My point is simple: fake news is nothing new. We have long lived in a post-truth society, with political propaganda dominating the “mainstream” news media, and contributing to disinformation campaigns aimed at manipulating public opinion. Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky documented the propagandistic elements of the news media in detail in their seminal Manufacturing Consent (MC) nearly three decades ago. Other works preceding MC – such as Herbert Schiller’s The Mind Managers – also emphasized the efforts of political, economic, and media elites to manipulate public preferences via propaganda.
I’ve devoted my academic career to spotlighting propaganda, writing numerous books on the subject. So it’s more than a little disturbing when I see references to “propaganda” in the corporate press that completely obscure the broader role that manipulation plays in reinforcing domestic political-economic elites’ agendas and in padding the pocketbooks of corporate media conglomerates. Empirical media studies have documented since the 1970s the overwhelming government dominance of the news. Government control of the news is uncontroversially labeled propaganda in dictatorships like North Korea and the old Soviet Union, but when journalists working for private media corporations willingly roll over for government interests, allowing them to monopolize newspapers and the airwaves in favor of their own agendas, we call it “objectivity.” So it is in an effort to add some sanity to our modern discussion of propaganda that I draw CounterPunch readers’ attention to the longstanding existence of fake news propaganda in U.S. media....Move along. Nothing to see here.
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Anthony DiMaggio | Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University