Decoding Media Propaganda
By Cheryl Seal
To keep the public from ever being able to get a firm handle on what is really going on, the White House colludes with the media to manipulate headlines, story slant, and even story content, which ranges from blatant omissions to outright lies. The tactics used are classic CIA, and can be divided into a few general categories:
Distract and Redirect: When a damaging story looms on the horizon, you distract the public's attention by creating an alternative "big story" focused as far away from the real story as possible. A classic example is the Jessica Lynch rescue, which actually turned out to have been stage-managed. The damaging, real story was the slaughter of Iraqi civilians, including women and children, by US troops. The Lynch story distracted attention away from this story and redirected it to 'heroic Americans' and evil nasty Iraqis holding poor little blond white princesses hostage.
Rewrite and Confuse:
When an irrefutable story comes out, you create a parallel, but bogus story
-parallel but different enough to confuse the public who then is no longer
sure which story is which, or which is for real, unless they have read it
very attentively. The most successful example of this, perhaps, was how Bush
and the media manipulated
When your first line to the public doesn't fly or an unfavorable
story makes it to the public eye, just issue a 'rewrite' that changes the
story history. Example: When Bush first pushed for war, his story was that he
only wanted to disarm Saddam, and had no interest in a regime change. When
Saddam began to cooperate with weapons inspectors, who found no evidence of WMDs, Bush rewrote the story. According to the rewrite,
picked up without any questions or qualification by the mainstream media, he
had always felt that what was most important for the
Black Hole: That's
where the biggest, most damaging stories go, at least temporarily, if the
Bush folks get tipped off ahead of time. When Newt Gingrich made his big reentry into
Here is just a sampling of how the media is being used to screen the Bush administration from the public, and to deceive the public on key issues of paramount importance to their well-being.
The Real Story:
5/19: Story breaks that war crimes charges are being
filed this week in
Distract and Redirect:
5/20: The story dominating the news: Homeland security terror alert rose to
orange! Can't possibly worry about war crimes charges at a time like this,
right? In fact, rumor has it that to make sure the
public didn't dismiss the 'danger', Bush operatives arranged to have bomb
threats called into several major cities. Here in
Rewrite and Confuse:
5/20 Media focuses on story of Bush meeting with Cuban dissidents and
The Real Story: Week
of 5/5: Some Iraqis formerly in management positions in the
One week later, the Washington Post runs a story on Page One about how Iraqi
oil managers are "afraid" to come to work despite constant
"coaxing" by the
The Real Story: May: the story was circulated widely through independent media sources and questions were being asked of the military about the heavy use of violent computer games to train soldiers. The bloody game Doom for example, was developed with Pentagon funding as a training tool. The question raised: has the use of these two-dimensional fantasy games contributed to the extreme violence observed among US troops against civilians -a violence now observed (to the same degree) in Aussie or British troops?
Rewrite and Confuse: In mid-May, a story began circulating throughout the mainstream media about the movie The Matrix raising the question that some people's obsession with the movie may have led them to commit murder. So, the superficial scanner of news (let's face it -most Americans!) will scratch their heads and wonder if the Matrix story was what he vaguely remembered hearing about computer games and violence.
The Real Story: May
20: The anti-environmental right-wingers, the charge led by Bush, push to
allow the logging industry into the national parks and forests to 'thin' the
woods (read 'steal trees from the American public'). I'm from
Distract and Redirect: May 20: Bush makes a speech about how great his Healthy Forests Restoration plan is and focuses entirely on the plan to clear out the underbrush that fuels fires. Of course, he never mentions the 'thinning' plan -leaving the public to assume that clearing underbrush and 'thinning' are the same thing.
The Real Story: The BBC and other non-US media outlets broke the story last weekend that the Jessica Lynch 'rescue' was a staged Hollywood-director-managed phony event designed to distract attention from the stories of civilian deaths at the hands of US soldiers.
Black Hole: Do you remember seeing this in the Washington Post, on FOX News or NBC, etc.? No? Didn't think so.
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