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"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"
"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?"
Employee: You think people will buy this?
Dascomb: Why not? This is the BTN. Our job is to report the news, not fabricate it. That's the government's job.
"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 Huxey, ''Chrome Yellow'
"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
Mulder: You can't protect the public by lying to them!
Cigarette Smoking Man: It's done every day.
—The X-Files, "F. Emasculata"
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"
"Who are you fighting for anyway? The people? Newsflash! The people hate you! I made sure of that!"
— Bob Barbas, DMC Devil May Cry
"What we need right now is a clear message to the people of this country. This message must be read in every newspaper, heard on every radio, seen on every television. This message must resound throughout the ENTIRE InterLink! I want this country to realise that we stand on the edge of oblivion! I want every man, woman and child to understand how close we are to chaos! I want EVERYONE! To REMEMBER! WHY THEY NEED US!"
"Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of...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
“There is no nonsense so errant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.”
"To America's Iago, Ann Coulter, for rewriting history to suit her own nefarious purposes."
—John McNally, book dedication for America's Report Card
"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
"It was (Dean) Acheson who elegantly explained all of the lies that he was obliged to tell Congress and the ten-minute-attention-spanned average American: 'If we did make our points clearer than truth, we did not differ from most other educators and could hardly do otherwise...' 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 1984, 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."
"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
"We need racist stereotypes right now of our enemy in order to encourage our warriors to kill the enemy."
"Earthshock has the unfortunate distinction of airing two weeks before the Falklands War breaks out... its a soberingly problematic moment in British history. There’s not really a way around the sense that the war was, if not wholly motivated by the fact that there would have to be an election soon, at least firmly conducted with one eye on the polls. The Argentinian side — a fading military dictatorship in desperate need of a propaganda coup — was certainly no better, but the sudden reversion to raw militaristic jingoism in the UK was genuinely chilling, doubly so because it worked so well in the 1983 general election. Similarly, those inclined to despise Rupert Murdoch and The Sun have little evidence substantially better than the paper’s war coverage and reflexive support of the Thatcher government.
So to see Doctor Who, two weeks before the war broke out, running a story in which even the Doctor ends up as an action hero wrestling a Cyberman and rubbing gold into its chest plate before Nyssa guns it down and where the main supporting good guys are just space marines with big guns is... dismaying."
"Holy Terror is tough for me to wrap my head around, because propaganda is a tricky beast. It requires convincing everyone of the righteousness of your country’s cause, turning your enemy into something other than you, and simplifying matters to an almost absurd level. In World War II, propaganda was easy. There was a clear enemy, notably the Nazis, who had committed clearly hateful crimes. And even then, the otherizing aspect of propaganda gave rise to a metric ton of racism and bigotry, which was nonetheless seen as justified or even acceptable in the face of the atrocities that had been committed...I think that Al-Qaeda is as worthy of being fictionalized and turned into a comic book villain as any other real-life entity, but there’s a very fine line to walk there. Without care, you run the risk of portraying Al-Qaeda not as a radical Islamist terrorist organization, but as representative of Muslims as a whole, a factually incorrect position. I personally benefitted greatly from the guidance or teachings of Muslim men and women as I grew up, so I’m always wary of conversations that are framed as 'Us versus Them,' where 'Us' is a nebulous notion of 'Americans' and 'Them' equates to 'Muslims,' because that is a false divide."
—David Brothers on Frank Miller's Holy Terror
"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)
"The dissonance between these two columns, published within ten days of each other, is remarkable... In the first, Bush is the Awesome Commander in Chief, Who Throws Concerns about Federalism to the Winds, Because the People Need Him, and Uses the Super-Duper Awesome Department of Homeland Security to Kick Some Hurricane Ass. In the second, Bush is the Leader whose Sobriety and Wisdom are Demonstrated by His Hesitance to Challenge the Federalist Dispensation Even in An Apparent Crisis, and are Borne Out by the Incompetence of the Department of Homeland Security.
It takes both chutzpah and a complete lack of intellectual scruples to be able to make two arguments that are so diametrically opposed to each other in such a short period."
—Henry Farrell on Amity Shlaes
"Dmitri Kiselyov, the head of Russia Today, Putin’s newly created information agency, and the host, on Sunday nights, of the TV magazine show 'News of the Week,' is a masterly, and unapologetic, purveyor of the Kremlin line. With his theatrical hand gestures and brilliantly insinuating intonation, he tells his viewers that Russia is the only country in the world that can turn the U.S. into 'radioactive dust,' that the anti-gay-propaganda laws are insufficiently strict, and that Ukraine is not a real country... 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, "Watching the Eclipse"