Living In An Age of Constant Propaganda or Why I No Longer Follow Any Media by Ian Totten
It’s been said for years now that we are living George Orwell’s novel ‘1984.’ I first remember hearing the term ‘Orwellian’ in the early 90s during a panel discussion about the Waco situation involving the Branch Davidians and didn’t really understand it. They were in the wrong, weren’t they? I mean, after all the charges the government laid at their doorstep were pretty serious, illegal weapons selling and child abuse. It wasn’t until I was older and learned to research things that interested me that I discovered much of the narrative to be propaganda, that is the dissemination of a particular set of ideals designed to influence those who are viewing it.
I wondered how this could be, for after all our government would never knowing mislead us, that would be in the realm of tinfoil hat wearers. A conspiracy theory that would make even Oliver Stone shake his head in disbelief. Except it’s not. During the Cold War, our leaders admittedly planted information in various media forms to sway the opinion of the public in their favor, be it the Red Scare, or softer approaches like oped pieces in newspapers. The FBI used COINTELPRO to try discrediting various radical organizations until they were caught and had to take another approach which has yet to be honestly uncovered. The list is endless of these types of actions (Contact the police if you see anyone acting suspicious? Propaganda doesn’t have to be a negative thing. It only has to serve a specific purpose). Many of these same practices were used to great success in Russia during the period between 1917 and 1991.
An excellent example is how in Stalinist times anyone who did not tow the party line or spoke out against a particular policy was attacked through both the media and the government as an oppressor or saboteur. A parallel can be drawn between this and our own times where anyone who says anything even remotely offensive is called out as a racist, misogynist, bigot, or on the other side, as a Socialist or Commie. There are others as well, too many to mention though I will list off a few. The Bolshavics believed that anything the state did, up to and including murder, so long as it was for the good of the cause was legal, while it was illegal if others carried out similar tactics. They called it War Communism. Many of the extremists in this country feel similarly about their actions versus the acts of their perceived enemy. Also along these lines, anything a leader said was taken as gospel by his subject (something that was reinforced by the media), this can be seen in our own times with Obama and to a lesser extent Trump where those who believe in them see that nothing they do is wrong. Then as now history is continually rewritten to fit the narrative that the ruling class proposes. In Stalin’s time it was to show that he was the most trusted of Lenin’s advisers, while today it ranges from reasons for the Civil War, what should be considered approvable history, and the legacy of former leaders who were reviled in their own times but loved by those who are less informed.
This leads me to our current state of affairs, when news is 24/7. Much of it is hyperbole designed to stimulate various parts of the brain. Add to this the fact that most of our news sources are owned by a select handful of corporations (all of whom employ powerful lobbyists) and you have the perfect platform to subvert the minds of the public with whatever information you want or don’t want them to posses. Yes, we are going into tinfoil hat land here, but with a purpose. I disconnected from the world in most forms beyond social media by which I push my books about 8 years ago out of necessity. It wasn’t that I didn’t want television so much as I couldn’t afford it and the myriad of other bills adulthood has to offer. An amazing thing happened: my thought process actually became somewhat clearer without others telling me what to believe. I could look at issues that I was being told were important and decide for myself if I needed to get worked up or move along. The longer I’m away, the more I see and hear. Going into a laundromat with a television on in the background I can hear what the talking heads are saying and understand it to be nothing more than fluff designed to keep my attention or divert it away from something that is actually important that they’ve decided not to report on. Even politics, which is the realm of the morally corrupt and criminally insane is clearer as I see neither side doing anything other than spinning their wheels while they strive to divide us. This last election was an excellent example as one side admitted (for the first time that I can recall) that the voice of the people doesn’t matter and they will put forth who they want while the other end of the spectrum threw out scathing accusations they had no plans on ever following up on. There’s a reason for this, a divided populace can be controlled while a united society can resist. Many people (those who live through the technology of the day for example),claim that this is all nonsense, even as they clamor to find out the latest news about their favorite celebrities, never realizing that much of what we are show is an attempt to dangle a shinny toy before a small child. I know, many are thinking I’m nuts, but as further proof of the power media has over our lives, my wife and I both spent 2 weeks in a home containing a t.v. that was constantly on. After a day or two we realized that neither of us were speaking much to the other but were instead focused on what was on or would soon be on.
Is this on purpose? I believe so, though I won’t get into real tinfoil territory by expounding on it as it serves no purpose to speculate. The important thing is to realize it is going on and that I don’t have to participate in any of it. It’s simple really, I just choose not to engage (a monumental task to be honest), and enjoy my life doing what I feel fulfills and gives it purpose. I can still see movies or watch DVD’s, I just don’t let them consume my entire existence because I don’t allow the media to inundate me with a constant stream of thought that isn’t my own.
Ian Totten is a bestselling independent author of horror, dark fantasy, and fiction (though his inclusion in the human race has yet to be verified). His latest novel, ‘The House of Silver Doors’ can be found on Amazon or his website iantotten.com. While there you can check out his other work, sign up for his rarely published newsletter, and learn very little about him. His series "The Blood Gods Trilogy" is available right here on Firewalkerbooks.com.