We have met the enemy and he is us.–Pogo (Walt Kelly)
Can we recognize foreign propaganda? Often not, because the ideas are our own.
In the 1956 movie, Forbidden Planet, Dr. Edward Morbius has discovered and mastered powerful machinery that magnifies his thoughts. The catch is that his malign, unconscious thoughts are magnified as well has his benign, conscious thoughts threatening even his beloved daughter. (“Forbidden Planet” reminds one of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”)
Sometimes we may learn of a source of propaganda, when uncovered by the FBI or censored by facebook. Most often, we will only recognize it by its content, if at all.
I have no doubt that Donald Trump dislikes courts and judges which rule against him–he has made that clear. Likewise, I have no doubt that foreign propagandist have seized on this idea and promoted it in an attempt to undermine respect for our courts and our laws.
Distaste for Planned Parenthood is nothing new. It may be rooted in our fear of impotency. Yet I have no doubt that recent attempts to demonize that organization are based on something more–a desire, likely of foreign origin, to divide us into warring camps.
The idea that Donald Trump and his associates are being unfairly persecuted by corrupt officials can also be traced to Trump’s own words. Yet again, this highly divisive idea is likely being promoted by foreign actors.
How can we recognize foreign propaganda? One can wonder, if something seems wrong or unlikely, can it be true? One might ask if the latest idea is our own idea. or was it planted in our mind by someone else?