One of the basic methods of propaganda is reversal — make an accusation against your enemies that is so blatantly false as to be the exact opposite of truth. This technique has become known as “the Big Lie” because of a passage in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf: “In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses … more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”
Hitler claimed that “the Big Lie” was a trick of the Jews, who had used it to falsely blame the German high command for defeat in World War I; Hitler, by contrast, blamed the Jews “and their fighting comrades, the Marxists” for Germany’s defeat. Of course, Hitler’s so-called “stab-in-the-back” myth of why Germany lost in 1918 was false; the German army was simply incapable of winning once the United States entered the war on the side of the Allies, and it was the German high command’s authorization of unlimited submarine warfare that had brought America into the war. Thus even in his now widely cited description of “the Big Lie,” Hitler was engaged in the propaganda technique that he pretended to deplore — reversal, or what is known in psychology as projection.
Americans so far have been fortunately protected by our Constitution from outright totalitarianism, but this protection does not make us safe from propaganda. When I was a schoolboy in the 1970s, my teachers as early as eighth grade taught us to recognize the techniques of propaganda, including the “false dilemma” fallacy and “glittering generalities.” Evidently, not every student gets such lessons, an educational deficiency that probably explains why some people believe what is broadcast as “news” on CNN and MSNBC nowadays. Anyone whose knowledge of current events is derived from such “news” operations must believe, for example, that President Trump is a Russian agent who “stole” the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton and who therefore poses a “threat to our democracy,” making necessary his impeachment and removal from office. Within the echo-chamber environment of the liberal media, anyone disputing this “Russian collusion” narrative is either (a) an idiot parroting “Republican talking points,” (b) a Russian agent, or (c) both a Russian agent and a Republican idiot.
We now know — it is an indisputable matter of fact, established by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation — that the “collusion” narrative was a smear manufactured by the FBI using the bogus Steele dossier (paid for by Democrats, who hired Fusion GPS) as the fraudulent basis for surveillance of Trump’s campaign. Trump was the victim of a crime perpetrated under the authority of the Obama administration, and yet CNN and other liberal news organizations (which endlessly publicized this “collusion” smear) continue to maintain that Trump was instead the perpetrator of a criminal conspiracy to “steal” the election from Clinton. This is a perfect reversal — the Big Lie — and yet no one inside the media-generated echo chamber (where Democrats get their “news”) seems to understand what’s wrong with their upside-down/inside-out/through-the-looking-glass/down-the-rabbit-hole conspiracy-theory version of events.
All that background is necessary to understanding why Democrats voted on Wednesday to impeach President Trump. Americans are fortunate to live in a free society where it is still legal to disagree with Democrats and where we can seek out facts suppressed by dishonest media monstrosities like CNN. But within those segments of our society prone to consume without question the output of what Trump calls the “fake news” media, the Big Lie is never doubted. So a July phone call from Trump to congratulate Ukraine’s newly elected President Zelensky somehow got turned into evidence — unmistakable proof! — that Trump is a Russian stooge, merely for asking Zelensky to “do us a favor” by investigating allegations of corruption in Ukraine that might implicate Democrats.
It is wrong, CNN would have their audience believe, to ask any questions about why Joe Biden’s son Hunter collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma. It is wrong, according to CNN and other liberal “news” organizations, even to mention the name of Alexandra Chalupa, a former Democratic National Committee operative with Ukrainian ties whose anti-Trump activities in 2016 raise questions of “foreign interference” in American elections. Most people who vote Republican (some 63 million Americans dubbed a “basket of deplorables” by Hillary Clinton) are familiar with the actual facts involved in all this, because we don’t watch CNN unless we happen to be trapped in an airport waiting area. Knowing the facts, we laugh at the idea that Trump’s curiosity about Hunter Biden’s Burisma deal means “our democracy is at peril,” as Rep. Adam Schiff said Wednesday, a phrase echoed by many other Democrats to justify their votes for impeachment. Schiff and others insisted that, if Trump was not impeached, he would certainly conspire with Russia to steal the 2020 election, just as he stole the 2016 election from Hillary.
Far be it from me to imply that Democrats are crypto-Nazis, but their use of “the Big Lie” technique against Trump is an example of propaganda that Hitler might admire for its shameless falsehood. It would be bad enough if the media were only lying about Trump. Instead they are lying about everything, including the weather.
In case you haven’t noticed, our overlords in the “fake news” establishment are all in on the “climate change” hoax. The autistic Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has skipped high school for a full-time career fomenting global hysteria over global warming, was recently named 2019’s “Person of the Year” by Time magazine. We’re all going to be incinerated within a decade if drastic measures are not taken to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions, Thunberg grimly warns, and the media repeats her warning as if no skepticism were possible. If you disagree with the-sky-is-falling Chicken Little panic, you are “anti-science,” according to the media, who expect American adults to recognize our need to be tutored on meteorology by Scandinavian adolescents. After the angry teenager declared that politicians who opposed her agenda should be “put against the wall” — a phrase that implies execution by firing squad — the reaction to this expression of totalitarian intolerance forced Thunberg to apologize, claiming that something was lost in the translation from Swedish. Of course, she wouldn’t be the first Time “Person of the Year” to liquidate her enemies — Hitler obtained that honor in 1938 while Soviet dictator Josef Stalin got it twice, in 1939 and 1942.
When they’re not busy lying about weather, the “fake news” media lie about crime. Readers will recall a few years ago when CNN went into 24/7 coverage of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which claimed that innocent black men were routinely being gunned down in cold blood by racist white cops. The original inspiration for this was Michael Brown, who robbed a convenience store in Ferguson, Missouri, and was shot after a confrontation with an officer who attempted to arrest him. A grand jury investigation eventually found that Brown had attacked the cop and tried to grab the officer’s pistol, but the CNN-promoted lie of “racism” inspired riots that were replicated (and televised) in many other communities. Later, the entire narrative of the “Black Lives Matter” movement was exposed as a falsehood: Crime data show that a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by black man than the other way around, as Heather Mac Donald explained in 2017. The facts remain buried beneath the media-manufactured myth, however, because CNN and other liberal news organizations simply refuse to acknowledge their errors. “Fake news” generates angry protests, which turn into violence, arson and looting, and when the uproar is over, the national media move on to the next disaster.
Impeachment is just the latest catastrophe the media have created by their distortions and deceit. Recall that Trump seemed like a longshot when he descended that escalator in June 2015 to declare his presidential candidacy. For months thereafter, liberal journalists gave Trump favorable coverage, evidently believing that he would be an easy opponent for Hillary Clinton to defeat in the general election. Almost no one in the national press corps thought Trump could actually win, and the pundits who repeatedly predicted Clinton’s victory fed into a dangerous overconfidence inside her campaign. Trump won in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin not because of “Russian collusion,” but because the Clinton campaign was operating inside the media-generated echo chamber where nobody took seriously Trump’s populist appeal to working-class voters. When his shocking upset became apparent on Election Night 2016, the same journalists who had once treated Trump as joke suddenly changed their tune: Trump was now “literally Hitler,” an authoritarian menace who must be stopped. Thus was born “the Resistance,” cheered on by network anchors as they marched in angry made-for-TV anti-Trump protests.
Of course, the Trump-as-totalitarian-dictator theme was false, but the “fake news” media is so devoted to falsehood that creating another Big Lie was more or less routine. The main evidence of Trump’s totalitarian nature, according to the media, was that Trump said mean things about them. Viewing themselves as defenders of democracy, journalists deemed Trump’s criticism of their biased reporting as an attack on democracy itself. You see here how the propaganda technique of reversal can ultimately lead propagandists into a delusional condition: Having devoted themselves to promoting falsehood, they must defend the Big Lie as if it were objective fact, and may even actually believe their own lies.
For many months, in hyping Robert Mueller’s investigation, CNN and MSNBC told their audiences “the walls are closing in” on Trump, and when Mueller’s final report proved a dud — no proof of “collusion” — the anti-Trump media suffered a loss of credibility from which they have never recovered. Then in July came the Ukraine “whistleblower” to revive their hopes of destroying Trump, and from there the media cheered the Democrats onward to the Impeachment That Ruined Christmas. Anyone can look at the calendar and see that the Democrats have painted themselves into a tight corner: Congress doesn’t return from its holiday until January 6, and the Iowa caucuses are February 3. That leaves less than a month for the Senate to dispose of the impeachment charges against the president, or else the proceedings will blot out media coverage of the Democratic primary campaign. Senate Republicans are openly mocking the mess Democrats have made of all this. Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor Thursday to wonder why it was that House Democrats considered impeachment extremely urgent but are now hesitant even to bring the charges to the Senate.
This mess is really the media’s fault. If they were honest, journalists would be forced to admit that Schiff is emotionally unstable, full of a grandiose sense of his own importance. That such an erratic personality is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is a far greater scandal than anything Trump has done. But the media have sold Schiff to their audience as a courageous truth-teller, so that their own credibility is invested in the veracity of Schiff’s case against Trump.
Only 13 percent of Americans trust the media “a great deal,” according to Gallup, whereas President Trump’s job approval rating is at 44.5 percent in the RealClearPolitics average. If the vast majority of Americans don’t trust the media, why do the media think they still have enough influence to defeat Trump? Probably because they’ve made the mistake of believing their own propaganda and have forgotten that it’s all a Big Lie.