Propaganda in Action: The Death of Pinochet

It always puts a smile on my face when I find a case of propaganda in action.  To those who doubt that capital influences media, consider the following:

This is what the Western media is saying about Chile’s U.S.-sponsored ex-dictator Pinochet who murdered thousands of Chileans in pursuit of power and capitalism.

The Globe & Mail‘s headlines on the subject were:

Supporters Mourn Ex-Dictator Pinochet 

The poor dictator was just misunderstood and his death is a tragedy on par with the loss of any other head of state, I suppose.

Chile Deeply Divided Over Pinochet’s Legacy

This article is almost entirely from the perspective of the mourners.  So, for instance, instead of talking about what Pinochet did in relatively concrete terms (the CIA documents are mostly declassified and the true brutality of his crimes are now available for anybody who wants to read about them), this article starts off by saying that Pinochet’s “supporters say [he] saved Chile from Communism.”

Also too, I think most objective reports (which I’ll touch on below) show that Chile is anything but divided about Pinochet.  Only the select elite are predominantly in support of the brutal dictator.

The Toronto Star who conservatives derride as left-wing, shows its true colours as just another lackey of the Western powers and capitalism in their characterization of Pinochet’s death and funderal.

Government Booed at Pinochet Funeral

This article is basically just the second Globe article because both are AP articles.  But the headline here conveys the message perfectly:  the leftist government of Chile has apparently done something objectionable to dishonor Pinochet at his funeral.  This is clearly an act of propaganda in and of itself.  If the Allies had been booed at a fictional funeral for Adoph Hitler, any Western newspaper which focussed on the few misguided individuals who did the booing would have been ruined.

A Long Life of Controversy

This article humanizes Pinochet by talking about such trivial factors as where he was born, when he married and so forth.  It completely glosses over what exactly Pinochet did to get power, who supported him, and what he did once he seized power.  But what’s more, if somebody had described a non-US-supported dictator such as Stalin or Hitler as characterized merely by “controversy” their career would have been effectively ended.  Such behaviour would have been rightly derrided as akin to calling John Wayne Gacy a “troubled performer” who had aspects worthy of praise as well as aspects worthy of scorn.  Clearly neither Gacy nor Pinochet have any redeeming qualities.

Time Magazine, not to be outdone, had the following article:

Pinochet’s Long Goodbye

This article again tries to portray Chile as actually divided over Pinochet’s death.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have UK-based paper, The Independent which deserves kudos for writing an article entitled:

Crowds Take to the Streets to Celebrate Pinochet’s Demise

This article is one of the only ones that I found which describes what was actually happening in Chile.  They write that the streets were “filled with a cacophony of car horns and cheering” celibrating Pinochet’s death.  They also are one of the only ones which don’t gloss over Pinochet’s crimes against humanity.

In the Soviet Union, Pravda was very good at examining non-governmental points of interest, but would never criticize the state.  Does anybody continue to doubt that in the system we have set up for ourselves, the media is just as subserviant and just as much a tool of propaganda as in the Soviet system?

The only difference between our system and theirs is that in our system it isn’t the state but rather is capitalism and the behaviour which was undertaken in its name which is beyond investigation.

6 Responses to “Propaganda in Action: The Death of Pinochet”


  1. 1 Larry Gambone 16 December, 2006 at 2:37 am

    Good deconstruction of this dispicable propaganda! Yeah, Pinochet, like Hitler, was “misunderstood” Poor little fellow!

  2. 2 Big Guy in TB 16 December, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    There are all sorts of examples of propaganda being practiced everyday, without us really being aware of what is happening to us or how we are manipulated. The press and media are infamous for publishing / showing what they want us to read and watch. Case in point – I read on the Al Jazzera (English) site that 10 US congressmen are visiting with Cuban officials in Havana with the idea of exploring ways of eliminating the embargo the US placed on Cuba in the 1960’s (boy that sure has worked to bring Cuba to their knees, hasn’t it?). I checked the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, Alternet.com, LA Times, and not one mention of this meeting was made in recent editions – how do I know? Easy, on each site I did a search for “Cuba” – NOTHING RELATING TO THIS MEETING COMES UP. There are stories posted about the health of Castro, but nothing about this visit by US politicians. I wonder why these publications would not share this information, because I think it is very relevant and newsworthy. The only other publication that I could find that made mention of this was the Guardian (UK). It infuriates me when information is manipulated or spoonfed to me. I am bright enough to just want to know the facts, and I can make up my own mind as to the importance or relevance of information.

  3. 3 Big Guy in TB 17 December, 2006 at 2:23 pm

    On another note and while I’m on a rant here, TV (pregame) shows that preceed major sporting events – baseball, especially US football, basketball, NASCAR, and so on are one of the reasons for the “dumbing down” of America, and Canada too. Yes, I will give you that the people they have on these shows are knowledgeable about that given sport or event but they are no better that the rest of us in predicting what the outcome of the event will be. Seems to me that these shows are one more reason why we, in general, don’t have to think about events, any events. Is that the reason people are so ill informed on so many issues beacuse they have become used to the notion of having other people think for them or to have them read what others just put in front of them? I think so!

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  1. 1 Propaganda in Action: Government-Fed News in the Turkey/Iraq Crisis « Paulitics: Paul’s Socialist Investigations Trackback on 21 October, 2007 at 12:36 pm

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