- 25th October, 2017
In the 1990s, the world embraced the Internet and the age of the classical Totalitarian propagandist was over. In the next decade people instead demonstrated a new ability to propagandize themselves. Now, in the 2010s, the propagandist has gained a new lease on life by creating dissonance and misinformation.
Nowhere is the information consumer in worse danger than in the credulous web-communities of North America and Western Europe. Free peoples haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully develop the instincts or cynicism that saw so many people through the demise of the Soviet Union, or endure the craziness of the Mullahs or a Communist Party.
The classical expression of propaganda articulated so completely by Jacques Ellul in his book “Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes” described complete systems of propaganda where the propagandist (in a totalitarian society) had control over all forms of communications. Historically, democratic societies must consent to voluntarily participate in a propaganda exercise – as most of them did during both World Wars.
By the end of the 1990s, the Internet shattered any possibility of uniformity or control of opinion. By the end of the next decade, what was becoming clear was that many people had taken to propagandizing themselves in their rejection of any sources of comment or information that conflicted with their own preferences and prejudices.
In Western Europe and North America, this has reignited a cultural war not seen since the late 1960s, particularly as the institutional news media industry is collapsing under the weight of heavy-handed Post Modernist doctrines, and the corporate takeover of newsrooms and editorial offices. Attempts by Post Modernists to supersede reality and individual experience (often described as “Political Correctness”) isn’t helping matters either.
The new element, however, appears to be the insertion of even more divisive comment –often carefully aimed at fragile cultural issues. These increasingly arise from inside nations that seek to keep the United States and other Western Nations remain locked in bitter partisanship and cultural chaos.
In the last couple of years, some cybernetic agencies have begun to note the appearance of ‘Boiler room’ type operations from within China, the Middle East and Russia making mass entries on social media to encourage opinions supporting their own government’s positions on several issues. Trust the Russians, with their long history of influence operations, to take things further.
In 2016-17, there has been an increasing appearance of ‘Troll Farms’ backed by the Russians, doing what they can to fan matters for Black Lives Matter, playing to both sides of the American Democrat-Republican divide, and recently inserting fabrications into the commentary on the Las Vegas Shooting.
Now, why would Moscow be interested in inflaming American political partisanship, fanning racial divisions, or inserting themselves in red-hot political debates? As for you, dear internet user, might you take 30 seconds to ponder some matters before hitting the ‘like’ button or reposting something that looks questionable?
#Propaganda, #Internet, #Trollfarms
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