June 19, 2024

Biden Freezes, and Old Propaganda Is Dead

Today, information travels faster than the gatekeepers can respond, leaving them with one last resort: telling us not to believe our lying eyes.

Propaganda has always been a part of politics, working as an alliterative pair of damaging societal weapons wielded for power and control.

Propaganda is a form of communication used to drive a certain narrative or further a particular agenda, and over time, the label of propaganda developed from a supposedly neutral sharing of information to an underhand tool of manipulation, leveraging rhetorical tricks, emotion over reason, and (when in doubt) overt lies.

Examples range from subtle ideological biases in reporting to the darkly iconic messaging found in Nazi-era posters, with Adolf Hitler writing in 1924 that propaganda’s task is “not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness,” but “to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly.”

The entire spectrum of propaganda was explored in George Orwell’s deeply prophetic “1984,” with “The Party” employing telescreens, slogans, images and the rewriting of history in order to protect and expand their authoritarian control over the subjugated citizens of the novel’s dystopian society.

However, for the vast majority of human history, propagandists have enjoyed one particular advantage: They acted as the gatekeepers of what is true and what is false, maintaining total control over access to and the dissemination of information.

How do you fight propaganda in a world where it’s impossible to convince others of the truth? How do you even discover the truth when information itself is held behind locked doors?

The internet broke this system of control.

Thanks to the internet — and as a consequence, social media — it’s becoming increasingly difficult (if not impossible) for the truth to be buried like it was in years past. Now, anyone with an internet connection and a smartphone can shatter the narratives being spewed by those who want to keep us downtrodden.

And their refusal to adjust to this new technological rebalancing of power stands as evidence of their shameless willingness to shove abject lies down our throats.

The reaction to Joe Biden’s latest mental collapse is a perfect example.

This weekend, the president was wheeled to a fundraiser in Los Angeles, where he appeared alongside former President Barack Obama and a collection of loyal party members, including George Clooney, Jimmy Kimmel and Julia Roberts. After Biden and Obama wrapped up their interview with Kimmel, Biden froze in a manner instantly recognizable to anyone with relatives suffering from dementia. After what felt like an age, Obama had to escort Biden gently from the stage, presumably with promises of late-night ice cream as a reward for Biden being such a good boy.

Imagine this story prior to the explosion of the internet and social media.

After the New York Post reported on the incident, with the headline, “Biden appears to freeze up, has to be led off stage by Obama at mega-bucks LA fundraiser,” gun-control activist David Hogg denounced this report as a “total lie,” professional whining child Harry Sisson declared that “MAGA IS LYING AGAIN,” and Andrew Bates — senior deputy propagandist for the White House — announced that “Rupert Murdoch’s sad little super pac, the New York Post, is back to disrespecting it’s readers & itself once again,” and that “their ethical standards could deal with a little unfreezing.”

It’s “its,” by the way, Andrew.

There’s just one problem: unedited video footage of the incident immediately went viral. Biden clearly freezes and is clearly seen shuffling from the stage after being gently pulled away by his handler, Obama.

Of course the internet presents new challenges in the field of propaganda, especially given our society’s complete disinterest in critical thinking or basic research. But even the flood of new propaganda makes the destruction of old propaganda worth it, because it gives regular people a fighting chance in this technological age.

For centuries, those in power could manipulate the masses by choosing what they were shown. Today, information travels faster than the gatekeepers can respond, leaving them with one last resort: telling us not to believe our lying eyes.

And people aren’t falling for it.


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