First Amendment, propaganda will automatically enter the media equation. We need to combat it the way we combat all bad ideas: with our vigilance and wit, knowing that we can’t ever completely expunge it from the atmosphere. [...] By our best non-hysterical efforts, refuting propaganda with the diligence we fight cockroaches, we can hope to reduce propaganda’s effect to that of background radiation. The truth loses battles but never the war.
Richard Stengel, the State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy, bluntly states the problem that has been worrying him and should worry us all: “In a global information war, how does the truth win?” The very idea that the truth won’t be triumphant would, until recently, have been heresy to Stengel, a former managing editor of Time magazine.
Lithuanian troops are teaching their British counterparts how to identify and fight Russia propaganda as part of an ongoing attempt to fight the country’s attempts to influence public opinion. Officers from the Baltic state – which is said to be at the front line of Russia’s “soft power” war in Europe – shared their experiences with the 77th Brigade, a new British Army unit set up to deal with information warfare.
America’s historical quest for freedom and democracy has been all but stamped out under the Obama administration in its quest to weaken American power, hard or soft. During Soviet times, Radio Free Europe and other Western media outlets did a good job of telling the world [...] We need to restore this vision and capability with similar, modern media efforts around the globe to tell the American story.
NATO may combat Kremlin “weaponisation of information” used to support action such as the 2014 seizure of Crimea by creating a new more powerful communications section and declassifying more sensitive material, according to draft plans. Both NATO and the European Union are concerned by Russia’s ability to use television and the Internet to project what they say is deliberate disinformation. The EU set up a special unit last year to counter what it considers overt propaganda.
Philip Seib on Russia and disinformation.