We know propaganda exists, but we tend to think of it coming from the other guys. Sometimes it’s a tricky thing to spot in our society, but it’s certainly there. As Charles Baudelair said of the devil, “the finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist,” propaganda has been so spectacularly successful for the very same reason. Of course, there’s more of it today than ever. Beer ads, reality TV, and all sorts of mediums serve propaganda functions: from convincing you that this drink will make you happy, in the case of beer ads; or that people (usually, women) are spiteful and small, in the case of reality TV. This is of course much more insidious and corrupting than totalitarian propaganda; totalitarian propaganda, like the North Korea link above, is outlandish and easy to dismiss.
However, sometimes we too create outlandish and easy to dismiss propaganda. Case in point America’s Army, the videogame created by the US military. Well, they took it a step further. America’s Army now has a comic book:
According to Wired’s Danger Room, it just sucks:
The plot is rote, the bad guys are generic to the point of being invisible and the McGuffin — the WMD — is an almost laughable apology for George W. Bush-era warmongering. But, yes, the Army uniforms, firearms, helicopters and vehicles are portrayed very realistically, down to the buckles on the combat vests and the sound of an M4 carbine firing.
In short, America’s Army shoots for ultrarealism for all the things that don’t really matter, and glosses over the stuff that counts. Like, you know, believable emotions, real countries and conflicts, enemies with actual personalities and any admission at all that the good guys aren’t perfect and even the U.S. Army fights bad wars.
Which just makes it bad propaganda:
The good news, for anyone wary of the military buying its way into publishing and the arts, is that America’s Army probably won’t influence very many people as long as its characters are flat, its antagonists even flatter and its stories clichéd.
What other examples of bad propaganda are there?