Reality Check

Propaganda Puppeteers

Instead of a candid response that reflects the desires of all Montanans, our elected officials chose propaganda fed to them by puppeteers, alienating teachers and public servants

By Tammi Fisher

In 1928, a guy named Edward Bernays wrote a book entitled “Propaganda.” His words ring true today, perhaps more than ever. He states, “We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of … It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

With the help of social media, propaganda is as free-flowing as the Flathead River, drowning out critical thinking. Take, for example, President Joe Biden’s statement: “My Build Back Better Agenda costs zero dollars.” A trillion dollars now costs zero dollars? If that was true, why do congressional Democrats keep trying to cut the cost of the bill? 

Then we have statements that completely misstate content. When provided with the attorney general’s directive on combatting threats to school board members, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said: “Labeling parents as threats because they hold elected school board members accountable for what’s going on in the classroom is a clear attempt to silence political opposition.”

Congressman Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., took the same document and said, “I am outraged that the Biden Administration has directed the FBI to investigate parents for daring to oppose the teaching of Critical Race Theory to their children. What’s next for this administration? Threatening to send concerned parents to Gitmo?”

These statements lead one to believe the directive uses the word “parent” or the phrase “critical race theory.” If you read the actual directive, the word “parent” and the term “critical race theory” are absent from the document. Both Daines and Rosendale got it wrong. But worse yet – they were both fed the document and the accompanying propaganda from the same source, either didn’t bother to read the document or read it and didn’t care, and issued statements that in no way reflected the content. 

Sadly, they failed to recognize that candor would have had the same effect as the propaganda. The conservative response that reflects the will of Montanans should have been: “As a Montanan and a Republican, I object to this directive. The directive seeks to have the FBI investigate and prosecute threats to public servants. While we wholeheartedly believe that no volunteer public servant or teacher should be attacked in a public forum, harassed, or threatened, our Montana law enforcement is well equipped to handle any criminal acts levied against Montana elected officials and educators without the need for Big Brother Federal Government stepping in.” 

The hallmarks of conservative leadership are critical thinking skills and candor. Instead of a candid response that reflects the desires of all Montanans, our elected officials chose propaganda fed to them by puppeteers, alienating teachers and public servants. Like methamphetamine is to an addict, some of our elected leaders are willing to sew division for the sake of scoring political points.

Tammi Fisher is an attorney, former Mayor of Kalispell and host of Montana Values Podcast.

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