A Propaganda Team Works A Small Town

Letter From California

Posters around town said there would be a meeting about Nicaragua at the local senior center. The speaker, "Director of the Municipal Art Gallery" in a large California city, was going to show slides taken during her recent two-week tour of Nicaragua. It, of course, turned out to be a propaganda session. She had gone to Nicaragua not as an objective artistic observer, but as a supporter of the Sandinistas looking for confirmation of her views—every picture was used to justify or soft-sell the Marxist rule.

The art director's commentary with the slide presentation was rich with that special moral language which justifies police states. We were told U.S. corporations giving jobs to South American Indians means exploitation. We were told Communist Nicaragua had "banned capital punishment." There were pictures of the Nicaraguan Communist government making a staged "redistribution" of land to the "people," lined up before the camera to show their ornate deeds of title. However, the art director's most subtle argument, repeated so persistently that it constituted the underlying theme of the evening, was that no matter what doubts anyone may have about the revolution in Nicaragua, the government it overthrew was so terrible that anything is better. In that line of argument, it is simply inconceivable that new governments may be worse than the old.

The art director brought a...

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