but I don't think Nazi Germany would have been possible without the economic forces that allowed Hitler to take power...people were desparate... don't think it was so much good people being led astray but desparate people being duped.
Following that logic, all the desperate geeks, who loose their jobs in the .com failures and other technology downfalls, would be very prone to fall for the wrong propaganda, right ?
Why should the broadcasting of such propaganda over the internet be different in that regard than any other medium ? At least the radio has all flavours of political talking heads, and there is no obvious reason to believe that the internet is protecting
people from being "led astray". If Salon.com tries to make you believe so, then because they did themselves. That was probably wishful (and self-serving) thinking.
I tend to believe that people usually only hear and see what they expect (and want) to hear and see. This being said, I conclude that the *amount* and the *frequency of repetition* to what people are exposed to seems to play a much more important role than the availability of freely distributed, diversified content.
For example, you can observe here on K5, that even the best efforts in a discussion among people, who supposedly have different political opinions, to point to material and facts via links online, has very little effect. People can't be influenced very much against their own pre-set minds.
The ones, who can pull themselves out of a journey into an extreme paths of thinking, are usually brought to this point by events, which touch their emotional state of mind and not their intellectual. (Actually that goes also the other way around, most people turn into extremist beliefs triggered through being hurt emotionally)
This is most probably true. For example, in the twenties and thirties, among German families, siblings and couples were highly divided in their opinions about Hitler's propaganda. And you can be sure that each family member had the same amount of access to the information.
There have been parents, who couldn't stop their kids to oppose and kids who were responsible for their parent's arrests and transfers in labor camps through the NSDAP. There were brothers and sisters who became opposed to each other.
Only under severe pressure, faced with turning in your child, brother, sister or parent, to whom you felt emotionally connected, family members were able to act against their intellectual own convictions. Usually people can't cope risking the life of someone they love. Without that pressure each family member just would straight away believe what they want to believe, independent of any well intended attempts to convince each other from the opposite.
Therefore I conclude, that quantity and repetition of broadcasts play a more important role in subversive propaganda than one might think. The influence of freely available, diverse information to protect people from to being mislead into "one-sided thinking" is not that powerful. I am not saying that free information is not absolutely crucial, but less than usually assumed. Quantity makes a huge difference, not only quality.
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