There are multiple issues coming to a head here, regarding the Popular Front. Not only were the Spanish still engaged in their own civil war, but they were confronted with opposing Hitler's European takeover, and the Leftists had to decide if they were going to oppose him--thus acting Fascistically in preparation for war--or not intervene and letting the chips fall where they may. Problem being, these 'chips' were influenced by propaganda.
Propaganda was a significant problem, and not just because of its shock-and-awe faculty. It's sensationalist in nature, rather than realistic. The writers of propaganda are never directly involved in the wartime matters (or front line affairs) because their focus is embellishment of information siphoned to them, rather than tactical and practical knowledge. Huge difference. Hitler's own minister of propaganda--Joseph Goebbels--had a PhD, worked as a journalist, and wrote plays and novels. He wasn't soldier at any rate. His faculty of language and the deep antisemitism he brought with him were his job qualifications.
Page 99: "One could not possibly say the same of the English Intelligentsia. [In regard to France's draft and quick mobilization]. Of all the left-wing journalists who declare day in and day out that if this, that and the other happens "we" must fight, how many imagine that war will affect them personally? When war breaks out they will be doing what they are doing at present, writing propaganda articles. Moreover, they are well aware of this. The type of persona who writes articles for the political Left has no feeling that "war" means something in which he will actually get hurt. "War is something that happens on paper, a diplomatic manoeuvre, something which is of course very deplorable but is "necessary" in order to destroy Fascism."
You can at any point replace English journalism with modern American journalism, and Fascism with Terrorism.
Propaganda is about rhetoric, which entails having certain information, having an audience, and knowing how to elicit an emotional reaction within them to make them more open to your point. In Orwell's time, the most powerful propaganda writers were educated, wealthy, middle class (b/c the upper class couldn't be bothered) intelligentsia, who got a hold of information and slung it with their literary powers. The television news broadcast had not yet matured, unlike articles, radio shows, and cinema. Their words were presented directly to the world, but let's not confuse them as objective simply because of their degrees and wealth.
I'm not defending the WWII propagandist material slung, it certainly crushed many spirits and aided in the destruction of lives. However, the propaganda was dispensed by masters of craft. Currently, the "News" is so compartmentallized that if the teleprompter cuts out, or if there is a typo, the person reporting the story seizes and touches the tiny microphone in their ear as if that's going to fix it. They're so debilitated because their job is to read the words of the myriad writers whose job it is to read the reports of the people who did the investigating, as well as the watch other news stations to fill in the gaps and stay propagandally competitive. So there's not even "irresponsible intelligentsia" involved.
Christopher Hitchens did impressive journalism, simply because he didn't care about playing politics. I think Geraldo believes he does a similar thing, but that's just not true. What made Hitch effective? One, he didn't do propaganda because he didn't tuck personal beliefs into a political charade. This is why he was dubbed 'contrarian,' because he simply wasn't impressed at the common and often unfounded way of viewing things. Second, he was a master of language, specifically oratory. Third, he physically visited places to get real-world experience to fuel his journalism. He demanded a waterboarding (you can watch the video on YouTube) to discover if it were truly torture. Point is, he didn't have a preset agenda; he was about political, religious, and economical reality, accessed through intellectual vigor. He was incredibly broad-sighted, which is why his journalism covered a swatch of topics. He even did book reviews.
I realize that all the waffling the Leftists did in regard to WWII was due to political positioning. Since there was no dominant political party in Spain yet, they played a game of chess to try to regain the majority political clout. They were so short-sighted they treated the propaganda and jockeying for the political significance of their flavor of Leftism with more immediacy than pouring all resources into battling the simultaneous threats of Fascism and Naziism.
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