Monday, July 15, 2013

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose: "[O]ur democracy a 'fake.'"

Does the below, by a USG WWI propagandist, sound familiar to dedicated USG contemporary public diplomacy officials? It suggests that we Americans are "better" than our very own press says we are.

"The volume of information that went out from our shores ... was concerned only with the violent and unusual in our national life. It was news of strikes and lynchings, riots, murder cases, graft prosecutions, sensational divorces, the bizarre extravagance of 'sudden millionaires.'

Naturally enough, we were looked upon as a race of dollar-mad materialists, a land of cruel monopolists, our real leaders the corporations and our democracy a 'fake.' "

--George Creel, head of the Committee on Public Information (1917-1919), considered by some the USG's first propaganda agency, established by moralist Woodrow Wilson; cited in Creel's somewhat immodestly titled volume, How We Advertised America: The First Telling of the Amazing Story Spreading the Gospel of America to Every Corner of the Globe (1920), p. 9; on a contemporary account of Creel, see. On Wilson and George W. Bush, see the article by Joseph Nye.

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