I found this definition of propaganda ....
And I just wonder if people can recall (even read current examples of ) classic propaganda events / news relases etc.
I guess the Nazis would have been amongst the first to perfect this stuff. Since then it has been copied by the Communists - and of course our own politicians (imo).
But this definition of propaganda was given during questioning of Ayn Rand at the House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities (commonly known as the House Un-American Activities Committee, or HUAC1) on October 20, 1947 - a few years before McCarthy, but similar.
Next post I'll add some cross-examination. I'm not saying she's entirely wrong . But she sure as hell comes to the subject with her own prejudices.
I mean, I wonder if Ayn would give the Russians credit that they lost 23,000,000 people during WWII - compared to USA's 420,000. (i.e. 55 Russians died for each US death).
And that a lot of Americans were almost certainly not aware of that fact then (or now for that matter)
so the USA wouldn't do something like that?Stripling: Did you at the request of Mr. Smith, the investigator for this committee, view the picture Song of Russia?
...Stripling: In Hollywood?
Stripling: Would you give the committee a break-down of your summary of the picture relating to either propaganda or an untruthful account or distorted account of conditions in Russia?
First of all I would like to define what we mean by propaganda. We have all been talking about it, but nobody --
Stripling: Could you talk into the microphone?
Rand: Can you hear me now? Nobody has stated just what they mean by propaganda. Now, I use the term to mean that Communist propaganda is anything which gives a good impression of communism as a way of life. Anything that sells people the idea that life in Russia is good and that people are free and happy would be Communist propaganda. Am I not correct? I mean, would that be a fair statement to make -- that that would be Communist propaganda?
Now, here is what the picture Song of Russia contains. It starts with an American conductor, played by Robert Taylor,14 giving a concert in America for Russian war relief. He starts playing the American national anthem and the national anthem dissolves into a Russian mob, with the sickle and hammer on a red flag very prominent above their heads. I am sorry, but that made me sick. That is something which I do not see how native Americans permit, and I am only a naturalized American. That was a terrible touch of propaganda.
btw Ayn - if things were tough before the revolution, Do you think perhaps that's why they had the revolution?As a writer, I can tell you just exactly what it suggests to the people. It suggests literally and technically that it is quite all right for the American national anthem to dissolve into the Soviet. The term here is more than just technical. It really was symbolically intended, and it worked out that way. The anthem continues, played by a Soviet band. That is the beginning of the picture.
....... The picture then goes into a scene of Moscow, supposedly. I don't know where the studio got its shots, but I have never seen anything like it in Russia. First you see Moscow buildings -- big, prosperous-looking, .....
..... The streets are clean and prosperous-looking. There are no food lines anywhere. You see shots of the marble subway -- the famous Russian subway out of which they make such propaganda capital. There is a marble statue of Stalin thrown in. There is a park where you see happy little children in white blouses running around.
...... Then they attend a luxurious dance. I don't know where they got the idea of the clothes and the settings that they used at the ball and --
Stripling: Is that a ballroom scene?
Rand: Yes; the ballroom -- where they dance. It was an exaggeration even for this country. I have never seen anybody wearing such clothes and dancing to such exotic music when I was there. Of course, it didn't say whose ballroom it is or how they get there. But there they are -- free and dancing very happily.
.... the time I saw it, which was in 1926, was the best time since the Russian revolution. At that time conditions were a little better than they have become since.
......The Russian villages are something -- so miserable and so filthy. They were even before the revolution.
so at least she credits them with knowing something about music - and chess I guess -Now, here is the life in the Soviet village as presented in Song of Russia. You see the happy peasants. ....
Now, here comes the crucial point of the picture. In the midst of this concert, .... you see a scene on the border of the U.S.S.R. You have a very lovely modernistic sign saying "U.S.S.R." I would just like to remind you that that is the border where probably thousands of people have died trying to escape out of this lovely paradise. It shows the U.S.S.R. sign, and there is a border guard standing. He is listening to the concert. Then there is a scene inside kind of a guardhouse where the guards are listening to the same concert, the beautiful Tschaikowsky music, and they are playing chess.
"that a choice group of .. leaders will tell the people lies " - you're kidding!!Suddenly there is a Nazi attack on them. The poor, sweet Russians were unprepared.
Now, then, the heroine decides that she wants to stay in Russia. Taylor would like to take her out of the country, but she says no, her place is here, she has to fight the war. Here is the line, as nearly exact as I could mark it while watching the picture:
"I have a great responsibility to my family, to my village, and to the way I have lived."
Now, here is what I cannot understand at all: if the excuse that has been given here is that we had to produce the picture in wartime, just how can it help the war effort? If it is to deceive the American people, if it were to present to the American people a better picture of Russia than it really is, then that sort of an attitude is nothing but the theory of the Nazi elite -- that a choice group of intellectual or other leaders will tell the people lies for their own good. That I don't think is the American way of giving people information. We do not have to deceive the people at any time, in war or peace.
My whole point about the picture is this: I fully believe Mr. Mayer when he says that he did not make a Communist picture. To do him justice, I can tell you I noticed, by watching the picture, where there was an effort to cut propaganda out. I believe he tried to cut propaganda out of the picture, but the terrible thing is the carelessness with ideas, not realizing that the mere presentation of that kind of happy existence in a country of slavery and horror is terrible because it is propaganda. You are telling people that it is all right to live in a totalitarian state.
Stripling: That is all I have, Mr. Chairman.