Propaganda was invented by the Catholic Church. Yes, it was. It was a long time ago - 387 years to be exact - in1622, when then Pope Gregory XV decided the Church needed a special section, a unit or body to institutionalize the dissemination of the “message,” to handle training of foreign missions. Five years later, Pope Urban VIII created the Collegium de Propaganda. A lot has happened in the last 400 or so years, but propaganda hasn’t changed much. Those in power use public information – that which we now generally refer to as “the media” – to further their agenda via the spreading of false or misleading information. The power of propaganda is unchallenged. It can be employed to murder millions or to shape the thinking of hundreds of millions – all with little or no regard for the facts.
In the last couple of centuries we have seen how the American Indians, European Jews and Gypsies, and various ethnic groups in the old Soviet Union have suffered the effects of propaganda campaigns. Many others have suffered too, albeit away from the attention of most Americans. Today it appears that propaganda is being employed on a widespread basis against Muslims in particular and others who have been cast as enemies – temporary or long-term – of entrenched western powers – the Axis of Evil threatening western civilization.
For example: Although there are nearly 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, the actions of only 19 of them on a single day, September 11, 2001, have thrown the western world into two wars and a fit that has already lasted more than 8 years. The West has entered into a never ending “War on Terror.” We are afraid of shadows, if those shadows have the glint of Islam about them. By comparison, no one seems at all concerned about young, blonde, white men – despite Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995. Most recent news reports are all about a supposed nuclear weapons program feverishly underway in Iran… dangerously, even precariously close to fruition. Condoleezza Rice’s vision of “a mushroom cloud” virtually haunts the airways.
Another example: In today’s newspapers, and on TV around the western world, we are being dealt the propaganda about North Korea testing missiles. Oh, my God! You can see the images on television – not of the missile tests in question (because no one has TV footage of those!) but stock video of awful and dangerous missiles being fired from… somewhere and of course designed to hit… something.
Remember, propaganda is false and/or misleading information. Consider the nuclear “situation” in Iran. No one has produced or presented any evidence or proof that Iran really has a nuclear weapons program or that any structural facilities Iran may have or may be building are intended for that purpose. What we have instead are claims, accusations and fearful conclusions – i.e., propaganda.
There is a story in today’s New York Times about the current budget crisis in the Iranian Parliament. Did you think we were the only country fallen on hard economic times? While we spend our tax dollars bailing out Wall Street and the banks, Iran is faced with spending 30% of its national budget on fuel subsidies so people can heat their homes this winter! That’s almost one-third of all their money just to keep themselves alive through the coming cold months. What’s left to spend on nukes? Don’t ask because that doesn’t fit the model for our newest campaign of propaganda.
And what to make of North Korea, you ask? No one denies they did fire a total of 5 test missiles the other day. We know they did because like other nations that also test missiles, the North Koreans issued an international advisory telling naval ships to avoid the area where the missiles were being fired. No secrets here. There are no laws against testing missiles. Many countries do it. And, you’re supposed to warn naval traffic – just like the North Koreans did. The question is: just how “dangerous” were these missiles? Why would we be so worried? Why would we even report it? You had to read through all the propaganda to find out. The range of the North Korean test missiles was… 75 miles. Yes, 75 miles. No, not 7,500 or even 750 miles. Only 75!
If the North Koreans mean to attack New York City with this equipment they better find a way to stack-up their rockets across the bay somewhere on the Connecticut shore or maybe launch them from someplace out in the Hamptons on Long Island. How likely is that?
Be afraid! Be very afraid! And while you’re at it – watch out for the propaganda.