In which the Guardian, alongside BBC and basically the entire pristine gutter that is the British intellectual class, teach the clueless Goebbels how modern propaganda works so much better than the crude obsolete tripe that he peddled. The antisemitism campaign against Jeremy Corbyn was unanimously chosen as the crown-jewel case study, with help from other glorious cases.
In the paradise that has been designed by mass murderers for mass murderers, Goebbels was enjoying a glass of the finest blended triple malt Roma-Communist-Jewish-blood, when he heard a knock on the door of his replica Berlin house on Alexanderplatz. The door was fifty feet away from his sofa, on which he had been luxuriously lounging. The upholstery of the sofa was made of human skin and had been gifted to Goebbels by the illustrious German General Lothar von Trotha. General Lothar had led the first genocide of the 20th century against the hapless Herero and Nama tribes in Namibia, and was Goebbel’s next door neighbour in this murderers’ paradise.
“Who could it be?” Goebbels wondered, “Is it my dear friend Ariel Sharone?” Sharone and Goebbels had got off to the wrong start due to Sharone’s Jewishness but pretty soon they both discovered their thirst for blood outweighed any and all differences that the two might have had. Just yesterday the two had been spiritedly debating propaganda tactics in the 21st century vs the 20th century. Sharone was of the view that 21st century propaganda was better hands down, while Goebbels of course held the exact opposite opinion.
Expecting to find Sharone to resume the debate, Goebbels opened the door to his house in jovial anticipation but he was shocked to see instead a living human being.
“Who are you? Who…” Goebbels asked in trepidation
“Hallo! I am a British Intellectual and I work for the hub of British Intellectuals — the Guardian, which is the most British of all British intellectual outlets,” stated the affable chap in the most courteous British intellectual accent.
“But how? How did you come here? The living can’t access this place,” Goebbels said nervously but extended his hand nevertheless.
“I am a British intellectual and for the sake of truth and justice, we can, and will , go anywhere!”
“Oh? What do you want with me?” Goebbels motioned for him to come in.
“No time for that,” British Intellectual said, “I am here to take you to the world. Our reporters told us that there was a debate raging in the mass murderer’s paradise about the various propaganda tactics in the modern world. Well, I am sorry to say that you with your outdated ideas are totally clueless. Let me show you!”
And with that British Intellectual grabbed the still somewhat confused Goebbels by the wrist, and uttered the following incantation:
“We the British intellectuals, we the honest and the shrewd,
We always take our govt’s word, for all that is nice and good,
We make a big song and dance about how we are so brave and free
Yet, the one we criticize is often the official enemy,
We always tell you the real story,
Our heart is Labor–our money’s Tory!”
When the incantation finished, Goebbels found himself in a room full of editors and opinion-makers.
“People in this room will show you how the propaganda system works,” British Intellectual began his lecture. “It’s an intricate system Gerby–can I call you Gerby?”
He continued before Goebbels could reply: “Quite simply, modern propaganda system can be described thus: plentiful doses of ideology, laziness, weakness and stupidity, to produce a healthy mixture of benign truths, half-truths, lies by omission and, occasionally, lies. That in a nutshell is the modern propaganda system!”
British Intellectual looked at Goebbels and added the following with a smirk:
“Not like your heavy-handed ugly style!”
Goebbels flinched, ready to respond but the British Intellectual cut him short.
“Don’t get me wrong. There are still some who follow your style of course, for instance Fox News. But apart from their base, they aren’t really respected by anyone. We, on the other hand, maintain our veneer of respectability and do not ostensibly cater to any base.”
Goebbels still seemed unconvinced so the British Intellectual decided to cut to the chase.
“Enough chattering. Let’s begin your edification! The main case study that we will be using is the antisemitism smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn that we, at the Guardian, are leading.”
British Intellectual moved to the center of the room. “For that purpose, let me first introduce you to some important side actors. These aren’t part of the propaganda system directly. I am not even sure why they help us but they do. Remember the healthy does of stupidity, ideology and what have you. Speaking of stupidity, here’s Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia.”
A man who was hunched down on an armchair and was poring over a thick volume of his Bible, “Atlas Shrugged”, looked up to see Goebbels with a twinkle in his eyes. Prophetess Rand had shown him the truth. For a moment, it looked as if he wanted to say something to Goebbels but God’s work is, after all, more important than cheap social niceties, so he went back to poring over his book.
“He has been helping us with the Jeremy Corbyn smear campaign,” British Intellectual said. “Check out these tweets below for example.”
“Tweets? Like bird talk?” Goebbels asked somewhat stupefied.
“O yes, tweets. This is the new age, Gerby. A few hundred characters is all you need to praise or condemn someone. No need for detailed polemics as in your day. Just keep twittering away with banalities and baseless drivel, and you will be effective.”
Goebbels looked positively intrigued at this new platform that turns human beings into bird-brained idiots. His first encounter with this best tool that any propagandist could have developed, was in the form of the following tweets by the Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales:
“Wow,” Goebbels exclaimed. “Even I know that Corbyn never said that he questioned the right of Israel to exist. That’s an outright lie.”
He looked approvingly at Jimmy Wales, who looked disconcerted at being called a liar.
“A lie?” Wales nearly shouted. “Its not a lie. It’s printed on dozens of websites including probably at the Guardian. And we at Wikipedia know that truth is impossible to find in our world. The only thing that matters is verification. And Sir, may I be so bold as to state that my statement on Corbyn is absolutely verifiable. Check out the thousands of sources that I can give you.”
“Repeat a lie till it becomes the truth?” Goebbels looked at British Intellectual with a twinkle in his eyes. British Intellectual smiled, “Well, some of the old tactics still work.”
Just then they heard a lady approaching them uttering the following: “You stand Jeremy Corbyn upon the remains of my late father!”
“Ah, a Harry Potter reference, and why not, here comes our most dependable mouthpiece,” British Intellectual pointed at the approaching lady. She held a book in her hand which appeared to be titled, “How to become Rich and Forget What It Feels Like To Be Poor (and shit on the only group of people who have the cure).”
“Allow me to introduce myself. I am JK Rowling,” she said as she shook Goebbel’s hand.
“Ah, the JK Rowling,” Goebbe’s eyes lit up. “A recent arrival in the mass murderer paradise, Shimon Peres, absolutely loved your books.”
“Why, thank you,” JK Rowling beamed. “You know what I say, hard work and struggle are all that you need to make it big in the world. All those who complain are idiots. They just need to work hard like I did. People say not everyone can be lucky like me. I say you are finding excuses. Its all about hard work, not luck.”
“So you too have been at it against Corbyn?” Goebbels asked with glee.
“Yes, she has,” British Intellectual chimed in before Rowling could reply, “She has been going at him non-stop. Initially it was, ‘He can’t win. He is bad for Labor.’ She kept at it day in and day out.”
“Yes of course, I did,” JK Rowling said proudly.
“And when all of that didn’t work, she joined in on the ‘Corbyn is antisemitic’ brigade. Check out her twittering”
“But isn’t Spectator a right-wing rag as you liberals like to call it,” Goebbels asked incredulously.
“SURELYYY,” JK Rowling snarled in the indignant tone in which all British Intellectuals snarl, and which probably stems from some sense of inherited righteousness that SURELY must go back centuries, to the times when they were glorifying themselves and their empire, while committing horrendous colonial atrocities.
“SURELY, you are not suggesting that I not quote the Spectator simply because it is right wing. A broken clock is also right twice you know!”
Goebbels nodded his head. Just then there was a huge commotion. Jonathan Freedland made his way to Goebbels and with the particular mix of bluster and bashfulness that only British intellectuals are capable of exuding, extended his hand towards Goebbels.
“Well Goebbels, you are a mass murderer, we at the Guardian, uh, hate mass murderers, but we also believe in civility and freedom of uh, speech, and since you are dead anyway, I hold no grudges, so, uh, I am, uh, going to shake hands with you, but uh, all the while, uh, acknowledging that you are a mass murderer!”
Freedland shook Goebbel’s hand warmly and looked at him as if he was expecting to be praised for his uh-so-forthright attitude.
Goebbels being the heavy-handed propagandist that he was, had no idea what this Freedland fellow was all about, and thus he shook his hand rather weakly.
“And here are Mr. Freedland’s efforts in our arduous campaign,” chuckled British Intellectual pompously.
“O well, I don’t take too much credit, its all in a day’s work after all,” said Freedland blushing.
“And its not just Freedland, we at the Guardian have been on it day in and day out,” British Intellectual said and gritted his teeth, thereby indicating that they would keep at it for as long as it took, ‘day in and day out’.
“Here’s a recent example”
“But this is just one piece,” Freedland chimed in. What I am going to show you next is going to blow your mind. Check this out!”
“These are all anti-Corbyn articles in the Guardian in the last one month ALONE! And there are more, many more, just in this last one month. Imagine that.”
Goebbels asked, “What about the Palestinians? Do you people ever take their opinion, in ANY of your pieces?”
“Well, uh, we, uh, support,” Freedland muttered creepily, “we at the Guardian, uh, pay lip-service, I mean we do good-service for the Palestinians, but uh, the, uh, rockets must stop. Yes yes, rockets must stop. Whosoever says otherwise is an antisemite!!”
With this, Freedland left, feeling the need for some fresh air.
As soon as Freedland left, Stephen Sackur who had been sitting quietly for some time jumped in, and addressed British Intellectual.
“Well, I see you have shown plenty of evidence on how good the Guardian is, but may I say, we at the BBC do it much better.”
“Where’s your evidence sir?” British Intellectual demanded.
“I am sorry, I will show you the evidence. I have evidence aplenty. From all over, not just Corbyn,” Sackur shouted. He then went on to present the following gems:
“See the headlines? It is always “Israel defends” and “Clashes between Israel and Palestinians” as if the two sides are equal. Also, notice how we say people died, when its only Palestinians who died and Israelis who killed them. But we make it appear that people just died for some mysterious reason, killed by some alien force.
This is how you do good propaganda!”
“Well, its often fear and weakness too in the case of BBC,” British Intellectual said, and showed the following:
“You changed the headline after Israeli Lobby pressure, hahaha, you guys pissed your pants”
“And have a look here:”
“Well, that only proves my point,” Sackur said smugly, “I was sitting right over there and I heard you tell Goebbels that weakness and fear are also factors in the propaganda system. Well, there you go!”
Both British Intellectual and Goebbels had to agree with this piece of brilliant logic!
“So that’s the evidence for how BBC is so good in propaganda. You see this is how you present evidence,” Sackur continued, basking in his victory, “I kept asking that Pakistani guy, Hameed Haroon, for evidence of military involvement in the elections, yet all he could do was mumble. I feel for the poor fella. He is a rich guy who studied at the London School of Economics. That’s why he buys into our superiority. Doesn’t have it in him to take us on. See how he flounders:”
“Unlike this American guy who basically shut you the hell up!” British Intellectual retorted.
Stephen Sackur was a bit embarrassed at seeing the clip.
British Intellectual decided to rub it in. “Tell me, hand on heart: if instead of the Pakistani publisher, it was a Russian publisher who had said that Putin and the Russian agencies were suppressing freedom of speech, would you have asked him the same questions, and with the same aggressive attitude?”
“Well, uh, well!” Stephen Sackur fumbled. But then he remembered the one trick that all British intellectuals display when in duress: a loud show of snarly, incredulous indignation.
“Where’s your evidence that I would not have asked a Russian publisher the same questions. Where’s your evidence I ask you?” he thundered.
Having thrown this meaningless challenge, much like his questions to Hameed Haroon and Glenn Greenwald, Stephen Sackur left in a huff.
British Intellectual looked at him go, and said admiringly, “That chap is a true British Intellectual. Doesn’t let up on the act even in the presence of friends!”
Goebbels was impressed but did not want to concede defeat so easily.
“But this is not impressive,” he said. “We used to do the same as well. This is just a deluge of misinformation. Repeat the lie so many times that it becomes the truth, etc etc. Zee problem is zat you don’t underzstand what iz at ztake,” Goebbels uttered gibberish, having broken into a German accent for some reason.
To his surprise, British Intellectual nodded his head:
“Indeed you are right, Gerby. This is not impressive at all. You were a past master at all this.”
Goebbels seemed relieved. His title of being the most potent propagandist of all time was still safe, or so he thought.
“But this is just half of what we do,” British Intellectual looked at Goebbels smugly. It was the same smugness which when combined with a particularly snarly attitude, leads common Brits to rightly regard all intellectuals as scum of the earth. Paraphrasing Auden:
To the man-in-the-street,
who, I’m sorry to say,
Is a keen observer of every group,
The word ‘Intellectual’ suggests right away
A man whose brain is rife with poop!
In British Intellectual’s smug attitude, Goebbels could foresee his imminent defeat. He asked nervously, “What is the other half of what you do?”
“This,” the British Intellectual replied:
“No matter what, we always maintain the veneer of impartiality, transparency and the highest of all British values: Truth and Justice,” British Intellectual said.
Goebbels chucked, “Well, you my friend are as much about truth and justice, as we were about loving the Jews! But I suppose this piece would find absolutely nothing wrong with your coverage?”
“Of course, see Exhibit ‘Its-All-All-Right’”
“If you read it, it is what you would expect. Carefully designed to be as wishy washily British as possible. The real achievement is that like any good sleight of hand artist, we have shifted the focus on how impartial and neutral the Guardian at least tries to be, despite “lack of resources.”
“What’s more, we have people like George Monbiot, who will snarl and go crazy on someone not acknowledging the crimes of others to his liking, but when it comes to the misdemeanors of the Guardian, or to the crimes of our great state, the same snarly George Monbiot is quite civil and decorous, like all good British Intellectuals. He writes often against neo-liberalism without ever denouncing anybody. We like this sort of criticism — all abstract, all benign.”
Goebbels was impressed but tried not to show it.
“What else do you do?”
“What else? Headlines Gerby, headlines plus some save-your-ass token-sentences-buried-somewhere-deep-in-the-story.”
“What does that mean?” Goebbels asked confusedly.
“What that means is that the propaganda is in the headlines as Stephen mentioned. And then in the article, buried somewhere deep, preferably right towards the very end, some semblance of truth.”
“What good does that do?”
“Really? You have to ask? Really? I couldn’t imagine you being so obtuse. No wonder your propaganda was so ugly! Sir, if someone accuses us of lying in a particular article, or being propagandistic, we can always show them some lines somewhere in the article that are truthful. But the headline Gerby, the headline always has to be either untrue or has to lie by omission. See this for example:”
See? Nowhere do we mention that this is in fact a UK backed atrocity or even name who did it. However, towards the very end, we do throw in the following:
“See? We throw in the bit about UK licensed arms at the end but our headline is not what it should have been:
“Saudi airstrike on bus kills at least 29 children in Yemen’. And the sub heading should have been: ‘Latest civilian deaths put spotlight on UK arms used by Riyadh in attacks’
Or imagine, if one of our official enemies had carried out this airstrike. Imagine Putin had done this. Let me tell you what the headline would have been in that case:
“Devil lands in Yemen: Putin’s air force kills women and children” and the sub-headline would have been, “World united in resolute determination to subdue the Russian dictator!”
But of course, when our allies bomb someone, we frame it like you just saw. And then we throw in those bits at the end. No one can complain.”
Goebbels was now subdued. All this was too much for his vulgar brain.
“I see you don’t understand fully. Let me give you one final example,” British Intellectual started putting the final touches on his lesson. “Let’s take an event from your time, say, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Now, during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the Nazis should have drafted the following headline:
‘Jews in ghettos turn violent, burning several shops and bicycles as reciprocal killings continue for seventh straight day.’
From this headline no one would know, why or how the killings started. And notice it says reciprocal killings. Not killings by heavily armed soldiers. All that is conveyed is that for some reason Jews have turned violent. Later on towards the end of story, you could throw in the following sentence:
“Some observers say that Jewish anger is justified due to their mass deportation to Majdanek and…
But to dilute its effect, one should add the following:
However, General von Blomberg said that people terrorizing the cities would not be tolerated and that German soldiers are forced to strike back only in retaliation, and have shown great restraint in face of stones and kites being thrown at them.“
And even then no need to go into the nitty gritty of it all. Its just not done! This is exactly how the entire western media covers, for example, the plight of the Palestinians, as Stephen just showed you. You do that and you won’t be deemed a vulgar propagandist. A propagandist for sure, but not a vulgar one. And if there is one thing that we British intellectuals hate, it is vulgarity!”
“How do you manage it my dear friend?” Goebbels asked, thoroughly impressed, thoroughly defeated and thoroughly no-longer-trying-to-hide-it-anymore.
“Me-thinks its a result of our long colonial history. We were, and are, the best trained intellectuals in the world, where an intellectual is defined as someone who serves power. We were running, what was, some say, not us mind you, a brutal ugly empire. Yet our intellectuals somehow had to make sense of it all. The British people are by their nature very suspicious of us. So we couldn’t just lie to them. No sir, we had to befuddle, confuse and bamboozle them! Let them feel that nothing untoward was being done, no no. So over the course of centuries we learnt to be fuzzy and muddle-headed, we learnt to focus on stupidities and trivialities. We learnt to subdue less educated commoners with our snarls and righteous incredulity whenever they challenged us. That’s where our snarly attitude comes from. Our snarly arrogance is the best weapon that we have to subdue people who are obviously not as well-educated as us.”
“What a shame, I did not have a chance to learn from you,” Goebbels sighed, and tried to snarl, but it came out as a mere whimper.
“And you haven’t even heard the best part of it yet Gerby,” British Intellectual said. As he said this, his face changed, and became a bit vulgar. It was as if the mask had fallen off.
“The Guardian is considered a left-progressive newspaper in the British Intellectual culture!!”
“WHAT?” Goebbels was shocked. Then a smile appeared on his face and on the face of British Intellectual. And then Gerby started laughing and so did British Intellectual. The two laughed so uproariously that from somewhere in the room, JK Rowling exclaimed: “Expecto Patronum!”.
This had no effect on either British intellectual or Goebbels as they laughed even harder.
“GERBY OH GERBY! YOU KNOW WHAT’S FUNNIER?” British Intellectual said, his face red, as he tried to calm himself down.
“WHAT?” Goebbels managed to ask through his laughing fit.
“EVEN THE BBC IS CONSIDERED LEFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
This last bit was too much to take for the new best friends. Their laughter now turned positively manic; they doubled up and turned around so that their behinds rubbed together, and the two delirious propagandists presented a picture not very different from this