War Against Propaganda
By Mark W. Brown
The headline that played itself across the televisions and
monitors of all Americans on Monday afternoon was a first
for the War on Terror. A helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan,
there were American casualties, it happened from enemy fire,
and it wasn't a pretty sight. There was no mechanical failure,
there were no weather problems. So maybe the talking heads
won't emphasize the fact that the arms were in all likelihood
given to the enemy that shot us down by ourselves many years
ago, but that really isn't the point.
Sadly, in the face of the grand spin machine, the nine American
lives that were lost this week will just get caught up in
the patriotic, hero-propping fervor that has seized the country
ever since the World Trade Center bombings. Anyone who dies
in the line of duty, especially servicemen and law enforcement
officers, are instantly heroes. I don't think there is anything
wrong with fallen soldiers receiving that treatment, for the
record. But the greater tragedy here is when nobody asks the
question: "Why are those men there dying in the first place?"
If the administration knows the answer at all, it is highly
unlikely that they will see it fit to tell us, what with the
existence of the Office of Strategic Information, meant to
spread lies to the press and the American public. Oh, sure,
they claim to be there to kill Osama bin Laden and Mullah
Omar, but then the two fugitives just "appear" in other countries
and the Bush administration throws some inflammatory rhetoric
at those countries. Meanwhile, more chaos ensues in Afghanistan,
with bombing of civilian targets falsified by rival warlords,
bombings of civilian targets due to other faulty American
intelligence, and the general Charlie Foxtrot that is a zone
of guerrilla warfare. We hear that Taliban and al-Qaida troops
are beaten, then suddenly we hear that they have sprung up
in eastern Afghanistan and are fighting us. Which is it? Don't
count on the American press to tell you.
With the American public's new reliance on Talking Heads,
the job of the propaganda arm is that much easier, both in
keeping certain details from reaching general knowledge, and
in presenting false details as truth. John Q. Public doesn't
think any farther than what he hears on television. If they
said it on television, he thinks it must be true, and if they
didn't say it on television, then he thinks that it must be
made up. So the dots are left unconnected, and he never sees
the big picture - in this case, that a war in Afghanistan
is being waged in his name, and is being managed so poorly
that it is possible (although we don't know for certain because
of the aforementioned OSI) that more Afghani civilians have
been killed so far than there were lives lost at the World
He doesn't see the part of the picture that makes him remember
that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
Franks, and Press Secretary Fleischer will lie to him if they
don't think he should know about something. He also doesn't
see that what he is told is carefully timed for release at
times when issues that paint Republicans in a bad light are
getting a lot of press time. Most importantly, Mr. Public
doesn't see through the propaganda which proclaims that dissent
equals terrorism, or recognize that propaganda for what it
Even when someone like Senate Majority Leader Daschle asks
questions, they are drowned out by the propaganda machine
and spun back against him, usually in a hypocritical manner.
Most unfortunately, the talking heads do not address this
hypocrisy, no matter how blatant. Likely, we all screamed
at our televisions and computer monitors when we heard/read
Minority Leader Lott say, "How dare he criticize the President...
we have troops overseas!" The Associated Press is beginning
to point such contradictions out, but that is not enough.
As egotistical as it sounds, there is only one group of people
that can fight back in this war against propaganda. Those
people are you, me, and the true-believer Democrats everywhere.
Contact your representatives who are Democrats, or if you
have no Democratic representatives at all, write in to local
papers, or let networks like CNN and MSNBC know when their
coverage is nothing short of blatant propaganda. When our
officials are aware that their supporters are behind them,
then they can tell their leaders that maybe the time is right
to talk about a certain point of view that has been taboo
recently. Rather than complain when it looks like Democrats
lack a spine, let's do something about it. Okay, so there
are always a few who are true DINOs and are complete lost
causes, but we can't let those few stop us.
There are eight months to go until this year's elections.
We've got plenty of time, so let's do our part to make sure
our representatives don't look like Republican Lites.
Not even the best propaganda can stand against the truth
when it is proclaimed loudly by the right people. Democrats
like Daschle, Kerry, Gephardt, and others, are the right people.
We only need to convince them of that.
And most importantly, when John Q. Public sees Democrats
on his television, talking about things that he cares about,
then John Q. Public won't believe the propaganda anymore.
Without propaganda the Republican Party will whittle away.
If we work at this, it doesn't have to be just a dream.
It can be reality, and we can make it happen.
Mark W. Brown is a college dude who was recently imbued with
the power to nuke freepers into the Underworld.