The Truth About Propaganda

“If you can’t find the sucker at the poker table,” goes the saying, “you’re it.” Extrapolating that axiom to the present political moment, we may say: “If you don’t hear much about propaganda, that’s what you’re hearing.” The term propaganda has its origins in the 17th century efforts of the Catholic Church to propagate its views and stem the rise of Protestantism. It has gone through various permutations since. By the time Hitler was dead and the Cold War underway, the word had lost its Godly associations and became a pejorative, connoting mostly the self-serving lies of nefarious tyrannical regimes. Yet propaganda properly understood is non-discriminating, inclusive with regard to its users, contents, and ends. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines propaganda as: “The spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.” Propaganda, in other words, is manipulative persuasion in the service of an agenda. The word itself doesn’t imply truth or falsehood in the content or pass judgment on the agenda. Understood as such, … Continue reading The Truth About Propaganda