Governments inevitably over time experience diverging interests from the population that they govern due to the impact of policy and legislation on their lives. When this moment arises, governments have to decide whether they adhere to legitimate democratic instructions to enact change or resist due to longterm strategic decisions which may necessitate a large degree of pain to the population. If the democratic desires of the people become diametrically opposite creating a zero-sum game between government and the people, government inevitable fall into the trap forgetting all to resurrect Goebbellian propaganda as a way to pacify the weary masses. Disinformation campaigns created by Government for dissemination to the population via powerful media corporations has been satirised to varying degree by legends such as Aldous Huxley, George Orwell and Mikhail Bulgakov to name a few. Their timeless classics illustration the modus operandi utilised by both totalitarian and democratic states alike to enable unpopular policies to be passed. Popular justification for such actions vary from anything ranging from “freedom” to “common folk are incapable of taking serious decisions”. Operation Mockingbird and COINTEL PRO were large scale covert CIA and FBI media infiltration and disinformation campaigns that have never been fully investigated.
Great effort was expended to prevent full accountability by the US government to ensure that that was indeed the case. With the emergence of this new era of “Fakenews” due to the election of Donald J Trump as president of the United State of America and Brexit, there is now a great deal of attention being put on propaganda and the impact it has for creating sociological, cultural and political tsunamis and rightly so. It should not be the case now that BigTech executives such as Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Besos are allowed to play judge, juror and executioner and sole arbiter or determining fake news. This scenario invokes strong feelings of 1984 and governments, civil society, universities should now foster a complete and impartial analysis on the socio-political and cultural implications of propaganda. The elephant in the room has always been media infiltration by governments or by other powerful groups and interests.
This presentation looks at a few very recent cases where the corporate media was caught red handed deliberately falsifying material to create a narrative and what has subsequently been done if anything to counter this trend which represents an existential risk to democracies all around the world.