Bannon, Spicer, and Miller: A Propaganda Puppet Show - By Greer Clem
I want to start by recounting a bit about the most infamous propagandist in history: Joseph Goebbels. This name may be new to some people, and if you thought Hitler was a bad hombre, you better believe this guy was worse.
Goebbels served as the Minister of Propaganda under Hitler's Third Reich. He controlled all news, media, and arts (film, primarily) with a xenophobic darkness worthy of Lucius Malfoy. Born with a malformed foot and forced to wear a metal brace throughout his childhood, Goebbels was teased mercilessly as a youth and walked with a severe limp his entire life. Goebbels withdrew into himself and, having been rebuffed by the military, began an intellectual career in politics. I'm no psychiatrist, but anyone can see where this story is going.
Goebbels was an angry man who enacted his revenge on anyone unlike himself, making him the perfect tool for Hitler's administration. He was more xenophobic than Hitler himself, known to speak so viciously about Jews that he would intimidate his fellow members of the Third Reich. But the most dangerous thing about Goebbels was that he was smart. An eloquent writer, he penned some of Hitler's most notorious speeches. An introvert himself, he was drawn to Hitler's charisma and drama (remind you of a certain orange somebody?). As soon as he saw Hitler speak, he knew that he had found the vessel to carry his message: anyone who is different must go. Goebbels legitimized Hitler in a way that few others could have. With Goebbels' intellectual prowess and political savvy, he manipulated propaganda in a way no one had before...
Which brings me to today. This article has a dark beginning, but fear not, we're taking a turn for the better. Why? Because fortunately, Bannon, Spicer and Miller are idiots. Let me elaborate:
Trump tweets from his toilet that the "fake news media" is lying to the public, then it's his puppets' job to get on stage and legitimize this statement. Luckily for us, there is not a Goebbels in the bunch. Malicious they may be, but this pathetic band of idiots is ill-equipped to propagandize modern America, and it is this fact that we must continue to focus on.
Steve Bannon, far-right media starlet and former chair of Breitbart News was Trump's chief strategist throughout the campaign. His ties to white nationalism and repeated insistence that "the media is the opposition" do nothing to enhance his questionable credentials. While we can be certain Bannon views Trump as the vessel for his own xenophobic vision of America, we can count ourselves lucky he is too moronic to fully take advantage.
Sean Spicer, current Press Secretary, White House Communications Director, and Melissa McCarthy homework project, has been his own worst enemy since day one. He perhaps has the hardest job of these three puppets, for he must daily face a sea of legitimately informed reporters and try to barf incoherent nonsense at them. Lacking the quiet intellectualism of Goebbels, Spicer is reduced to a loud nuisance with no legitimate danger whatsoever. I've taken to viewing him as a really angry slug with little neck and even less composure.
And lastly we have the newest member of the idiot troupe, Stephen Miller. Miller is like a scary story we will tell sweet, young Jewish boys in the future. With flashlight's under our chins, we'll whisper, "And only 4 years after his bar mitzvah, he turned RIGHT WING!" Dun, dun, dun!
In all seriousness, Miller's story concerns me the most. Raised in a relatively liberal Jewish family in Santa Monica, Miller's own viewpoints changed in his late teens when he became engrossed in NRA articles. At Duke, he held an Anti-Terrorism event to warn against "Islamafascism," which is both insulting and not a thing. He has also accused Maya Angelou of "racial paranoia." I know why the caged bird sings, and it's because it's trying to drown out Miller's idiocy. He then served as Press Secretary for Michele Bachmann, which... you know what, that one doesn't even need a qualifier. In his 31 years, Miller has been a tornado of right-wing nonsense and is showing no signs of slowing down.
So why have I mentioned this cast of morons? Why did I begin by recounting the villainous Goebbels? Because no one saw him coming. Goebbels slid into the Third Reich and turned xenophobic hate into reality. He almost entirely cancelled out a race of people, and he did it while flying almost entirely under the radar. It was only in the post-war years that historians truly figured out just how instrumental he was.
Now, fortunately for us, Trump so far has not found such a sly weapon. His propagandists are loud and idiotic and seemingly experts in self-sabotage. But that does not mean that the work is not being done. We have to look at these people, examine who Trump has chosen to surround himself with, and deduct for ourselves what this means. They may be idiots, but they may not be harmless. We are privileged to live in a time where the dissemination of information is incredibly easy, where we can verify the truth for ourselves and make our voices heard. In Goebbels' time, voices were more easily silenced. So I will leave you with this: knowledge is our greatest weapon. We have seen how intellect, with malintent can lead to harm, and we have seen how introspection and inclusiveness can lead to good. We are in the midst of fighting the good fight and we must continue to reveal Trump's band of idiots for what they truly are, all the while being vigilant against hatred. These people may have the stage, but we have the truth.