The corporate propaganda that promotes capitalism today has as one of its most systematic weapons the manipulation of political and economic terms.
No more than 10 megacorporations own and control the great media web of the United States, the entertainment industry and the culture of the masses. They control journalism, music, movies, the production and distribution of TV programs, theater, the Internet and recreational institutions like Disney World, not only in their country but in a good part of the Western hemisphere, Europe and the rest of the world. With this vast empire under the control of the elite, who constitute the true supergovernment of the U.S., it's easy for them to impose views on information and publicity on a global scale.
Americans have come to identify the characteristics of their own political, economic and social system with terms like democracy, liberty, human rights and so many others when in fact it is the very essence of their capitalism that violates democracies, liberties and human rights.
They even assume the role of referee and guardian of these terms, reserving for themselves the right to judge any foreign power with them and censoring those who do not agree with U.S. foreign policy.
By reiterating certain words in the media, they coin new, pejorative terms like tyrant, dictator, terrorist and extremist in order to then apply them to political leaders who may inconvenience American supremacy.
These terms lodge themselves in the subconscious of citizens, saved there as reasoning to justify attacks on others. Just one word can trigger all the feelings of injury accumulated through its repetition in the media. Such is the case with the word “communist,” which was intensified as a serious insult after the Cold War.
I remember a Colombian expression that became popular across the continent in the 1960's that said, “If Fidel is a communist, then put me on the list. He's got the right idea.”
Before the triumph of the Cuban revolution the media had already tainted the word “communism” with such a scornful connotation that in an underground publication opposing Batista's dictatorship, some revolutionary with apparent ingenuity wrote, “They accuse us of being communists but the real communists are them: the Batistianos and the Yankees.”
In contrast, there are also terms that are practically excluded from the language the corporate press uses to refer to the motivations of popular movements. Subsequently, words that are identified with national aspirations get more attention, like independence and sovereignty, as well as some that reflect popular social aspirations like class struggle, equality, rebellion and revolution.
When talking about human rights, Americans limit the discussion to civil rights and ignore social rights, which are just as human: rights for labor, education, gender and health. These terms are much less susceptible to dangerous manipulation.
The superpower orients itself around a monopoly of information and terms its media have appropriated for themselves. Logical terms like “civil society,” “human development” and others should not be abused and given the kind of connotations they are. For the U.S. corporate media and all those who reproduce their messages, the governments of countries that don't accept their absolute supremacy are “regimes,” a term which their media have systematically intensified as a sort of curse word over many years. However, we never read or hear anything in the mainstream media about the regime that is Washington and its allies.
Another propaganda term that has been blatantly manipulated is the word “exile,” which Washington seems to apply to immigrants from any countries it is uncomfortable with and which, in contrast, you will never hear applied to the U.S. citizens forced to emigrate because of persecution by the police, the number of whom, by the way, is growing higher and higher around the world.