Propaganda has completely changed and everyone is trying to figure out what comes next

Author: Adam Button | Category: News

Mass communication is available to everyone


What is power?

Sure, it's the ability to pass laws, marshal armed forces and launch missiles. But it's also the ability to get people to do what you want.

The easiest way to do that is to connect with them directly and that's where the rules have been upended. Not only that, but the official word now competes on virtually even terms with rumors and misinformation.

The New York Times writes about propaganda today in a story that's well-worth reading. They speak to Putin's press secretary about the wave of media-inspired protests and uprisings. What's clear is that the Kremlin believes that events like Ukraine's orange revolution and the events that followed were spurred by western propaganda. Now they're fighting back

The transformation and acceleration of information technology, Peskov said, had unmoored the global economy from real value. Perception alone could move markets or crash them. "We've never seen bubbles like we've seen in the greatest economy in the world, the United States," he said. The same free flow of information had produced "a new clash of interests," and so began "an informational disaster - an informational war."

What's more is that he argues that it's a dangerous landscape for every government, because individuals can wield enormous influence.

By way of example, he pointed to "this girl, from show business, Kim Kardashian." Kardashian is among the most popular people in all of social media, with 55 million Twitter followers, nearly 18 million more than President Trump. "Let's imagine that one day she says, 'My supporters - do this,' " Peskov said. "This will be a signal that will be accepted by millions and millions of people. And she's got no intelligence, no interior ministry, no defense ministry, no K.G.B." This, he said, was the new reality: the global proliferation of the kinds of reach and influence that were once reserved for the great powers and, more recently, great media conglomerates. Even Peskov sounded slightly amazed considering the possibilities. "The new reality creates a perfect opportunity for mass disturbances," he said, "or for initiating mass support or mass disapproval."

This is the information age and that means information is power. If that wasn't obvious a year ago, it is today.

What would be easy to believe and easy to counter would be if all the discontent was truly some kind of government campaign. What would be much harder to swallow would be, like Marshall McLuhan said "the medium is the message. That the democratization of new media means that new ideas and false ideas are just far more easy to spread and believe.

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