Saturday, September 14, 2019

Another Misattributed Goebbels Quotation

A visitor to my site asks about this quotation, allegedly by Goebbels, which is cited often on the Internet:
There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be “the man in the street.” Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology."
Goebbels didn’t say it.  It is instead taken from Hugh Trevor-Roper’s introduction to  Final Entries 1945: The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels (New York, Putnam’s, 1978), p. xx.  It is a reasonable summary of Goebbels’s views— but he never would have put it in that way. As I’ve observed before, in public he always maintained that propaganda had to be truthful.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Tracking Report #12

It’s time to see how the viral (but fake) Goebbels quotation is doing on the Internet.  As always, I search for the phrase “truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

On 20 August 2019, a Google search finds 44,000 hits for the phrase.  About 50 have been added in the past month.

Google however, doesn’t list all hits any longer.  Microsoft’s Bing still does.  It finds 3,500,000 hits.

A Google search for the phrase in German (“somit wird die Wahrheit durch die Ausbreitung der größte Feind des Staates”) finds 57 hits.  Bing, on the other hands, finds 11,900 results.

A small consolation is that our page debunking the quotation is the #1 hit on Google.  

Friday, August 9, 2019

NewsMax Goes for Fake Quotation

Marc Rudov has an article on NewsMax titled Trump's Real 2020 Opponent Is the Accusation of Racism.” Rudov, who claims to be a “branding advisor to CEOs,” uses the quotation to support his argument that unless Trump can dispel the racist argument, he will lose the election.

This is an interesting use of the quotation.  For one thing, Trump has control of the state at this point (assuming one doesn't accept the “deep state” claims). Given the context, Trump would be the one destroying truth.... And one would hope that a consultant to CEOs would use reliable evidence.

As is so often the case, the quotation sounds so plausible that people don’t bother to check their facts.