Why Now?
Sunday, March 13, 2005
  Agitation & Propaganda
When I wasn't watching what the Soviet Strategic Rockets Forces were doing during my military service, I was required to read the magazines and newspapers printed by the Soviets. While there was certainly "no truth in Pravda¹ and no news in Izvestiya²" there was a lot of "agitprop". Agitprop is a combination of the Russian words, both cognates, for agitation and propaganda, and it was part of the normal process of government during the Soviet era.

As I read the American media these days I can see the agitprop popping up more and more often. Bush's recent choice of Karen Hughes to a State Department post for Public Diplomacy is just more of the same. The taxpayers are paying to be lied to, just as happened in the Soviet system. The buying of columnists, the faked news casts, the staged "town hall meetings" with pre-selected and pre-rehearsed audience members is not about information, it is about disinformation.

Public information is released, or not, based on political decisions, not its value to taxpayers. Government web sites are posting political talking points, not the non-partisan views that they are paid to provide.

Mustang Bobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof points to a New York Times article on this issue and Digby at Hullabaloo has a nice rant of his with a very appropriate Soviet poster.

If I had the time I would "photoshop" it to read "Under the Banner of Bush towards the second Four-Year-Plan", but I don't like straying outside my core competency.

People who keep pushing for the Fascist model miss the point that this administration is filled with "Cold Warriors" who have a lot more knowledge and interest in the era after World War II.

I would note that one of the things that made the Soviet system of information management so successful was self-censorship. The censors weren't very busy as most writers didn't even attempt to push the envelop. When you read newspapers or watch the news this will tell why certain stories don't get reported: editors don't want to rock the boat.

Edit: Maru at WTF Is It Now, Oliver Willis, and Jack at Ruminate This have also chimed in on this official policy of presenting fiction as reality.

1. The literal translation of "Pravda" is truth.
2. The literal translation of "Izvestiya" is news.


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