In America, we have a great tendency to ignore reality, and instead see what we want to see. Case in point: Because we think our political leaders are elected by the people, we also believe that they work for us – and in particular, that our government “of, by, and for the people” is honest in what they tell us.
That’s why people were so shocked in 2013, when the government lifted a ban on broadcasting its propaganda within the country. We knew we were broadcasting blatant America-promoting content elsewhere (Radio Free Europe and more), and the thought that the US government was allowing itself to publicly propagandize its own citizens was a real affront to the idea that the government was honest with us.
But the reality is that the government has been actively involved in domestic propaganda forever. One big example: How the military pushes hard to get a pro-America, pro-military slant into our movies and TV shows.
When we first looked at the relationship between politics, film and television at the turn of the 21st century, we accepted the consensus opinion that a small office at the Pentagon had, on request, assisted the production of around 200 movies throughout the history of modern media, with minimal input on the scripts.
How ignorant we were.
More appropriately, how misled we had been.
We have recently acquired 4,000 new pages of documents from the Pentagon and CIA through the Freedom of Information Act. For us, these documents were the final nail in the coffin.
These documents for the first time demonstrate that the US government has worked behind the scenes on over 800 major movies and more than 1,000 TV titles.
This isn’t the only example of course. But if people think that the government wasn’t propagandizing its own citizens prior to 2013, they’re either naïve or willfully ignorant.