The Ukraine war has joined climate change and Covid-19 as the third great wellspring of government propaganda.

The Ukraine war has joined climate change and Covid-19 as the third great wellspring of government propaganda. By Adam Creighton.

Not since the Second World War, when such illiberal methods were at least understandable, have we been so awash with noble and ignoble lies and falsehoods, blithely retailed by a large portion of the mainstream media.

You might have thought the embarrassment of the Covid-19 era, where many government messages — from the effectiveness and costs of lockdowns and vaccine mandates, through to the origins of the disease itself — might have instilled some modesty on the part of our leaders, given so many of those messages turned out to be obviously wrong.

The same could be said for climate change, where dire forecasts are repeatedly shown up as hyperbole and rubbish. Thanks to the wonderful world of cheap renewable energy, households are continually told power prices are about to fall as they climb ever higher.

But the desire to manipulate the public has become insatiable and even more brazen. Last week President Joe Biden told the world — three times no less — that Russia had already lost the war in Ukraine in what must be the most shameless example of nonsense ever publicly spoken by a sitting US president. Plainly, it hasn’t.

Ukrainian forces have struggled to breach Russia’s defences in the Donbas and Crimea — despite the provision of tens of billions of dollars in military hardware from the US and other supporters. …

If Franklin D. Roosevelt or Winston Churchill declared Germany had lost in 1943 — or even later — it would have been greeted with shock and incredulity. In other words, they wouldn’t have treated their electorates with such contempt.

But no one seemed to care about Biden’s ridiculous comment because such blatant propaganda has become par for the course. In September, the President and Secretary of State Antony Blinken slammed suggestions the US had any knowledge of who blew up the Nord Stream pipelines …

From early last year Biden successively promised to provide Ukraine with Abrams tanks, F-16s, or longer-range rockets, and then proceeded to break each undertaking. One could rightly wonder what the next broken red line will be. Anyone following the news over the past 500 days of the tragic Ukraine war would expect that Vladimir Putin was about to die, or Russia to collapse under supposedly crippling sanctions, which have caused at least as much harm to Europe as they have to Russia.

If Russia is about to collapse and withdraw, it makes a lot more sense to send more munitions or even escalate. If Covid-19 really is deadly and the new vaccines highly effective, maybe lockdowns make sense. If the world is on the precipice of climate catastrophe maybe we should put up with high prices and a dysfunctional energy market.

Ironically, propaganda should be less effective in an era where we have access to practically limitless amounts of information, from a variety of sources, at our fingertips. Yet many of us appear to have the memories of goldfish, ready to consume the next instalment of conventional wisdom served up to us, even if it contradicts our own experience.


In Raiders of the Lost Ark, they hide the Ark in a warehouse of similar-looking packages. In real life, they hide the truth by flooding you with misinformation.


Even so, the past three years have seen the emergence of a supercharged scepticism of government and, sadly, parts of the media too. This was an attitude we once associated with people unlucky enough to live in authoritarian nations such as Russia and China. …

The only way recent experience can lead to any good is if more journalists cast a critical eye over what politicians and bureaucrats tell them. Dissent and questioning orthodoxy should be prized. …

Big government:

It’s no coincidence climate change, Covid-19 and war propaganda all have the same side-effect of increasing government power over the economy and society, and enriching a handful of powerful corporations that hold much sway over their policies, be they in pharmaceuticals, energy, or weapons manufacturing.

If we can’t stop the propaganda, let’s at least respect those who disagree.

Big government really took off when banks and government switched from using gold to using their own paper currency, in a series of changes from 1912 to 1971. It’s not a secret, but hardly anyone knows where money comes from nowadays. Journalists and economic commentators know not to talk about it, and most of them have little idea anyway. Most people naively think a bank lends you other people’s money. But there is a a lot more money around than there was a decade or two ago — how’d that happen, and who benefited?

This is the original big government propaganda effort that rules them all. Follow the money.