Punchinello’s Chronicles

February 16, 2009

Modern Journalism and Political Campaigning

From Wikipedia:

The Big Lie is a propaganda technique. It was defined by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf as a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

The Big Lie: “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it”
— Adolph Hitler

From an OSS (office of Strategic Services, later to become the CIA) psychological profile of Hitler, describing his primary rules:

  • Never allow the public to cool off;
  • Never admit a fault or wrong;
  • Never concede that there may be some good in your enemy (Ed. note – “enemy” = “conservatives”);
  • Never leave room for alternatives;
  • Never accept blame;
  • Concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong;
  • People will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”

And then there’s this, which we learn from history:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over”

“Faith moves mountains, but only knowledge moves them to the right place”

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
— Joseph Goebbels

“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.”
— Plato

A sub-set of the Principles of Propaganda, also by Joseph Goebbels perhaps a founder of what’s become known as psychological warfar, or “psy-ops”:

7. Credibility alone must determine whether propaganda output should be true or false.
(Ed. note: In other words it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, only whether or not people will believe it.)

13. Propaganda must be carefully timed.

a) The communication must reach the audience ahead of competing propaganda.
b) A propaganda campaign must begin at the optimum moment
c) A propaganda theme must be repeated, but not beyond some point of diminishing effectiveness

14. Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans.

a) They must evoke desired responses which the audience previously possesses
b) They must be capable of being easily learned
c) They must be utilized again and again, but only in appropriate situations
d) They must be boomerang-proof

15. Propaganda to the home front must prevent the raising of false hopes which can be blasted by future events.

16. Propaganda to the home front must create an optimum anxiety level.

a) Propaganda must reinforce anxiety concerning the consequences of defeat
b) Propaganda must diminish anxiety (other than concerning the consequences of defeat) which is too high and which cannot be reduced by people themselves

17. Propaganda to the home front must diminish the impact of frustration.

a) Inevitable frustrations must be anticipated
b) Inevitable frustrations must be placed in perspective

18. Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.

19. Propaganda cannot immediately affect strong counter-tendencies; instead it must offer some form of action or diversion, or both.


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