American "soft power," so often undermined and derided by the current occupant of the White House, is on display in Brussels right now, at the European Parliament's "Parlamentarium," its exhibition area for outreach to European and other publics. I'm sure that Trump loyalists would see it as another emanation of the so-called "Deep State."
On loan from the USHMM, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, "State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda" is a montage of posters, images and other documentation, expertly explained to a public - there are lots of school groups - used to getting its information through a hand held screen.
As you stroll by the exhibits, tracing the rise of Nazi antisemitism in the aftermath of World War I, through the outbreak of World War II and the Final Solution, and finally to Nuremberg and denazification, you can't help but see parallels to our current situation.
Just consider one of the questions posed by the USHMM:
Q: Is propaganda what you think it is?
A: Propaganda is biased information designed to shape public opinion and behavior.
- Uses truths, half-truths, or lies
- Omits information selectively
- Simplifies complex issues or ideas
- Plays on emotions
- Advertises a cause
- Attacks opponents
- Targets desired audiences
See what I mean? Can't help thinking of a certain tweeter...
As Hitler said in 1924, "Propaganda is a truly terrible weapon in the hands of an expert." Of course, he's the one who also coined the term "the Big Lie." No fact-checkers were left alive to counter him.
Now, fast forward to April 2018, and look at the Goebbels-lite effort of Sinclair Broadcast Group to impose Trump Think throughout its vast network of local television stations in the United States.
Suggestion for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum: after "State of Deception" finishes its run in Brussels next month, repatriate it to be shown in all of the nearly 200 broadcast markets served by Sinclair. American audiences deserve all the tools they can get to recognize - and counter - the propaganda onslaught that has only just begun.