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.

The Fabricated Quotation and Donald Trump

Over the years that we have followed this fabricated quotation allegedly by Joseph Goebbels, we find it is regularly used by both those on the right and left to assail their opponents.  Let’s look at what has happened since the advent of Donald Trump.

A Google search on November 25, 2016 finds about 35,000 web pages with the quotation that mention Donald Trump.  Clinton supporters used it to denigrate Trump, and Trump supporters used it against Clinton.  Some examples:

An August 11, 2016 post on westernjournalism.com claims that Clinton is following Joseph Goebbels’s strategy in dealing with Donald Trump. It claims to be “a rapid, up-to-date political news service that is relevant to the Tea Party movement of Constitutional conservatives.”  It doesn’t believe in fact-checking, apparently.

Dr. Rich Swier, who advertises himself as a "conservative with a conscience,” does not apply his conscience in matters of accuracy. In a September 13, 2016 post titled

    “Hillary’s Goebbels Problem — ‘The Big Lie

he accuses the Clinton campaign of using Goebbels’s methods by “frantically seeking ways to hide the truth about Mrs. Clinton.”

Meanwhile, Sputnik News, a Russian site with a remarkable ability to convey untrue material, carried a piece in September 2016 titled  “Trump’s Immigration Speech and Godwin’s Law.” It cited the Goebbels quotation and claimed that Trump was using Goebbels’s methods.

Closer to home, the Piqua Daily Call, a newspaper in Florida, published a column by Maria Boone titled “Burning down the house.”  She says, among other things:

An infamous man from history once declared “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic, and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
The speaker worked for a man who has much in common with Donald Trump. This man found himself on the cusp of power in a country that was floundering in turmoil and dissatisfaction with its government. The bossman, like Trump, found he could garner support by proclaiming who people should be afraid of and who they should blame for all their problems. The speaker was Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Minster in Nazi Germany. His boss was Adolf Hitler.
Trump has found his own Goebbels in Steve Bannon, an anti-Semite, xenophobe, misogynist, white nationalist. Bannon has been named chief strategist and senior counselor for the Trump administration. Bannon hosts a website that asks questions such as “Would you rather your daughter be a feminist or have cancer?”
There are more.  We’re actually surprised there aren’t more than 35,000, but they will surely come as the left begins focusing on Trump’s presidency and the right assails those who fail to recognize his virtues.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Propaganda News" is Gullible

One would hope that a site named “Propaganda News” would be wary of uncritically accepting material — but that isn’t the case. In a post titled “Social Engineering Through the Propaganda of the Republican Presidential Race,” the full alleged Goebbels quotation is given to support this argument:
When it comes to politics, everything is propaganda. By now, most of us have come to realize that there is no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats; however, they are too quick to assume that an outsider like Donald Trump is truly an outsider, or Ted Cruz is the next Reagan.... In order to understand this fully you have to come to accept that our nation has been marked for conquest, and when Obama said fundamental transformation, he meant transformation to a socialist/communist state, period.
If “everything” in politics is propaganda, I suppose it applies to this site as well, which the author seems to confess at the end:
By accepting Ted Cruz or Donald Trump as our presidential candidates we are signaling to the left that we are willing to surrender certain values in order to solve problems they have forced upon us. It’s that simple, we are being socially engineered. Of course, this is just my opinion.
But he seems to think his opinion is a pretty good one....

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Goebbels and Merkel?

Our fabricated quotation shows up on a variety of German sites.  Today, it appears in a comment on the Deutsche Welle web site, accusing Chancellor Merkel of imitating Goebbels.  Since it’s buried deep in the comments section, I’ll reproduce it here:


DW article Merkel Unmoved by Criticism: " "Despite all the critical findings in surveys, more than 90 percent [of German voters] say as they did before, that whoever has to flee terror, war or persecution, should have the possibility to be admitted into Germany and to find shelter. I think that's wonderful," she said."
Interesting. I thought it was closer to 90% of Germans thought the refugee crisis was poorly handled by Merkel. I guess Mrs. Merkel is using Mr. Goebbels' strategy of the "Big Lie."
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Keep repeating it Mutti. Everyone doesn't believe it yet.
 “Everyone” does seem to believe what they see on the Internet, however.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Dubious Goebbels Quotation Shows up in Canada

We’re suspicious of any organization that uncritically accepts the dubious Goebbels quotation.  It indicates a lack of an ability to evaluate information.

The latest example is the Centre for Research on Globalization, a Canadian organization.  In a post on 7 January 2016 titled “France’s Police State: The Gravediggers of the French Republic,” it uses the quotation to support the argument that French security measures are about to turn France into a police state the equal of Nazi Germany.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Dubious Goebbels Quotation on Academic Sites

Although there are tens of thousands of citations of the dubious quotation on the web, there are far fewer on academic sites (.edu).  Still, there are some.

Professor Chris H. Lewis at the University of Colorado teaches a course titled “America, the Environment, & the Global Economy.”  Among other things it promotes critical thinking, for which he gives twelve characteristics, one of which is “use credible sources.”   He cites the fake Goebbels translation.  He provides a source for his previous quotation from Hitler. He doesn’t source the Goebbels quotation.  He likes Colbert’s concept of “truthiness.” In a way, his citation is an example of “truthiness.”  People’s “gut feeling” is that it is something that Goebbels would say, so obvious that examining its accuracy is unnecessary.

A second is in a 2004 article by Peter McLaren and Gregory Martin at UCLA titled “The Legend of the Bush Gang: Imperialism, War, and Propaganda.”  It has the Goebbels quotation at the beginning of the article, with no source provided.   The article begins by noting that “fascism and war” have become the United States’s preferred methods to starve off economic collapse and relieve “the agonizing tension of its underlying contradictions.” Since in their view the United States is following fascist policies, it only makes sense to cite a leading fascist to support their point.