reilly, Hannity, Matthews, Oldbermann and Maddow are different sides of the same coin. Their endgame is ultimately the same: entrenchment of white supremacy for the benefit of the corporate oligarchy! So I had no interest in ever watching Glenn Beck… but the more I read about him on these blogs and in the mainstream media (msm), the more they labeled him “a racist and fascist”, the more my interest grew. I never understood that if Beck (and Palin) were so ignorant and reprehensible, and their views so objectionable, why do they continue to get so much publicity in the msm, which only helps to broadcast their message!?
One of the standard tactics of those utilizing propaganda is to take a snippet of what someone says or wrote and put it within a negative context to support a certain portrayal, opinion or belief of said person. So right away, when the msm does this and makes a particular claim, I’m wary of it. They do this all the time to us! But what I found disturbing was that the Black bloggers who would comment on “whatever” Beck was supposed to have said, were only reacting to what the msm had reported that he had said. They never watched the show for themselves to hear what he had actually said and in what context. In fact, some proudly wear it as a badge of honour and an undeniable proof of their intellectual superiority, to state that they never watch FOXNews. I have always been one who wants to investigate… see, hear or read something for myself, hopefully in it’s entirety and within its original context, before forming and stating an opinion. So I began watching the Glenn Beck show to see and hear for myself what he was all about.
I had only intended to watch a couple of his shows but I ended up watching it for over 2 months. It became evident to me that Beck is an American nationalist who not only believes in the imperial superiority of the US, but wants to ensure that White male dominance continues to be the bedrock of “The Republic”. He is therefore no different than the majority of Americans, including the President of the United States. In fact, even with his “anti-progressive – Obama is a socialist” rhetoric, Beck is fundamentally closer to Obama in his ideology, than Obama is to the the Black community. President Obama has proven to be more like Pharoah, whose primary objective is to preserve the empire, than a community organizer such as Moses, who is willing to do whatever it takes to lead his people to freedom.
I found Beck to be a very fascinating case study on the use of propaganda… and how the media utilizes it as a sort of game among themselves. Beck is a master, as well as a victim of propaganda. Don’t underestimate the man. He is very intelligent and well read, and with the use of his blackboard, he spins a web of “reasonable” propaganda, which has an “air of credibility”. At the same time over the 2 months, I had heard statements attributed to him taken entirely out of context by not only the msm and… yes… some Black bloggers, but also by the White House and spun to achieve a particular agenda. However what I found most revealing was that Beck would often predict when this would happen. He would preface these particular statements by stating that they would be taken out of context and used by the msm and “the liberal bloggers in their mother’s basement” to demonize him… and low and behold, usually by the next day it would come true. This happened so often and with such regularity that after a while I had an “eureka” moment! I came to realize what he knows… what they all know: that it’s all a game! He plays it well, utilizes and takes advantage of it, gets more publicity (and financial rewards), while the msm are accomplices and they play along and do their part, which increases their viewers and readers (and profit margin) by covering him. So they all win. They’re all in on it… except us.
The real power of propaganda is to create the illusion of a common enemy, which then makes it easier to control the thoughts and actions of your target audience. The more “reasonable” the propaganda sounds, with or without the aid of a blackboard, the easier it is to convince you that the “others” are in fact your enemy, evildoers, “boogeymen”. The so-called “right” and “left” have their “boogeymen” which they use to shape our thinking and control our actions. Beck, Limbaugh, Limbaugh, Palin, the “Tea Party” movement are the current “boogeymen” which are in vogue to keep us distracted from seeing who our real enemies are and how they are going about accomplishing their agenda.
The propaganda is so effective that they know which buttons to press and we are quick to express our outrage about the evils of FOXNews, while we shrug our shoulders that the jobless rate of African-Americans is anywhere from 12-15% nationally. We are eager to jump on the “anti-Glenn Beck” bandwagon and call him a “racist”, but are silent about the millions of Africans, people who look like us, who have been systemically slaughtered and raped in the Congo for years, so that American, Canadian and European companies can continue to provide us with our computers, cellphones and other electronic gadgets. We are more than willing to use our time and energy on these same computers and sit in the comforts of our home to blog on the antics of the “Tea Party”, but are not willing to take to the streets ourselves to express our anger that Obama sees fit to bail out financial institutions and corporations which he claims are “too big to fail”, while at the same time sees no problem in allowing African-Americans families to lose their homes because they are “too small to save”.
I am now more convinced than ever than people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin… are only “distractions”. In reality they are just performers in the media circus, “panem et circenses” . The ringmasters of this circus creates the illusion of danger by telling us that what these performers are doing…. like the aerial acrobats, or the lion tamer who places his head in the mouth of the lion, or the blindfolded guy on the unicycle riding across a tightrope near the roof… could lead to serious injury or death! And right on cue, like Pavlov’s dog who starts drooling when he hears the bell, we “oooh” and aaah”, and shutter with fear, while what they are all actually doing is well choreographed showcase whose aim is to illicit this conditioned response from us.
So after journeying through the realm of Glenn Beck for over 2 months, I am now done with watching his program. I see it for what it is. He doesn’t scare me. He’s not the enemy. He’s a distraction. A performer. I can now gladly return to my regularly scheduled program, the exceptionally informative and highly educational “TMZ”.