In a new book by journalist Michael Moore, he examines the ways in which the media and governments around the world use propaganda to influence people.
Moore’s new book is titled “How to write an article about the propaganda report”.
The book examines how, in many cases, propaganda is used to shape public opinion and to advance certain agendas, including war and poverty.
“The first line of the propaganda campaign is: the government is right, this is what the government wants you to think,” Moore told ABC News Radio on Tuesday.
“And it’s almost always that the media have to back up their claims with evidence.”
The key message Moore is looking for is that propaganda works.
“You don’t have to be a journalist to understand how to tell a story about a war or a genocide or a war on climate change, or a civil rights movement, or even about the history of women’s rights,” he said.
“That’s what propaganda is all about.”
He explains how the propaganda push in the 21st century is built upon two core pillars: the ability of a single group of people to use propaganda and the ability to amplify the message.
Moore said this was especially true in countries like the US and Britain, where governments have been using the power of social media to influence public opinion for decades.
Moore has written numerous books on topics including globalisation and democracy, but he said he is most interested in how the media uses propaganda to shape our world today.
“There’s been a massive transformation in media and how we communicate and the technology that we use to communicate,” Moore said.
“You can’t have a free press if you’re not free of people telling you what to believe.”
Moore said governments have also used propaganda to try and influence their populations through misinformation, and that misinformation is often created by organisations that are either funded by governments or owned by governments.
Australia is not immune to propaganda propaganda, he said, noting that in 2014 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation ran an article on climate-change denial entitled “The climate is fake”.
“I think there’s a real risk in the world of governments using propaganda to promote their agendas and influence public attitudes,” Moore added.
“We have a history of governments, and particularly governments in the United States, using propaganda as a way to influence opinion.”‘
Puppet masters’ Moore’s book examines a number of ways governments are using propaganda in their efforts to influence populations, from their own governments to the public at large.
He said the use of propaganda to help advance particular agendas was not new.
For example, in 2016, a US president, Donald Trump, claimed that climate change was an “act of terrorism”.
He later clarified his comments by saying he was referring to climate change as a global phenomenon.
In a tweet the following year, the president also suggested that Muslims should not be allowed to vote in US elections because of their religious beliefs.
In a 2014 article, Moore said a report by the US State Department showed that US media was using climate change to push an agenda of war.
Moore says the propaganda narrative can also be used to attack other people.
“If you look at the propaganda in Australia, it’s a lot more focused on a lot of people with different political beliefs than it is on climate or even the health of the environment,” he told ABC Radio.
One of Moore’s key insights is that the more powerful and influential a particular organisation is, the more often it uses propaganda.
He said this means that governments could use propaganda as part of their overall strategy to influence the public.
“They may be trying to get people to think they’re being watched or they’re somehow not doing their job,” he explained.
“So they’re trying to use the propaganda to get their point across, to get more support, to win votes.”