Video of journalist saying ‘propaganda’ is necessary goes viral, before being mysteriously disabled
Richard Stengel, a former editor of TIME magazine, has said governments “have to” direct “propaganda” toward their own populations, and he is ‘not against it’.

These comments were made at a talk called Political Disruptions: Combating Disinformation and Fake News, organised by the highly influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) thinktank.

“Every country does it”

The news editor and former diplomat is also a regular analyst at US news site MSNBC.

He said:

Basically, every country creates their own narrative story and, you know, my old job at the State Department was what people used to joke as the ‘chief propagandist’ job. We haven’t talked about propaganda… I’m not against propaganda. Every country does it, and they have to do it to their own population, and I don’t necessarily think it’s that awful.

Stengel headed the US office for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department from 2013 to 2016.

Hundreds of people shared the video on Twitter.


The video of the discussion appeared to be temporarily disabled on the CFR website and its YouTubechannel after it went viral on social media.

The video seemed to be reactivated after The British Left contacted CFR’s webmaster on 29 May 2018.

Stengel makes his comments at 1:15:26 of the video.


Historian Dr Laurence H. Shoup, who wrote two books on the CFR, described it as:

the most powerful private organisation in the United States – and therefore in world history.

And former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton once told the CFR:

[I]t’s good to have an outpost of the Council right here down the street from the State Department.

We get a lot of advice from the Council, so this will mean I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing and how we should think about the future.

Public diplomacy vs propaganda

Professor of Public Diplomacy Nicholas J. Cull, meanwhile, told The British Left:

It is not uncommon for the politically appointed folks like Stengel to understand their role as selling a set of ideas whereas the more experienced career diplomats… see their role as more long-term and based on the promotion of exchange and mutual understanding…

Public diplomacy rests on listening and listens to learn. Propaganda listens only to target, and that is quite different.

‘Global engagement’ or anti-Russian propaganda?

Stengel also “helped create and oversee” the Global Engagement Center at the State Department whose mission is to:

counter propaganda and disinformation from international terrorist organizations and foreign countries

(with a “special focus on Russia”, according to Stengel).

On 8 February 2018, the hawkish Atlantic Council announced Richard Stengel as a “distinguished fellow” with its Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab). And on 17 May, the DFRLab announced:

a partnership with Facebook to independently monitor disinformation and other vulnerabilities in elections around the world

Since the Obama administration lifted the prohibition on domestic propaganda in 2013, we must maintain an ever-more watchful eye on information that stems from the corporate state and its press.

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