Propaganda Review Issue 1, Volume 4 1987-1990


Everything old is new again. One of the advantages of being a venerable organization is that your ancestors have already taken a go at issues and problems recurring today.

Propaganda Review was a Media Alliance magazine that explored techniques of manipulation, our vulnerability to them, and a society obsessed with the engineering of consent.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

So, with the generous help of William Bowles, we are embarking on the project of excavating as much of Propaganda Review as we can in order to make it available for a bit of context in today’s “fake news” debate.

In this edition, you’ll hear from:

  • Loretta Graziano on economic statistics, why they aren’t as reliable as we think they are and the risks of information overload democracy. (“In an information overload democracy, leaders can expect the public to substitute one or two simple symbols for the full detail on complex national issues. They can expect public discourse to focus myopically on the familiar symbols and ignore other data, even when contradictions between the two are substantial“)
  • Martin Lee on the use of Nazi war criminals by American intelligence agencies for espionage activities against the Soviet Union in Hitler’s Last Laugh. (“Thus did the Reagan administration cover up one of the most insidious foreign policy ventures in US history–a policy whereby thousands of active Nazis were deliberately and systematically recruited by US intelligence to further American objectives in postwar Europe. This wasn’t a covert sideshow run out of the White House basement. It was official US policy”)
  • Ward Churchill on the US government’s war against the American Indian Movement (AIM). (“Tom Coli, a propaganda specialist, was dispatched to explain why the FBI was suddenly conducting Vietnam-style search and destroy operations on an obscure South Dakota Indian reservation”)
  • David Pearson on the media and government deception and the age-old question of the difference between being a watchdog and a lapdog. (“The canon of objectivity tended to leave unreported large
    areas of genuine relevance that authorities chose not to talk about”)
  • David Levi-Strauss on Jean Luc Goddard and Anne Marie Mieville’s brief experiment in subversive anti-television. (“Sonimage was unable to get its counter-TV into the midst of mainstream broadcast television”)

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