Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Propaganda and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Stengel: An Exchange

An exchange on Facebook

Nice to see the Undersecretary taking a direct role in addressing RT's propaganda.

The State Department continues its war of words with RT.
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  • 3 people like this.
  • Matthew Wallin Except this statement is flat out wrong: "Propaganda is the deliberate dissemination of information that you know to be false or misleading in order to influence an audience." As we all know, propaganda can be perfectly truthful information.
    4 hrs · Like
  • Craig Hayden It's not wrong. It's just a specific interpretation of what propaganda means. I think it's hard to argue that propaganda can still be a neutral analytical term (despite the heroic efforts of some scholars). It's a rhetorical device, ripe for leveraging its connotations when describing the communication of others.
    4 hrs · Like · 3
  • Craig Hayden So yeah, read Jay Black's "Semantics and Ethics of Propaganda" for the distinction.
    4 hrs · Like
  • Matthew Wallin It can also very easily involve deliberately leaving out certain information, and presenting only your side of the story. Then I suppose the question is, what does "misleading" mean?
    4 hrs · Like · 1
  • Aimee Fullman And we'll all be using this to discuss propaganda in our classrooms:)
    3 hrs · Like
  • John Brown I'll all in favor of improperganda ! Just kiddin' BTW, in Stengel's comments, as recorded in the cited article, the journalist who's reinvented himself as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy doesn't really "break down his definitions of the differences between news, opinion, and propaganda." What is "news," Mr. Stengel? Some call it "the shock troops of propaganda." What do you say to that? Arguably -- or should I say *very" arguably -- Time Magazine, for which Stengel gave his soul, is propaganda posing as information; or, as a learned scholar once called it, "canned information" to be consumed like a Big Mac rather than factual analysis stimulating thought. True, the blatant propagandizing of the Cold War-era Time Magazine, which celebrated the American way of life ad nauseam, has become more "balanced" in our new century; or as cynics might put it, has made its propaganda for corporate America/advertisers (labeled, in overused words, as "American values" and "the American way of life") more "subtle" due to the increased "sophistication" (i.e., access to many sources of information, largely due to the Internet) of its declining audience. Stengel, God bless him, is part of a crowd of slightly over-the-hill scribblers hoping to earn a few more dollars by working for the Federal government as political appointees before old age completely creeps up on them. (But then don't we have enough over-paid "spokespersons" from the State Department, the White House, DoD pontificating about the U.S. and condemning the Evil Other? for the MSM longing for "news" to be consumed.) Well, to put it more diplomatically and to give credit to a fellow Princetonian (I went to Princeton as a grad student), Rick now wants to serve his country -- after getting a reported miserly up to 250K bonus (peanuts in corporate America) from Time, Inc.
    Not long before he left his job as managing editor at Time magazine for a post at the State Department, Richard Stengel delivered some bad but not unexpected news — the magazine needed to cut staff to close a budget gap.
  • Christopher Dufour If it's Russian, it's probably propaganda, yo.
    2 mins · Like

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