2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age


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    Dorothea Lange Drought hit OK farm family on way to CA Aug 1936 From just about as early in my life as I can remember, growing up as a child in Hollan
    [See the full post at: 2014: The Year Propaganda Came Of Age]

    Formerly T-Bear

    Ilargi – simply brilliant

    Ken Barrows

    Mainstream media is dependent on advertising, government, or both. So it’s incompetence or laziness (or both) should not be a surprise.

    Chris M

    Here’s a post which parallels what Ilargi said.

    Obama Creates the “Truth” of His Agenda

    Ken Barrows

    Grammar is important: I should have written its.


    thanks T

    the closer to the heart, the harder to judge one’s own words

    V. Arnold

    Thanks Ilargi; I second T-Bear.
    North America and the EU are collapsed civilizations.
    We’re done…


    With every issue, there are at least two sides, and everyone can play the propaganda game. And the commercial news organizations have, if nothing else, a bias toward sensationalism. So how are we to tell the truth, or even find a useful approximation to it? I hope to find a thread of plausibility by considering a variety of viewpoints, and the more emotion that comes with the news, the less credibility it has with me.

    As for MH17, it’s entirely plausible that a crew of “Ukrainian separatists” thought they had another chance to bring down a Ukrainian troop jet. After all, what sane commercial airline would route flights over a conflict zone? Accidents happen. A simple apology would go a long way to diffuse the tensions.

    Ken Denninger at The Market Ticker does a great job of picking apart financial statistics (along with righteous rants about other topics).


    Ilargi, great post, but the comments on MH17 seem completely off base. There seemed to be an awful lot of circumstantial evidence for the prevailing story of a russian backed rebel group shooting down what they thought was a ukrainian troop jet. Enough evidence that it is a probable storyline.

    Trying to play that as part of a bigger conspiracy theory downplays yours message and is unneeeded.


    Hi Raul,
    From the above it seems likely you are unaware of the fascinating 4 part BBC doco called ‘The century of self’.
    It portrays the earliest pioneers of propaganda and among them is an American citizen, Edward Bernays (Freud’s nephew), who published his book ‘Propaganda’ in 1928.
    Apparently it was a great resource for Goebbels.
    Unsurprisingly it would seem that America was way early in the game and taught the Nazi’s a thing or two after all.
    I really appreciate your work and your efforts on our behalf.

    John Day

    Hi Statzman.
    You might look through Zero Hedge to catch the latest MH-17 news.
    I think you’ve been missing out since it happened, an alternate reality.


    (Normal, … = tomorrow will be the same as yesterday.)
    Today, we have the benefit of lower gas pump prices and the disadvantage of a $C that has no business being lower in value than the devalued printed $US. With the rate of printing that has been done, by the US, I should be able to buy, with my $C, 2X the amount of fresh food from Cal. than what I did 5 years ago.
    See … I can tell the future just as well as all the other financial experts with a lot of letters after their names.


    Hey Slatzman.
    Why let the facts ruin a good story, check this out mate,
    Seems an awful lot of circumstantial evidence is required to make this (pig fly) ‘story’ stick.
    Betcha if there was any actual evidence at all it’d be plastered all over our idiot boxes.
    Gotta wake up mate, your country is less yours than you think.
    All the best.


    Wildsilver wrote:

    “Betcha if there was any actual evidence at all it’d be plastered all over our idiot boxes.”

    You better believe it. Interesting how the shootdown of MH17 immediately was pinned right away on the breakaway Russian sympathizers by the media, White House and State Dept. like it was an established fact beyond dispute, then all of a sudden the media coverage dropped and the stream of “lets all blame the Russkies for this” propaganda generated from the incident seemed to suddenly grind to a halt overnight. Like you said if the US had any solid evidence to backup their original claims the CMM (Controlled Mainstream Media) would be trumpeting it over the airwaves and from the rooftops 24/7.

    However, the initial blame game circus by the US and the CMM did provide the necessary excuse for the US and it’s European/NATO puppet partners to tighten sanctions against Russia without them needing to produce any solid evidence or at least await the outcome of an impartial investigation by crash investigators. I guess once it had served its purpose, the blame game circus felt its job was done and it was time to fold its tent and move on.

    I am reminded when I see these types of events used as propaganda to manipulate public opinion of a quote from the US newspaper columnist Sydney Schanberg. While musing on the way the Johnson Administration had seized on the supposed “Gulf of Tonkin incident” (i.e. a non-existent attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats on the destroyer USS Maddox patroling in the Gulf of Tonkin) as a means to generate public and political support for the US to ramp up to a full scale military involvement in the Vietnamese war, Schanberg wrote: “We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth.”

    30-Year Anniversary: Tonkin Gulf Lie Launched Vietnam War


    Wildsilver, no idea what in the above makes you think I don’t know Century of the Self. I know it quite well, and have talked about Bernays many times. I can’t make it much clearer without mentioning him by name then this:

    That propaganda as a strategic and political instrument has been refined to a huge extent over the past 70-odd years since Goebbels first picked up on Freud’s lessons on how to influence the unconscious mind, and the ‘mass-mind’, as a way to ‘steer’ an entire people, not just as a means to make them buy detergent.

    Thanks for your kind words.



    The commentariat has already expressed it: there is no proof whatsoever that any of us are aware of which confirms any story about MH17. Entire nations have formed opinions on endlessly repeated empty propaganda, and I find that saddening. We should be better people than that.


    In the US and really the West the gold standard in creating the official narrative which ends up defining the boundaries of what can be said about a major story is the NY Times. Most of the Times journalism is as good as it gets in our world on all sorts of issues from scientific to cultural and social but then in some specific instances it goes right off the rails into the purest of propaganda. The most significant of recent times, the Whitewater ‘scandal’, the selling of the Iraq occupation, and now Ukraine.

    On the Ukraine the Times has outdone itself with almost daily stories about the evil Putin. It’s all really almost on a cartoon level. Putin their and thus our Emmanuel Goldstein, their stories amounting to the daily two minutes of hate with not so subtle reminders we have always been at war with East Asia, or in this case North Asia.

    I’m agnostic on MH17. Google ‘MH17 NY Times’ yields no direct stories since late July. An incredible absence. If someone has paid access to the Times I wonder what site search would yield.

    V. Arnold

    @ rapier
    Google ‘MH17 NY Times’ yields no direct stories since late July. An incredible absence.
    I find your choices of information, incredible. Why ever limit yourself to American MSM???
    Who bloody cares what the NY Times has to say about anything?
    Certainly no one who actually wants to be informed/current.
    Try this;

    If you only trust U.S. sources then you are doomed to ignorance.


    For anyone who is not familiar with the BBC documentary “Century of the Self”. It is available for viewing online:

    The Century of the Self

    This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, changed the perception of the human mind and its workings profoundly.

    His influence on the 20th century is widely regarded as massive. The documentary describes the impact of Freud’s theories on the perception of the human mind, and the ways public relations agencies and politicians have used this during the last 100 years for their engineering of consent. Among the main characters are Freud himself and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in advertising. He is often seen as the father of the public relations industry.



    V. Arnold, I think you might have misunderstood Rapier’s point and perhaps the point of Raul’s piece.
    We may know that other sources exist , and Raul has pointed out but a few of them, but mainstream media has become criminally biased, corrupted and at the behest of big businesses who own all the main media feeds in this country[ and the gov’t they own by proxy] are complicit in continuing the cosmic ignorance and subservience of their readership…. to serve their own miserable ends.
    For most people, MSM basic readers, it is comforting and stabilizing to believe that there is only one truth…. the one media chooses to endlessly display, or ignore as MH17 coverage shows us.
    To these people, all alternative info, if it is even noticed at all, is viewed as the real propaganda. Such is the coup for Bernays and his spawn.
    The more outrageous and obvious the media’s party policy becomes, the more readily it is gobbled up and believed, to the detriment of us all. I stand equal parts vexed, amazed and outraged. Were do we go from here?


    Without internet we would know nothing of the real story. This is a real historical turning point like 1989. The restart of coldwar due to the failed western economic model to acheive growth, high incomes, debt free economy. The standard answer to internal failure is to find an external enemy. Somehow they wanted a big war in the middle east to exorcise the ghost of vietnam war failure first. The ghost was not the loss of the war but the intrrnal dissension of the 1960s. This did not recur due to afghan/iraq wars (volunteer army) as zeitgeist was different. TPTB have slowly gained confidence from this successful effort plus their “successful” management of the 2008 crisis that they can do almost anything, i.e. any lie will be accepted, the populace is passive. Why? Panem et circense, generational cynicism, burnout, poverty of population, etc.

    The boiling frog metaphor remains trite but apt and one can look at the buildup to ww2 as the perfect example. Nobody was willing to stop him but he was weak and always dared a
    lot at each stage and uk, etc. always backed down till he got strong enough to wage a general war with minimal armor which noone expected or was ready to believe would come.

    usa is following a similar buildup of brinksmanship. Middle east wars, economic mismanagement , color revolutions in 2004 , ukraine now, constant drone attacks, patriot act, nsa spying at home and abroad, torture, buying up local and foreign press and elites, WTO, TTIP, NAFTA, EURO. Nobody notices erosion of personal rights, national sovereignty, expansion of extreme criminal behaviour by Fed, military, congress, cops, state and local authorities, banksters, realtors, stock markets.

    Obviously if percentage of people on part time jobs, support, SNAP program, disability is ever higher people won’t protest as an FBI/CIA file could be used under sedition act in time of emergency (which could be made permanent)to eliminate state support or blacklist you fom jobmarket if not jail you, at least immediately. So you have poor dependent population
    quivering in fear of opening their mouths. This is how USSR was run. People made jokes in their kitchen about Brhezhnev. TPTB .1% call the shots. They constitute the politburo, the party apparatus, the ancien regime with everything to lose. The economic situation could get bad so thy fake the market, job and growth stats, lie in press, start wars to distract and in worst case suppress some dissenters or pay trolls to come into the few truth to
    power blogs. They do not welcome an economic crisis but can either fake the stats, start external wars or silence dissenters or critics or coopt ones they cannot discredit or jail or silence. Lots of low level bankers dying lately. Whatver happens they are one step ahead of the game. Only russia/china together can change rules of game enough to force a freeing of internal western proletariat. Communist surge forced recognition of labour movement. USD reserve currency, US debt default threat(bonds owned by china), alternative trading and military blocs and alternative info sources, ideologies not controlled by a central ministry of truth forces degree of civil rights, economic rights in West which would otherwise disappear completely under plutocratic regime. Global hegemony encourages genocide, torture, foreign coups. It had nothing to do with communist atheism at all. It was alway power poliics. Balance of power is best for citizens within a country(management labour ) as well as internationally so as to avoid exploitation.

    This year shocked me like PO, like 2008 crisis, but worse is coming and due to same basic structural problems. Too many people wanting too much with stuff running out, pollution destroying worldand with and a generational time fuse ready to blow(noone knows what areal war is-like bush sr. is 90 and last of a breed).

    War is inevitable as a cowed western populace is driven to the brink by their masters. Only abrutal and determined putin and china with powerful economic and military weapons can hinder appeasement of US led war movement.

    Pray a lot for peace and don’t let them shut you up. Their intentions after kiev, odessa,mh17 mass murders became ever clearer. They play for all the marbles and in the end will divide the globe up under a few bankers who handpick all elected officials, etc. before elections.

    Conspiracies? No, a matrix type totalitarian system.


    The propagandists have been with us as long as I have have been alive, and have controlled the MSM for longer than any of us would acre to admit. The change I have noticed this year is the aggressive spread into alternative media, particularly a source that Raul links to occasionally: businessinsider.com The propaganda on that site is so brazen that it makes anyone half grounded in reality laugh (or cry) out loud. Mixed in with the Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Richard Branson, Marissa Mayer, Steve jobs hagiographies, there is a steady stream of anti-Snowden, anti-Russia, pro-Sony, pro-Wall Street, “the world is wonderful and the economy is doing great” drivel straight out of Orwell.

    V. Arnold

    @ gezelle

    No, I understood Ilargi perfectly and agree with his assessment 100%.
    As to rapier: He seemed to bemoan the lack of information regarding MH-17, citing the NYT.
    There is a lot of information “out there” if one but looks. The is more than a little evidence implicating Ukraine.
    IMO, all MSM is worthless, but not benign. Rather it’s malignant.


    @galacticsurfer you say “They do not welcome an economic crisis” and yet – if my understanding of this film https://www.positivemoney.org/2014/12/princes-yen-documentary/ is correct – the 1980s bubble and subsequent depression in Japan was engineered by central banks, IMF etc. to deliberately foist “structural adjustment” on the burgeoning Japanese economy because it didn’t conform to the neoliberal agenda.


    An excellent post Ilargi, spot on as usual, and reminds me of your December 2013 post, “Everything Is Fine In A Parallel Universe”.


    The reality is, no amount of propaganda can alter the fact that as the widely held Enlightenment myth of perpetual economic growth collides with the second law of thermodynamics, this mythic belief will crumble to dust along with much of our current industrial global civilisation. How nations respond to this situation and what type of civilisation replaces it, is, or should be, one of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves. Unfortunately, as you point out, these are not the sort of questions the mainstream media asks, because like the financial elites that own them, they all fail to recognise the true nature of the developing reality that’s driving the deflationary black hole nations are heading into, albeit at differing rates. I always like to remind myself of Sir Arthur Eddington’s prescient quote as an antidote to this mainstream media view (oops, propaganda) that we can continue to eat ever bigger slices of nature’s finite cake without major consequences:

    “If your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics, I give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation”.


    I think I would probably nominate this piece as a Global Top Ten blogpost of 2014. Information is dead, truth is relative, spin is universal, and evidence is either doctored or missing. In Arabia there is a now a ‘news cinema’ genre that works 24/7 faking atrocities. A similar form exists in Ukraine, Russia, and Spain. Here in France I cannot write the truth about banks (as Mish already discovered to his chagrin), in Greece I cannot publish details of demonstrations, in the UK we are about to criminalise non-criminality with the new ‘non-violent extremism’ law – pure Orwellian drivel – and across the border in Spain, one cannot blog to contradict official economic figures.
    Yet alongside this blatantly fascist censorship, the aim of most ‘news’ output is to misinform…and if that fails, to obfuscate. The two outstanding examples for me this year were the MH17 (where in truth, zero responsibility attaches to Putin) and the oil price manipulation – a tableau in which everyone tried to shoot every competitor in the head, and wound up shooting themselves in the foot.
    My apologies for taking so long to find this site: it is outstanding…and the photography chosen suggests a great eye. Good luck.


    Mr. Meijer:
    This article especially hit home for me. After the Foley beheading we were told not to view it as it was too graphic. I did everything I could to find it. I viewed it and didn’t find it graphic at all compared to other Hollywood films. I then found that Foley before and after the beheading were quite dissimilar and yet our intelligence services found that it was in fact genuine. Anyone I share this with are rather unbelieving. Very peculiar.



    A couple of areas of disagreement:

    1. I spent 27 months in Viet Nam working as an Army psychological operations tactical teamleader. Sigmund Freud gets way too much credit for modern propaganda methods. Modern propaganda techniques did not take hold before B.F. Skinner’s pioneering work in behavioral psychology. Propaganda today is an applied science with its feet firmly planted in behavioral psychology’s principles of positive reinforcement and repeated, scientifically valid target audience opinion testing, from baseline through successful attainment of the shift in opinion that is targeted. “The key to centralized planning and decentralized execution of PSYOP is clarity in the statement of broad themes and *measurable* PSYOP objectives. Broad themes that originate at policy-maker level set the parameters that PSYOP must operate within. *Measurable* PSYOP objectives ensure that PSYOP series are *behavior-focused* and reflect national and theater policy and strategy.” U.S. Army Field Manual3-05.302 Tactical Psychological Operations (October 2005), pg. 1-4, https://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-05-302.pdf (emphasis added). Freud is old-hat. Skinner rules.

    2. I don’t view 2014 as a particularly noteworthy year on the government propaganda front. In 1969, I had an epiphany: “When you find yourself part of an invading force in a foreign land fighting patriots, it’s time for a reality check on your world view.” I did my reality check that day and every day since. Reality instructed that I could not morally return to my prewar job at a daily newspaper because it dispensed only propaganda. Then as now, the most important mainstream media propaganda is spoonfed to it by government officials.

    3. There is nothing new about government creating enemies as a means of social control:

    “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretense of defending, have enslaved the people.” James Madison, speech at the Constitutional Convention, June 29, 1787.

    “Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear — kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor — with the cry of grave national emergency. Always, there has been some terrible evil at home, or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.” Gen. Douglas MacArthur, source: Whan, ed. “A Soldier Speaks: Public Papers and Speeches of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur,” (1965); Nation, August 17, 1957.

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” H. L. Mencken.

    “Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

    “Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” Hermann Goering, quote verified, https://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.asp

    Paul E. “Marbux” Merrell, J.D.

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