Goebbels in the modern world

I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong with using Goebbels as a metaphor for political lying. Goebbels is known for pointing out the value of the “big lie”, no one defends lying in politics, and Goebbels was the propaganda minister of one of the most sinister governments ever to find its way to power. As Andrew Bolt points out, those now acting horror-struck by such comparisons were quite happy to apply the phrase to others, and did so without the media going off the planet.

Let us therefore look at what Goebbels actually said:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Let me adjust this for the way things work in the modern world:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the media can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the media to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of political parties of the left.”

Take their ABC. No one is in the slightest doubt that the ABC will never willingly say anything that damages Labor, and will say anything it can get away with to damage the Coalition. This is universally known and is only denied pro forma by the ABC itself. The ABC is the propaganda unit of the Labor Party. It does everything it can to protect the Labor party from its own incompetence. And the ABC is far from the full extent of the problem. No one who reads a paper with care is unaware of the political biases of each of the writers. In some places you get balance and in others you get such imbalance that you no longer even bother.

As noted here in relation to the Ferguson Riots in the United States, it was the propagation of a series of lies across the media that caused a minor incident to lead to a major racial crisis in the United States which led to deaths and shootings of police officers as a direct result. With a touch of exaggeration at the end he writes: “Of course, if liberals weren’t willing to tell lies — and fools weren’t ready to believe lies — no Democrat could ever get elected.”

Media bias has deeply corrupted our political process. The cure I do not know, but the problem is manifest and continues to cause great harm.

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