As a former citizen of the midwest whose parents stressed education and independent thinking I have been struck by the blatant resurgence of propaganda as a tool to sway the masses – influencing national politics, local school board policies and now city council meetings in my new home in the Bay Area.
As I listened to “Scottie from Walnut Creek” attempt to hijack the phone in portion of public comment during another city council meeting I realized I was watching the propagandist’s tool at work, leaving the council flailing while “Scottie” went on spewing anti-semitic rhetoric.
I was not around during the Second War but my parents were and they taught me well, suggesting certain books and encouraging me to find out for myself how men can effectively use propaganda to scapegoat a race or type of person to shape nationalistic thought and ultimately send millions to their deaths.
Hearing that type of drivel from “Scottie” in Walnut Creek, America, 2023, chilled me to the bone – especially as the anonymous voice on the other end of the line lectured those in attendance about the Constitution and Free Speech before going on to paint Jewish people with the same brush the National Socialists did in Germany in the Thirties and Forties.
I found myself shaking my head, remembering the words of Edward Bernays – the scholarly father of public relations and propaganda – who said: “The United States has become a small room in which a single whisper is magnified thousands of times.”
Anonymous Scottie is using the public comments portion of a public meeting and possibly local freeway overpasses to harangue a Jewish council member and potentially magnify his single whisper.
Will it work? Time will tell, but if recent history is any indicator it is apparent there are people in this country only too willing to swallow his hook.
Doug Morrow/Walnut Creek