I’ve joined the propaganda police.

I started linking from a comment left on a previous post of mine, and discovered the Center for Media and Democracy, where it says:

Disinfopedia: It’s Wiki Cool
Big corporations and governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars on deceptive propaganda campaigns waged through front groups and industry-funded think tanks to sell wars (Iraqi National Congress), trash organic agriculture (Center for Global Food Issues), smear activists as terrorists (ActivistCash.com), tell the public that mad cow disease is no big deal (Harvard Center for Risk Analysis), and push right-wing policy agendas (Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute and American Enterprise Institute, to name just a few). These well-funded and strategic disinformation campaigns mislead and confuse the press and the public and prevent social change. Identifying and exposing the thousands of individuals, corporations and PR firms behind this propaganda has been almost impossible — until now. The Center for Media and Democracy has launched a new on-line research project, the Disinfopedia, which uses innovative “wiki” technology to create a virtual community of collaborating citizen researchers and journalists. Visit the Disinfopedia, and join our growing team of online muckrakers.

So, I signed up for their weekly emails:
Welcome to the Weekly-Spin@prwatch.org mailing list! The Weekly Spin is a free email tip sheet compiled by the staff of PR Watch (www.prwatch.org) to help expose the public relations manipulations behind current news stories.
The Weekly Spin is excerpted each Wednesday from “Spin of the Day,” which is updated daily on our website. Current stories and archives of Spin of the Day can be found at http://www.prwatch.org/spin/index.html
Issues of our quarterly newsletter, PR Watch, are also archived on our website at http://www.prwatch.org/prwissues

Much of my 30 odd years in the workforce was spent creating propaganda of one sort or another. Spinning straw into gold, we called it. Marketing firms do it all of the time; that’s what getting consumers to buy stuff seems to require. But I wasn’t selling a product. I was selling ideas, policies, perspectives — for legislators, administrators, and educators. Luckily for my moral equilibrium, I believed in what I was selling most of the time. But it was still propaganda — knowing what not to say as well as how to positively and creatively manipulate words and images to reach the hearts, as well as the minds, of our “consumers.”
So, I’m am fascinated by the current flood of carefully crafted disinformation being churned out by those trying to get Bush re-elected. Information. Propaganda. Disinformation. It’s so easy to be confused by the flood of it all.
Now, what’s all this wiki stuff you ask? I still haven’t figured it out. I can barely keep up with Microsoft updates and weblogging.

Leave a Reply