Letter to the Editor: Propaganda undermines democracy


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Certain buzzwords in our society create negative connotations. Words like “propaganda” and “brainwashing” are always condemned to be practices of only repressive regimes, which automatically imply that our own government never use them.

We could not be more wrong. Western countries are the most experienced when it comes to propaganda and brainwashing. Dating back to as far as colonial times, exploitation and oppression were dressed up in fancy terms like “civilization to backward cultures” or “bringing trade and progress.”

Propaganda was and always is either suppressing pertinent information or being selective about what can be disseminated or distorting facts to persuade. That includes information in every form of the mainstream media. Brainwashing by propaganda of the dominant ideology starts early using education. Thus, the true accounts of the First Nations or of the enslavement of back people were not included in our history books for a very long time.

And we had to fight to have them included.

Deceit is another form of propaganda. Our government is the most polished and renowned manipulator of facts to bamboozle and lead the general public to follow along with negative policies that benefited only the corporations and the very wealthy, who are in continued power in the government. It is amazing how so many of us continue to support really bad policies that hurt the majority of the people. Meanwhile, the divisive and chauvinistic ideology embedded in us from years of brainwashing leaves us squabbling among ourselves and with our international brothers and sisters.

In case you are not aware, one of the most accomplished of propagandists is the advertising industry. The constant bombardment of the same message eventually gets to all of us who are exposed to it.

This unfailing daily repetitions of the same message but variably worded and prettily presented is brainwashing of sorts. We are persuaded to think a certain way subconsciously and thus act accordingly. We are encouraged to keep on buying the latest things because we are brainwashed to think and feel we need to. Our closets are filled with stuff we either use infrequently or not at all like clothes, appliances, books, luxury items. And to desire more.

To combat brainwashing, we need to unlearn many accepted negative norms of behavior and attitudes. We must search for truth in alternate media, for facts and explanations that makes sense and then act for positive social change.

Dr. Kim E. Koo

Rocky Mount.