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The War Against Propaganda
March 6, 2002
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 Trade Center.

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 is.

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.

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