Arab and Islamic Affairs Expert at New America Foundation, Brookings, Ties to CNN
By James F. Tracy
Western news media are abuzz with reports on the latest alleged murder of an American journalist by the “Islamic State.” A professionally-produced video of the beheading of Steve Sotloff was presented for public consumption by the private intelligence contractor SITE Intelligence Group of Bethesda Maryland. “SITE” stands for Search for International Terrorist Entities.
In the wake of World War I, erstwhile propagandist and political scientist Harold Lasswell famously defined propaganda as “the management of collective attitudes” and the “control over opinion” through “the manipulation of significant symbols.” The extent to which this tradition is enthusiastically upheld in the West and the United States in particular is remarkable. The American public is consistently propagandized by its government and corporate news media on the most vital of contemporary issues and events. Deception on such a scale would be of little consequence if the US was not the most powerful economic and military force on earth.