Rosa Brooks writes in the unabashedly establishment journal Foreign Policy that American propaganda is the best. Well the inventor of propaganda, Edward Bernays, was American, after all…
My fellow Americans, you’re a pretty weird bunch of people.
I say this with love. But really, what’s up with your attitude toward government?
On both the left and the right, Americans oscillate between a peculiar, irrational deference toward the government and an equally peculiar, irrational suspicion of it. On the left, a touching faith in the federal government’s ability to solve domestic social problems (poverty, ill health, etc.) by spending money is generally coupled with an absolute conviction that when it comes to foreign policy and national security, everything emanating from the federal government is a tissue of lies, probably for the purpose of covering up a sinister imperialist conspiracy and/or destroying domestic civil liberties. Meanwhile, on the right, a touching faith in the absolute rightness and virtue of the military and the absolute need to pour additional tax dollars into national security is usually coupled with an equally deep conviction that when it comes to federal spending on domestic programs, the government is a) lying, b) incompetent, and c) determined to subvert our freedoms.
Of course, right and left occasionally find common ground in their shared conviction that the federal government is trying to control and brainwash us all.
Trust me, it’s not. It’s just not organized enough. And it’s just not interested enough. It’s got other things to do.
Nevertheless, this week saw yet another manifestation of our national paranoia about The Government. Late in 2012, Congress passed the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act, and in January 2013, President Obama signed it into law. The act repealed a Cold War-era prohibition on disseminating government information produced for foreign audiences inside the United States. As of July 1, when the repeal took effect, radio and TV programs designed for non-U.S. audiences, such as those produced by Voice of America, can now be re-broadcast in the United States.
The sky is falling! Left and right are temporarily united over the horror of “government propaganda” hitting the U.S. airwaves…
[continues at Foreign Policy]
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