Wednesday, 14 February 2007

4:4 Further thoughts on 'spin' and the media.

Since this is perhaps the key area for your attention, and since ‘spin’ and control of television and newspapers is the most important single area to make your power absolute, it is worth considering this just a little more.

The influence of newspapers and television is immense, so people should constantly be shown positive images of their own country and negative ones of your enemies. We have noted that this is particularly well followed in America, where many citizens know very little about the rest of the world, the vast majority have no passports, and where the media often portrays your enemies in a very negative light. Those who are your competitors, places like China, even if they are not conspicuously part of the conspiracy of Evil, should be treated superficially and negatively.

A very good technique you have noted on American television it to mix trivial news with serious matters, so that everything is reduced to one banal level. Show a little film of your bombing of some foreign city, then a short clip of a local sports game or festival, and so on. When there are hundreds of television channels and every item on the news is very short, it will be very difficult for people to concentrate on any items or learn much.

If you combine this, as you do, with a broadcasting culture where there is just a statement of opinion, with no counter-objections or argument (as is most beautifully shown in your presidential election debates), the chance of questioning of your approach will be minimal. Add in the strongly pro-government stance of most of your news channels, and this will create a particular kind of mix of apathy and nationalism which is much to be applauded. It is just as effective, though more discrete, than the total censorship that was practiced in the Second World War.

We would recommend this American approach to other countries. If the television stations are directly state controlled, as we believe has now become the case in Russia, there is no problem. If they persist in some wilful independence, this should be eroded as fast as possible. We saw a good technique for doing this in action in Britain recently.

The former over-mighty subject, the BBC, was smashed and laid low by clever advisors to the Prime Minister. They discovered a chink, a possible or at least unprovable (at that time) statement early one morning. The fact that after the reporter in question, the Head of the BBC and many of the top executives had been sacked and the corporation brought to heel, it was discovered that the statement was correct, that the Prime Minister had indeed exaggerated or ‘sexed up’ the threat was forgotten. The independent voice standing against power was seriously weakened, so your, and God’s, will was done.

1 comment:

Gabriel Andrade said...

Things like the O.J. Simpson trial, or even worse, currently the death of Anna Nicole Smith further prove how American media pulls out its tricks. I'm not much of a TV watcher, but my mother is, and last night I was with her as she watched Larry King Live, and THE WHOLE show was about a legal battle for the inheritance left by a dead pornographic actress. How terrible! Nothing about the real troubles of the world!
I believe that, contrary to ordinary left-wing wisdom, an Empire can not be too ethnocentric to succeed in its overseas entreprises. Some knoweldge and interest of other peoples must be sought in order to control peripheric countries. After all, anthropology was born as an aide to British imperialists. In such manner, I think that an Empire like the American Empire does cultivate some minimum knowledge and interest of other countries; otherwise, it could have never expanded. I do not think Empires are formed out of pure military strength. 'Fifth columns' are very important in modern warfare and politics; thus, imperialists make sure they know well their subjects in order to persuade them to their favor. However, I'm tempted to think of Empires in cyclical terms, very much as Oswald Spengler or Ibn Khaldun did: in the beggining, those least ethnocentric tend to dominate those who are too concerned with themselves; the former become Empires, the latter become imperial subjects. But a while after the Empire has been formed (say, a few centuries), citizens of that Empire become immersed in such ethnocentric imperialist vanity, that they soon lose interest in other peoples, and their strength overseas is put in danger. I think the American Empire may be going through such a 'decline'. Indeed, Americans know little about the rest of the world, and their ignorance of the Islamic world accounts for their great failure in Iraq (being ignorant of the religious composition of that country, they don't know how to manipulate internal forces to their favor, unlike other successful imperialists, such as Cortes in Mexico or Lawrence in Arabia). Today, a Pakistani Muslim knows much more about American life than an American about life in Islam. This fact may be turning things around.
When I've travelled to the US, I've always been asked by potential drug consumers if I sell drugs, because I'm from South America. Such distorsions and stereotypes are indeed furhter strengthened by media. But, contrary to what the Inquisitors believe, I think that such distorsions, in the long term, weaken rather than strnegthen an Empire overseas. Intense ethnocentrism: that is what has brought Empires down many times in History: Romans, who cared little about the Barbarians and did not bother to know them well (not even Tacitus) and Aztecs, who thought of nothing but themselves, are the two examples that most quickly come to my mind. If America continues such a trend: not issuing passports and devoting long hours of trivial local news in media, the Empire that was once formed precisely by avoiding ethnocentrism, may fall.