Legacy Media Faithfully Applying Joseph Goebbels’ Propaganda



I have been interested in the Second World War since I was a child. Perhaps it is because my father was a WW II veteran and because I was born in 1953, a mere 9 years after WW II. Despite decades of studying the war, I am still perplexed. I continue to have questions: how and why did it happen; how did an intellectual nation actually vote for Adolf Hitler? Obviously, the answers are numerous and complex, but (as a hobbyist, not a historian) I come down to the unavoidable conclusion that Nazism was an ideology for which propaganda was the vehicle that sold Hitler to the German public.

Without a propaganda machine run by the public opinion genius, Joseph Goebbels, coupled with the rhetorical skills of Adolf Hitler, WW II may only be a memory in some unfortunate parallel universe. Propaganda is intriguing therefore; I read a book specifically devoted to Nazi propaganda and it became painfully clear that our present day media is using Dr. Goebbels’ template of media manipulation. As if this weren’t appalling enough, I turn on the tv and hear emotional outbursts where Democrats and the media label Trump Hitler. When you analyze the media’s coverage of democrat arguments, it becomes clear they are overflowing with emotion, hyperbole and they lack analytical reasoning. As O’Shaughnessy states in his book, Selling Hitler: Propaganda and the Nazi Brand (Hurst, 2016), “Hyperbole replaced reason, feeling substituted for analysis and visceral emotion saturated popular consciousness.”[1] It becomes immediately clear that the democrats and their media propaganda machine are projecting—it is they who can be labeled Goebbels.

When we examine the mainstream media over the past four years, it is evident that the media has become the propaganda arm of the Democrat party; and as we shall see, the media is faithfully practicing Dr. Goebbels’ art of propaganda.

Goebbels gave a talk to the Reich press managers where he boldly stated, “When it comes to things that affect the national existence of a people and must therefore be solved by the government, the job of the press is just to take note. Discussion changes nothing, in any case. . .The press is now all mine.”[2] Can the Democrat party claim that the press is all theirs? I believe the answer is yes, and the evidence supporting that conclusion follows.

In this article I want to share what several authors have to say about the Nazi propaganda machine and provide examples that demonstrate how the media are copying Goebbels techniques. To do this I will simply discuss three questions: What are common characteristics of Nazi Propaganda, How Did Nazi Propaganda Operate, and How Did the Nazis Use Propaganda, and What Were the Techniques?


What Are Common Characteristics Of Nazi Propaganda?

Regarding the Nazis, O’Shaughnessy observes, “Their skill lay in seizing the moment, in turning a public crisis into a private opportunity via the mystification of propaganda.”[3] Who can forget Rahm Emanuel’s notorious quote in the Wall Street Journal, 2008, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” But how do they utilize a crisis, or any nugget of truth for that matter? The answer comes in the special form of a lie.

Propaganda is inherently filled with lies, and vacant of truth. Propaganda is dependent upon repetition of those lies, however there is a much psychological gymnastics involved with the lies and truths of propagandists. To manipulate a small truth into a lie, propagandists must believe that a lie is not a lie. Regarding the Nazis’ use of lies, O’Shaughnessy states, “In addition, the strategic lie is not a lie for a true believer, since such is the superiority of the cause that subterfuge in its service is not immoral: an untruth can simply be the subterfuge in its service is not immoral: an untruth can simply be the deeper truth for the convinced fanatic.”[4] What comes to mind immediately is Adam Schiff, James Comey, etc., and all those involved with the Russian collusion conspiracy that was repeated ad infinitum by the media for years.

O’Shaughnessy also brilliantly observes, “What the Nazis were really saying was that their truth lay deeper than their lies, and that their lies were merely a permissible methodology since the end always justified the means. A ‘lie’ is thus really a permissible level of suspension of candour in the aid of a great cause.”[5] Similarly, the viewers of today’s media have been treated to the new democrat philosophy, “It’s not the nature of the evidence but the seriousness of the charge, that demands prosecution.” This philosophy was on graphic display in the Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas hearings. But how does one suspend common sense and reason? The Nazis had the answer, “Thus a core part of Nazi grand theory was the dethronement of reason and the celebration of emotion.”[6] As O’Shaughnessy further notes, “The Nazi propagandist manipulated a world of feeling, not analysis.”[7] How long were we subjected to Christine Balsey Ford whimpering and emoting with no foundational evidence? Likewise, why were we punished by Anita Hill’s melodramatic recollection of a pubic hair? Goebbels could answer that question. I suspect the answers lie much deeper than just ignoring reason. At some point, a lack of reason morphs into illusions, and the longer illusions persist, the more likely they become delusions. That this has occurred with the Nazis and our media is not speculation.

O’Shaughnessy remarks, “The function of Nazi rhetoric was to inflate the currency of illusion,”[8] and, “In Germany there was clearly a widespread preparedness to accept arguments based not even on marginal objectivity, but on illusion.”[9] But persistently avoiding reality transforms illusion into delusion. This occurred in Germany as O’Shaughnessy observes, “But in doing this [Germany] made the final progress from illusion to delusion.”[10] “In this delusional order, anything could be asserted, everything believed.”[11] The American media has undergone the same transformation. Thanks to fake dossiers of urinating on beds, to melodramatically horrific phone calls, to pseudo-conspiracies of dastardly Russian collusions; our media has made the pathologic transformation from illusion to delusion. The media has all but destroyed its reputation with anyone who possesses even minute remnants of critical analysis.

And what can one say about all this manipulation of reality, are there consequences? Of course, and O’Shaughnessy describes what those consequences were in Germany, “[T]he question now was how far other-manipulation had actually become self-manipulation.”[12] Even worse, the manipulation and plunge into delusion becomes so ingrained that, as Bernays states, “And yet those who do such work [propaganda] are also prone to lose touch with reality; for in their universe the truth is ultimately what the client wants the world to think is true. Whatever cause they serve or goods they sell, effective propagandists must believe in it.”[13] Perhaps this explains why watching our media is so bizarre. One wonders if they actually believe what they are saying, and I’m afraid the answer is yes. But why would they expect us, the viewers to believe it? Those answers are upcoming in the next section.


How Did Nazi Propaganda Operate?

Most everyone is familiar with Goebbels’ “Big Lie.” Produce the lie then repeat it as often as possible and eventually the public will believe it. How many times have we heard “Russian Collusion?” Even after tens of millions of dollars paid to an army of lawyers, and reams of paper, the public was treated to a product of vacuity. But no matter, we are still hearing it! This is the Big Lie, and O’Shaughnessy notes, “The essence of the Nazi propaganda method was repetition; it was an article of faith and everything was reducible to this formula.”[14] The public will eventually believe the lie and then become supporters of the deceiving party. But that will not be enough.

However, to continue accepting lies as truths it is insufficient to just be a member of the party, “Propaganda must convince people of the necessity of our knowledge. It wins new fighters for the movement … It makes members out of supporters and martyrs out of members. The task of propaganda is to assist in the transformation of the character of the broad masses.”[15] Today we see this constantly, it is not adequate to just agree with what the media is selling; citizens must be politically correct, use the right words, comply with the latest groupthink, or prepare to be ostracized—or worse.

Goebbels demanded a new way of thinking, “The regime wanted not mere external compliance but internal fanaticism: it wanted the mind and the soul of its citizens and propaganda was the sorcery that would attain this.”[16] Try being a democrat and not believe in man made global warming, abortion on demand that is paid for by the state, “post-birth abortion” (formerly known as infanticide), the removal of God from public discourse and the education system, among other existential threats—it will not go well for you.

The Nazis could not be satisfied with merely disagreeing with opponents; they transformed their enemies into frightening monsters in a process O’Shaughnessy calls mythologizing. He states, “A mythologized enemy cannot be ambivalent or vague, but must be crudely cruel and murderous, and preferably an existential threat.”[17] How apropos is this concept? The media has no problem replaying democrats claiming Trump is responsible for all COVID-19 deaths, Trump is going to destroy the world, the republicans don’t care about women or old people, etcetera.

However, just claiming all opponents are cruel and murderous isn’t enough. The media must propagandize their selected ideology and encourage agitation, “Ideology is useless without agitation.”[18] In the words of Goebbels himself, “Words were the foundation of the French Revolution, but if an agitator had not stood at his side his theory would have stumbled on the bookshelves … Lenin gave [Marxist movement] political power, not Marx. Mussolini is both the philosopher and educator of fascist thinking.”[19] Where would the democrat party be today had not the media encouraged riots all over the country by mislabeling them as “mostly peaceful protests” and televising the democrat party’s anger and agitation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? By definition, when the media picks an ideology,  they become the propaganda arm of that ideology.


How Did the Nazi’s Use Propaganda, and What Were the Techniques?

Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect, summed up how the Nazis used propaganda, “Speer told the Nuremberg Tribunal ‘that what distinguished the Third Reich from all previous dictatorships was its use of all the means of communication to sustain itself and to deprive its objects of  the power of independent thought.’”[20] But how did they use communication?

First and I believe foremost is the use of rhetoric. The manipulation of language is a powerful tool. O’Shaughnessy notes, “The Nazis used a distinct vocabulary to manufacture a reality that they recognized could be reshaped via the creation of new words, the perversion of old words and the invention of phrases.”[21] He goes on to describe that, “To control language is to control thought and the control of language is achieved by mastery of rhetoric.”[22] And from Joseph Goebbels himself, “By controlling the language, we own the concepts through which people apprehend reality, and in owning the concepts we control the people far more thoroughly than through the apparatus of a police state.”[23] Sadly, in the Third Reich, “Language itself became judge and jury … [as] It impacted through sheer insistence and volume.”[24] Likewise, we have been subjected to Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff incessantly proclaiming President Trump was a criminal and they had overwhelming evidence, which never appeared. And in their melodramatic proclamations they became histrionic, another characteristic of the Nazi propaganda machine, “Thus they raised ‘everything to historical significance [historich]. … the Third Reich knows nothing but feast days … views every day as historical, it is mortally ill from lack of the every day.”[25] Once again we see this daily in our media as we are subjected to almost hourly “Breaking News!” How much breaking news can there be, and once it has broken why does it not become merely repetitious?

Speaking of breaking news brings up the topics of euphemisms and metaphors. “The Nazis required euphemism even to think, even to get through the working day: for euphemism was a way of blinding themselves, and those they led, to the truth of what they were doing. It bathed the horrific and the homicidal in a muted banality. Through euphemism language could de-toxify reality.”[26] What comes to mind is the banality of “mostly peaceful protests” as if all of America did not literally witness massive violence, or “post-birth abortion” paid for by state executioners.

The democrats and media live by metaphor. What better example than the metaphor of “separation of church and state,” which was used to remove any public discourse of God from our society. Of metaphors, O’Shaughnessy notes the Nazis believed that, “Metaphor was the vehicle for all this, as it is through metaphor and imagery that we can fracture existing paradigms of thought.”[27] The Nazis knew that, “One of the functions of propaganda is to sow moral confusion.”[28]

One of the best ways to sow moral confusion, and one which our media is in perfect lock step, is the removal of God from the public sphere. Goebbels knew this as well, “The churches must lose their license to teach. ‘That’s the only way we’ll break them down in a few decades.’”[29] Evidence of the democrat and media’s contempt for religion can fill volumes.

O’Shaughnessy summarizes the importance of propaganda and language to the Nazis. This significance continues today, as exhibited by our media, “The Nazis understood the value of language, the importance of controlling it and how necessary this was to their rise and survival, and language is a weapon of thought control, the great theme of George Orwell’s 1984. . . Language encapsulates a way of seeing that excludes other perspectives, other ways of seeing.”[30] If this last sentence was not apropos to our media today, we would not be seeing the censorship from Facebook, Twitter and Google. Nor would we be watching the media ignoring, and blatantly suppressing, inconvenient and embarrassing contrary opinions. No further evidence is required to prove the media have become the propaganda arm of the Democrat party, and any comparison to Hitler or Nazis is projection at best or an outright lie at worst. And there is no doubt that our media has become the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.



[1] Nicholas O’Shaughnessy, Selling Hitler: Propaganda and the Nazi Brand (London: Hurst, 2016), 53.

[2] Peter Longerich, Goebbels: A Biography (New York: Random House, 2015), 279.

[3] O’Shaughnessy, 33.

[4] Id., 82.

[5] Id., 103.

[6] Id., 116.

[7] Id., 164.

[8] Id., 65.

[9] Id., 45.

[10] Id., 87.

[11] Id., 88.

[12] Id., 89.

[13] Edward Bernays, Propaganda (Brooklyn: Ig Publishing, 1928, 2005), 23.

[14] O’Shaughnessy, 107.

[15] Id., 121.

[16] Id., 120.

[17] Id., 150

[18] Id., 120.

[19] Id.

[20] Id., 101. Quoting from Ward Rutherford, Hitler’s Propaganda Machine, (London: Bison, 1978).

[21] Id., 256.

[22] Id., 259

[23] Id.

[24] Id., 261.

[25] Id., 268.

[26] Id., 266.

[27] Id., 265.

[28] Id., 271.

[29] Longerich, 333.

[30] O’Shaughnessy, 278.

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