During a recent forum held at the New York City headquarters of the Council on Foreign Relations, CFR member Richard Stengel, a former Obama administration State Department official and Time magazine managing editor, proudly insisted that governments must direct “propaganda” at their own populations.
In recent years, the term “propaganda,” has come to mean information that its dispenser employs to distort reality in favor of what the distorter seeks. In the past, the word didn't connote deceit, but it surely has become widely known as something that reeks of deceptiveness. In April, Stengel employed the term during a panel assembled at the elitist CFR to discuss fake news.
A brief look at some history sheds light on the significance of the influential platform Stengel used to champion government propaganda. On October 30, 1993, the Washington Post published a column authored by CFR member Richard Harwood. Entitled “Ruling Class Journalists,” Harwood openly and proudly told of CFR members holding leadership posts at America’s governmental level and also their near total dominance in the newspaper and news magazine world. A journalist himself, Harwood thought it remarkable that so many of his confreres and government officials shared membership in the Council. He assessed their impact as: “They do not merely analyze and interpret foreign policy for the United States; they help make it.” But, after raising the very issue that concerns a growing number of Americans — even 25 years ago – Harwood closed his column by discounting the possibility that there was anything “unethical” about the journalism profession, and government itself, being so top-heavy with CFR members.
Though Harwood’s column appeared more than a decade before Stengel became managing editor of Time in 2006, Stengel certainly is an excellent example of (to use Harwood’s description) a “ruling class journalist.” He also is also one of many examples that could be pointed to of a CFR member wielding considerable clout in the U.S. government, where he served as under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs from 2014 to 2016.
Why should anyone be concerned about the CFR’s dominance in media and government? A quick look into the history of what has been termed “the seat of the Eastern Establishment” shows that it was formed soon after the U.S. Senate scuttled the post-World War I plan of Woodrow Wilson to have the United States join and lead a newly created world government. That would mean cancellation of U.S. sovereignty. Those who formed the CFR close to 100 years ago obviously concluded that an effective dispenser of “propaganda” favoring a new world order was needed. The CFR has promoted world government with its “propaganda” for close to a century.
Stengel’s open call for governments and the media to propagandize the people included admitting that at his “old State Department” job, he was labeled by others as the government’s “chief propagandist,” a non-compliment. To explain what he was doing, he blurted, “I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population, and I don’t necessarily think that’s awful.” Not only is this man a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he is also part of the Atlantic Council, a group that for more than half a century has sought to merge the United States with Britain as a step toward the world government sought by so many of our nation’s prominent leftists.
Stengel’s frankness brought to mind the group known as Swiss Propaganda Research (SPR). Graphically depicting a remarkably accurate assessment of the existing influence of the CFR and its fellow world government promoters at the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberger Movement, SPR recently pointed to the “global empire” goal of these groups and their influence in promoting policy.
It’s comforting to know that analysts even in Switzerland understand the grip on American policy possessed by promoters of world government. What is even more welcome however, is a growing awareness among an increasing number of Americans about how they are being propagandized into allowing their nation to discard its very independence and accept world government.
The world government propaganda aimed at the American people must cease. Americans don’t want its sugarcoated goal, but many more have to be made aware that they are being targeted by sinister propaganda that must be rejected. Stengel’s open admission favoring the use of propaganda helps those who do not favor cancellation of the Declaration of Independence.
John F. McManus is president emeritus of The John Birch Society.