Tuesday, February 18, 2003

PROPAGANDA SYSTEM NUMBER ONE: From Diem and Arbenz to Milosevic
"The way in which the mainstream media have handled the turning of Milosevic over to the Hague Tribunal once again reinforces my belief that the United States is not only number one in military power but also in the effectiveness of its propaganda system, which is vastly superior to any past or present state-managed system.

"The main characteristic of the U.S. model is that, while offering diversity on many subjects, on core issues--like "free trade" and the need for a huge "defense" establishment--and on the occasions when the corporate and political establishment needs their service- -as in legitimating George W. Bush's presidency in the wake of an electoral coup d'etat, or supporting the "sanctions of mass destruction" on Iraq--the media can be relied on to expound and propagandize what would be called a "party line" if done in China. They do sometimes depart from the official position as regards tactics, arguing, for example, that the government is not attacking the enemy with sufficient ferocity (Iraq and Yugoslavia), or that the cost of the enterprise is perhaps excessive (the Vietnam war, from 1968), but that the enemy is truly evil and the national cause meritorious is never debatable. The debates over tactics helpfully obscure the agreement on ends.

"A further important feature of the U.S. system is that this propaganda service is provided without government censorship or coercion, by self-censorship alone, with the truth of the propaganda line internalized by the numerous media participants. This internalization of belief makes it possible for media personnel to be enthusiastic spokespersons in pushing the party line, thereby giving it a naturalness that is lacking in crude systems of government-enforced propaganda."

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