Monday, July 13, 2020

Thomas Sowell Fails to Do His Homework

Thomas Sowell, in a recent interview with Fox, misquotes Goebbels as saying “people will believe any lie if it is repeated long enough and loud enough.” He does qualify his statement by saying that “Goebbels is supposed to have said” it.

As I have observed often before, although Goebbels believed lying to be a necessary tool of the propagandist, in public he always maintained that his propaganda was truthful.  Indeed, he preferred to tell the truth, although often selectively. 

Sowell’s quotation is also more a revised version of Hitler’s notorious claim about the “big lie” technique, although Hitler, too, was not claiming it to be his policy, but rather accusing the Jews of Vienna of the tactic.

Sowell is normally a careful scholar, so it is disappointing to find him citing Goebbels inaccurately.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Still another fabricated Goebels Quotation

A visitor to the site asks me if this quotation, allegedly by Goebbels, is genuine:
Let me control the media and I will turn any nation into a herd of pigs.
A Google search on 25 April 2020 finds 5,500 results.

It is almost certainly fabricated, and for the usual reasons.

  1. No one I checked provides a source. The sites that cite it are often dubious (e.g., RT [formerly Russia Today] is a familiar source of dubious information). The RT citation is from 2014, making it one of the earliest I can find.
  2. No reliable scholar cites it.  I checked Google Scholar and Google Books. There are a few Google Books citations, but none from a book that inspires any confidence.
  3. Although I have not read everything Goebbels wrote, I have read a lot.  I have never encountered this quotation.
  4. As I have observed before, Goebbels is unlikely to have said something like this.  A good propagandist —and he was that— is unlikely to make such a statement.

In short, one cannot prove a negative, but it is highly unlikely that this is something Goebbels said or wrote. As usual, if you find someone who cites this, is is excellent evidence that he or she does not check sources.