A new parody website satirizes PropOrNot, the shady, McCarthyite group that created a blacklist of left-wing and libertarian news outlets and smeared them as vehicles for “Russian propaganda.”
Glenn Greenwald and I published an article in The Intercept that exposes PropOrNot — and the incredibly shoddy editorial standards of The Washington Post, which uncritically regurgitated the anonymous group’s supposed findings.
The domain name of the parody website is PropOrNot.org — a stinging and subtle variation on the original group’s PropOrNot.com.
The sardonic site cleverly writes:
In recent decades, the production of propaganda has boomed, but its quality has plummeted. If current trends continue, dire consequences may ensue that could undermine the ability of propaganda to hold together our complex society.
Propaganda has brought us so many good things: support for US entry into World War I, approval of interning Japanese residents during World War II, and more recently, the Iraq War, which liberated a nation from a tyrant as the first step toward bringing freedom and democracy to other oppressed Middle Eastern countries.
Good propaganda is like Muzak: pleasant, background noise that calms our frazzled nerves and lulls us into a sense of relaxation while waiting for an airline flight or a root canal. It helps us sort a complicated and changing world into friends and not-friends.
As the demand for propaganda has risen, though, quality has collapsed. Let’s look at a case study: a site that uses our name, but whose propaganda efforts failed even measured by today’s watered-down standards.
The list of propaganda resources the parody PropOrNot suggests is the caustic cherry on top:
Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion
Edward Bernays, Propaganda
Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
Models to Follow
Leni Riefenstahl, Der Sieg des Glaubens
Leni Riefenstahl, Triumph des Willens
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
D. W. Griffith, Birth of a Nation
George P. Cosmatos, Rambo First Blood Part II
Sylvester Stallone, Rocky IV
John Milius, Red Dawn
George Orwell, Politics and the English Language
George Orwell, All Art Is Propaganda
George Orwell, 1984
Alex Carey, Taking the Risk Out of Democracy
Robert Parry, “The Victory of ‘Perception Management,'” Consortium News
Ryan Grim, “Kill The Messenger: How The Media Destroyed Gary Webb,” Huffington Post
Nick Schou, “Ex-L.A. Times Writer Apologizes for ‘Tawdry’ Attacks,” Los Angeles Weekly