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The Power of False Narrative


The Power of False Narrative

Robert Parry

In this age of pervasive media, the primary method of social control is through the creation of narratives delivered to the public through newspapers, TV, radio, computers, cell phones and any other gadget that can convey information. This reality has given rise to an obsession among the power elite to control as much of this messaging as possible.


This ties in nicely with our plummeting educational capacity and standards. The ignorant are easily manipulated by spin masters. Deliberate? Maybe. Convenient? For sure.


"Instead of skepticism, it’s always the same sort of “group think,” with nothing learned from the disaster of the Iraq War because there was virtually no accountability for those responsible." This frame is a weak one and reminiscent of TomDispatch's writers who relentlessly utilize the sports frame to insist that the U.S military has not WON a war in some time.

This idea of what is learned added to the idea that battles invariably must be won leave out the key fact that the military industrial complex's raison d'etre is to make wars that last. Winning them is not required. And as to learning something... what is learned is how to profit from disaster and the same interests that propel their false narratives into the collective public psyche are the ones who profit... from these foreign massacres.

This frame, in contrast, is VERY accurate:

"So, regarding U.S. relations toward the world, we see the State Department, the White House, Pentagon, NATO and other agencies pushing various narratives to sell the American people and other populations on how they should view U.S. policies, rivals and allies. The current hot phrase for this practice is “strategic communications” or Stratcom, which blends psychological operations, propaganda and P.R. into one mind-bending smoothie."

Edward Snowden made mention of the telling fact that THOUSANDS of young men (and far less young women) were working for companies like Booz Allen and specializing in this nebulous field of I.T. How many are tasked with repeating the same Official Narratives that Mr. Parry identifies... in threads like those tied to this site? In other words, the presence of these Official Message shapers and manufacturers of consent for wholly false narratives is ubiquitous.


This is a President who speaks of human rights while he assigns Tuesday kill lists.

It's a President who gives voice to climate change while giving Oil Drilling companies the right to drill in places like the Arctic.

It takes a special kind of hubris crossed with training in Plausible Deniability tactics to speak out about other nations' aggression in punishing tones while presiding over a covert war that's largely global in scope. After all, it features bases in over 100 nations and active 'theaters of war' in at least 6!

Therefore, this type of behavior is par for the course:

"President Obama and his administration have been the driving force in this manipulation of public opinion over the past six-plus years. Instead of the transparent government that Obama promised, he has run one of the most opaque, if not the most secretive, administrations in American history."

Was the war in Iraq ever ended? The tortured prison camp at Guantanamo closed? The economy for actual citizens improved?

That a President can eloquently state things while actively doing the opposite leads many into a state of cognitive dissonance. They question their own perceptions.

It's all quite reminiscent of those words likely from Rumsfeld (or Rove) as to this American Junta (comprising neocons from both parties) creating its OWN reality... which others would be inclined to "judiciously study."

Might as well be living in the era of Macbeth as in so many ways and places "fair is foul and foul is fair." When honest people are no longer able to discern truth from fiction, it's a slippery slope for anything akin to an open, transparent, Democratic society:

"Most of the “leaked” information that you still see in the mainstream media is what’s approved by Obama or his top aides to serve their interests. In other words, the “leaks” are part of the propaganda, made to seem more trustworthy because they’re coming from an unidentified “source” rather than a named government spokesman."

I've made this analogy on earlier occasions: the tainting of TRUTH as "food for thought" is eerily reminiscent of Monsanto's adulteration of actual food-stuffs. In both instances, so thoroughly is the fake wedded to the genuine as to no longer allow for a separating of the wheat from the chaff. And this same insidious sleight of hand also is operating in world financial markets where such a vast infusion of tainted assets (packaged loans that have nothing solid in their portfolios to back them) has been streamed into the ACTUAL market in goods, resources, and services.

The greatest tool in evil's arsenal (which some would personify as Satan) is deception, and the capture of mass media along with all of the trends and tactics cultivated by the likes of Goebbels to Frank Luntz have turned it into the greatest ENGINE of deception ever developed.

And instead of crying out against this heist against humanity, the usual forum plants push the meme that citizens are gullible. They blame those targeted BY evil. This is an extension of the warrior mindset that blames the civilians it mows down. It's sickening.


SR, they don't even need that many people. There is social media manipulation software that handles the creation and management of false identities and bots that imitate humans.

A few people here think we should ignore this and act as if every persona on CD is honestly presenting their opinions until proven otherwise - except it's impossible to prove a fake persona is a fake persona. It used to be that site admins could track back multiple ids to single ip addresses and use this to identify them. Now this just identifies the amateur astroturfers.

The bots/fake personas/astroturfers are here among us, poisoning the discourse and making it look as if a significant number of progressives:

Support nuclear power
Support Israel's spin on Palestinians
Oppose Bernie Sanders

Now, that isn't to say that there aren't progressives who agree with those positions, but I find it highly unlikely that those honest actors post often enough to create the percentage of posts we see supporting those viewpoints.

There is every reason to think that the problem will get worse, not better. Parry discusses how the false narrative of the neocons is pushed in the media. Websites and messaging apps are just another form of media. It is already happening here.



If this comments thread ends up with the usual disagreements about Sanders argument, remember that it was you, not us who find fault with Sanders, who brought whether Sanders is good or not into the discussion.


Tell me why Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 again?


Simply because he wasn't Gee Dubya Shrub.


We can look closer, to everyday life, to see the power of the "false narrative" -- something, incidentally, used just as much by Democrats and liberals. This is particularly striking in the ongoing" war on the poor," successfully used to sell our current deregulated hyper-capitalism. Liberals' "middle class only" mantra has very successfully served to strengthen corporate power while ignoring the appalling consequences (damaging not only to the jobless poor, but to the whole of the nation/economy).

Adolph Hitler, interestingly, wrote about the fact that anything (no matter how much it defies reality), if repeated often enough, will become accepted as fact by the masses. Our anti-poor agenda is striking proof of this.


LOL! - A coupla you guys/gals beat me to it - pointing out how the power of "false narrative" is not an exclusive gov't ploy ....

Of how dissenters of the "official line" re candidates are excoriated as "stooges" or "bots" or "paid operatives"

You guys crack me up - the description suits you to a T ...


" ... highly unlikely that those honest actors post often enough to create the percentage of posts we see supporting those viewpoints."

So who do you exclude as an "honest poster" - is it the number of posts that disqualifies one from being included in your category?

You are exhibiting the same behavior described in the piece -

" ...disparage any American who questioned the extreme depiction as a “fill-in-the-blank apologist” or a “stooge” or some other ugly identifier that would either silence the dissenter or place him or her outside the bounds of acceptable debate."

Tch, tch, tch - i thought you were better than that .... taking too many cues from SR?

Please show me those progs who oppose the depiction of Sanders as the best choice who support nukes and back Israel re Palestinians ... can you?


" .... the presence of these Official Message shapers and manufacturers of consent for wholly false narratives is ubiquitous."

You got that right! Only i suspect (smile) that you and i aren't talking about the same folks ...


Hey, LWLW, I suppose you know c_z and SR are talking about folks like us ....


Bull. What I brought up is directly related to Parry's piece and SR's comment on it.

You're simply looking for an excuse, although I don't know why. Lack of applicability to the topic hasn't been a bar before.


Aquifer, I've already said, on numerous occasions, that I think you're actually a real person.

Although I am talking about personas who sound exactly like you.


Talk about the power of false narrative, not one mention of 9/11and the gov. conspiracy in the article or the response.


They're different identities and only rarely comment outside their realm of issues. You don't see the pro-nuke posters praising Israel and vice versa.

At one point certain traits, like posting on single issues and having only recently joined, were markers of astroturf identities. But as the industry has developed they've become more sophisticated and learned to salt identities on boards for later use and cross post - although some are still too lazy to bother.

Do you actually think all the posters on CD are who they say they are, or just the ones who agree with you?


With this article, Robert Parry does indeed demonstrate the "power of false narrative"- by indulging in it himself. He conflates the lack of validity of American involvement in the Middle East (the intractable Sunni-Shia religious conflict) with the actual validity of American involvement in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, which is more a matter of repressed nationalism.
He is correct in condemning the Iraq invasion, which demonstrates the degree to which the law of unintended consequences can expose delusional foreign policy.
Libya? We (supposedly) had a role in deposing a dictator who had ruled with an iron fist for thirty years, and gave us Lockerbie? This man is now just a victim?
Iran? Proof that neocons, like all true believers, do not learn from their mistakes. The same cohort which gave us Iraq wants to double down (literally) with a military solution for not just Iraq, but Syria as well.
Having established his bonafides with the obvious neocon failures in the Middle East, Parry moves on to painting the Maidan Square protesters (and by association, the entire nation of Ukraine) as "neo Nazis" and "free market .extremists" He even throws in the obligatory reference to Victoria Nuland. Putin- likely "president" for life- is suddenly a hero. Why? Because he is the only dictator neocon fantasies have not yet deposed?
On "60 Minutes" yesterday, Putin lamented the collapse of the Soviet "union" because suddenly, "25 million Russians no longer lived in their own country". He seems to have forgotten that the Russians treated their neighbors- all of Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, as occupied vassal states to be colonized by Russians, from the time of the Bolsheviks to the collapse of the USSR. Eastern Europe distrusts Russian intentions with good reason.
Parry condemns the over-reach of American neocons, but then lauds the behavior (and aspirations) of Vladimir Putin, who is not only the Russian version of them, but could probably teach them some lessons in plutocracy as well... not that they need any.
In any Robert Parry article, the USA is ALWAYS the bad actor. That narrative is getting predictable and tiresome.


I agree... although you've indicated the "lowest hanging fruit" in terms of subjects.

What is more insidious than establishing militarism, itself, as societal norm than to use language that conflates what soldiers do (as in mass killing) with The Citizenry, at large? I am talking about the way the term WE is used to insist upon consent for the most odious things. And that this particular term blurs over the distinction between the 1% (elite deciders) and the 99%.

I've also seen similar contexts used that take what is done by major big business offenders and attribute it to either all citizens, sheeple, the American people as uniform whole, or that great amorphous ocean of "we."

My point is that while you're right about how this little game of mind control (and message indoctrination) works, I think you only identify the most obvious areas where it's being used.

And as to this idea that each person should be taken as an innocent guest merely offering up a comment, it is chiefly that assumption that is being misused when the troll names show up together to falsely show consensus for a particular point, position, or perspective. It's dishonest. Disingenuous. Unfair. And I have been fiercely attacked for exposing this apparatus in the past. Those most likely to be working under cover have often sought to turn it around by stating that that's what I do.

Deny. Refute. and Make counter-allegations... Dis-info Training 101 style.


Well, I've expressed my feelings about the 'we' frame before. I think it is somewhat overused but don't think the U.S. public can be totally absolved of responsibility for the actions of our government. Our taxes fuel a good part of this monster and a lot is being done in our name.

Yes, we're not in charge but we far outnumber those who are.

So I only partially agree with you on this.