Quotes / Propaganda Machine

Film — Live-Action

"This is the BTN. Our job is to report the news, not fabricate it. That's the government's job."

"Right now, there is a whole, an entire generation that never knew anything that didn't come out of this tube! This tube is the Gospel, the ultimate revelation. This tube can make or break presidents, popes, prime ministers. This tube is the most awesome God-damned force in the whole godless world, and woe is us if it ever falls in to the hands of the wrong people. And when the twelfth largest company in the world controls the most awesome God-damned propaganda force in the whole godless world, who knows what shit will be peddled for truth on this network?"
Howard Beale, Network

"Words are the new weapons, satellites the new artillery."
Elliot Carver, Tomorrow Never Dies


"If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied"

"The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior 'righteous indignation' — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats."
Aldous Huxley, ''Chrome Yellow'

"I thought Syria was a controlled society," Blancanales commented. "If there were a coup in progress, would the regime allow news broadcasts?"
Powell laughed. "Who's talking about news? It's the jive line that I got to hear. Or the absence of jive. The music changes for a coup. If Hafez is dead, it'll either be upper music or downer music. If it's a serious coup, there'll be patriotic songs, military marches. If it's a very serious coup, you might hear shooting on the radio. Heard that one time. Deejay's rapping right along, playing pop rock and bebopping, then it's a Shootout in Studio RKO."
Able Team, "Rain of Doom"

Live-action TV

Mulder: You can't protect the public by LYING to them!
Cigarette Smoking Man: It's done every day.
The X-Files, "F. Emasculata"

"To celebrate this latest victory against a tyrannical few who have endangered the lives of our citizens, Clark declared today a planetary holiday. Curfew has been extended two full hours until 9:00 PM, Earth Standard Time, so go out and enjoy!"
ISN Reporter, Babylon 5 ("The Illusion of Truth")

Jake: What about freedom of the press?!
Weyoun: Please tell me you're not that naive.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "A Time to Stand"

Warhead: The Enemy is ruthless! They are violent!
Harry: Have you ever met the "Enemy"? You're just spouting propaganda — what you've been programmed to believe!
Star Trek: Voyager, "Warhead"


"Where's your will to win, to act like Gunga Din?
Through propaganda, propaganda
Where's your will to fight, to know what's wrong and right?
And propaganda, propaganda"
Sparks, "Propaganda"

"I learned our government must be strong
It's always right and never wrong
Our leaders are the finest men
And we elect them again and again"
Tom Paxton, "What Did You Learn in School Today?"

"The information nation took their
Clues from all the sound-bite gluttons
1980, eighty-four, eighty-eight, ninety-two too, too
How to be what you can be,
Jump jam junking your energies
How to walk in dignity with throw up on your shoes.
They amplified the autumn, ninteen-seventy-nine
Calculate the capital,
Up the republic my skinny ass
TV tells a million lies
The paper's terrified to report
Anything that isn't handed on a presidential spoon
I'm just profoundly frustrated by all this
So, fuck you, man (fuck 'em)"
R.E.M., "Ignoreland"


"We need racist stereotypes right now of our enemy in order to encourage our warriors to kill the enemy."

Tabletop Games

[Sales and Marketing] is the most oily, devious division of Magadon. It's no less corrupt than any other - it just have to work a thousand times harder at hiding that corruption. And yet, that same corruption has to directly affect anyone who deals with the whole company, either directly, or through such intermediaries as Omni Television or Vesuvius Publishing. Most of S&M's efforts are through no supernatural or biomedical trickery, but rather through good old-fashioned treachery and double-talk. Every single piece of publicity material that comes out of Sales and Marketing, be it a billboard design or a college recruiter's speech, is rigorously scrutinized by teams of top-notch spin doctors and propagandists to pack the maximum possible loading into words and graphics, all while maintaining total deniability. S&M's operation philosophy can best be summed up as "if you don't actually make any promises, you can't be held accountable for breaking them." Vampires wish they were this good at manipulating the masses.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Subsidiaries: A Guide To Pentex

At the first sign of trouble, Spin Doctors are on the scene, calming the participants and minimizing bad press. If bad press is called for, they do the opposite, whipping people into a frenzy and flashing images of unrest across the networks. Through an intricate network of reporters, editors and "reliable sources," Media Control can start a rumor in one part of the globe that winds up as solid fact on the six o'clock news in another. Flummoxing an entire roomful of mundane journalists is child's play if you understand Adjustments.
Mage: The Ascension - Convention Book: Syndicate

Web Original

War crimes are never excusable, of course... except that they are excused. All the time. They're excused as long as they're 'ours', whoever 'we' happen to be. In fact, if they're 'ours', they tend to not even be noticed, let alone excused. When they cannot be ignored or straight-facedly excused, they are ideologically neutralised as aberrations, quickly corrected by the putatively aggressive questioning of a Media who are actually pussycats sitting on the laps of the powerful and purring for bellyrubs. The odd playful scratch does not a ferocious tiger make... and anything more than the odd playful scratch might endanger the reliable supply of Kit-e-Kat.

"freedom: A very simple, effective rebuttal for anyone that dares to attack our leader's policies. Additionally, this word is a trademark of the leader."

Newspapers seldom print whole speeches these days, so they are typically anchored around vacuous sound bytes. News channels are so busy rushing to get to the celebrity gossip that we get an entire political address condensed down to a word — arguably the greatest orator of our times (though, to echo above I’d suggest he may be good, but he’s “no Jack Kennedy or even Ronald Reagan) has his speeches condensed down to single ambiguous words/concepts like “hope” and “change”...It should be noted that it was arguably this soundbyte-fixation which led to the rush to war back in 2003, with the focus on individual words and snippets (“axis of evil”, for example) rather than statements or arguments.

"The fascist narrative comes, in effect, in two parts. The first involves a nostalgic belief in a past golden age — a historical moment in which things were good. In the fascist narrative, this golden age was ended because of an act of disingenuous betrayal — what’s called the “stab in the back myth”...The second part is a vision of what should happen, which centers on a heroic figure who speaks the truth of the conspiracy and leads a populist restoration of the old order. The usual root of this figure is (a bad misreading of) Nietzsche’s idea of the ubermenscha figure of such strength that morality does not really apply to him."
Dr. Phil Sandifer, "Guided By the Beauty of Their Weapons"

"As a master of theatrical sarcasm and apocalyptic rhetoric, Kiselyov eclipses Bill O'Reilly, and as a theoretician of conspiracy he shames Glenn Beck. He tells his viewers that, in Ukraine, fascists abound, the U.S. State Department underwrites revolution, and 'life is not worth a single kopeck.' But he insists, 'The presentation of me as a minister of propaganda is itself a form of propaganda.'"
The New Yorker on Russia Today, "Watching the Eclipse"

Western Animation

"In war, truth is the first casualty."
Star Wars: The Clone Wars, "Duchess of Mandalore"

Real Life

“A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.”

"In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind."
Edward Bernays, father of public relations

"As far as the mass of the people go, the extraordinary swings of opinion which occur nowadays, the emotions which can be turned on and off like a tap, are the result of newspaper and radio hypnosis. In the intelligentsia I should say they result rather from money and mere physical safety. At a given moment they may be 'pro-war' or 'anti-war', but in either case they have no realistic picture of war in their minds."
George Orwell is always right

“There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.”

"It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success."
Joeseph Goebbels

"Politicamente, só existe aquilo que o público sabe que existe."note 
Antonio De Oliveira Salazar on the foundation of the Secretariado Nacional de Informação (Portugal's propaganda ministry during the dictatorship), 1933

"On the morning of September 22, fishermen of the fishery station in Rajin-Sonbong city caught a 10cm long white sea cucumber while fishing on the waters off Chongjin. They said the rare white sea cucumber has come to hail the auspicious event of electing Secretary Kim Jong Il as Party General Secretary. Seeing the mysterious natural phenomena, Koreans say Secretary Kim Jong Il is indeed the greatest of great men produced by heaven and that flowers come into bloom to mark the great event."
Korean Central News Agency (29 Sep 1997)

"There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work."
Leo Strauss on the "noble lie"

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
George W. Bush, Greece, N.Y. 5.24.05

"The reason propaganda works is that most people are too involved or too stupid to recognize it as propaganda. People claim to understand the bias and filter it out, but that's absurd. Of course they don't."
Ann Coulter

"The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.”
Henry A. Wallace

"If we did make our points clearer than truth, we did not differ from most other educators and could hardly do otherwise..."
Dean Acheson on the Red Scare

"Thus were two generations of Americans treated by their overlords until, in the end, at the word 'communism' there is an orgasmic Pavlovian reflex just as the brain goes dead."
Gore Vidal, Vanity Fair, 1999

"The nationalist myth often implodes with a startling ferocity. It does so after the lies and absurdities that surround it become too hard to sustain. They collapse under their own weight. The contradictions and tortuous refusal to acknowledge the obvious becomes more than a society is able to bear. The collapse is usually followed by a blanket refusal, caused by shame or discomfort, to acknowledge or examine the crimes carried out...By the time the British had landed on the Falklands and were rolling over the poorly supplied and ill-clad Argentine soldiers, the Argentine public had retreated into a mythic world that was not unfamiliar to Germans in the last days of the Third Reich. There was no hint in the national press that the Argentine forces were being defeated. It appeared that the British were losing the war. When the Argentine forces surrendered it hit the country like a tidal wave."
Chris Hedges, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

"The trick is not to be isolated — if you're isolated, like Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, then sooner or later you're going to break, as he finally broke. That was the point of Orwell's story. In fact, the whole tradition of popular control has been exactly that: to keep people isolated, because if you can keep them isolated enough, you can get them to believe anything."
Noam Chomsky

"Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn't trust the evidence of one's eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice."
Edward Said, Orientalism

"Information war is now the main type of war, preparing the way for military action."

"If you aren't careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing."