Sunday, June 17, 2018

Andover High School Turmoil over Fake Goebbels Quotation

The New York Times of 16 June 2018 has an article about Andover High School in Massachusetts that was distressed to discover a Nazi quote in its yearbook.  The relevant passage:

The quote, which reads “Make the lie big, keep it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it,” is widely associated with Hitler and Goebbels’s use of propaganda to build the Nazi empire. The quote is not attributed in the yearbook, and appears in black text underneath the photo of the student, who has not been identified.
Now, the quotation is a reasonable summary of the principles of Nazi propaganda (or, indeed, of much advertising and political discourse), but it is not a direct quotation from either Hitler or Goebbels.  Part of it is based on Hitler’s widely misquoted discussion of the “big lie” in Mein Kampf.  Although Hitler was entirely willing to lie, he is accusing the “Jewish press” of Vienna of the tactic.  As I’ve noted elsewhere, it would be a poor sort of propagandist who publicly proclaimed that he lied.

There are lots of fabricated quotations out there (Lincoln, Churchill, etc.), but fake Nazi quotations are the pit bulls of political controversy.  As Godwin’s Law has it, they stop conversation.  The worst one could charge an enemy with in the past was being a tool of the Devil.  Since belief in him has diminished, the Nazis have taken his place.  During the Bush years, thousands of Internet posts proclaimed that he was following Goebbels’s principles, often using the quotation this blog follows. Then it was Obama’s turn to be the new Goebbels.  Now Trump…. Actually, after Singapore I think the better historical reference for Trump may be Neville Chamberlain (“Peace for our time”), but that’s another matter.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Speech on Fake News Uses Fake Quotation

Jen Senko put out a film in 2016 titled The Brainwashing of My Dad, describing the effect of Fox News, etc., on her father.  She gave a speech based on the film to the New York Society for Ethical Culture in 2017 — and cites the dubious Goebbels quotation.  So a speech on fake news uses a fake quotation.  If you’re curious, the reference is at about the 5-minute mark on this YouTube video.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Global Research Displays Shoddy Research

A conspiracy-type site GlobalResearch has a piece titled “Propaganda, Disinformation and Dirty Tricks: James Earl Ray Was Innocent of the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.” It uses the usual dubious argumentative style and cites the fabricated Goebbels quotation as evidence that the “Deep State” is involved in all sorts of dreadful things.  The conspiracy allegedly involved:
Deep State operatives such as the afore-mentioned highly secretive conspiratorial groups such as the CIA, the infamous J Edgar Hoover, Hoover’s equally infamous and very racist FBI at the time, the Pentagon, the US military’s sniper squads, the racist Memphis Police Department, the Mafia, assorted war-profiteers, the mainstream media, and many elected and non-elected officials that exist at every level of government.
I’m always surprised at that those who believe that such a massive conspiracy involving thousands of people could be concealed.  That many people could keep the secret?  Truly, the “Deep State” must have astonishing control over its participants.

As usual, a site that assumes anything it finds on the Internet must be true should be disregarded.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Austrian Site on Fake Quotations

There are a fair number of people engaged in the Sisyphean labor of discouraging dubious quotations.

Gerald Krieghofer has an Austrian site titled Zitatenrätsel that tracks them in the German-speaking world. He has a 6 December 2017 post that looks at dubious Goebbels quotations.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Article on Fake News Uses Fake Quotation

Peacock Panache, an site on the political left, has a post titled “Fake News and the Big Lie” on 1 November 2017.  It is less than enthused about Trump Administration statements and claims:
The study did find that Trump’s constant calling-out of specific media sources affected public perceptions of the accuracy of those sources. That shouldn’t surprise us. There is a famous Joseph Goebbels quote, describing the propaganda tactic known as “The Big Lie.”
It then cites the alleged quotation by Goebbels.
So we have an article assailing fake news that uses a fake quotation.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"Reliable" Sites and the Dubious Goebbels Quotation

I’m particularly annoyed by sites that look reliable, but spread the dubious Goebbels quotation that  this blog is following.  That is almost always a sign that a site should be avoided.

One example is the Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team.  On the surface (but only on the surface) it looks to be a scholarly site, although it provides very little information on who is behind it.  However, its page on Joseph Goebbels is headed by the dubious quotation.  I’ve twice e-mailed them, but they haven't removed the material. On the same page, they reproduce a large section of one of my translations, with no credit.

In short, it’s not a site to be recommended.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Tracking Report #11

It’s been a while since we did a tracking report on the fabricated quotation by Joseph Goebbels.

The last one, in fact, was on May 20, 2015. At that point there were 45,000 Google hits.  On November 25, 2016 the total is 40,600.  It would be encouraging to think citations were ebbing, but is  a result of changes in Google’s algorithms rather than a decline in use.  Microsoft’s Bing search engine provides 2,430,000 results.

Fortunately, our pages are at the top of most search engine results, so those who try to be accurate will find sufficient information as to discourage them from further spreading nonsense.