Notes on Russian interference attempts.
The NY Times and others published fake news stories claiming Iraq had WMDs in 2002, and the public mostly believed it. Propaganda works more than one might think.
"You might find this apparent lack of impact surprising, given the extent to which fears about Russian influence have been discussed in the media."
Some might, but I certainly don't. There is no limit to the mendacity of the Clinton machine and their media allies. They came up with every excuse under the sun to explain her pathetic failure.
Here is an example of propaganda working. The US is systemically racist. A majority believe it even though it is patently false. A big lie that backs the neoracist ideology of woke.
I was a little surprised that the author focused so much on the kind of propaganda that some nations used against the citizens of other nations. That is certainly one kind, and it seems it's not that useful in changing the minds of the targeted nation's population.
But propaganda doesn't need to change minds. I'd always thought the Russian attempts in the US were intended to magnify existing divisions among us. At that they were spectacularly successful, without needing to change a single mind. We're still living with the fallout from that.
The real danger, to me, is the use of propaganda by an authoritarian regime to craft a false narrative for its own citizens. The author mentions the Chinese 50 Cent Army, but not the Putin regime's relentless efforts to convince its own citizens that Russia is helping Ukraine, saving it, even.
We can't really get an accurate reading of Russian popular opinion on that, though. The effect of the firehose of disinformation may not change anyone's mind there, but it does something at least as perverse: instructs citizens in what the approved story is, and prompts them to publicly say only the right things. Given effective and pretty brutal enforcement now and then, and a proper authoritarian can get the people's support without needing much of their approval.
Maybe that's the article I was expecting, and I'm disappointed I didn't get it. But to me, the more limited argument about such a powerful tool seemed to miss some of the most relevant points.
If propaganda did not work, neither Joe Biden, John Fetterman or Katie Hobbs would have been elected. Propaganda is hyper-effective today because the voters have media piped into their heads 24x7x365. Repeat, repeat, repeat and the sheeple ingest it all as fact.
Russian propaganda did not work but US propaganda worked exceedingly well. Many still believe Trump colluded with Russia. Regardless of what one thinks of Trump, homegrown propaganda damaged Trump and our country extensively. Certainly it played an outsized role in the polarization.
I never thought that Bloomberg (must less Steyer) would enjoy any success (politically). They are not what Democratic voters actually want. They are political success stories only in their own minds.
Why are there so many MAGA wackos commenting on this post?
One question that was not addressed by this opinion piece is when does inspirational national mythology become propaganda? A modern nation state needs national mythology to hold itself together. Any part of a nation's mythology may be factual or not, but national mythology is always what a nation wants to believe about itself - and wants others to believer about it - for good and sometimes not so good reasons.
If, as you claim, propaganda doesn’t work, then how do you explain the impact of Fox News?