I know the propaganda game as well as anyone who lived and worked through the tail-end of the Cold War. I worked for the amply-funded propaganda arms of the two most propaganda-minded governments in the world, first as a broadcaster and newsroom subeditor with the BBC World Service in Bush House, London (1980-1986), and more briefly with the Voice of America in Washington (1986-1987).
These news outlets are government-funded entities with the brief to present their countries’ foreign and domestic policies in the best possible light. In this respect, they are just like Sputnik News, which the U.S. mainstream media routinely calls a “Russian propaganda outfit.” Just like Sputnik, they employ seasoned media professionals—the BBC does, anyway—and produce mostly decent programs. Just like Sputnik, their audiences rightly perceive these outlets as information conduits of their respective governments.
Unlike Sputnik, however, the Western outlets pretend to be something other than “propaganda outfits.” The affectation is pathetic. Behind the layers of waffle, the core claim is clear: we are good, they are bad.We educate, they corrupt. We stand for all things bright and beautiful—whether it be democracy, LGBTQ+, open borders, or multi-cultural harmony—while they are the declining, drunk, reactionary Russian barbarians irrationally and obstinately opposed to our values. We tell the truth, they lie.
In reality, everyone “lies” by not allowing mere facts to stand in the way of their constructed or desired “reality.” The Brits are pretty good at the game. Their quasi-reality constructs sometimes ring true to the naïve, and their polished accents certainly help.
The Russians are far less ideologically fanatical these days, and therefore don’t need to lie much. This is because we have witnessed a curious role reversal over the past three decades. The Bolshevik state emerged a century ago as a revolutionary project determined to shatter the old order. Following the USSR’s disintegration, however, Russia has striven to protect her core national interests, traditionally understood, no quasi-reality needed. “The West,” however, has morphed into the greenhouse of weird posthuman projects and overtly aggressive geopolitical designs.
The VOA is the also-ran here. For decades it has been as absurd in its core claims as it has been inept in their execution. Its global impact is as great as the Soviet propaganda machine’s was in Comrade Leonid Brezhnev’s final years. Suffice to say that people who don’t quite make it into the real organs of America’s postmodern Agitprop are lucky to end up at 330 Independence Avenue SW as GS-10’s and 11’s, roughing it out on the way to a hoped-for $90,000 pension.
The last and most important point is that Sputnik—as well as the RT, with its three-hundred-million audience—have given me a global platform to say what I think when asked, and continue to do so. That can no longer happen, ever, in the Kremlin-on-the-Potomac, or New York, or in their Stalinoid media clones across the nation.
I share these propaganda insights as background to an interview which I gave to Sputnik News on Sunday, Dec. 20, regarding whether Joe Biden would be able to “turn the page,” unite the nation, and heal America’s wounds when so many people deny his legitimacy. My English translation of the interview follows:
According to the foreign affairs editor of Chronicles magazine, historian Srdja Trifkovic, there are some fundamental differences between Trump and Biden.
“First of all, the mainstream media machine will be wholeheartedly behind Biden’s team. All along they have acted as an integral, symbiotic whole. That same media machine has denied Trump’s legitimacy every step of the way, while covering up scandals concerning Hillary Clinton’s servers and emails, and the shady business dealings of Biden’s son Hunter.
“That machine has treated all claims of irregularity in the presidential election as baseless fibs and it has acted as an inseparable arm of the Biden campaign. Had it been otherwise, had there been accusations by Democrats that the GOP was manipulating the election process, there is no doubt that The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and others would be extremely diligent in not leaving a single stone unturned,” Trifkovic says.
In addition, our interlocutor says, Donald Trump—unlike Biden—did not have the “deep state” on his side.
“The American deep state, which includes the military-industrial-congressional complex but is not limited to it, sees the return of liberal interventionists to power as an opportunity to continue where they feared Trump had stopped. They want to reassert the strategy of global hegemony which will produce wars like the ones Bill Clinton engineered in the Balkans, George W. Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan, to which we need to add Obama’s interventions in Syria and Libya and the escalation in Afghanistan. Trump did not like any of that, which was totally unacceptable to the establishment,” Trifkovic says.
The third, and by no means least important aspect is that Trump has assailed one of the unassailable holy cows of the liberal establishment: the cult of open borders, and the project of immigration reform which would legalize illegal immigrants.
“There is no doubt that Biden will persevere with this agenda, especially since the Democratic Party sees in this course the way to cement its advantage. It knows that naturalized immigrants in America have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in recent decades. They are immigrants who rely on the Federal government to help them along, not the old school immigrants from the 19th and early 20th century who relied on their ten fingers, their muscles and their brains to secure a better life for themselves and their families, without relying on any mechanisms of public assistance and state social programs,” Trifkovic says.
Bearing all that in mind, it is certain that millions of Trumpists will remain justifiably convinced that there have been many deliberate, systematic, premeditated manipulations of the electoral process. Those manipulations also have a constitutional component, because various executive rather than legislative institutions in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia have changed the rules of the game at the last moment. There have been many other blatant violations of the law.
“All that will remain ignored by the mainstream media machine. I see no way for the righteous anger of all those people to be articulated in a systematic, coherent manner which would disrupt the Biden administration in executing its various designs. All that remains as some hope for the Republicans is that they will prevail in Georgia in the Senate races, which would prevent Biden from having a free hand to apply his team’s agenda unhindered on all fronts,” Trifkovic says.
(Correction: The first paragraph of an earlier version of this article incorrectly listed the end of the author's stint at the BBC as 1987.)