Silencing the lambs: How propaganda works

Silencing the lambs: How propaganda works. By John Pilger.

In the 1970s, I met one of Hitler’s leading propagandists, Leni Riefenstahl, whose epic films glorified the Nazis. We happened to be staying at the same lodge in Kenya, where she was on a photography assignment, having escaped the fate of other friends of the Führer.

She told me that the “patriotic messages” of her films were dependent not on “orders from above” but on what she called the “submissive void” of the German public.

Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? I asked. “Yes, especially them,” she said.

So primitive and unsubtle, by today’s standards

I think of this as I look around at the propaganda now consuming Western societies.

Of course, we are very different from Germany in the 1930s. We live in information societies. We are globalists. We have never been more aware, more in touch and better connected.

Are we? Or do we live in a media society where brainwashing is insidious and relentless, and perception is filtered according to the needs and lies of state and corporate power?

The United States dominates the Western world’s media. All but one of the top ten media companies is based in North America. The internet and social media — Google, Twitter, Facebook — are mostly American-owned and controlled.

Pilger speaks a lot of rubbish, by omitting the relevant facts that stand in the way of his trenchant anti-Americanism. But he does know propaganda when he sees it (“takes one to know one”).