Robin Smith, former Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and congressional candidate.File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press
The screen shows an image of a dimly lit hallway with bodies scattered on the floor as violins build drama behind the voice-over on the video: “How Americans Live Today.”
The video continues with more dark images, then a visual of lines of guns with the narrator proclaiming: “This is how Americans live today. Drinking coffee made from snow and living in tents and buying guns to kill each other, especially children.”
The production is attributed to the saber-rattling rogues of North Korea. Its distribution follows weeks of nuclear testing, declaration of war on the United States, and general unrest on the Pacific Rim.
Back to the movie: The translating voice explains that American trees have no birds because “they’ve been eaten by the people living in these tents” panning to a khaki-colored tent straining with the weight of snow. The camera returns to those hazy corridors describing a figure on a bench: “This man awaits heroin.”
A final scene shows the inside of one of those American tents featuring Red Cross supplies of “curtains and wools from material from North Korea.”
It turns out the video is a fake, but pure propaganda, nonetheless.
Meanwhile, American television a few days ago screamed that teachers were going to be fired, immunizations were not going to be available and the White House was to close its public tours as a result of the sequestration totaling $85 billion.
What actually happened? Any cuts to teachers’ jobs were already in proposals from the Department of Education, reductions in immunizations were resulting from the president’s own initiatives and the tours for schoolchildren were cancelled. But, the White House denied it had anything to do with it.
A reduction in the growth of federal spending, not actual cuts in spending, has resulted in an absolute exposure of propaganda. In taking a piece of information that has a kernel of truth, then twisting and turning it, we have a crisis of leadership … again.
The most significant sequester cuts fell on the American military. Without question, defense contracting practices need reform and accountability. However, cuts and furloughs directly to soldiers while entitlements are completely untouched demonstrate the lunacy (and effectiveness) of propaganda.
Washington “leadership” says the solution to saving Medicare and Social Security is to increase taxes on those rascally rich who own businesses that create jobs. Has anyone from the White House addressed the fact that without structural changes, there will no longer be Medicare or Social Security? Honest and accurate accounting records show the spending levels to meet the benefits awarded in these beloved programs will not be sustained.
Instead, what we’ve seen are both versions of the TV advertisement with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, pushing a wheelchair-bound senior off a cliff portraying his reforms to save Medicare and Social Security as murder.
So, while the fake North Korean video that absurdly claims Americans are living in tents, eating birds, killing our children with guns and drinking coffee made of snow gets our laughs, we are accepting as fact the propaganda that continually dribbles out of the political world.
It’s disturbing to see creatures claiming to have a higher level of functioning who become irritated with facts while embracing the farcical.
So, ignore the truth, disregard the facts. The State of The Unicorn world, I mean the State of the Union, calls for unlimited resources, with our priorities placed on looking and feeling good rather than living in reality. Propaganda … it’s what we’re now accepting as truth.
Robin Smith served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2007 to 2009. She is a partner at the SmithWaterhouse Strategies business development and strategic planning firm.