What Is Propaganda?
December 27, 2005
Wrethchard over at the Belmont Club, (Wretchard is his writing name. He's actually a Filipino living in Australia who has a military background. His writing about the war in Iraq has been very good and his predictions have been very accurate.) has been discussing propaganda. The propaganda of the media, the terrorist and the U.S. government. Today he was making the point that if the "reporter's" predictions of the future are consistently wrong then that's a good sign it's propaganda, whether the reporter believes it to be or not. He then related this very interesting story, about his grandfather's experience in the Philippines during WW II, to support his point:
As a child, I listened to my grandfather recall how, during the War, Japanese-controlled radio nightly reported sinking half a dozen American battleships, a score of destroyers and countless aircraft carriers -- day after day. MacArthur, they said, would never return. Then one morning in late 1944 as gramps was walking along Manila Bay he heard the strange drone of approaching aircraft. As it happened, my father (he had not yet met my mother) was walking along the outer perimeter of Nielsen Field some miles away at that same moment and saw two Zeros begin to roll down the runway in a desperate scramble to get airborne. They got a few hundred feet into the air when Hellcats came right down onto the deck and shot them both down before his astonished eyes. Bam, and they were gone. Grandpa climbed the highest building he could find and watched, amazed, as carrier aircraft sank every Japanese vessel in the harbor, until but one resisted, settled on the shallow bottom. On the fantail of that single vessel, one dogged Japanese sailor kept up a steady fire with his Hotchkiss until a naval fighter came right to the water and traded tracers with the brave Japanese sailor until he was no more. What died that day wasn't simply the shipping in the harbor; nor even the Zeros at Nielsen Field, but the credibility of every Japanese-controlled radio station. What propaganda fears above all is truth.
Read the whole thing here.