The March FTB Podish-Sortacast (Non-fiction)

I made an appearance with my fellow Freethought Bloggers last weekend. This month we talked about propaganda, how it works, and what it is exactly:

My additional thoughts: Obviously propaganda isn’t limited to certain ideologies, and everyone has the potential to be swayed by it. In college, I got caught up in the arm-chair revolutionary left, and at times I can see similarities in the mindset with Q-anon and Trump followers. Likewise, there were people I knew in college who were swept up in far-Right propaganda.

We touched on getting out of the propaganda trap. It took a while for me to get out. It probably helped that I didn’t fully buy into the Tankie mindset, and that was one reason I had a falling out with the group I was in. I also took the time to find sources I could trust that were outside the bubble I was in. It also helped me to find a new group of friends and discover one of the earliest online communities. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill or method that can reprogram anyone.

Lastly, I think the panel discussed the difference between propaganda and marketing. After the podcast, I realized that one difference is that good marketing is about presenting a product or service to an audience that might be interested. I’m still working on the marketing for my stories, but I certainly won’t be trying to convert Christian Fundamentalists to love them. My focus will be more on fans of the Babbler, FtB readers, and others who might like it. Propaganda, in some sense, is a more sinister version of Marketing that tries to suck you in and keep you trapped.



  1. says

    I discussed this a bit with Kristjan and HJ afterward and I’m thinking the only way for a society to reduce pernicious propaganda is with strong regulatory laws on speech. I know freethinkety crowds such as ours tend to favor totally unrestricted speech, tho our side of the rift has certainly had a lot of prime examples of “counter bad speech with more speech” being wildly inadequate to the reality of fascist movements.

    I’m not saying what exactly those laws should look like but one strong idea would be legal penalties for complete falsehoods. In the USA there are rarely any consequences for telling bald-faced lies in politics, and the laws for advertising are poorly enforced. That might be a good start.

  2. JM says

    A good example of propaganda can be seen in the sudden spread of news articles talking about military action near the borders of NATO countries like it is unexpected. Ukraine borders several NATO countries and as Russia moves west this was going to happen. In fact, with NATO supplying Ukrainian forces it had better have been expected that Russia would prioritize bases near the border that would be easy locations for transferring weapons.
    There are new risks involved as the fighting nears the border but they are not unexpected or sudden surprises.

  3. says

    SGA: Like I said after the podcast, it’s very hard to come up with those kinds of laws. To clarify, there’s a risk that such laws could be misapplied or even abused. Like how the CDC was compromised under the Trump administration. Now I don’t believe in total free speech, and I think people should be held accountable for what they write/say. (Knock on wood.) But we need to be very careful when it comes to laws and government restrictions on speech.

    JM: I’m not sure if its deliberate deception, or just overhype done by the media. It’s not a surprise unless it’s a pundit who thought Putin would only take the disputed provinces and wait to take the rest of Ukraine.

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