Political Propaganda Manifested: The Newspaper
One insightful piece of knowledge that is helpful to know is the true history of the newspaper. That history is one of consistent and perpetual propaganda since its very creation.
There has never been in a time in human history where the newspaper was not a psychological/informational weapon against the masses. The same trend continues today in the form of news outlets and other information distributors.
It’s always been propaganda. The only question is “How bad is it?”
What was better in the past was that the news was more open about being propaganda, however.
For instance, if you spend some time reading up on the Era of Good Feelings in American history, you’ll quickly uncover some uncomfortable truths.
For one, Martin Van Buren (a dominant Democratic party leader) specifically used newspapers to teach others about party position and discipline party members. These newspapers didn’t even claim to be neutral. In fact, they acted as direct political propaganda for the political party that they supported. And they did so openly.
This is where we get the idea of a “party platform”—That platform came about through newspaper articles.
A similar thing happened shortly after the founding of the American republic.
The federalists illegally crafted a constitution that overturned the articles of confederation. They then went to work in “selling” this new idea to the masses, who they just hoodwinked (as the delegates were supposed to go make improvements to the articles instead of write an entirely new federalist document).
They sold this idea to the public mostly through newspapers. The vast majority of newspapers were federalist-owned or supported. So, massive amounts of pro-constitution political propaganda poured out of newsrooms, explaining to the people why they should approve the constitution.
They even printed fake “anti-federalist” arguments that sounded dumb to paint the other side as buffoons.
Sound familiar? They do the same stuff today.
This occurred within a decade-ish of our very founding. Proving that newspapers have been political propaganda since the very dawn of the Heritage Americans.
The rise of yellow journalism during the Gilded Age adds a greed and money-grabber layer to the propaganda element, but doesn’t change it much. Now it’s just political propaganda mixed in with a profit motive.
This timeline understanding is integral to “solving” the newspaper problem. Once you know this true history, you know there is no real solution, because there is no supposed ‘golden era of news’ to go back to. The news is and always was propaganda.
Newspapers—and modern equivalents—can be used for good or used for evil, but it can never be neutral. The idea of a “neutral” press is a false facade of the modern day to make the grey masses think the news is not political propaganda. It’s just a veil to hide their true intentions, which used to be much more open. Those that lurk in the shadows are often far more nefarious than those who are open about their bias.
For a dissident, it is helpful for us to remember that news was, is, and always will be some form of propaganda.
There is nothing new under the sun.
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