Propaganda means pushing a certain message, wether or not it’s true, to either help or hurt a certain person, nation, organization, idea etc.
Is this always bad? Well that kind of depends on your own ideas of what’s ethical or not. There are times when propaganda is very obvious and there are times when it’s somewhat hidden (even these examples can be very obvious). Marketing is basically propaganda. Political campaigning, no matter where in the world, is propaganda. A lot of popular media can also be considered propaganda.
I got the idea of writing this blog when I was watching a movie the other day named “London Has Fallen”. It felt like they robbed me of an hour and a half of my life. The movie was terrible. The acting was bad, even from some actors that I would normally deem to be good actors like Morgan Freeman. But even more terrible than the acting, was the writing. Same story with the original by the way, just as terrible. The movie was written to glorify the US. There were punch lines that would have patriots stand up from their couches with their beers in their hand, applauding. Countless innocent people got killed to save the US president, you had your typical middle-eastern bad guys and literally all world-leaders got killed EXCEPT the US president. The movie is propaganda.
Before you get all butt-hurt saying that this is a US-hating blog post, let me tell you that it’s not. It’s a blog in which I discuss propaganda in Western culture. Because, in my opinion, it’s not something that gets discussed enough. It is, however, something that is very real. Because the idea of propaganda is so negative, what is propaganda will very likely not be labeled as such.
Every country in the world uses propaganda. It can be small time, but also big time. The reason I like to use the US as an example in this blog post is not because I want to hate on the US, it’s because the US is the poster boy for western society AND because it helps to understand the point I’m making much better for people all over the world. Because the world is so influenced by this country and the culture.
The quickest way to find propaganda is to simply turn on your TV. You don’t have to live in the US for this though. All major news stations basically deal in propaganda. If it’s not because they are showing a certain message, it’s because they aren’t showing one. CNN, BBC, FOX fucking News (not a fan), they all do this.
Remember the Paris attacks? Of course you do. It was a terrible act that saddened the whole world. It was all news stations could talk about for weeks.
Remember when more than 200 people were gunned down, and more than 100 women and children were kidnapped in Ethiopia last month? Probably not. Because there was such little coverage on it that it totally slipped past most people.
Here’s the article for those interested.
I’m not saying one incident is more serious that the other, I’m saying both are equally terrible. Apparently though, not in the eyes of a lot of people. Why? Because it’s far away from western civilization. Unlike Paris.
It’s just an example of how the media works. It’s straight-up censorship. We all prayed for Paris but nobody’s praying for the rest of the world. If the media isn’t censoring certain messages, they’re usually spreading messages to glorify a certain culture. In the end, they want to decide what people think and what they consume. And that’s all that propaganda is about.
I’m not vilifying a certain culture, I’m trying to call out hypocrisy. Western countries judge non-western countries for doing things the “wrong way” because it’s not the western way. Even though some of the things these countries are being called out on are unethical, western countries usually aren’t any better.
I don’t want to sound like a silly conspiracy theorist here, but the government, the media, big companies, influential people and all kinds of other influencers are trying to indoctrinate us. “Indoctrinate” sounds conspiracy-ish and extreme but I’m using it to paint a picture here.
It doesn’t matter where you live. West, east, south, north or somewhere in between, it’s happening everywhere. Example: North Korea tells their people the west is the worst, and the west tells us North Korea is the worst. While NK might be an unethical and unpleasant country, the west is spreading false ideas about the country as well. False ideas about what the country is really like.
A very interesting documentary on this subject is “The Propaganda Game”. I believe it’s on Netflix and I highly recommend it. It gives an interesting look in the “propaganda game” both sides are playing. It’s honestly quite childish if you think about it but if we look at the way the world works, the way people in the world have always been treating each other, it’s super childish.
I’ve been to the US six times and I loved it. While on vacation, it’s a great country. The people are friendly, the cities and nature are beautiful and the food is good (love me some BBQ) but you also see a different side. A side they don’t like to show to outsiders. There’s unfortunately a lot of poverty in the country. As a matter of fact there are places in the US that are downright third-world. Of course you don’t have to go to the country to find this out. There’s enough ways to take a look at the underbelly of the US, and I haven’t even been to the worst places. It’s just not something the country is proud of, it’s not something any country is proud of. But it’s also not something that should be swept under the rug, among a lot of other things. Again, this is an example of the way things work. The subject of propaganda and censorship is too broad to discuss every bit of it.
The abovementioned example is a light one. There are countless things that governments and nations aren’t telling us, or aren’t keen on telling us. These range from international conflicts to national issues that don’t do the image of the country well.
So in the end, what I’m really trying to say is to look further than what the media, your government or what even your friends tell you. Always check the facts and find the truth. There are always more sides to one story. And the person you can trust the most, is yourself. Stick by your own believes and don’t be afraid to express your opinion every now and then, even if it’s an unpopular one.
People and institutions that seem to have a lot of authority, people and institutions that seem like they would be telling you the truth, aren’t always doing this. All your life you will face instances where you will be told what either others want you to hear, or what they think you would want to hear.