Propaganda is alive and well in America
One of my required freshman English courses at Georgia Tech was the “Analysis of Propaganda.” This was during the height of the Cold War and the purpose of the course was to show the techniques that the Soviet Union used to manipulate the truth.
It is dismaying to see those same propaganda techniques now being used by the U.S. media. After George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, the media used a 4-year-old photo of Trayvon showing a smiling 13-year-old boy and used a scowling photo of George Zimmerman in their news stories. When the Drudge Report posted a photograph of Trayvon Martin, he was accused by Media Matters of posting a fake photo. Media Matters later apologized when they learned it was actually a current photograph.
NBC News doctored the tape of Zimmerman’s 911 phone call to make it appear that he was racially profiling Trayvon. The NBC producer and two other employees were fired by NBC after the editing was exposed by Fox News.
The Washington Post recently published a page one, hit piece accusing Mitt Romney of bullying a classmate some 50 years ago. They quoted a childhood friend of Romney’s who said he had been bothered by the incident. When the friend was contacted by other reporters, he said that he was not aware of the incident until The Washington Post told him about it. News Busters reports that the family of the now dead alleged victim denies any knowledge of bullying and labeled the story as factually incorrect. The sister further said that the family is upset that her brother is being used “to further a political agenda.”
The Washington Post changed their story to delete the quote from Romney’s friend, but did not apologize for their editing malpractice.
Sadly, although the Soviet Union is now history, propaganda is still alive and flourishing in the U.S. news media as they attempt to control the news and to sway public opinion. However, one thing is different from the cold war era. We now have an active internet and a motivated and alert public to quickly debunk the lies.
Printed in the May 17, 2012