05 August 2006

Propaganda, Old and New

I came across this article, which possessed this amazing quote:
In this decade, these Shiite mullahs...reached across the world to forge close military ties with nuclear-armed Asian states like North Korea and oil-rich enemies to our south like Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.

The clause after the ellipsis is at the end of a laundry list of hostile acts directed by Iran against the United States, dating back to 1979. Apart from its paranoid association of natural rivals al-Qaeda and the Shia clergy, this linking of Hugo Chavez with Islamic militants as "close military allies" beggars belief. In some quarters of the United States' media, a kind of wartime paranoia has taken hold, and material like this can be dismissed entirely as propaganda, as opposed to the reasoned analysis it purports to be.
The shrill tones of this kind of propaganda do shame to an art that at its best achieves an understated elegance. While President Chavez has certainly made no secret of wanting closer commercial ties with Iran, that's not the same thing as Ms Lerner asserts. Chavez and the current American administration are locked in a cold war of words, and people would do well to remember that wars, hot or cold, are known to make strange bedfellows.

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