Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Quote of the Day (Eric Hoffer, on ‘The Gifted Propagandist’)

“The truth seems to be that propaganda on its own cannot force its way into unwilling minds; neither can it inculcate something wholly new; nor can it keep people persuaded once they have ceased to believe. It penetrates only into minds already open, and rather than instill opinion it articulates and justifies opinions already present in the minds of its recipients. The gifted propagandist brings to a boil ideas and passions already simmering in the minds of his hearers. he echoes their innermost feelings. Where opinion is not coerced, people can be made to believe only in what they already ‘know.’"—American social and political philosopher Eric Hoffer (1902–1983), The True Believer: Thoughts on The Nature of Mass Movements (1951)

Before many of us celebrate the Fox News firing of Tucker Carlson, we should recall that the audience that believed his propaganda—including those who even rained death threats on the objects of his rants—is still out there, unconverted and waiting for a suitable successor (much as Carlson himself filled the shoes of Bill O’Reilly after the latter was upended by sexual-harassment accusations).

It is possible that Carlson himself could come back on one of the Fox News competitors that the network feared, at the time of the January 6, 2021 insurrection, could be undercutting its “brand.”

Moreover, even after the disastrous U.K. phone hacking scandal of a decade ago, the Murdochs managed to bounce back to perpetrate more damage across their global empire.

But what the Dominion scandal—and the burgeoning lawsuits that Fox faces now—shows is that, though the network might be unchastened, it does not follow that it is completely unaccountable before the law. At least from now on, they will have to be less brazen if they don’t want their bottom line to suffer.

No comments: