“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
Goebbels must be proud that his propagandist technique is not only studied, but meticulously implemented by the ruling party of a supposedly “democratic” state to keep its citizenry politically ignorant, apathetic and feeble.
This is only possible under a one-party totalitarian system in which the media has been turned into a mouthpiece of the regime, much like in Nazi Germany, Stalin’s U.S.S.R and Kim’s North Korea.
All the newspapers in Singapore are printed by one single company which is chaired by a former PAP minister. The Newspaper and Printing Presses Act (CAP 206) further restricts the ownership of the print media in Singapore and publication of foreign papers.
As such, it is hardly surprising that the Singapore media is ranked a pathetic 133th position in terms of press freedom by respected international media watchdog Reporters without Borders in 2009.
The propagandist tactic employed by the PAP via the state media over the last few days has the mark of Goebbels stamped all over it – repeating the same few points over and over again until they become ingrained in the minds of unsuspecting readers.
1. Flooding the press with good news, whether real or not:
If you haven’t noticed, the state media is flooded by a deluge of positive news about Singapore over the last few weeks. The Straits Times even boasted rather unshamedly that a “wave of optimism” has swept across Singapore.
Singapore’s “impressive” growth figures in the first quarter of the year has been repeated ad nauseum by the papers; the number of unemployed fell to an all-time low and new jobs are created daily for Singaporeans; wages are going up; consumer confidence is returning and home buyers are flocking back to purchase properties at astronomical prices.
The ordinary man in the street will not be able to differentiate the truth from the propaganda and is likely to believe what was published especially when most readers will simply glance through the headlines without analyzing the news articles in depth.
2. Ministers claiming credit for everything:
After the idea that Singapore’s economy has “rebounded” has been sold successfully to Singaporeans, the PAP ministers will now step in to claim credit either overtly or covertly.
During his May Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong painted an exceedingly rosy picture for Singapore in the near future and hinted that its continued success depends on a “strong and stable” leadership.
Three weeks later, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean claimed that Singapore’s economic recovery is due to the combined efforts of the country’s political leadership and public service.
While there may be some element of truth in his claims, it was not mentioned that the turnaround is contributed partly by the end of the global financial crisis.
At the same time, negative news such as unhappiness over the increasing number of foreigners in the country and rising prices of HDB flats are being swept quietly under the carpet to keep them out of the minds of Singaporeans.
Expect more such self-praise from the ministers in the next few months ahead.
3. Announcing the pay hike of ministers:
At the beginning of the year, it was reported that PAP ministers will receive a 8.8 percent pay rise this year due to the improving economy.
With the economy performing better than expected, their pay hikes are likely to increase. However, with Singaporeans already been “primed” to accept the “fact” that the ministers deserve a pay rise for their “efforts” in turning the economy around, the controversial topic is unlikely to cause a massive public furore this time.
Furthermore the state media can always be entrusted to make the announcement in a less than conspicuous manner so as not to attract public attention and with no political pressure exerted on the PAP whatsoever from any other groups, they will get away with their pay rise without paying any political price again.
The state media is full of such subtle propaganda to brainwash Singaporeans into believing that they have the most capable and competent leaders in the world who are incapable of making a single mistake and therefore they are deserving of the obscene salaries they are getting.
In order to maintain their grip over the minds of Singaporeans, it is imperative that repressive laws are put in place to curtail the civil and political rights of Singaporeans.
To quote from Joseph Goebbels again:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”