The Rand Report offers the following possible explanations for the effectiveness of “Russia’s firehose of falsehood.”
– Russian Propaganda is High-Volume and Multi channel
– Russian Propaganda is Rapid, Continuous, and Repetitive
– Russian Propaganda Makes No Commitment to Objective Reality
– Russian Propaganda is Not Committed to Consistency
The authors consider that all this constitutes “a nontrivial challenge.” They suggest it is a threat that Americans should not let Russia get away with. Indeed, the report poses the question, “What can be done to counter the fire hose of falsehood?”
The second point, that Russian news, sorry, propaganda, appears in such volumes as to befit the metaphor a “fire hose” is demonstrably untrue. In the establishment corner there is BBC, Wapo, NYtimes, Huffpo, ABC, CNBC, CNN, Sky, Daily Telegraph, FT, Guardian, Fox, and in the other corner is – Da da! RT. Seriously. You have to go on the internet to look for anything that supports the Russian narrative. If that is a “fire hose” then the establishment represents a tsunami of biblical proportions.
“I thought that the height of stupidity in the Rand Report is evidenced in its duplicity. On one hand it tarred and feathered Russia for its alleged use of Soviet-style propaganda techniques. But then it goes on to recommend that the US adopt such techniques to counter the purported danger of Russian propaganda”.
Very astute, and the core of the problem. The real issue is not really anything to do with propaganda at all. It lies in the fact that, to some people, everything “we” do is right BY DEFINITION, and everything done by those of whom “we” disapprove is wrong BY DEFINITION. Thus, Russian propaganda is evil because Russians, by their very nature, are bad people trying to do bad things. Whereas American propaganda is always good, because Americans are always good people trying to do good things. As a matter of fact, Americans are trying to accomplish good even when they bomb civilians, destroy water treatment facilities and hospitals, or impose sanctions that quite deliberately kill 500,000 children.
To find the historical roots of these deranged opinions, one may go back (for example) to the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. According to this, the saved and the damned have been chosen by God since the beginning of time. Accordingly, everything the saved do is holy and they are certain to go to Heaven and enjoy eternal bliss – even if they spend their lives killing, torturing, raping, and committing every possible variety of sin, without ever doing a single good deed.
The damned, however, are in the opposite position. Even if they live peaceful, holy and entirely Christ-like lives, no matter how many good works they do, they are destined to go to Hell and roast alive for ever.
Its difficult to associate such extreme (and, I feel, clinically insane) beliefs with the revered founder of such a popular and (on the whole) beneficent religious sect as Calvinism. But the facts are quite ineluctable: John Calvin, along with many other great Christian figures of history, was just as horrible and wicked a person as any Islamic terrorist of today.
It’s ironic that the rulers of the USA have deliberately chosen to align themselves entirely with the most ghastly and extreme religious fundamentalisms of today: with Takfirism, with Israeli fundamentalism, and with the equally terrible Christian fundamentalism so common in the USA itself.
The US’ problem is the nerve-twitching, patronizing tone and obvious aggression of US propaganda.
To German ears it sounds as if Goebbels had risen from his grave. But by crying out lout “Russian propaganda!” the moment anybody contradicts them, people think more and more positively about Russian sites like RT and Sputnik.
After I couldn’t comment any longer on any ordinary German newspaper platform and even some left sites did no longer dare to publish articles which didn’t start with critizising Russia, I started to write articles myself – for alternative platforms and four were published as well by RT.deutsch.
I wasn’t paid for any of them. But they were the only ones who gave me the opportunity to utter what I had to say. And I know many people who acted similarly. I met them – after we all had made the same experiences: banned and deleted comments, deleted accounts, trolls who pretended people like us were paid by Russian Services (while our bank accounts new nothing about it), loud abuses by NATO trolls in the net and politicians obstinately ignoring the public dismay because of the increasing war propaganda by public media.