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Bad Politics, Worse Prose

Famous dictators and the books/poetry they write. [more inside]
posted by gman on Apr 20, 2011 - 21 comments

 

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Maine governor Paul LePage has ordered the state's Labor Department to remove a mural he says is too pro-labor. He has also declared several of the building's conference room names to have "one-sided decor." This was reportedly at the behest of anonymous businesses who complained of a pro-labor bias. [more inside]
posted by Celsius1414 on Mar 23, 2011 - 282 comments

Reagan's Propaganda Campaign Against Libya

In the 80s, US intelligence services were claiming to have uncovered a host of un-American plots concocted by Gaddafi such as sending hit squads to kill Reagan and other members of the administration, launching terrorist targets in Europe and elsewhere , a plan to kidnap or execute the American ambassador to Italy, and a suicide mission against the USS Nimitz.

Then in 1986, Bernard Kalb stepped down as spokesman for the State Department after hearing of government plans to plant false stories about Gaddafi.
posted by destro on Mar 19, 2011 - 57 comments

"An Illusional Intermission Between Invasion and Insurgency"

The Toppling: How the Media Inflated the Fall of Saddam’s Statue in Firdos Square.
A joint publication of ProPublica and New Yorker. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Jan 3, 2011 - 46 comments

These astroturf libertarians are the real threat to internet democracy

Right Wing astroturfing A non-scientific analysis of the patterns in forum board discussions on a variety of topics. The gist: discussions of issues in which there's money at stake (like climate change, public health and corporate tax avoidance) are often characterised by amazing levels of abuse and disruption by rightwing libertarians who are pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Discussions of issues in which there's little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilised than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions.
posted by novenator on Dec 20, 2010 - 79 comments

Target Tokyo

Japan Air Raids "is an ongoing project to build a digital archive dedicated to the international dissemination of information about the World War II air raids against Japan." They have seeded it with quite a bit of material (e.g. Target Tokyo, narrated by Ronald Reagan in the documentary and propaganda section) and promise there is much more to come. [Warning, some images may disturb] [via]
posted by unliteral on Dec 12, 2010 - 21 comments

Cold War vs. Modern Day U.S. Propaganda

Cold War vs. Modern Day U.S. Propaganda - from Russian Times
posted by eviemath on Dec 11, 2010 - 21 comments

A view into North Korea

This flickr user collection offers a look into North Korea, complete with translations of propaganda murals and cultural background on the images, plus two collections of old postcards.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 1, 2010 - 28 comments

Art IS a weapon

The CIA spent 20 years promoting modern art as a propaganda tool: "We wanted to unite all the people who were writers, who were musicians, who were artists, to demonstrate that the West and the United States was devoted to freedom of expression and to intellectual achievement, without any rigid barriers as to what you must write, and what you must say, and what you must do, and what you must paint, which was what was going on in the Soviet Union. I think it was the most important division that the agency had, and I think that it played an enormous role in the Cold War."
posted by BZArcher on Nov 1, 2010 - 50 comments

Communist Space Babies

Communist Space Babies. Title says it all, really. The tags were pretty easy too.
posted by not_that_epiphanius on Oct 26, 2010 - 23 comments

"The U.S.A. Is Only A Few Minutes Wide"

Wired: "Who 'Ruled the Air' in 1910, and Who Rules It Now?". Also see: Vintage AdBrowser (Previously): Communications Ads of the: 1910's, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.
posted by zarq on Oct 25, 2010 - 9 comments

Are You Sure? The Video Footage Says Otherwise.

Software, and Instant Real-Time 1-Click Commissar Removal: In the old days, photographic purges were laborious and time-consuming. Modern software has of course made this process much faster, and now this important task can be applied to video, and in real-time. Of course, if you don't want to actually remove someone or something, but instead simply want to turn ordinary men into Heroes of the Revolution and vixens into forgettable faces in the crowd, well, that too is an option.
posted by darth_tedious on Oct 12, 2010 - 18 comments

There's Always Steady Work for the Steady Worker

Don't Make Excuses - Make Good! Between World Wars I and II, the U.S. economy was booming - workers had choices and employers competed for their time. How to motivate and gain loyalty from a labor force that knew it could walk out the door and find more work soon? Charles Mather, head of a family printing business in Chicago, offered employers a solution: the first motivational posters for the private workplace market. Printed between 1923 and 1929, Mather's "Work Incentive Posters" used strong imagery and short, clear messaging to encourage workplace values like teamwork, punctuality, safety, and loyalty. Today, some of his 350 designs can be seen in traveling exhibitions and poster galleries, and Antiques Road Show - or you can soak up some motivation from his modern-day successors at Successories - or generate your own. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Oct 12, 2010 - 25 comments

No Pressure

Sorry. Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called 'No Pressure’. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended. As a result of these concerns we've taken it off our website. We won't be making any attempt to censor or remove other versions currently in circulation on the internet.
posted by thescientificmethhead on Oct 1, 2010 - 65 comments

"She wants the world to see the effect a Taliban resurgence would have on the women of Afghanistan."

"I showed it to my two young sons, 9 and 12, who both immediately felt sorry for Aisha and asked why anyone would have done such harm to her." [WARNING: Graphic image.] Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time magazine, on why he chose to run on the magazine's cover a photo of a young woman whose nose and ears had been cut off at the insistence of the Taliban. It accompanies the article "Afghan Women and the Return of the Taliban."
posted by ocherdraco on Jul 29, 2010 - 142 comments

Have you eaten your pound of potatoes today?

Beans are bullets. Potatoes are powder. An exhibition of food posters from the National Agricultural Library.
posted by mudpuppie on Jul 29, 2010 - 13 comments

So Where The Bloody Hell Are Ya?

After suspending all asylum applications from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, the Australian Government has made a series of confronting youtube videos showing the dangers of the sea, and the arrest and detention of asylum seekers. [more inside]
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Jun 15, 2010 - 56 comments

"A Minute With Venus... A Year With Mercury!"

"During World War I, the [US] Army lost 7 million person-days and discharged more than 10,000 men because they were ailing from STDs. Once Penicillin kicked in in the mid-1940s, such infections were treatable. But as a matter of national security, the military started distributing condoms and aggressively marketing prophylactics to the troops in the early 20th century." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 1, 2010 - 45 comments

"No matter what ideas the human mind generates, they must never be quashed."

New Scientist Special Report: Living in Denial. Includes articles by Michael Shermer, founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 28, 2010 - 37 comments

“We have snakes in the newsroom.”

Cocaine, The CIA, And The Unification Church: A History of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and The Washington's Times influence on Washington and South America by Robert Parry
posted by The Whelk on May 11, 2010 - 14 comments

She's sweet 16 and never been kissed! Never!

Pamela's Prayer: This heartfelt motion picture presents the highest standard of purity before marriage. Remember, a kiss isn't something you should just give away!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on May 8, 2010 - 61 comments

How to Win Votes and Manipulate People

"Watch out! The Big Banks Support the Financial Reform in Congress, So It Must Be Stopped!" This public service message brought to you by... the Big Banks? Robert Reich elaborates.
posted by saulgoodman on May 6, 2010 - 13 comments

Atomic Tests

Atomic Test Archive. Histories of atomic testing by country, with video and photographic archives. The Information Films page is interesting: One can envision 50's dad smugly admiring his tidy yard through freshly vapourised retinas. Also: the one-hour declassified Ivy Mike film at the internet archive.
posted by Wolfdog on Apr 19, 2010 - 8 comments

Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters. . .

Leaked CIA Report: "Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters" (pdf / Scribed link here) outlines possible public relations / propaganda strategies to shore up public support in Germany and France for a continued war in Afghanistan.
posted by zarq on Mar 29, 2010 - 18 comments

"Black Genocide"

In the US, the conservative movement’s latest rallying cry against abortion claims pro-choice groups are conducting a systematic eugenics campaign to turn African Americans into an "endangered species." The idea is finding renewed traction and condemnation in Black communities. Several bloggers at RHRealityCheck are offering counter-arguments. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 2, 2010 - 151 comments

Objectivity Killed the News Star

"The symbiotic relationship between the press and the power elite worked for nearly a century. It worked as long as our power elite, no matter how ruthless or insensitive, was competent. But once our power elite became incompetent and morally bankrupt, the press, along with the power elite, lost its final vestige of credibility." "The Creed of Objectivity Killed the News" by Chris Hedges.
posted by AugieAugustus on Feb 2, 2010 - 51 comments

Trusting the FOX

Fox News is the most trusted news network in the United States, according to a new poll [.pdf] of 1,151 Americans conducted by Public Policy Polling (a polling firm with a mostly Democratic and progressive list of clients), the most trusted news network among Americans is FOX News, which was trusted by 49% of respondents (beating out CNN, MS-NBC, CBS, NBC, and ABC (though PBS was not included in the survey)). The pollsters conclude: “A generation ago you would have expected Americans to place their trust in the most neutral and unbiased conveyors of news,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But the media landscape has really changed and now they’re turning more toward the outlets that tell them what they want to hear.”
posted by washburn on Jan 26, 2010 - 126 comments

Human Relations in the new millenium

If you're going to kill off an entire section of a newspaper and fire all of the staffers who work there, it's probably a good idea to get the Twitter password first. [more inside]
posted by minimii on Jan 1, 2010 - 25 comments

It's Time To "Party"

November 13, 2001: Musical unknown Andrew W.K. (Previously 1, 2) releases his debut album "I Get Wet." It is a simple rock record of power chords and unabashed, un-ironic party music -- exemplified perfectly both by its first song, "It's Time To Party," or its lead single, "Party Hard" -- released during a month of American depression, paranoia, and insincerity that borders on nihilism. The album finds mainstream success, selling over 30K copies in its first three weeks, with songs from the record appearing in commercials, movies, and television shows, not to mention heavy rotation on MTV and awesome appearances on Conan and Saturday Night Live. [more inside]
posted by Damn That Television on Dec 30, 2009 - 355 comments

"Do not be alarmed. We are here to protect you."

ATTACKAZOIDS! ATTACKAZOIDS, DEPLOY!! [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Dec 20, 2009 - 13 comments

The People's Avengers

Klingon Propaganda [1:52](via)
posted by P.o.B. on Oct 27, 2009 - 35 comments

"... that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape"

Vulgar Army: Octoprop to Octopop is "an informal study into the representation of the Octopus in propaganda and political cartoons, and influence on, or co-option of, popular culture." [more inside]
posted by ollyollyoxenfree on Oct 10, 2009 - 10 comments

The blue state Sarah Palin

Michelle Cottle takes a look at the rise of Betsy "Death Panels" McCaughey - No Exit: The never-ending lunacy of Betsy McCaughey: Since her earliest days in the spotlight, McCaughey has presented herself as a just-the-facts-please, above-the-fray political outsider. In reality, she has proved devastatingly adept at manipulating charts and stats to suit her ideological (and personal) ambitions. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Oct 7, 2009 - 48 comments

The Three Human Bombs

The scene was the siege of Shanghai, the year 1932. It was more than half a year since the Mukden Incident had provided a pretext for Japan to invade Manchuria and begin moving down through Northern China. Three Imperial Japanese soldiers from an engineering division died in a bomb blast that took out a section of the Chinese fortifications, allowing Japanese forces to surge through the breach and advance. The fallen soldiers became known as the "Three Human Bombs" (Bakudan Sanyushi / 爆弾三勇士). Memorials were built and murals were painted and the Three Human Bombs were remembered as gallant and selfless heroes who gave their lives for the greater good of Japan, lauded on stage, in film, and in song. A military medal was created to award heroism in honor of the three. Problem is, it was all a lie. The story of the Three Human Bombs was one of the most successful propaganda campaigns of the early twentieth century.
posted by XMLicious on Sep 30, 2009 - 14 comments

Journalism - ethics + activism = propaganda

Mark Bowden tells us "The Story Behind the Story" in the October issue of The Atlantic: "With journalists being laid off in droves, ideologues have stepped forward to provide the “reporting” that feeds the 24-hour news cycle. The collapse of journalism means that the quest for information has been superseded by the quest for ammunition. A case-study of our post-journalistic age." [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Sep 22, 2009 - 62 comments

Advertising in the public interest

"What if America wasn't America?" That was the question posed by a series of ads broadcast in the wake of the September 11th attacks, ads which depicted a dystopian America bereft of liberty: Library - Diner - Church. Together with more positive ads like Remember Freedom and I Am an American, they encouraged frightened viewers to cherish their freedoms and defend against division and prejudice in the face of terrorism (seven years previously). The campaign was the work of the Ad Council, a non-profit agency that employs the creative muscle of volunteer advertisers to raise awareness for social issues of national importance. Founded during WWII as the War Advertising Council, the organization has been behind some of the most memorable public service campaigns in American history, including Rosie the Riveter, Smokey the Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, and the Crash Test Dummies. And the Council is still at it today, producing striking, funny, and above all effective PSAs on everything from student invention to global warming to arts education to community service.

Additional resources: A-to-Z index of Ad Council campaigns - Campaigns organized by category - Award-winning campaigns - PSA Central: A free download directory of TV, radio, and print PSAs (registration req'd) - An exhaustive history of the Ad Council [46-page PDF] - YouTube channel - Vimeo channel - Twitter feed
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 11, 2009 - 69 comments

Der ewige Jude

The day after Kristallnacht, Hitler said: "It was necessary not to make propaganda for violence as such, but to explain certain matters of foreign policy to the German people in such a way, that the inner voice of the people all by itself gradually would call for violence." Towards that end, Goebbels commissioned and closely supervised the production of a propaganda documentary titled Der ewige Jude - "The Eternal Jew". Few if any of the inhabitants of the Łódź Ghetto who appear in its footage survived the war. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Sep 1, 2009 - 11 comments

With whom it starts

Healthcare reform has agitated right-wing extremists and moneyed interests in the United States for some time — during the presidencies of FDR and Truman as well as Clinton and Obama, most recently — but where do the objections originate from, and particularly those which are known to be based on complete untruths? Some of these lies start with or are repeated by well-known right-wing media personalities, but there are other people who get the ball rolling, who are perhaps less well-known. Elizabeth "Betsy" McCaughey originated one of the current myths more commonly known as "death panels", but despite her attempts to market herself as a folksy voice fighting for the well-being of senior citizens, she has been an effective advocate for the interests of private health insurance companies since the early 1990s. [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 22, 2009 - 167 comments

Say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

The Corn Refiners Association has created a series of commercials to counter the increasing sentiment against high-fructose corn syrup. One commercial presents a lovely tableau of a couple in a park on a sunny day discussing how HFCS is not much to worry about (previously). A filmmaker reuses the technique to sell something a little bit less sweet.
posted by grouse on Aug 12, 2009 - 136 comments

Rosie's gone, but her legacy lives on

Rosalie Kunert, the inspiration behind the iconic Rosie the Riveter, passed away June 28 at the age of 86. Rosie's can-do spirit was captured in an ad campaign by J. Walter Thompson and sponsored by the Office of War Information and War Manpower Commission, designed to inspire other women to join the workforce during WWII. It worked - to the tune of two million new women on the job. [more inside]
posted by tizzie on Jul 8, 2009 - 16 comments

Essential Internet Appliances

Crap Detection 101 Howard Rheingold offers a fairly in-depth primer on media and internet BS detection. Lots of links to resources for enabling critical analysis of various information sources included.
posted by telstar on Jun 30, 2009 - 17 comments

Canadian War Posters

Canadian War Poster Collection at McGill University. And if that doesn't strike your fancy, the list of digital collections include such time-honoured favourites as Expo '67, and the award-winner for unexpected collection, Gynaecology in Traditional Chinese Medicine. (previously)
posted by flibbertigibbet on Jun 26, 2009 - 7 comments

The O'Reilly Procedure

The O'Reilly Procedure Roger Ebert waxes nostalgic about a calmer, more rational mediasphere and dissects the rhetorical strategies of Bill O'Reilly. [more inside]
posted by mecran01 on Jun 23, 2009 - 90 comments

It is available through churches and at Wal-Marts....

“They are brands that may not be considered cool by the often elitist and self-absorbed standards of New York media,” she said. She had taken a car from Manhattan that morning, and wore a pink wool shirt-dress, patent leather Manolo Blahnik heels, and diamond hoop earrings.

Reader's Digest jumps the shark. (NYT)
posted by squalor on Jun 19, 2009 - 177 comments

Proletarians of All Lands, Unite!

Peasant! Free your pregnant wife from work, don't allow her to pick up heavy items since this will harm her and the child. An excellent collection of vintage soviet propaganda, public health, and infographics posters from 20s to 30s, many with full translations.
posted by madamjujujive on Jun 7, 2009 - 17 comments

Brazil - a good neighbor

If you've ever heard the song Aquarela do Brasil (often called simply "Brazil" -- here's my favourite cover), then you'll probably enjoy this classic 1942 animation which first made it famous. The clip is the finale from the feature Saludos Amigos (hello friends), created during a US government-funded goodwill tour of South America aimed at strengthening Pan-American relations, which some argue may have helped bring South America onto the side of the Allies in World War II. [more inside]
posted by PercussivePaul on May 14, 2009 - 25 comments

United States surrenders, terror, drugs win.

Without much fanfare, the Global War on Terror has ended. The new name for these military interventions is the Overseas Contingency Operation. Press Q&A. Some Republican representatives discuss. (SPOILER: They are not pleased.) Military blogs discuss. Similarly, the War on Drugs also looks to be on the way out, though no new name for the project has been announced at this time.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim on May 14, 2009 - 53 comments

War? Well only as a favor to you, George.

What lingering doubts anyone might have about the case for war in Iraq took another body blow today, as the former deputy director of MI6, claimed Britain had been "dragged into" the war. [more inside]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on May 4, 2009 - 28 comments

100 Days of Obama: the Flickr Potustream

After one hundred days, the wait is over: Pete Souza's Gargantuan Presidential High-Definition Executive Flickrdump is here. Warning: If you put it on fullscreen you won't get anything else done for a while.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 28, 2009 - 45 comments

NIOBY

In Our Own Backyard: Resisting Nazi Propaganda In Southern California 1933 - 1945, a digital exhibition from the Oviatt Library at Cal State Northridge. "The Nazi Propaganda period, 1933 to 1945, chronicles a crucial twelve years in American history. This exhibit's story about the local threat to American ideals demonstrates how European events reached across the ocean and affected people in Southern California -- in our own backyard." Magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, stickers and more. [more inside]
posted by dersins on Apr 10, 2009 - 33 comments

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