The recent attention given to the Russian government propaganda as being a driving force behind the Clinton loss or circumventing American democracy is laughable at best and propaganda itself. The following article ran in the most predominant position on the front page of the Washington Post.
Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say
Washington Post - The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation. Read more
It was not so much the content of the article but the prominence given. Has the Russian government been evolved in spreading propaganda? Well of course. It's a game we've all been playing since the beginning of communication no doubt. Let's face the facts. We don't need help from the Russians, Chinese, or Macedonian school kids. We are very good at it and we have no scruples turning in against ourselves as well as our international competitors and allies. I dare say we are #1. The best, as we have had a lot of practice in deception.
Anyone who has viewed Fox News, read The Drudge Report, or listened to Rush Limbaugh without the express purpose of mindlessly entertaining themselves or reinforcing their already held beliefs, came away at best bewildered by the inaccuracies and obvious propaganda factor. Of course these three are just the tip of the giant propaganda iceberg. Propaganda permeates throughout our media to fill every available crack and crevice of our attention. Not all has a malevolent purpose but the "thinking man" is one who questions everything and it's intended purpose.
Parsing The Truth
Anyone who grew up under the influence of Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite and then teleported to today should be appalled by the amount of bias in the media. Even the fact checkers that have sprung up to check the media are often wrong or "part true" or "part false" as they like to put it. Which only makes them "part" fact checkers. It's either true or false. Anything "true" but stated in a way to mislead is simply false.
With a little practice, a lot of the propaganda is easy to spot. The hardest, though, is the propaganda of omission and misdirection. And that's what most of the major media outlets are good at. It is their forte because anything can be labeled a mere oversight and very effective except to those paying attention.
A good example comes today. On the front page of the New York Times is a mere link to a small story claiming Clinton supporters are calling for a recount of the election in 3 states. In fact it is Jill Stein and the Green Party calling for the recount and they have raised over $4 million to pay for the recounts in a little over 24 hours which is an extraordinary outpouring of public concern. Jill Stein is no supporter of Clinton but is a supporter of clean and fair elections. When you know The Times also relegated Bernie Sanders to small stories on back pages, if any at all, it then is obvious they are mainly biased towards the establishment status quo.
What is obvious even to the casual observer is that the establishment is under attack in the US, Europe, China, and most other parts of the world. Why? Because their neoliberal economic polices have allowed the 80 richest people to own 50% of the world's assets. It's obscene and unfair. And people don't like unfair. The world's financial elites and their enablers have used all methods of deviant behavior including warfare, torture, propaganda, repression, and cheating to keep themselves enriched and at the top of the dung heap.
What Can We do
Democracy is broken in many governments. We can't be sure exactly when it happened but the main reason it happened is clear: manufactured consent by the major media outlets. When the press presents only one side of a story or gives equal time to a bogus story, they are putting their thumb on the scale and influencing and manufacturing people's opinions (and votes). By ignoring certain events that are taking place, and placing undue emphasis on other events, they manipulate public opinion. It's up to each of us to clear the smoke and look beyond the mirrors before giving our consent. And that only takes practice.