Saturday, August 28, 2010

Beck & Goebbels Propaganda

Glen Beck’s Restoring Honor rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Is reminiscent of a similar event July 9, 1933.  Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda and intellectual architect of Hitler’s Nazi party, delivered a speech, “The Storm is Coming.” Like Beck, Goebbel’s purpose was to work the populace into a frenzy of opposition to the existing political order, and against Jews in particular. Few of Beck’s followers seem familiar with the similarity of propaganda tactics that eventually brought Hitler to power and led to the Holocaust and World War II.  

Beck’s desecration of the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech makes use two of Goebbel’s most important Propaganda Principles*: “If you tell a lie often enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” and “Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.”  Beck projects his own racism on President Obama, labeling him racist and thereby seeks to turn whites against blacks, fomenting racial hatred and conflict in America.  Goebbels remarked at the 1933 Nuremburg rally**, “The insane belief in equality that found its crassest expression in political parties is no more,” which fits in well with Mr. Beck’s own propaganda scheme.  As in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Beck views some (white Christians) as more equal than others.  Among those least likely to be equal are racial. ethnic and religious minorities, and people with disabilities, like autism.

If you are not old enough to remember the consequences of America’s initial reticence about the rise of Nazism in Germany in the 1930s, and the role of Goebbel’s propaganda machine in particular, it is worth perusing the German Propaganda Archive that is available on line.  It will make you think again about the consequences of Glen Beck’s virulent propaganda program. 

*See:  Leonard W. Doob (1954) Goebbels' Principles of Propaganda, in Daniel Katz (ed) Public Opinion and Propaganda; A Book of Readings. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

**“Rassenfrage und Weltpropaganda,” Reichstagung in Nürnberg 1933 (Berlin: Vaterländischer Verlag C. A. Weller, 1933), pp. 131-142. Translated in German Propaganda Archive,   Accessed 8-27-10

No comments:

Post a Comment