Time to Solve Our Propaganda Problems as the Military Does during War

In the November elections, Biden won, making many of us happy. However, Republicans won far more down ballot elections than Democrats. They are now using that power to try to pass voter suppression laws in 47 states. Republicans also picked up 10 House seats, making Democrats’ majority in the House narrower. Democrats did win the Senate by a hair. However, the narrow win gives Republicans the ability to filibuster most legislation that Democrats would like to pass.

I know — We’ve suffered through four years of Trump. Most of us want to relax and forget about politics. We can still relax some of the time. But we can’t afford to relax for very long, with the imminent threat of future rule by the party that encouraged the violent insurrection — the party where 147 House of Representatives members voted to overturn Biden’s election.

Why are Republicans winning so many Congressional and lower level elections? Of course gerrymandering helps them. But how did they win the elections that gave them the power to gerrymander? One big reason is that a large percentage of our nation’s voters are immersed in Right Wing propaganda.

What can we do about it? We should solve the problem the same way the military does during war time.

Below is a part I just added to a previous article I wrote. Since few people read an article a second time, after a few months have gone by, I’m putting the added part here also, in addition to adding it to that article.

I retitled that article after I wrote it. The current title is this one:

Right Wing Domination of Media & Politics Keeps Us Stuck in Disinformation and Right Wing Government

Standard texts on disinformation or propaganda, such as Linebarger’s Psychological Warfare, a World War II era reprint, point to counterpropaganda as the remedy.

Civilians too — if we ever expect to solve the problem — need to stop expecting that individuals are going to start solving it any day now — by using critical thinking or by persuading Right Wing neighbors or relatives to become lovers of facts.

Instead we should use the same solution the military uses — counterpropaganda. The military doesn’t fool around with timid “solutions” like talking about how individual soldiers ought to learn critical thinking, or waiting for the next generation of soldiers to get better educated so they can avoid being conned, or hoping that soldiers’ family members will talk soldiers out of being conned.

The military doesn’t believe protestations by groups or organizations running radio stations that spread propaganda — protestations by groups that are enemies of democracy, but who claim their intentions are benevolent. The military doesn’t ask or toothlessly “demand” of outside groups spreading lies, that they regulate themselves so as to stop the spread of propaganda.

The military doesn’t practice the strange idea of “objectivity” practiced by many journalists today — the idea that “both sides do it” — that both pro-democracy forces and anti-democracy forces are equally credible and equally corrupt. This odd but common view in mainstream media, holds that truth is to be found “somewhere in the middle” — by reporting both pro-democracy and anti-democracy sides and treating them as if they were similar in intentions and impact.

When faced with propaganda, the military spreads counterpropaganda at scale — at the same scale and to the same audience that is being targeted with the lies.

In response to civilian propaganda, we should spread the truth at scale — at the same scale and to the same audience that is being targeted with the lies.

That means we need truth-spreading radio, TV, newspapers, news web sites and social media “troll farms.” The truth needs to be expertly aimed at the same audience that consume Right Wing disinformation on TV, radio, newspapers, news sites and social media right now. How would that be financed? Nonprofit organizations could fund them.

For further ideas about this subject, see the article I cited previously.

The only organizations I see proposing to do anything remotely like what I am suggesting are https://www.anotheracronym.org/ — on Twitter at @anotheracronym — and Reality Team — at realityteam.org and on Twitter at @realityteam11 .

Time will tell exactly what approach they will take and how effective they will be. It’s not clear yet what Another Acronym is intending to do — and whether it will be mostly more ineffective debunking/preaching to the choir, rather than spreading truth to the same audience to whom the lies are targeted.

It will be a challenge for the organization that takes on this project to target the same audience that is targeted by Right Wing lies. The organization will have to do research on how to best reach that audience — perhaps hosting country music concerts, rodeos and/or other events of interest to the target audience.

People want to know what they can do as individuals. Here are a couple of ways to help the spread of truth around.

If you have House of Representatives members or Senators, phone them and write them. You can get their contact information by googling their name and “offices.”

If you are represented by only Republicans, then contact the DNC.

https://democrats.org/contact-us/

Ask them all to use talking points. Republicans use them. Democrats don’t. People remember what is repeated — and that is Republican talking points.

Here is my article on that subject.

How Democrats Can Get Better Media Coverage to Help Us Move Forward & Defeat More Republicans

Another thing members of the public can do is phone and/or write the news rooms of the New York Times, Washington Post and other mainstream media publishers, and also TV stations, to complain, whenever they do “both sides” coverage. This means that they treat both political sides as equally credible and/or equally corrupt, even when the facts prove that they are not equal in credibility or corruption. @jayrosen_nyu @froomkin and @ericboehlert on Twitter often point out articles and TV clips where this problem is occurring.

Here is my article describing that problem.