Spinning The Propaganda Machine
March 29, 2010
You can say what you want about Adolph Hitler, but the fact is he could spin the propaganda machine like nobody could. The reason that he and the Nazi party were so successful in perpetrating the crimes against the Jews and all of humanity was that he was able to convince an entire nation that his bullshit was fact. He made the entire country of Germany, who before he came along really had no problem with the Jews, believe that the Jews were the sole reason for all of there problems. How did he do this? With a systematic and very well organized and thought out campaign of constant nonstop and never wavering talking points that constantly placed the Jews at the center of every thing that was the downfall of German life. He made people believe complete falsehoods were complete facts no matter how illogical they were. And by the way, if you’re not Jewish, don’t feel left out. Besides killing 6 million Jews, Hitler also killed 3 million Polish Catholics, 500 thousand Gypsies, 15,000 homosexuals, and countless others who stood up against the Nazis because they did not share there beliefs, or tried to hide Jews, or just did not fit into the Nazis perfect vision of the perfect race. In total Hitler killed over 11 million individuals with the most of course being the Jews. And Why? Because of lies and propaganda.
Why do I bring this up? Because I see it happening again today. In a recent pole by the well respected Harris organization it was revealed that 67 percent of Republicans believe that Obama is a Socialist. 57 percent believe that he is a Muslim. 45 percent believe that he was not born in the United States and therefore is not eligible to be president. 24 percent believe that he may be the Anti-Christ, and 38 percent believe that he is “doing many of the things that Hitler did.” And why do they believe these utterly ridiculous lies and falsehoods? Because of a systematic and very well organized and thought out campaign of constant nonstop and never wavering talking points that constantly place President Obama at the center of every thing that according to the right is the downfall of American life. And while I could very easily write off this poll as crazy, I can’t because it begs the question, how does this happen in the United States that so many people believe that these lies are in fact truths? Why is their such utter disrespect and contempt for this president? This is not the first time that a Republican has lost to a Democrat. Fourteen months into Bill Clintons presidency their were no protests in the streets, no Tea Party movements, nobody shouting out “Liar!” during state of the union addresses. Everyone was much more civil. What is it about this particular president that is invoking such unbelievably strong and at times vial and frankly embarrassing reactions fourteen months into his presidency?
Of course their is the easy answer, the media machine for the Republicans, FOX “News”. The fact that there slogan is “Fair and Balanced” is laughable to the point that I don’t think that even they believe it. There over obvious smear campaign against President Obama and everything Democratic is so blatant that their are websites devoted specifically to exposing the daily lies told by FOX “News”. Their are no web sites exclusively devoted to exposing lies or misinformation from CNN, MSNBC, or ABC News. But Fox “News” has maintained a consistent line of negative rhetoric that is repeated hundreds of time a day by whatever “newscaster” happens to be on at the time. While other stations will refer to “Health Care Reform”, Fox “News” will call it “Obamacare” or the “Government Takeover.” Fox was not just reporting about the Tea Parties, they were active sponsors and appeared as speakers at many of the rallies. During the presidential campaign, FOX “News” would only refer to Barack Obama as Barack “Husain” Obama in order to consistently portray him as a Muslim. Fox News has overstepped the boundaries of fair, balanced, and objective journalism so many times, they have lost all of there credibility to everyone except there core demographic of mostly white ultra conservative middle to upper class Republicans, and uneducated white rural America who are already predisposed to be untrustworthy of any African-American and especially one that has a Muslim sounding middle name. Just like the Nazis did, Fox “News” and other conservatives such as Rush Limbaugh, consistently repeat completely false rhetoric that is meant to deceive, and misinform, and has now incited hatred and violence against the Democratic party and the President.
Dick Morris on Fox – (03/19/10) “Obama "is going to adopt the entire socialist program by essentially circumventing the Constitution.”
Glenn Beck on Fox – (03/09/09) ”Obama is so clearly a socialist…he has surrounded himself with Marxists his whole life…and this is who he is.”
Rush Limbaugh - (03/24/10) “Now, as far as this Hitler business, one of the first things that the National Socialist Party did was try to nationalize health care…the facts are facts. The president is a socialist.”
The rhetoric on Fox “News” is neither fair nor balanced. And while I have no problem with a network being one sided completely to the right, I have a huge problem with a network portraying themselves as a news station and deceiving there viewers into believing that the information being broadcast is completely “Fair and Balanced” facts when the reality is that most of what they report is in fact completely slanted to support the ultra-conservative right and the Republican party. Although I completely disagree with most everything that Rush Limbaugh has to say, he does not claim to be a journalist. He claims to be an opinionated conservative talk show host and nothing more. This is not so on FOX. They claim to report the news but do nothing but spew consistent lies and misinformation. They do a disservice to there audience who believes that they are getting “Fair and Balanced” news, and they do a disservice to the institution of journalism. Over time they helped fuel an atmosphere of hate and intolerance in this country that has led to insane acts of violence against the Democratic Party and individual citizens, simply because Health Insurance Reform was passed in Washington.
But in addition to FOX “News”, their is something else here, something deeper that makes the reactions to this president much different then the reactions to other presidents. This nation has a history of watching political candidates make promises, make speeches about how they are going to bring change, tell us how radically different things will be when they get into office, and then we watch promises get broken and things mostly go on as they have been. It is something that we as Americans have come to expect from our political candidates. We had been used to voting for the lesser of two evils, voting against one candidate rather then voting for the other. But this time it was different. This time it was a movement. This time a candidate with seemingly everything against him, African-American, a first name that, at least to white-America, sounded unlike anything we had ever heard before, a middle name that sounded Muslim, a father born in Kenya, and not a very long career in national politics, rose above all the other candidates with his consistent message of Change, of Hope, and of Yes We Can, not to mention a unflappable calmness that could never be shaken. The fact that Barack Obama himself was not “the same” as every other candidate we had ever seen only reinforced his message of change and reflected the mood of a country that had been fed up with eight years of George W. Bush and where he had brought us. And the fact is it was not just those supporters that night in Grant Park who could not believe their eyes when they watched President-Elect Barack Obama give that speech, it was also those who were opposed to Barack Obama who could not believe their eyes, who still can not believe their eyes, and who will not rest until this President, one way or an other is no longer in office.
While Obama's supporters prayed that his message of Change would be backed up with actions, his opposition prayed it would not. It is what they had come to expect just like we all had. But change came, and with Health Insurance Reform it came hard. And DAM, if a Socialist, Muslim, Anti-Christ, who wasn’t even born in the United States, is going to have Government-Run ObamaCare, with there “Rationing” and “Death Panels”, rammed down there throats!
This is what they believe. This is the injustice. The violence and the threats to members of the Democratic party that followed the passing of this bill should never have happened, and the fact that it did is a direct result of how the Republicans conducted themselves during this debate, the lies that were told, and the obstructionist atmosphere that was created. The Republican Party, through their direct rhetoric and Fox “News”, made people believe complete falsehoods, were complete facts, no matter how illogical they were. They were able to convince a significant portion of America that there bullshit was fact. They spun the propaganda machine, like nobody could. Well...almost nobody.
I also agree that the situation with the Nazi party was vastly different then what is going on with the Republican party. The Nazi Party and there use of Propaganda was really no more then a tool used in this essay to illustrate how lies and propaganda can influence a large group of people. I by no means believe that the Republican Party is anything even remotely similar the Nazis. The only parallel I am drawing is how both used complete falsehoods to push there agenda. Both parties have been guilty of this at times, but for some reason, this time it was done in such a overly blatant way that it has led to ridiculous threats and actual violence over the passage of a bill that in reality will benefit everybody. And the condemnation by republicans over this use of violence is been slim to none. In addition, until recently there had not been a Network Like FOX that pushes such a one sided agenda and has no problem telling outright lies and calling it facts and news.
Posted by: NorthShoreDad | March 29, 2010 at 11:00 PM
There's been a lot written about the whole FOX NEWS/GLENN BECK/RUSH LIMBAUGH phenomena and the lack of civility on the part of Teabaggers and the Republican Party. But there is also starting to be a lot of discontent within the Republican Party by members who feel they are being told by FOX et al what their agenda should be. The tail wagging the dog. This was recently pointed out by conservative columnist David Frum (who came up with the line "axis of evil") and he got a lot of grief for telling the truth (he has since been asked to step down as a member of the conservative think tank American Enterprise). You can read his analysis here: http://www.frumforum.com/waterloo
I also talked about this in my blog recently -- the lack of civility and outright lies spread by media pundits: http://yogchick.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-violence-is-helping-democrats.html
I do, however, think the situation is different from that of Nazi Germany. The lies and propoganda are coming from the media, but not necessarily from the political party or any particular political leader. The lies and propoganda are coming from FOX News and right-wing talk radio for the sake of ratings. They're exploiting the neurotic fears and resentments of the red state populations, but those populations were already racist and hateful to begin with. That's why those people watch FOX News et al. It speaks to them.
The Republican Party has long been the beneficiaries of these right-wing media outlets, but lately they have also been the slaves of those media outlets. Moderate and centrist Republicans have had to realign their policies to Rush Limbaugh et al, so that the party itself has become artifically extremist. This is of great concern to the Republican Party because they are well aware that they are alienating the moderates and independents -- the key voting bloc in any election.
Posted by: yogchick | March 29, 2010 at 08:08 PM