Lies, Damn Lies, and Propaganda.


“If it bleeds, it leads” is an old newsroom aphorism which acknowledges that the more horrific the story the more people will be attracted to it. But, since by defintion such stories often deal with human tragedy, it’s only human nature that people, needing to know what happened so that they might empathise, would be attracted.

Another old media maxim, which appeals to a less savoury aspect of human nature, that of wanting to know the forbidden, hidden or the salaceous, goes; “News is something that somebody somewhere doesn’t want published – all the rest is advertisng.” Which is why stories that expose the secret side of people’s doings, especially of those in high places, also often lead the news.

Because these old truisms work to attract people’s attention and interest, it’s no accident that those reporting the news exploit them. And, also being well aware of the opportunities offered by such proclivities, it’s no accident that such established truisms are exploited by those producing political propaganda.

For any news story to be considered complete and so acceptable for publication, whatever its content, it is required to fulfill the criteria of having answered the questions; Who? What? Where? When? Why?  And that’s a rule common to the reporting of events in other constituencies too, like the police accounts of crimes for instance. 

Using established rules to report the facts of an event is one thing. but to exploit them to subliminally manipulate our understanding of events, especially when the consequences of a false understanding can have such deadly repercussions, is a threat most people don’t realise they face every day. 

Taking full advantage not only of people’s natural inclination to empathise with the victims of disaster, but also their less-wholesome craving to know things that are salacious or secret, a recent post on The Daily Blog pressed every button. 

Included in a piece written by someone who, although we’ve never met, I consider a friend and greatly respect, the text repeated every propaganda trope which the MSM has been feeding us these past years, claiming; 

“Putin is a KGB thug who probably bombed his own people in Moscow to start a barbaric war with Chechnya. He is homophobic beyond belief and he started a war in the Ukraine…” And, it went on, China is; “a paranoid, aggressively authoritarian regime with mass surveillance powers that sells body organs, commits genocides and has devastated Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang.”

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Now while such claims may or may not be true, the fact that my friend then went on to vehemently attack China for reportedly developing new digital technologies designed to enable the Communist party to secretly persuade party officials to “follow the party line,” seemed to be rather ironic if not hypocritical.

How could it be that my thoughtful, committed and passionate friend could declare as true every anti-Russia, anti-China propaganda trope pushed by the mainstream media to engineer our thinking, and in the next paragraph attack China for its efforts to refine its ability to do the very same thing, albeit it in a spooky way?

Perhaps it was “the spooky” nature of this “reported” new Chinese technology that upset my friend, which we could discuss, but that he should use a set of hoary old tropes, each just as “spookily” slipped in our brains as facts, to enhance his argument was surprising to say the least.

We’ve all seen, heard or read the MSM reports of these allegations levelled at Russia and China.  But, unless my friend has access to proofs we aren’t privy to, each and every one of them is countered by readily available and authoritative rebuttals, but not published in our media, which either clearly refute such claims, or otherwise explain their context. 

All that aside, until we demand that we be told all there is to be known on any given subject, in which case our understanding of important issues would at least be evenly split, our discourse will continue to be overwhelmingly and vehemently reflective of the MSM’s one-sided narrative.

And as we see our Prime Minister having to obsequiously parrot the same nonsense so that our pitiful economy might stagger on, risking as it does that our little Pacific nation will end up on the wrong side of history, such an imperative could not be more important.  

Suffice it to say, as one who has had a close association with the advertising newspaper and PR, industries over many years, when it comes to manipulating the minds of men, electronically or however otherwise, China and Russia are late starters – very late starters!

Malcolm Evans.

PS – recommended; “The Hidden Persuaders,” a book written in 1957 by Vance Packard, which the New York Times described as; “A brisk, authoritative and frightening report on how manufacturers, fundraisers and politicians are trying to turn our minds into a catatonic dough that will buy, give or vote at their command.”

Who Rules: The Power of The Media | Propaganda | ENDEVR Documentary

Propaganda: Power and Persuasion – Defining Propaganda;



  1. Until they put RT back on TV/YouTube…I cannot accept everything that the MSM tells me…many Kiwis can work out bold face lies.

  2. Classic morally bankrupt Evans: apologising once more for the indefensible. Russia and China with 70 million (conservative estimate) dead citizens between them and counting. Repellent. Sickening.

    • I erred on the light side. The total for the 2 Communist regimes is 100 million dead. 70 million is just China. Some historians claim the figure is closer to 250 million in total.

      • claim your $150 grocery voucher.
        Which of these countries used nuclear weapons on civilians?
        A)Russia B)U.S.A C)China.

      • Gaby: “I erred on the light side.”

        When you quote figures as to deaths, it’s best to provide reputable links, so as to support your assertions. Those would be…..?

  3. Yeah!
    It’s not as if Putin has been beating up protesters, murdering journalists, assassinating political opponents or poisoning Russian dissents overseas is it…
    Oh wait!

    • Yes the US and the West in a wider sense have their faults however with Evans it appears that his pathological hatred of both translates into not only turning a blind eye to the many faults exhibited presently by Russia and China but justifying and condoning their actions.

  4. adam curtis gets to the core on many things, the problem is his conclusions and arguments don’t fit on bumper stickers so fly over the heads of most.

    kind of psychogeography of history.

    I would also recommend oliver stones history of america, agree or disagree with his conclusions you can’t fault him on the facts.

    • @Gagarin, yes Curtis manages to present complex issues and historical trends with great clarity but you cannot get it on a bumpers sticker and worse you are sure as hell are not going to get it on the nightly news.

      Thanks for the OS tip.

    • sorry, lying ukrainian nazi defender gaby sez wot?

      any news on my illusory constant references to ‘palestine’ yet, thought not,
      care to apologise? thought not.

  5. One of the things I’d like to know is where the PM accesses information. And by this I mean reasonably impartial, factual knowledge. The government seems woefully uninformed in both national and international spheres.

    It seems to be a part of a narrow tribal and popularity mindset. And of course the problem is culture-wide and includes the opposition parties.

    Sides, spins and potential outcomes must be able to be challenged within honest self examination, and at least to some extent set aside by seekers and conveyers of information. What to do, believe, understand and what to do, has to come after the facts and not be inextricably bound up in ideological or egoistic agendas in its collection and dissemination.

    • Its 1984, the PM doesnt access information! There is only one truth and that is ‘our’ truth.

      The whole government operates in a vacuum. Meritocracy has gone, accomplished committed workers have been pushed out of Govt departments in favour of people with the right beliefs or identarian backgrounds. So it literally is a gigantic self sustaining vacuum and they didnt have the wherewithal to retain those who knew what needed to be done. Hence the crisis – inexperience, ideology and underperformance.

      They genuinely believe that having made these changes that we will soon be living in a high functioning Utopia.

  6. These people and msm are seriously deluded.
    But the problem is that they don’t know it!
    They have a short memory span. And probably a selective memory for those who are a little smarter but all in all, but still are deluded.
    So why do they think we believe them or have to believe them?
    Is it because if we believe the same delusion then that makes their delusion a reality?

    They say that we all should pull together in times like this and look out for the less fortunate and those that are struggling with their mental wellbeing.

    But what about us sane folks!!?

  7. We are lucky to have Mr Evans. I too am flabberghasted at Bradbury’s Sinophobia and subscription to USA’s propaganda lines on Russia.

  8. claim your $150 grocery voucher.
    Which of these countries used nuclear weapons on civilians?
    A)Russia B)U.S.A C)China.

    • “Which of these countries used nuclear weapons on civilians?
      A)Russia B)U.S.A C)China.

      Blazer you might as well ask us, which country used gas chambers to kill 6 million Jewish civilians.

      One holocaust does not justify another.
      The underlying meaning contained within your rhetorical question, Blazer, is; ‘The US dropped nuclear weapons on Japan 67 years ago justifies what Russia is doing in Ukraine today’

      I am here to tell you it doesn’t.

  9. Every now and then something sneaks through in the western press, but it rarely if ever enjoys equal weight with the prevailing blatant propaganda
    “But a new U.N. report has found that Ukraine’s armed forces bear a large, and perhaps equal, share of the blame for what happened in Stara Krasnyanka, which is about 580 kilometers (360 miles) southeast of Kyiv. A few days before the attack, Ukrainian soldiers took up positions inside the nursing home, effectively making the building a target.”
    Within the link is a NY times piece by a reporter on the ground

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