Joseph Goebbels would turn green with envy over the propaganda machine that the Republican right wing has built. FOX, Sinclair, Limbaugh, right-wing radio, Social Media, Preachers on TV, Republicans in Congress, talking points of the day, fake think tanks, conspiracy theories… the list goes on and on. They take their cues from each other and run with the same lies to reach as many people as possible in the shortest time possible.
The Republican party CAN NOT exist without lies, fear, and hate. When was the last time you saw a Republican run for office without, caravans coming toward the border, children with Ebola mixed with ISIS members coming, Democrats are going to take away your Medicare, Socialized medicine, Flashing red terrorist warning lights from Homeland Security…? The last time I can remember a Republican trying to run a half honest campaign was John McCain. He will be remembered for the time he pulled the microphone from that propagandized lady who called Obama a Muslim and said “No Ma’am”, and won the respect of many Americans, and lost the minds of most Republicans.
Greg Sargent has a series of tweets today that are aimed at Trump’s lies, but I think this can be applied to the propaganda the Republican party has been using for decades to build the real mindless cult of followers that allows them to attack our democracy with such ferocity.
1) As Trump ends the year with a flood of lies about his wall, we need to recapture a core truth about this presidency. Trump isn’t “twisting the truth” or “stubbornly refusing to admit error.”Trump is engaged in *disinformation.*This is a different thing entirely.
2) The WaPo and NYT fact-checkers have now posted their year-end pieces. They are notable.
Via @glennkesslerwp, Trump has now passed the 7,500 mark in falsehoods and distortions as president:
3) Meanwhile, @YLindaQiu points to a pattern in which Trump regularly converts his falsehoods into “alternative facts” through “sheer force of repetition.”
This is the essence of the matter.
4) Why does Trump lie *all the time* about *everything,* even the most trivial, easily disprovable matters? The frequency and the audacity of Trump’s disinformation is the *whole point* of it — to wear you down. More and more of the lies slip past, undetected and uncorrected.
5) Others have pointed this out to great effect. See @sarahkendzior or @jayrosen_nyu or @brianbeutler or @drvox. I tried to give this topic the ambitious treatment it deserves in my book, “An Uncivil War.” I don’t know if I succeeded, but I tried.
8) When people dig up old Trump tweets contradicting current claims and say “LOL there’s always a tweet,” this misses the point.
Trump is *openly and unapologetically* declaring that norms of consistency and standards of interplay with the institutional press *do not* bind him.
9) I don’t know how conscious this is for Trump. But his background conditioned him for it. His Reality TV past (reality is created via force of personality) fused with Steve Bannon’s love of totalitarian propaganda to create what we’re seeing now:
10) There’s a reason Bannon immediately recognized in Trump a kindred spirit.
Both are authoritarian populists and as such share devotion to the awesome possibilities of disinformation.
George Orwell tried to warn future generations of the danger of propaganda.
In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
Ronald Reagan referred to nuclear-tipped missiles as “Peacekeepers”. Dick Chaney said we can’t wait until we see the mushroom clouds, exposed the identity of a CIA agent, and planted false stories in the NYT… Deception, misinformation, fear…, these have been but a few of the tools of propaganda that the Republicans have been using for decades.
During the disastrous presidency of GWB, we Democrats were screaming BUSH! BUSH! BUSH!, when I think we should have been screaming REPUBLICANS! REPUBLICANS! REPUBLICANS!. Even Republicans blamed Bush for his disaster, knowing full well he did exactly what they wanted him to do but the right wing propaganda machine could convince enough Americans that he was the exception to conservatism rather than the rule.
There are thousands of Trumps, McConnells, and Ryans rising up to manipulate the propagandized cult base and use the propaganda machine in order to gain the power that they seek to change the rules so their power can never be challenged. This is who the manipulators of the Republican party are and have been for many decades.
The members of our 4th estate, who have the biggest microphones, are failing us. The “both side-ism” and the fear of being part of the “liberal media” has made them cower in submission and become an additional tool for the propagandists to spread their lies to the masses.
We will need to walk a fine line between supporting the freedom of speech that is part of the concrete foundation of democracy and crushing the right wing propaganda machine that is replacing that foundation with the sands of authoritarianism. The path to restoring truth in America is uncertain, but the understanding of the founding fathers that, democracy can not exist without an informed public, can not be ignored.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.