Propaganda is produced and orchestrated by human beings. We can argue that there are two kinds of people producing propaganda:
- Liars or dishonest: Those are the people who say, write or defend opinions that they know they are not conform with facts as they perceive them. For example when a dictator says we are living in freedom and democracy and he knows that it’s not true, we can call or classify him in this category of propaganda producer.
- Innocent or naive: Those are the people who say, write or defend opinions fitting with a propaganda, but they are neither lying, nor expressing those opinions with the intention to induce people into error. For example when a head of a Western democratic state in Europe or America says we are living in freedom and democracy, he may be not lying, but in the same time his opinions could not correspond with the actual facts and could thus be part of the propaganda.
In everyday life, in media, social media and TV, it is not always easy to detect who could be part of an orchestrated propaganda, and who is just contributing in a naive way to it.
As a practical case, let’s analyze for example a short text published on Facebook by Dex Torricke-Barton. Dex presents himself as the Head of Communications at SpaceX, the former speechwriter for Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Eric Schmidt (Google), and also the former speechwriter and spokesperson for the Office of the UN Secretary-General. Here is the integral text that we presume he published on his Facebook on October 17th 2016:
Nearly 100,000 Iraqi troops, supported by allied forces from the US, UK, France and other countries, are currently engaged in the battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS.
Mosul is Iraq’s second-largest city, and around 1.5 million civilians are in the battlezone.
It’s easy to miss the real news of the day when everyone is focused on the latest inanities and insanity of the Trump campaign. But right now, on the other side of the planet, thousands of people are fighting for the freedom of the world. That’s the real story.
The Iraqi people are our people too. Mosul is our city too. This is our battle too.
Now, the interesting sentence we can focus on is “(…), thousands of people are fighting for the freedom of the world”. It would be here very unlikely to presume the fact that Dex Torricke-Barton ignore the fact that the American troops who went to “free” the Iraqis killed much more civilians ISIS and created much more trouble than ISIS. The word “freedom” used back then by George W. Bush, his administration and his allies, and all the campaign orchestrated against the Iraqi regime has been afterwards recognized as a propaganda; many recognized it even as a big mistake and a failure. In 2016, Tony Blair himself expressed “sorrow, regret and apology” about the failure of the military intervention in Irak.
Read also: World war and propaganda
Let’s assume that Dex Torricke-Barton cannot ignore those facts. So if he is saying that the fight in Mosul is a fight “for the freedom”, what does he mean exactly? Why does he believe that those “thousands of people” will offer freedom to the people of Mosul? How can he know that they wouldn’t be worse than ISIS but that their actions and behaviors would be just occulted by Western Media like it was the case under the government of Nouri al-Maliki after the fall of Saddam Hussein?
So if we conclude that this text published on the Facebook account of Dex Torricke-Barton looks like contributing to an orchestrated and powerful propaganda, the real question and the most interesting one remains unsolved:
Was Dex Torricke-Barton lying or was he just naive?
If he is lying, what are his motivations?
If he is naive, how did he manage to have such a curriculum?
Only Dex Torricke-Barton can know the answers to those questions. For it is, in matter of propaganda, not always easy to determinate with a high degree of certainty who is a liar and who is a naive.