photo credit: Travis Walton, Wikimedia Public Domain
Did you know that long-time Monty Python fan and former member of The Beatles, George Harrison mortgaged his quite expensive house to fund the production of the movie, Life of Brian? If you did, you might have what it takes to win some counter-propaganda efforts, since I just learned this from a vintage documentary. You had the advantage to be first (probably way before me, anyway).
Continuing the theme, of all people, Woody Allen not just humorously alerted us to the important quality of being first. He pointed out that the world should not be so preoccupied with any invaders from outer space having a technology that's many years ahead of ours.
He claimed it was not advanced technologies supported by plans for world domination that will win. He worried about the invading force that was equipped to be anywhere even ten minutes ahead of us.
He feared that a ten-minute advantage enabled them to "eat all the breakfast cereal, use all the toothpaste, and catch all the taxis... These invaders could paralyze whole cities. Most importantly, they could use even traditional weapons ten minutes before we thought of targeting ours."
It's the same with propaganda. Being first wins, especially followed up with high repetition.
Which is why the bad actor, and just about any savvy politician, likes to give his/her version of bad news first, or at least be quickest to reframe the story after the breaking news. Of course, a bad actor who has lots of bad news sometimes has to take a little longer to weigh up which bad news has enough traction to need response. This delay gives quick-off-the mark counter-propaganda the opportunity for added advantage.
Which is also why breakfast brainstorming sessions to counter anticipated propaganda was so often the advantage that won airtime during my brushes with politics.
Because being first applies to counter-propaganda too. Enough with all the micro-analyses. Just get ahead of the game - ten minutes ahead, at least. Which is why those media people who have long-winded, polite interviews about or with crooks will never really succeed in keeping them accountable. Some media interviewers are very effective at walking bad actors into disclosing themselves. But, you don't need nuanced understanding of someone picking your pocket; you need to stop them.
If you feel this might not be democratic, I'd counter that you're reasserting simple dialogue - which is kryptonite to propaganda with its sole purpose of mindless obedience, as well as to the bad actor behind it.
No time now to be writing instruction books and action plans either. Just counter-propaganda ahead of the continuous stream of drivel is what matters now.