Propaganda: still doubting that marketing is everything and everything is marketing?

Harper Government branding exercise

I drew this cartoon in September 2011 as the “Harper Government” brand was ramping into overdrive.

It (Harper government) is now inserting itself (Harper Government) everywhere from the NHL All-Star Game, Stanley Cup Finals, to the Grey Cup and the show of Canada’s military…

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1. information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

2. the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.

3. the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.

The etymology of the word suggests: “Neo-Latin, short for congregātiō dē propāgandā fidē  congregation for propagating the faith.”

Hmmmm… hearkens to the roots of the current “Conservatives”… good ‘ol “Reform”

Doubt #3 in the definition above — see article below suggesting there are now over 1500 people hired by the Government in “communications”… (not to mention the free flow, back-and-forth of Harper staffers between major Canadian corporations and the Harper Government)

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There’s a decent little blurb on Wikipedia:

Defining propaganda has always been a problem. The main difficulties have involved differentiating propaganda from other types of persuasion, and avoiding a “if they do it then that’s propaganda, while if we do it then that’s information and education” biased approach.

Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell have provided a concise, workable definition of the term: “Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.

More comprehensive is the description by Richard Alan Nelson: “Propaganda is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and direct media channels. A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism—the applied creation and distribution of such forms of persuasion.

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Interesting read at Globe & Mail:

Under this PM, the state is everywhere

What does the Grey Cup football game have to do with the Canadian military? Not much, you say. True enough. But chalk up another public-relations triumph for the governing Conservatives. They turned the opening ceremonies of our annual sports classic into a military glorification exercise.

For our part in the NATO Libya campaign, the Defence Minister took bows on the field. A Canadian flag was spread over 40 yards. Cannons boomed.

The blending of sport and the military, with the government as the marching band, is part of the new nationalism the Conservatives are trying to instill. It is another example of how the state, under Stephen Harper’s governance, is becoming all-intrusive.

The propaganda machine has become mammoth and unrelenting. The parliamentary newspaper The Hill Times recently found there are now no fewer than 1,500 communications staffers on the governing payroll.

On the propaganda ledger, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney put on a show in committee last week. In what may have been a first, his spinners set up a billboard behind him replete with bright Conservative blue colours and flags. Everything except a marching band.

In the message-massaging department, news has arrived that the government is imposing new communications controls on the RCMP. The same is being done with the Defence Department. Secrecy surrounds the government’s plans to spend a whopping $477-million on a U.S. military satellite.

State surveillance, the rationale being security, is being taken to new levels. The Conservatives are bringing in legislation that will compel Internet service-providers to disclose customer information. A Canada-U.S. agreement is on the way that will contain an entry-exit system that will track everyone.

Research that contradicts the government line is discarded. Civil liberties fade, new jails proliferate. Those who speak out better watch out. When the NDP’s Megan Leslie stated an opposing view on the Keystone XL Pipeline, she was accused by the government of treachery.

[and yes, add in all those B.C. treasoners and adversaries and renegades speaking out against the proposed Enbridge Northern exit-way pipeline]

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Want some more interesting read, then how about Terry Glavin’s comment at the National Post:

Terry Glavin: Ottawa to Beijing — take our oil, please

In Saturday’s Ottawa Citizen, Brian enters a conversation I’ve been lately encouraging sensible Canadians to have about the implications of Prime Minister Harper’s unexplained and sudden embrace of a corporate entity run by the Chinese Communist Party that serves as the guarantor of Omar al-Bashir’s regime in Khartoum, the bottomless overdraft in Bashar al-Assad’s bank account in Damascus, and the specific means by which Tehran’s Khomeinists are evading the West’s sanctions and double-daring us into a war.

The prime minister would like that entity, Sinopec, to add to its global services the means by which Canada might emancipate itself from its over-reliance on American oil markets, and the stratagem that will allow Mr. Harper himself to look rather more manly in those obligatory White House photo opportunities that put him next to the handsome and swaggering American president with the smirk on his face.

Meanwhile, none of the formerly freedom-loving rednecks who now rally to the prime minister’s side in this affair have exhibited so much as a blush as they do so, when everybody knows full well what they’d have done had the New Democrats even hinted favourably in the direction of an arrangement anything like the one the prime minister has embraced. They’d be denouncing the NDP as al Qaida’s fifth column in Canada and they’d be busy filling the op-ed pages of the dailies with stout demands that Harper invite a team of US Navy Seals to round up the NDP caucus en masse so they could be executed for high treason in front of city hall in Fort McMurray.

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Hmmm, remember the “Taliban Jack” comments directed towards former NDP leader Jack Layton by the “Harper Gov” when Layton suggested negotiations in Afghanistan might be the way to go.

I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time until that suggestions plays itself out as maybe not so far off the mark — Americans are now out of Iraq and how ‘peaceful’ is it there? All the foreigners will be pulled out of Afghanistan soon enough, and what will be the result?

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What does all this have to do with wild salmon?


The changes required… require political will.

When a governing regime is too busy muzzling scientists, silencing critics, uttering threats to non-profits and charities, and running a propaganda machine yet espousing austerity measures, which will hurt the mid and lower wage earners and poverty-mired first… then there’s a problem.

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And, when it doubt just make it up:

Kenney’s office apologizes for ‘new Canadians’ stunt

Six federal bureaucrats were drafted to pose as new Canadians for a citizenship reaffirmation ceremony broadcast on the Sun News network, an event requested by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office.

The bureaucrats smiled and held Canadian flags as the TV hosts referred to a group of 10 people as “new Canadians” that had “finally” received their citizenship.


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