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Taking a look at the Facebook propaganda

On May 10, the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released information on 3,500 Facebook ads that were posted by Russian agents to influence the 2016 election. Here is the Washington Post story. Here is a link to PDF files of the ads on a House web site.

Every reasonable American should look at these ads and study them as an exercise in understanding propaganda. What I find particularly frightening is the sharp Russian understanding of the American culture wars and the sophisticated ability to inflame the American culture wars with simple images and simple language. In short, the foreigners who created these ads have a far better understanding of the United States than Americans who watch Fox News.

That many of these Facebook ads were targeted toward fans of Fox News is not in the least surprising. Republican hunger to be deceived is so profitable that now Sinclair Broadcast Group wants to root its way into Rupert Murdoch’s trough. But the ads often worked both sides of the same issue — inflaming the grievances of African-Americans while also stoking white racism.

Will the Republicans who are addicted to Fox News learn anything about how they are manipulated, and by whom? Frankly, I doubt it. While Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are doing everything they can as the minority party to help Americans understand what happened, majority Republicans are putting all their efforts into a cover-up. Axios reported this morning on a poll commissioned by Republicans that found that unaffiliated voters are paying attention to the Mueller investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Republicans, though, aren’t budging. They still believe that Donald Trump is honest and trustworthy and that the law is being used to frame him. I continue to believe that authoritarian personalities have cognitive and moral defects that block any idea that does not fit with their defective internal wiring. These are the same kind of people, after all, who continued to send money to the Rev. Jim Bakker even after Bakker was in prison for bilking his flock of millions of dollars.

By the way, I try not to post about the Mueller investigation, though I follow the leaks and legal actions closely. I think it’s very clear where that’s heading, but unfortunately we don’t have any choice but to wait for Mueller’s report and wait for the indictments to become public.

If you have time, I also recommend Googling for collections of Nazi propaganda posters. Cheap, low-end propaganda hasn’t really changed, nor have the low-end people who are susceptible to it. Certainly, there is such a thing as high-end propaganda, which is aimed at people who actually read. But, because of television, and increasingly because of social media, presidential elections have become extremely low-end affairs.

“Youth Serves the Führer. All 10-year-olds into the Hitler Youth.”


  1. Henry Sandigo wrote:

    I had been using FB for awhile recently, but I have stepped away. Primarily because I see many ignorant statements and misspellings, consequently I attribute it to “deplorable” and the mass who just listen and not think. I’ve been sneaking into FB to look at the fishing clubs and Vietnam veterans site that I belong to. I post a Larsen joke or two on my page or something I picked out of the New Yorker. It is hard not to strike out at the statements made by the deplorable. However I watched Megan Cain on the VIEW this morning and learned a bit about restraint.

    Friday, May 11, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink
  2. Jo wrote:

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    I have always believed we should move forward – not backward.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  3. Jo wrote:

    Now I am concerned. Last post only up a short time. Nothing since. Hope everything is ok at Acorn Abbey.

    Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink
  4. daltoni wrote:

    Hi Jo… Everything is fine. I appreciate your concern. I’ve been busy with political duties, a trip to Asheville, and lots of yard and garden chores. And of course I have been reading and thinking.

    Sometimes, after I post something political and harshly critical of authoritarians, I feel a kind of liberal guilt. That’s why I took down the most recent post. Though I very much believe that conscientious and reasonable people have a duty to speak out about the disturbing things that are going on in this country at present, nevertheless I hate the sound of my voice when I do that. I’d rather just be nice.

    I’ll be back soon. My schedule is clear for the next week, at least for the moment.

    Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

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