You would think with the advent of the Internet and press like Charlie of France, propaganda would be on the way out. At least transparent enough so that we all can see through the film of propaganda blocking our view of the world. The new era of propaganda has begun.
Most of us would think of our founding fathers as those who brought freedom of the press to their country. But, it was their own new era of propaganda introducing the world to the revolution. Their focus was brought to us by some great writers such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Payne and Thomas Jefferson. Their words live with us today and remain just as strong. But, look back and see how many newspapers purporting the British view were around. There was no war of words. Even our own history books give just our view, the victor’s side, of the war known as the Rebellion across the Pond.
Another new era of propaganda was fought during the sixties known for its protests of the Vietnam War, racial tension and how high should the miniskirt be allowed to go? The establishment was countered by new press such as Rolling Stone, The Black Panther and The Haight Ashbury Free Press. Another generation of strong writers such as Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Tom Wolfe led the fight against the new era of propaganda. While their words for antidisestablishmentarism and the expanding of the mind led a generation, the current version of the Rolling Stone is now published thousands of miles away and tends to cover new trends and fashion as well as music. Not exactly a hotbed of new revolutionary thinking anymore.
An anonymous group known as Anonymous is the new leading movement against the new era of propaganda. Guy Fawkes was never so popular. By being a non-organized group of individuals working together more efficiently than any version of the US government, they have brought attention to many issues and have attacked websites of groups such as ISIS. It is too early to tell if this will be nothing more than a retro Halloween mask in 10 years.
There is no actual single source of propaganda anymore. There are no secret societies spinning global control. It is a mess of government bureaucrats and increasingly wealthy plutocrats that are trying to get us to vote for (fill in the blank) and buy (fill in the blank). It is capitalism and meritocracy at its best. America has gotten so good at this that the rest of the world just laughs when we try to talk about freedom of the press. The press is run by the money buying the ads and the publishers who print low rent rags pushing their own narrow view of the world. Walter Cronkite has been replaced by Ronald McDonald wearing a tin foil hat.
The Internet is supposed to be the free-est version of free press since the invention of cave painting. Right? Well, that is the illusion. While many brave souls attempt to get their own voice out there, they all face an uphill battle. Do you know how a search engine works? How companies can pay for the privilege to be at the top of the search results? You type in auto brakes and you get the 10 highest paying advertisers in your area. Forget about the single business owner who is yelling as loud as he can to be heard. If business works that way, what about political ideas? The struggle to be heard continues…