She wove fiction in with the facts, but she doesn’t call it “fake news.” Believing that’s too vague a term, ex-Cosmopolitan writer Sue Ellen Browder describes what she peddled as “propaganda.” Worse still, the deception was sanctioned from the top, with legendary Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown telling the writers to when necessary “invent” authorities to cite and misidentify locations.
Browder’s goal, according to the Daily Signal, was to sell women on the Sexual Devolution — to corrupt their sexual mores — or, as some put it, achieve “liberation” (from morality).
“Propaganda is very sophisticated,” the ex-journalist tells the Daily Signal. “It’s half-truth, selected truth, and truth out of context.”
“Propaganda is used not to sell just products,” the Signal relates her as adding. “It’s also used to sell ideas.”
The first part of the Signal story recounts the ostensible reason Browder became a feminist and portrays nascent feminism positively, which reflects a common perspective. “‘The feminist movement was fighting for equal opportunity for women in education and the workforce,’ Browder says of its early roots,” the Signal informs.
But is this true? As American Thinker’s Katie El-Diwany wrote in 2018, “There is more than plenty of talk about the dearth of women in science, in engineering, in upper management positions, and as CEOs. But there is no one asking: where are all the female garbage-collectors, the female elevator technicians, the female landscape laborers, the female oil rig workers?”
El-Diwany thus concludes that all “of this reveals that feminist clamoring for ‘equal representation’ is not about equality at all. It is about power and prestige.”
(In reality, I’ve never seen an equality-oriented movement that actually sought equality. They’re generally driven by that power and privilege and what radio giant Rush Limbaugh has called “get-even-with-'em-ism.” This is why I often inveigh against Equality Dogma.)
Browder and the woman who’d be her boss starting in 1971 — Helen Gurley Brown, who helmed Cosmo for 30 years and penned the bestselling 1962 book Sex and the Single Girl — certainly wanted power and prestige. Lying to achieve those ends wasn’t off limits, either.
In fact, Brown “gave her writers a printed list of rules to follow, which included instructions about how to make up parts of their stories to sound more convincing,” reports the Signal. Browder, who worked at Cosmo for 20 years, still has her original copy of the rules and read two examples aloud for the Signal. As the site relates:
“Unless you are a recognized authority on the subject, profound statements must be attributed to somebody appropriate, even if the writer has to invent the authority.…
Try to locate some of the buildings, restaurants, nightclubs, parks, streets, as well as entire case histories … in cities other than New York, even if you deliberately have to plant them elsewhere. Most writers live in New York, 92% of our readers do not.”
The Signal continues, “By planting salacious stories about women having extravagant affairs in places such as Cleveland and Des Moines, Browder says, ‘the magazine spread its mores throughout the country and throughout the culture by pretending that they were much more widespread than they actually were.’”
In other words, just as discredited “sex researcher” Alfred Kinsey used sexual perversion data from prison populations and mischaracterized them as general American population data, Cosmo portrayed Den of Iniquity (NYC) values as Middle American values.
A big part of this was framing prenatal infanticide as a “right,” says Browder. Yet she herself was bitten by this monster she helped release. Though married with two children, she had an abortion at age 27, in 1974.
Only later did she realize how traumatic this act was, not just for her unborn child but for herself. In fact, on a brighter note, she later sought healing, experienced spiritual growth, and ultimately converted to Catholicism in the early 2000s.
In reality and tragically, Cosmo is far from alone in the mainstream media in peddling propaganda. For instance, CNN employees were caught in 2017 on hidden camera admitting that they knew the Trump/Russia story was a hoax — but were pushing it, anyway.
Moreover, earlier this year, the station had to settle out of court a $275 million lawsuit brought by a high-school student the network had defamed as “racist.”
Then there’s the live MSNBC Memorial Day TV news piece in which a reporter was shaming people for not wearing masks — until a passerby pointed out that most of his camera crew wasn’t, either (exchange below).
REPORTER: "You can see here, nobody's wearing [masks]."— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 26, 2020
GUY ON STREET: "Including the Cameraman."pic.twitter.com/yMikEFrJMQ
This is nothing new, mind you. Just consider how back in the 1930s, the New York Times’s Walter Duranty was reporting that all was hunky-dory in the Stalinist USSR when, in reality, millions of peasants were being systematically starved to death. The paper knew about the deception, too.
But something Browder said, while explaining her abortion, is relevant here. “When you start betraying the truth, it will come back to haunt you,” the Signal also relates her as stating. “It will get you in the end. And that’s why even though I knew we were making up stories, I still got sucked in and thought abortion would be OK.”
The operative word above is “truth.” I write much about Truth (absolute, unchanging, and eternal by definition) because it’s central to everything, and it’s certainly relevant here. For if we (journalists, but others also) believe in Truth and hold it dear, we’ll place it above all — including ideas to which we’re emotionally attached. This means that when our agenda conflicts with the Truth, we alter our agenda. We realize, after all, that having to lie to advance a cause means that cause is flawed.
But those not believing in Truth, relativists — and virtually all mainstream media journalists are precisely that — place their often emotion-derived agenda in Truth’s place. Then, when the Truth and their agenda conflict, the former gets rationalized away. The Agenda becomes a god, or at least that false deity’s will, and anything advancing that agenda becomes justifiable — including lies, of course.
Speaking of which, Browder echoes many in saying women must “reclaim” feminism and speaks of a “pro-life” variety. But what if I told you I reject this because I’m a masculinist? Sound silly?
It sure does, and I’m not. The point, however, is that the term “feminist” is just as silly, only, we’ve become inured to it. But to improve the lot of women or men or children or blacks or whites or anyone — and our focus should be everyone — we only need Truth, God. Embracing a secular ism instead means we’ve truly missed the point.
As for specificity, women (and men) don’t need a new-fangled ism’s “values,” but those objectively good moral habits — virtues. Examples are prudence, justice, courage, temperance, faith, hope, charity, generosity, diligence, and humility. Cultivate these in a population, and you’ll enjoy as close to Heaven on Earth as man possibly can.
When we stop hearing “We want assertive women” and start hearing “We want virtuous women,” we’ll know we’ve turned the corner.
Selwyn Duke (@SelwynDuke) has written for The New American for more than a decade. He has also written for The Hill, Observer, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily, American Thinker, and many other print and online publications. In addition, he has contributed to college textbooks published by Gale-Cengage Learning, has appeared on television, and is a frequent guest on radio.