Hard to believe, but it’s now been 10 years since Propaganda Professor was launched. Many things have changed during that time; but the more things change, the more they stay the same.
A decade ago Barack Obama was in the White House, a situation that in retrospect seems like pure bliss. Most of the propaganda was created and circulated by deranged and ignorant fanatics who hated him. Today, with his successor in the White House, most of the propaganda is created and circulated by deranged and ignorant fanatics who love him. Basically the same people saying the same kinds of things.
In 2015, I noted the five-year mark by commenting, with some consternation, that my most popular post by far was The Myth Of Hitler’s Gun Ban. Well, that’s still the case. And the most popular topics, in descending order, have been: guns, Hitler, media bias, “bothsidesism” and propaganda techniques (“props” such as framing and spin).
While it is not very encouraging that Americans are more obsessed with guns than anything else (I have readers all over the world, but most of them are in the U.S.), and it’s scarcely more encouraging that they also have a morbid fascination with Hitler, the other topics on the list are much more heartening. A good many readers are showing an interest in finding out how some people are trying to manipulate them, with the subject of “bothsidesism” being particularly popular.
And bear in mind that the statistics that I speak of are for readers among the general public. These are people who are led here for whatever reason, read an article or two, then may or may not stick around. Some of them come just to pick a fight, and when they see that doesn’t work, they are ready to move on to the next target on their list.
But I also have a core of regular readers — hundreds of them official followers, and no doubt many more who read the blog on a regular basis. They are people who are genuinely concerned about the overall objectives of this blog. There may not be many of you, but you are worth your weight in gold; and I like to think I am reaching the people I really need to reach.
There’s an old saying, so old that it was included in The Bible, and it’s no doubt even older than that, to the effect that just a pinch of yeast makes the whole loaf rise. In other words, a few people can make all the difference. Ironically (and perhaps appropriately), the biblical citation of the proverb was applied in a negative sense, to indicate that one “bad apple” spoils the whole bunch. But the reverse can also be true; as anthropologist Margaret Mead put it:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
That’s the good news — you have the potential to make a meaningful impact. The bad news is that the forces of corruption and propaganda are relentless, and have been growing stronger. It’s quite likely that there will be a need for this blog for another decade and beyond.
So take heart, but buckle up. There’s still a long ride ahead. And we have no choice but to be optimistic.