Archive for the ‘THE “MIGHTY WURLITZER”’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THINK TANKS RIGHTLY CALLED “FRONTS” BY A WRITER – A WORD MUCH USED IN THE COLD WAR FOR INSTITUTIONS THE FBI THOUGHT COVERTLY SPONSORED BY THE SOVIETS FITS WELL THESE AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS SPONSORED BY AMERICAN WEALTH – WHAT THEY DO – THE HUGE ELECTROMAGNETIC CLOUD OF ADVERTISING AND PROPAGANDA IN WHICH WE ARE IMMERSED   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY PHILIP GIRALDI IN THE UNZ REVIEW

 

“Old Ideas in New Bottles

“A new front group preaches restraint while embracing interventionism” [Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft]

 

It is interesting that Philip Giraldi calls American think tanks “fronts.”

That was a term much used during the Cold War for various organizations around the world regarded by the FBI or CIA as covertly sponsored by the Soviet Union.

It works well for American think tanks, which I’ve traditionally referred to as “propaganda mills.”

Of course, that is really the job of any of them, getting out propaganda and disinformation under the guise of disinterested analysis by experts.

The experts are often given high-blown academic-sounding titles, as Senior Fellow, and an effort is made to keep the tone and appearance of an academic campus.

But the papers, books, films, and speeches of any of them are anything but disinterested. They always have a bias, with each of the many such organizations specializing in a subject or range of subjects of concern to its chief wealthy sponsor or sponsors.

I don’t understand the gullibility of Americans on the matter of think tanks.  Many seem to believe that extremely wealthy people are supporting genuinely neutral analysis just for the public good. Commercial news sources – as television and radio stations and others – frequently cite think-tank output as though it offered facts. Of course, the various news media are getting free “filler” for their programs while effectively serving as megaphones for the institutions. Their citations also tend to reinforce the authority of think tanks.

Seems a naïve belief, but this is America we are talking about, the land of P. T. Barnum, Madison Avenue, and Wall Street. Why would anyone believe that extremely wealthy individuals and organizations would fork over millions of dollars a year just to advance human knowledge? Even when wealthy people do pay for a genuine academic facility or library, they want it named after themselves.

And a really ugly truth in America is that many “real” universities now are much engaged in the same business, either through an institute of some kind or more generally with the many rules and restrictions put on publication of controversial matters.  The practices exist because they are profitable and to avoid offending some donor or donors.

America, where people are, for their entire lifetimes, submerged in a kind of electromagnetic cloud of advertising and propaganda of all descriptions. From selling Twinkies and military recruitment to hamburgers and candidates for office. Americans, who believed well after the terrible invasion of Iraq that they just hadn’t yet found where Saddam hid all those “weapons of mass destruction,” or, years after the holocaust of Vietnam, that the communists were still hiding American prisoners of war somewhere for some unknown dark purpose.

So just like the old CIA disinformation man who once spoke of sitting down to his “mighty Wurlitzer,” its keys representing the various cooperating commercial publications, to get “something out there,” think tanks represent another approach to doing the same thing.

The “fake news” controversy in recent years and “fact checking” operations suggest how thickly clouded over things have become, for they themselves are just new kinds of flim-flam intended to misguide or confuse. Everyone of almost any consequence in America is engaged in selling you something. Only the individual, and with considerable effort, can sort his or her way through it all.