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The Art of Propaganda with Peter Pomerantsev

March 14, 2024
Notes
Transcript
Eric and Eliot welcome Peter Pomerantsev, British journalist, senior fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University, television producer and author of Nothing Is True and Everything is Possible, This is Not Propaganda, and his most recent book How to Win An Information War: The Propagandist Who Outwitted Hitler (New York:  Public Affairs Press, 2024). They discuss the story of Sefton Delmer, the bilingual British journalist who headed up covert propaganda operations for the Political Warfare Executive during World War II. They touch on what makes for effective propaganda, whether idealistic appeals or trying to reach people via crasser motives is more effective, the morality of counter-propaganda efforts, distinguishing fact from fiction, people’s desire to escape responsibility for government policies, creating permission structures for people subject to effective propaganda to think differently about what they are being told and the lessons from Delmer’s efforts for today’s world — defeating Putin’s propaganda in Russia and abroad and breaking through the cult-like propaganda of MAGA.

How to Win an Information War: The Propagandist Who Outwitted Hitler:
https://a.co/d/8LbiEqJ

Shield of the Republic is a Bulwark podcast co-sponsored by the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:06

    Welcome to shield of the Republic. A podcast sponsored by the Bulwark and the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, and dedicated to the proposition first articulated by Will Saletan mentoring World War two that a strong and balanced foreign policy is a necessary shield of our Democratic Republic. Eric Edelman, a counselor at the Center for Strategic and budgetary assessments, a Bulwark contributor, and a non resident fellow at the Miller Center. And I’m rejoined this week by my partner in All Things Strategic. Elliott Cohen, the Roberty Ozgood Professor of Strategy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International studies and the Arleigh Burke chair and strategy at the center for strategic international studies.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:46

    Elliot welcome back.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:48

    Well, it’s, good to be here, and I must say I’m particularly looking forward to having a session dealing with sneakiness, smut, Putin, Trump, and Nazis.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:59

    You can’t get much better than that. Our our special guest is Peter Pomodonsa. British journalist author and television producer. Peter was born in the Soviet Union, but emigrated at a very early age to the United Kingdom where he was educated at Edinburgh University. He’s now a senior fellow at the SNF Agura Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Johns Hopkins University.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:22

    I’m sorry. An author of three very good books, all of which I have read. Nothing is true and everything is possible about his misadventures in reality TV in the early part of this century in Russia. This is not propaganda, and how to win an information war the propagandas to outwitted. Hitler, Peter, welcome to shield of the Republic.
  • Speaker 3
    0:01:44

    Thank you for having me.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:45

    The book is really terrific. It’s a rip roaring story, and I have to confess as I’ve told you in the green room that despite having read a lot about World War two and written my own PhD dissertation on World War two. I somehow had completely missed the story of Sefton Delmar in the, Delmar in the covert propaganda he directed at, at Nazi Germany during World War two. Tell us about the story of Sethin Delmar, and and how did you come upon it? How did you decide to write about it?
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:16

    Sethin Delmar, was a remarkably, a remarkable journalist, first and foremost, who covered the rise of the Nazis in the nineteen twenties and he had this incredible gift for impersonation. He actually impersonated the head of the stormtrooper’s Adutant. His assistant to penetrate a stormtrooper rally. And he, he saw the rise of Nazis close-up, he managed to persuade the Nazis to allow him to accompany Hitler on hit this famous air to around hysterical Nazi rallies in the twenties. And and he had an incredible understanding of how Nazi propaganda worked.
  • Speaker 3
    0:02:57

    And when the war started, He became head eventually after quite a few trials and tribulations, the head of covert propaganda for the British political warfare exec So if overt were things like the BBC, covert were things which were sneakier and smutier, as Elliot said, and at his peak he was running dozens of radio stations, across occupied Europe, but especially Germany stations which purported to be Nazi stations, but at actually were subverting the Nazis. You’ve got to say all sides were doing something like this in the second world war. Actually Gerbles pioneered this, creating stations in Britain. That claimed to be British worker stations or British, Scottish Jonathan Last stations. So that wasn’t the innovative part.
  • Speaker 3
    0:03:42

    The innovative part was what Delman did with his stations, which was fairly revolutionary.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:48

    Say more. So
  • Speaker 3
    0:03:52

    I mean, I was at the same more. I wrote two hundred seventy page book, but, the
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:56

    reason I
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:02

    I decided to write the book was when as I was researching Delmer and like somebody who studies this information, he’s the sort of person that you bump into eventually. When you, when you traverse the history of it. He it turned out from, like, nineteen forty three onwards. So the peak of his work, he wanted his listeners to know that the British would be high in these stations. So it wasn’t deception.
  • Speaker 3
    0:04:26

    He was doing something else. He was giving people cover. He was creating a space in an environment in which people could tell their bosses, tell the Gestapo that they’re actually listening to a Nazi to a Nazi station when it’s not. And more importantly, it could tell them selves that they weren’t actually being, disloyal to their country, a sort of consensual self self perception. And He’s creating this sort of masquerade under which he could reveal the truth because beneath the the sort of the the the mask his radios were amazing for the amount of incredibly visceral deep detail they gave about German to real lives.
  • Speaker 3
    0:05:09

    About the corruption of the Nazi party, about the sufferings of soldiers on the front, about the the, you know, about what life was like on the home front. So he gave all this unvarnished truth, about life in Nazi Germany, life like the lives of soldiers, the lives of of submarine people manning the submarines, but all under this mask. And and there’s lots of layers there, about you’re trying to achieve with this, but but I was also just incredibly intrigued by this idea that you could only reveal truth under a mask. You needed a mask within which to create an environment where truth became possible again. But that’s that’s that’s maybe the thing that grabbed me, but but once we get into the details that we will today, he was doing so many innovative wacky rung, and sometimes probably very stupid things as well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:02

    So I, you know, it’s really a remarkable book Peter, because the book is obviously primarily about Stephanie Delmer, political warfare executive. But it’s also a book with a lot of reflections about Vladimir Putin’s Russia and even some about contemporary American politics. And I think, in the hands of a less gifted and thoughtful writer that would seem forced. And it does not seem forced. I if I could, I’d like to just dwell on Stephanie Delmer for a little bit.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:31

    I think the of the things that’s interesting, maybe you could we can draw you out a bit on this, is if you look at, some of these radios like, the Zoldot and Sender. So this is these are kind of nominally angry German soldiers. The it it was not black propaganda in the sense of we’re gonna pretend to be the opposition to Hitler broadcasting from within Germany, and which and in a way, that was where the Germans were trying to do the Brits too. You know, we are the the Scottish Jonathan Last even though they’re actually, based in Germany. No.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:04

    The idea here is that you pretend to basically be supportive of the regime at some level But you’re just angry because of the corruption and, you know, and some depravity and and all that, which is quite an interesting way to do it. And I wonder if you could talk about that. And I think if you could also there’s a very dark side to this too where they are deliberately putting out messages, for example, trying to get people to commit suicide.
  • Speaker 3
    0:07:30

    So the suicide one, which shocked me so much that I put it in the book, to be clear, that was there was actually a whole the British had a whole rumors department in second world war, Sibbs, Civilares from the Latin. That that was, churning out stories, stories about weapons that the British didn’t have to, you know, it would be spread through their networks in Germany so and one of the rumors they put out were meant to stimulate suicidal thoughts. Delma wasn’t actually as far as I can tell, that wasn’t Delma. I mean, I was going through the PWE files, and the the file for rumors is right next to the file for COVID propaganda radio. They’re different files.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:13

    They would actually take a lot from the the SIPs and put them out, a lot from the rumors and put it out. But but I I don’t have no, you know, I haven’t read anywhere they put that one out. But the British were doing lots of stuff, which, a, I’m not totally show how effective it was. I mean, the way they do it, the theory was, you know, they’re they’re attempting this early version of what we call behavioral change now. Was that if you tell stories about suicide, that’ll get people more inclined that way incredibly dark.
  • Speaker 3
    0:08:40

    I mean, and there’s a point when I come across the archive in the book, and I catch my breath. I mean, that was my feeling when I read it. I was I was shocked and then I reflect on being shocked and you know, compared to Hiroshima or Fire bombing Dresden, should I be shocked? You know, why are we more shocked at an information op, which is definitely has a, you know, is trying to have a very, very evil effect compared to, you know, you know, firebombing president and these massive bombardment of civilians. So so but also, I remember discovering that in the archives.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:15

    And archives do that to you, as you know, you sometimes come across something. You’re like, what did I just read? But Dan losing many other very, very amoral things. He was definitely trying to, talk about This is very early stuff, by the way. This is only still sort of really experimenting.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:34

    If we get into the darkness, he was trying to get Germans to sort of get into these sort of, tranquilizers essentially by doing stories that assessing Gestapo were really into I don’t know what would be to call today, sort of Sandax’s or something, and and through that, hoping that more people would take them so the German public will become more soporific. And and even even more than that, he would he would, he would, he would write letters or his team would write letters to grieving parents in Germany who couldn’t admit that their kids, had died. And he would write letters to them saying, oh, actually, you know, little little tossed in or little, whatever. Helmutz is actually now in Britain, living a wonderful life. Make sure you tell all the neighbors how great stuff is in Britain.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:24

    So, those are deeply moral things, and he has the moral courage to talk about them in his memoir. And say he’s ashamed of it. He feels ashamed of it. And, in the book, I have him as very much a a character who’s full of darkness and lights both personally and in his work. And the lessons that we can draw are both positive and negative.
  • Speaker 3
    0:10:50

    This is a book of lights of, you know, it’s funny. Like, we we we we we transitioned ourselves, didn’t we? From like, smuts, you know, actually against the Nazis very quickly. You get into a very, very dark place, which is as it should be because we’re talking about the second world war.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:05

    So just, thank you for that. Let me just Again, ask you to talk a little bit about the this idea of pretending to be within the system and basically, have allegiance to it. I’ve been as if I as I remember the book, you say, you know, including some anti semitic tropes, to kind of prove your bone a few days. But then putting out lots of stuff, which is designed to demoralize people because you’re showing just how corrupt the senior leadership is. So they, you know, and particularly the idea of sort of soldiers who are still loyal to the, to the military ideal and just furious at the Nazi elite, which was actually very corrupt.
  • Speaker 3
    0:11:47

    So that was that was a long running theme. So you know, what the I mean, it’s very important to understand sort of what he’s countering. The Nazis, of course, want to just destroy, and this is their official propaganda aim to destroy the old social categories. Destroy the old loyalties and replace them with membership in a Nazi folk underneath a furrow. That’s meant to be your new community.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:12

    And what Delma, of course, is doing is saying, actually, the Nazis he falls in the Bartay community comes up with a word for them saying this is a, you know, a cult unto itself. They’re only interested in their own well-being. And you German Catholics, German soldiers, German or bavarians, whatever. All these different other identities that you have, that is what you, you know, those loyalties and those bonds are more important. And and in sense what he understood, he understood it really from his own life, is that people do need community.
  • Speaker 3
    0:12:49

    People do need for better or worse to be part of a group. And it’s very few that will be brave enough to stand up to the sees and meet dissidents and, and, or today, you know, stand up to Putin. Most people are, if you wanna be unkind, conformist. And, he knew that because he’d experienced it himself. He was honest enough to say that he was very influenced by propaganda as a child and wanted to be part of a group.
  • Speaker 3
    0:13:14

    And and he was very aware of that that that if you’re gonna demolish the Nazi fold, there has to be something else. And his programs are constantly stressing those other loyalties, those other bonds and those other, those other group identities.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:29

    That’s to me, actually, Peter, one of the really powerful elements of the book, which is, when, you recount a Delmer’s approach to propaganda, and this goes to Elliot’s last question. It’s rooted in the notion that you can’t just appeal to their better natures. This is not just a, an effort to say, you know, look how terrible the Nazis are. You don’t have rule of law anymore. You don’t have democracy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:00

    You don’t have all these high flown ideals that we have here in England. Instead, it’s an appeal to, you know, to to, I don’t wanna say, base their instincts, but to more directly personal instincts, like survival or, envy at the, the, you know, corrupt lifestyles of of the, of what in, Soviet context would have been called the Nomen Kaltura. And and this is really Navalny too. Right? I mean, Navalny gets criticized for, appealing to nationalism when he was first starting out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:41

    And but relentlessly focuses on the fact that the, you know, regime is a, you know, regime of, you know, the as he calls it the party of crooks and thieves. So I’m I’m curious about that element if you could talk about it a little bit. And then One other question I I would ask you to, tell us about. Delmer is extremely effective at doing this at at being able to, appeal to these instincts because he knows the Nazis essentially from the, inside out, as you said earlier, he had covered them as a journalist But even before that as a young man, his his father was trapped, in, Germany English professor, teaching in university in Germany during World War one. He’s trapped.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:37

    His father’s interned. He’s really bilingual, from, you know, from, from an early age. And so, yeah, he doesn’t really fit in in in Germany as student during World One. And when he goes back to the United Kingdom after the war, he doesn’t really fit in, he’s always a little bit of another. And I wonder whether in in writing about Delmar telling his story whether you, found some echoes in your own personal history of having been an emigorate from the Soviet Union grown up in the United Kingdom returned, to Russia, bilingual, etcetera, and therefore maybe find you know, speaking to a Russian audience more accessible than others might.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:24

    Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:27

    I mean, I found and that’s the second reason I decided to write the book. The first time was when I realized I was doing something quite fascinating with with his with his covert propaganda. And the second one was when I realized that there was a really strong echo there. I think my fascination with propaganda doesn’t come because it’s my third book now. So so clearly, this is a thing I’m interested in.
  • Speaker 3
    0:16:56

    And I’m actually that interested in technology. You know, I’m I’m interested in it, but not amazingly so. So as long as if, you know, there’s a lot of people get into propaganda because they’re fascinated by the technology, not even that interested by posters and all the kind of imagery of propaganda. I know I don’t, you know, there’s no, I don’t have, like, loads of Soviet propaganda posters in my in my home, even though this room is particularly red, it was this way before we moved in. I’m fascinated by propaganda of what it tells us about identity and what it tells us about, knowing when you’re yourself and knowing when you’ve been playing roles which have been created by by others of by society.
  • Speaker 3
    0:17:37

    And When you grow up bilingual, when you grow up moving countries as a kid, which both myself and Seth and Delma did, you become very aware of how you transform in those different contexts. I mean, I think we’re all aware of this. I think this is, you know, every teenager knows this because they’re, you know, they’re playing with roles all the time. But if you move around countries and languages as a child, as a young child, especially, you become very sensitive to it. And when I saw him describing that childhood, I I saw so many echoes and how that then relates to what is interesting about propaganda.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:12

    Delman’s big he never theorized it, but he writes in his memoirs. It’s really one theme, which is about how propaganda gives people who are confused about their identity satisfying roles to perform. He describes the Nazis as a Cabaret. A cabaret that then wants to get rid of all other cabaret. It’s sort of like, you know, this is the only cabaret in town, and, you know, they shut out the cabaret very quickly, but they themselves a cabaret.
  • Speaker 3
    0:18:39

    They’re giving people roles to perform that are satisfying because they tap into people’s desire for superiority, supremacism. Thetism. I mean, Dalma has a pretty dark view of human nature. He’s interested. So firstly, they give people emotional satisfaction, but then they give them ways of being and ways of knowing who they are in a complicated world.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:04

    And there’s so many echoes with our contemporary world. We’re also going through, you know, a very Cabaret light time and a little bit like, you know, the nineteen twenties, huge social change, all sorts of identities and assumptions that we have of everything from gender to nationality to social classes in a similar period of tumult. And and in this sort of context, some people, many people may make, are are drawn to a propaganda that satisfies emotional cravings and gives you a role to perform, which is very simple and very appealing. And we can get really into the complexities of why appealing, you know, the way it allows you to cast out everything you don’t like about yourself and project it onto others. Now, we can go on and on, and Dylan was very, very good at I’m subverting that as well.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:51

    But that’s Delma’s view of life. Delma never thinks there’s a true view. So one of the characters and Delma’s life into my book who just hangs in the background, and he just hangs in the background of my book. I don’t really force him onto the Avoncen. Is Max Reinhardt, who is the most important sort of theater and prosario of the age.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:11

    He revolutionizes acting. Delman goes to his place as a child. Reinhardt’s sort of drama tour is is the father of his best friend. So he spends his childhood going to his plate. He watches him again in the nineteen twenties when he’s back in Berlin.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:27

    He references him quite often. Then he has people from Reinhardt’s theater working in his Caberer, in his counter propaganda Caberer. And Max Reinhardt was very very interested in Reinhardt believed that all life is theater. He was famous for setting his plate in the middle of the city in cathedrals, a train station. So you’d be going through a train station and the play would be playing out around you.
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:51

    He thought he thought all life was theater, but he thought that there was two ways of acting. One is when you imitate others. Yeah. When you try to, as an actor, study the personality and try to be like that, what he wanted his actors to do is say, look for things in yourself to pour into the role. Yeah?
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:10

    And there’s almost a theory of how lived there, you know? I think Delma would say that you’re always playing a role. An English man, an English school boy, a journalist. He was very, very aware of it. He was performing being a journalist.
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:23

    But you can either imitate others when you do that. That’s when propaganda works. The propaganda just gives you roles, and they then say what that role is. You are an assess man. You are a, an area this is the role and we define what it means.
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:35

    And then the day, it means that you’re gonna go and die for us. Or you can start inhabiting and transforming and reinventing these roles yourself or other roles, and those ones are pretty hard to reinvent. He’s always aware that we have many selves that we can be many different people, you know, and even those who seem to be committed to their role as a German patriot in World War one, have another role that can play as a school teacher or as a father, and you can draw people away from the propagandized role to the other ones they play in life. So all the world’s a stage, but the way you play it is where the tension rises. And sorry for the very long answer, but that’s really I find that I find that’s I don’t know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:22

    I found that resonated with me.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:24

    You know, it’s particularly interesting, given our era where there’s sometimes a push for a a kind of identitarian politics where where people which is sort of modest. You have only one identity as, you know, pick a ethnic or religious minority or as a woman or a man or whatever. And, I think Delmer was on to something by understanding that actually people are a lot more complicated than that. In in what might be a bit of a digression, I wanna, dig a little bit more into his the context in which he’s operating. I think one of the things that’s fascinating is It was Eric was saying he grows up in Germany, before the World War one, then during World War one, and he does sort of move back and forth effortlessly.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:11

    Although at the end of his life, you point out, he really kind of styles himself an English gentleman. Living living in the country. And the, of course, one thought that I had, Eric, is comparing this with some of the Russian emigres that we used to use for things like radio for Europe, radio liberty, where you you were taking emigres. Okay? They were still Russians broadcasting back to their compatriots, but they never really confuse themselves saying, no.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:38

    I’m actually an English gentleman, now. But I’m also kinda half half Russian. So he he is this his own identity is somewhat ambiguous. He’s very colorful figure. I mean, the story about him as a journalist are, quite amazing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:56

    And here’s the question for you, having grown up in the UK. I find it remarkable that the Brits, not just in this case, but in lots of other cases during the war with some special warfare units, with their intelligence community, with their politics, were willing to bring in all kinds of odd characters and give them play. And this is actually a question for you, Peter, but also question for you, Eric. The question for you, Peter, is is this something that you think is kind of innate to the UK and the British culture that it’s which is after all quite a theatrical culture in many ways, which people are playing roles all the time, that made it easier for them to do this And, Eric, just use your, you know, reflect on your experience dealing with things that are not quite as incredible as this. But, you know, where where we do try to do some of these sorts of things, to other people.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:57

    I think not quite as successfully in who we are willing to recruit and who we are willing to give free rein to do some pretty wild stuff. So maybe start with you, Peter, and then over to
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:07

    Eric. I think that it my sense of World War two and and I’m not a monastery and I’m somebody who’s plumbing history to try to understand today, and I caveat that very strongly at the start of the book. My sense is the British, we couldn’t remember. This is nineteen forty, forty one. I mean, you know, this is Delmostat’s broadcasting before Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:35

    This is, you know, the Nazis are ruling Europe. Britain is genuinely under threat. We don’t know if the Americans are gonna enter the war yet. So I think it was just throw them all in. It was desperation.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:47

    Throw them all in. Gabriel artist, yep. Like, you know, classic scholars. Yeah. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 3
    0:25:53

    One eyed pirates go for it. Let’s try the one eyed pirates. I think. You know, there there’s a second story to tell about the chaos. Maybe for the very creative and productive chaos of, you know, the special operations of executive, ministry of information, the BBC, which is just full of nonstop.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:12

    Sort of people just doing what the hell they wanted, and titling the cabinet off this set off because I just think it was all back against the wall and everybody was just ripping at the sinews. And, you know, even the really sort of dodgy and immoral and probably counter effects of things that Delma did that we discussed earlier. Gotta put it in context. This is like nineteen forty, nineteen forty one. I mean, this is, you know, you’re talking about your country and and existential risk.
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:40

    And at that point, you just try everything.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:42

    You know, Elliot, I think, your question would be better directed to our Johns Hopkins’s colleague, John McLaughlin, who is a, you know, a much more serious historian of American intelligence than than I am, I, you know, I do think at the outset of I mean, first of all, Americans have a kind of very ambivalent attitude towards intelligence, which I think is quite different from the Brits. I mean, you know, Henry stimpson, American, secretary of state, and then later secretary of war and FDR’s cabinet, famously said in the in the nineteen, thirties, you know, gentlemen don’t read other gentleman’s mail. You know, we don’t really established an intelligence service until, really, in the midst of World War two, when FDR asks, while Bill Donovan to do it, And in those early years, I would say, under Donovan, and then, after the OSS, the successors, the early CIA. I think that was more tolerance for eccentricity. Then there is now.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:56

    And I think that’s also, you know, I think Britain has always had more of a tolerance for eccentric and Americans, which are much more conformist culture. So, again, I mean, John would be a better, you know, source than I. But I I think that you have put your finger on a kind of cultural differentiator between, you know, two people who Churchill said famously were separated by a common language
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:21

    Yeah. I mean, it it because it’s true in the across the board and the British experience of World War two. I mean, you just you know, the characters at Blessley Park are extraordinary. And you know, they were willing to, and it may just have been that it was a crisis. It was also it was a less bureaucratized time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:43

    And, you know, these many of these formal organizations were far less developed than they subsequently became. Although, you casually mentioned Peter in the book, there’s The the British continued a version of the political warfare executive. I think under the the the initials where IRD was international research department or something like that, which did some of the early cold war propaganda and, in in the Soviet Union. I I don’t know a whole lot about it. You you probably can, can illuminate that for us.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:17

    As you know, I I do know, there’s there’s there’s people writing history about now. A lot of that stuff has been declassified recently. So there was a whole, story to that and can to news into sort of the invasion of Iraq and, middle eastern things. I mean, and even before that into into the first gulf war, I think. So, in the falklands, there’s there’s some stuff about how British using kind of radio stations in the falklands war.
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:43

    But no, it continues throughout the Cold War. I think Rory Cormack is a professor at Knox University who specializes on this, and I think he’s even writing a book about this. So there’s lots more to come out. I think, you know, Because we’re now fascinated again by propaganda, fake news disinformation. I think always becomes a touchstone for looking back into history.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:04

    So I’ve been looking at Delma. I’m sure others will look at the Cold War. There’s lots to re explore.
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:09

    So last question I wanna ask on World War two and then throw things back to Eric. It was all fascinating. And, you know, you chuckle at some of the things that they do, you’re appalled at some of the other things that, that they do. The question is, do you think it really made any tangible difference? Or is that even something you were you were investigating in terms of willingness of the Germans just running?
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:33

    Because, you know, as you point out, The Germans fought to the bitter end on this one, unlike reward one where there’s a collapse, and they, you know, they sue for an armistice. In this case, you know, right down to the last streets of Berlin they were fighting. So as much as we’re intrigued by all this, How do you measure the effect?
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:56

    So, yeah, that’s a very good question, Elliot, and, and, one that I dedicate almost each to the book to try to really unpick. I mean, in terms of fighting, they did surrender much more on on the western front. So there is a difference there. I’m not saying that Delma’s work was a huge part of that. But there are there’s anecdotal evidence that it was.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:17

    But let’s break down how we might think about it. At all, because really distilling the effect of any kind of communication campaign is very, very hard even when you have sort of liberatorial control groups and stuff. It’s very, very hard to work out. What is the, influence of media and communication? You know, there’s that famous advertising sort of, the famous advertising anecdote, I guess, like, we know that half of advertising doesn’t work.
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:48

    We just don’t know which half. And, you know, communication scholars will tell you how how hard it is to to Bulwark out the influence of things. But here’s the data points that they had because they had a few. So the British were doing surveys of POWs all the time. So in terms of engagement, by the end of the war, they found about forty percent.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:07

    Of German soldiers will listen to these radios. That is amazing. Just just engagement wise. I know engagement doesn’t mean effect. But the forty percent are tuning in.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:17

    I mean, if we had forty percent of Russian soldiers listening to something we were creating, we would be very, very you know, very happy with ourselves. So on the level of engagement, we have that. Yeah. You have other indicators. You have the you know, then we have some of the sort of inside, Nazi, reactions to this.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:36

    And so the head of BSS and Munich writing to go, I was going, oh my god, we have a crisis. Sort of the top three listen to stations is one of Delma’s senator, some of the some of the Sundat and Zendikale. And, so, you know, that’s that’s a data point where the Nazis themselves are saying it’s caught in havoc when you do something about it, there’s,
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:56

    you know,
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:57

    various correspondence and and talks given by Gerbles and and his propaganda heads both internally and externally on this topic. Then you get into the more kind of qualitative stuff, I suppose you could call it that, which is sort of various anecdotes, frankly, of the effect that the radios add on people. And there you’re into kind of these stories, which which indicate something bigger. Various soldiers surrendering and saying, I did it because of because because of what I heard on the radios. Some very, very colorful, anecdotes like that.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:38

    Other ones are the Valkyria Rebellion, the sort of the nineteen, the sort of the late war attempt to stage a Kudetara, yes, against against Hitler by the German army. So the leaders of that, according to people who are part of the plot, but then defected to the British. They were inspired by the radios in a very strange way. They knew the British were behind the radios, but they thought, okay, the British really invested. Into, the British really invested into cleaving or creating a cleavage between the army and the party.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:16

    If we do a rebellion in the name of the army against the party, the British are bound to join in, which the British did not, by the way, even though Delman really wanted the British to do it. But again, that’s a very strange kind of effect. I mean, if they’re going into really anecdotal stuff, the head of the Rice radio tells Delmer that people in Del and Hitler’s bunker was so convinced that somebody was leaking information to Delman because the quality and accuracy of the stories on the radios was so good. That they started interrogating and looking for, who was to blame and and hauling people in. So look, that’s an array of different data points.
  • Speaker 3
    0:34:49

    Each of which tell us something. Delmo was always modest for a man who was, I think, instinctively not always modest. He was modest for the modest guy. And he, was you know, he played it down. He said, look.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:07

    His job was to help the military and economic warfare. And at the end of the day, that’s that’s all that’s all they were. And none of it works. If if if the war is going badly, there’s no propaganda magic to help you. There’s another way we can think about effects, about effectiveness, and that’s audience, target audience analysis, what we call now, understanding your audience.
  • Speaker 3
    0:35:30

    And there again, parallel to Delmo, another guy who has had books about him. One of my heroes of the World War two is Henry Dixon, who was a British psychiatrist. Also bilingual grew up in a German speaking family in Estonia, who was analyzing German soldiers. He’s Henry Depp is incredibly important. I mean, a lot of the stuff you reap now from, like, I don’t know, Jonathan Heights or something, all this about, you know, there are various types of personalities or drawn towards authoritarian or conservative ideas by their, you know, by their personality type.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:00

    A lot of that starts with Henry Dickson’s analysis. Of of of thousands of German soldiers towards the end of the war. And he does what we call now kind of, I don’t know. Kind of psychographics, essentially, you know, seeing one of the psychological types. And he’s like ten percent are hardcore Nazis.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:20

    Who are just completely you’ll never get to them, you know. But then there’s a big chunk who are militaristic like strong father figures are dangerous for the future of Germany because their instincts are not democratic. But have a secret resentment towards the Nazis, which was deeply mixed in with wanting both to be subservient to them. They wanted a leader, and then they kind of hated them for it as well. I’ve seen that so much in Russia.
  • Speaker 3
    0:36:49

    People who are drawn towards the crowd, drawn towards Putin, four drinks in. Take that guy. And these things are completely related. You know, kind of, you know, we don’t wanna, you know, over analyze, but it’s almost a big themselves with the need to the need to to to desire a leader. And he said, look, this is a huge part of the audience.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:08

    And He even uses the same language as Delmar, though I don’t think they were aware of each other’s Bulwark, talking about how you have to raise their both of them use the term Schwinerhund. Raised their inner tick dog. It’s a German word. Raise their, you know, submerged resentments, but always pad, you know, dressing it up in Patriotic garbage, always very much, you know, creating a a communal identity. So that’s another data point, you know, in the sense that to what extent did Delmar understand his audiences, and he was he didn’t have the sort of big sort of audience survey research that we would use today.
  • Speaker 3
    0:37:43

    He got it. He really understood, especially in his, you know, early shows where he’s creating all of these alternatives to a Nazi leadership. Is, you know, his shows were full of these sort of, swearing violent soldiers who were their own types of kind of authoritarian father figures, you could say, but who had turn it around and throw all the modems to the Nazis instead. We saw that in Russia now with, you know, it’s a nominal like Progosian. So So all those things he got right.
  • Speaker 3
    0:38:18

    And I just think on a on an even deeper level, his sense that there is a propaganda that makes you passive and makes you feel good for all the horrible reasons, which is what the Nazis did. Well, here’s propaganda was trying to make people active, through self interest, through individualism, through resentment, but active, and acting for themselves, and deciding actually taking back control of their lives. I mean, he wanted people to defect to surrender, to run away from the front, to sabotage their ship. You always wanted them to do something. And, in that sense, you caught this tension between sort of passive submission to a strong man and, a form of thinking and being where you can take back control for real.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:15

    Peter, I wanna, read to you a passage that, from the book that, I think gets at some of what you were just saying in answer to to Elliott. It it captures, I think, rather beautifully. Why propaganda works? Why why people are you know, able to be caught caught up in in propaganda. And you write that propagandists across the world and across the as playing the same emotional notes like well worn scales.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:45

    They manipulate the desire to belong, provide a sense of false community to those left feeling derasinated by rapid change. Help project our worst feelings about ourselves onto others. Allow you to feel special, even superior, and foster the sense you’re surrounded by enemies that wanna take something from you, something that’s yours and only yours and only you deserve. They play into the yearning for a figure to protect you, tap into or even produce humiliation and then the aggression that makes up for it. At their most effective, they construct whole alternative realities conspiratorial words where you have no responsibility and many people can be eager to play along with this.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:25

    I mean, you you and this really speaks to, Hannah RN’s notion of the annihilation of truth the obliteration of the distinction between fact and and opinion that you write about. You you cite her It’s what Steve Bannon would call flooding the zone with shit, in terms of making people unable to, you know, distinguish, you know, reality from, from a a political fiction that’s useful someone else’s agenda. It it’s really what you wrote about in your first book, about the rise of Russian reality TV, which sort of, you know, created this obliteration of the line between between, you know, fact and and fiction. And you argue that, what counter propaganda does as you were saying earlier is provide a kind of permission structure for people to think otherwise, to to, you know, to somehow subvert this sort of capacious you know, kind of world of of conspiracy and and propaganda. How do we do that with today’s Russia and and with with Putin?
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:42

    Well, let’s start where down we started from. First is what we don’t do. So Delmo was very frustrated with the way the allies. We’re basically trying to preach to Jones. You know?
  • Speaker 3
    0:41:58

    He thought that was a case of what we would call today, I don’t know, just being stuck in your own echo chamber and preaching to the converted. So, he thought that sort of lectures about liberal values just didn’t make sense anymore. People were beholden to Hitler because of the things that that you just quoted there from the book and just, you know, just a few worthy arguments and a couple of factoids that we’re not gonna make a difference. So you’ve got a admit that praying for the overnight emergence of a democratic movement in Russia is probably not where we’re at at the moment. What we’re at is understanding why people acquiesce to this propaganda or why the enthusiasts typically support it or where they acquiesce and where they support it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:42:44

    And understanding the connections between the leadership and the people and starting to to It’s a bother. So if tomorrow, Russian soldiers were to wake up through a huge new multimedia project including, I think, the radio station, because I think radio still is actually quite effective in some ways, that would be targeting Russian soldiers all along the Ukrainian coast, maybe all the way down to Syria, which is telling them allowing them to listen to it safely by doing the old speech by by Putin or Shogiu or whoever, what what other whichever you know, grotesque leader is giving a speech that day and right next to it, you know, the demo would have such a field day today. You know, you’d have the, you know, you’d have quotes from the inbox and the private text messages of not some far off politician, but their local commander, and how he’s sort of skimming money from their rations by selling it off down the road, and who is the prostitute he’s sleeping with and what VD has she given him? Does his wife know about this? And all this gossip and Well, I wouldn’t say rumor gossip and facts about, you know, about about them.
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:05

    And That would simultaneously, help create a lack of fear to embolden the soldiers who we know aren’t particularly happy. It would cause lots of sort of chaos, for their leadership. It would start, making everybody in the whole chain of command wonder, hold on who’s leaking this, where is this information coming from? So something like that, I think tomorrow, if that if that were to start, I think that makes total sense, you know, and that’s not preaching to the soldiers. These are soldiers.
  • Speaker 3
    0:44:43

    Come on. Who committing war crimes every day and don’t seem to care. And much and much worse. So the idea you’re gonna, you know, win them over with some sort of moral argumentation is is is is is just she’s not gonna work. So something like that with the kind of like fun and taboo breaking.
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:09

    Content that, Delma had. I think I think it’s a no brainer to do something like that. Ukraine is all doing very fun and inventive things. And I mentioned them in the book. Like, like, a lot of these things will probably only be told properly after the war.
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:23

    Hopefully a war that that Ukraine wins. But, but for something of that size, you actually need a lot of long term investment. I mean, what Delmo was doing, and I keep on coming back to this, We’ve got to understand the level of research he was putting in to understand the lives of the ordinary soldier and they’re higher up. Yeah. Not Gerbles’ private life, but the private life of a sergeant.
  • Speaker 3
    0:45:48

    And the data gathering was remarkable. He’d be told you know, the he get the latest tidbits from partisan groups. So partisan groups that that were in contact with with the British. They would do very, very, again, very amoral things, but very a lot like the sort of hacks that we see today. They would open the letters of Nazi officials when they wrote abroad, to make it even creepier, actually.
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:13

    Delmar, the very secret service puts microphones everywhere in POW camps so they can listen in to what German soldiers were talking about. That was done for intelligence purposes. But also, to find out the latest jokes, the latest rumors, you know, find out what the soldiers really thought about each other. And their superiors. And that gave Delmer’s material as kind of like spice and immediacy that was that was legendary.
  • Speaker 3
    0:46:40

    So this incredible effort to find out the details of people’s lives, it was, you know, you know, we started talking about how, you know, Dom was clearly involved in deception, He overindulged in disinformation, but actually what made his content so powerful was was the truth. Research that that we could do so much easier today in a in a world of, like, social media, you know, social media scraping. And, you know, you don’t you don’t need to be that’s you don’t need to be sneaky. It’s all to help that now. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:13

    But you know, one of the the things is I’m not sure whether kind of conventional intelligence organizations would put that high priority on collecting. That kind of information.
  • Speaker 3
    0:47:26

    They don’t. They don’t. They don’t
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:27

    at all. I mean, that’s that’s really the key thing. The the British had such a large establishment of people doing that kind of work during World War two that, you know, they had the resources for that as well as, you know, tracking u boats and, lots of other things. I was wondering could you and, alas, we’re gonna run out of time? I I was wondering if you could, comment on the extent to which you think Russia is well, compare how susceptible Nazi Germany and Putin’s Russia are to these kinds of operations is Russia a harder target.
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:06

    And that’s a, again, a term of art, the intelligence community, a hard target, but but they’re thinking, of course, of hard targets in terms of ferreting out secrets by getting some spy and the Kremlin and communicating with them that’s I mean, what you’re talking is it sounds like they’re not that hard to target.
  • Speaker 3
    0:48:25

    So just actually finishing up, reading some analysis. Sort of a data fusion exercise, that puts together sort of economic, social, and discuss what’s going on Russia it’s very interesting because you get, I mean, you know, there’s still polling going on in Russia, which I look at. It’s hard to really it’s hard to be polling in a country that’s that’s you know, light Russia, which is so autocratic now. But this is more interesting because it shows you you know, by comparing the economic data with the discursive data, you can see what the propaganda campaigns the Kremlin is doing. Then you match it to the economic data, go, well, you know, they’re trying to get people to save.
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:05

    So there’s a a savings crisis in Russia. Nobody believes in the nobody believes in the currency. So they’re all taking out loans like crazy. Payday loans are shooting up, personal debt is shooting up because everything through Google’s gonna be worthless tomorrow. And the Kremlin’s doing this nonstop propaganda saying that, you know, ruble stronger than ever.
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:26

    No inflation. It’s under control, and people don’t believe it. And you can see, like, how they push it, push it, push it, you know, people starting a little bit less debt, and then it shoots up again. So if you start contrasting, the, you know, almost mythical propaganda, which I described in my first book, but you know, I think, you know, there’s a real risk that we over respect it sometimes. And then what people are doing, and then sometimes what people are saying online, which you can do as well, you start to see all these cracks.
  • Speaker 3
    0:49:58

    There’s cracks between different regions. You know, some regions have done very well out of the wall. That’s where the factories are that are churning out the weapons. Other regions like the ones in the border with with Western Europe are doing terribly. So there’s if you were doing this properly, if you’d really wanted to start, doing inventive public information campaigns, There are so many cracks and fishes.
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:21

    And what’s interesting, it’s where the Kremlin see this greatest vulnerability, you know. They’re actually, I think, wrong, but they think on the military side because they have the sort of psychological escalation dominance. All they have to do is go boo on the military side and and the West will always kneel. They’re not that worried about the economic side because they think they’ll always have enough oil to feed, to feed their bodyguards and who cares about everyone else. What they’re really worried about is the ideological side.
  • Speaker 3
    0:50:50

    There, they think they’re really, really weak. That’s why they pump so much money into it. They know they didn’t work on the union, they’re worried it’s not gonna work again. They actually they actually think that is their weak link. And it’s the one we do the least.
  • Speaker 3
    0:51:03

    On, but frankly, we’re not doing very much. Well, we’re doing a lot of the economics, but not, as economic. Economic statecraft. We haven’t really learned to leverage our economic power for security aims, which I think is the the phrase that I’ve been told to use because economic warfare is banned by the WTO, but as a as a concept. But Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:51:27

    I mean, look, frankly, in a twentieth first century, which is gonna be a knife fight between various powers. We’re gonna have to relearn the arts of political and economic warfare. We really are. Or us would just because the other side, the Russians and the other rising authoritarian states, They only think like that. So if we don’t start creating the institutions, the knowledge, and the path to efficacy, in both political and economic, not even getting into military.
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:00

    We’re gonna lose. We really are and you know, I hear so much like, oh, sanctions aren’t working. We haven’t done the sanctions as a weapon yet. We just sort of put some sanctions out there and hope that it’s a signal. That’s not how you do sanctions in a time of war.
  • Speaker 3
    0:52:18

    So we really need to start reorientating a lot of things towards what is gonna be a brutal twenty first century.
  • Speaker 2
    0:52:27

    You know, just on on on that one, I’m and then this will be my last comment, there’s a lot to learn from World War two, which is, of course, one of the lessons from your book, including an economic warfare. I mean, the coercion that the United States and Great Britain exercised against Spain and against Vichy France by controlling food. Going into those countries in order to get a political effect, namely keeping them out of the war was it was tough. It was very, very tough. And I, you know, I’ve always thought I’ve never liked the term soft power, but one of the reasons why I don’t like it is because people when people talk about soft power, they’re not actually thinking about using it like power, you know, which does mean thinking about how you use it to make somebody else really, really miserable.
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:13

    So, I’ll I’m just gonna read it.
  • Speaker 3
    0:53:16

    That’s that’s the technical stuff. Look, I’d be by the way, it’s bloody hard. Because what is the counter balance between well, does that then mean that nobody else will Will Saletan do trade with you again? So there’s so many if this is not like let’s turn everything into a weapon. Oh, no.
  • Speaker 3
    0:53:29

    It’s really hard to sort of say, well, here’s where it’s been. We’re gonna weaponize it. Here we want. Here are the rules. Here’s our doctrine.
  • Speaker 3
    0:53:36

    And and it’s it’s not easy. It’s not easy at all to get all those balances right. But You also kind of have to have the kind of the awareness and also to my information if we’re talking something like you know, sanctions plus. It’s a version of military supplies, just about having institutions who do it. I mean, let’s let’s go right to the present.
  • Speaker 3
    0:54:00

    You know, I I don’t think there’s very many people. Well, think about how the military approaches an operation. And then think about how, I don’t know, you know, Department of, you know, Department of Justice and ofac approach sanctions. I mean, one has got this vast architecture of people, tools to get to effect. Well, the other one is barely thinking about effect.
  • Speaker 3
    0:54:24

    I mean, they’re just thinking, oh, it’s a bad thing. Let’s sanction it. Fine. And, you know, And and I’ve seen I’ve been working a lot on on some of the sanctions stuff. So so you see close-up, you know, we sanction a we sanction a, you know, a tool that’s making Russian weapons, you know, that’s made in the west.
  • Speaker 3
    0:54:40

    And then we didn’t do all the components. We didn’t do all the oil for it. We didn’t do all the propellants for it. You know, You it’s not the bloody machine that you need. You take out the whole chain, and that means sanction here, subversion here, buying somebody out here, you know, messing up this you know, this supply chain of, I don’t know, whatever chemical that they need from Tajikistan there.
  • Speaker 3
    0:55:01

    It’s an operation. It’s not like, you know, oh, we’ve sanctioned some guy on a list.
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:06

    It’s the economic kill chain.
  • Speaker 3
    0:55:08

    Exactly. The kill chain. And on the information side as well. So, my book is critical of, oh, what, what, Dominic? This this is not, like, oh, here’s cut and paste, dude.
  • Speaker 3
    0:55:19

    So many mistakes, so many disasters, so many disasters in the cold war. This is these are not easy lessons, but the fact is that at one point, The Brits went okay. This is an existential fight. What is the role of information in this existential fight?
  • Speaker 1
    0:55:36

    Peter, we are running out of time, but, you know, Elliot mentioned, at the beginning of this podcast that, you touch on of course Russia and Putin, as well as the lessons from World War II, but also, the the problems of the big lie in the United States and, the role that, Trump has played. I made reference to Steve Bannon earlier. In a couple of weeks ago, we had, Liz Cheney on as a guest talking about her efforts and the efforts of the January sixth committee to debunk the big lie and try and, try and combat it among a very large percentage of Republicans who believe it. How should we think about, you know, these information operations in, in, domestic US context? How do we drain the poison, that’s being poured into our political system out of it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:56:33

    And and enter all, yeah, I have to just make the comment that you touch glancingly on William Joyce, you know, affectionately known as Lord, who broadcast, a a British fascist who defected to Germany and broadcast from Berlin attacking British Society. I I I was thinking about that as I watched the Tucker Carlson, broadcasts from you know, a carrefour, shopping, center in Moscow and, the Kievsky Vauxhall when he was you know, or that was, I guess, was the Kifs, Kifs guy metro station that he was outside of. How do we how do we combat this at home?
  • Speaker 3
    0:57:20

    Mean, I haven’t surprised. I’ve only been in America two years, and because of the war in Ukraine, and I’ve I’ve been going, you know, I’ve been spending a lot of my attention as as as on Eastern Eastern Europe. So and I’m always reluctant to make sort of big sweeping generalizations. Actually, no, that’s why I’m a journalist. I do all the time, but, but but about things that I I just I’m only just starting to look at.
  • Speaker 3
    0:57:40

    What I’ve been very surprised by in the US is despite you know, two thousand sixteen being eight years ago, there hasn’t been this huge push to essentially split the in a good way, but really sort of like differentiates the I don’t know, hard manga audience, which probably you can’t reach and shouldn’t even bother, to with all the other softer bits. Now Biden’s trying to do that in his election. You know, Nikki Haley voters come to me, but I would assume that there should have been a huge media push if we really want to preserve them proceed. It’s not just about feeling virtuous. It’s about creating a public sphere where diverse groups of society can in a very by the way, I don’t mind the word polarizing in a very polarizing way interact with each other.
  • Speaker 3
    0:58:34

    That’s democracy. It’s it’s it’s messy, but we’re talking to each other. And, you know, I’m I’m sort of surprised that that no one’s invested into that. Now I don’t idealize the BBC in any way, but it was very interesting after Brexit when we realized we had a similar issue with people living just in different worlds. The first thing the BBC does is move a ton of its people and offices to the north of the country.
  • Speaker 3
    0:59:04

    Because they realize they have become out of touch. So it would be the equivalent of, I don’t know, CNN going, oh my god. We really are at a touch. And putting loads of its efforts into, you know, having offices and having newsrooms in throughout flyover states. That’s what should have happened.
  • Speaker 3
    0:59:23

    And as smart as it happened overnight, it’s not like, here’s the little info up, you know. Delman was like, you know, He was running a mainstream media. If if it was if his radios which the assess themselves say were among the top three in Munich, that’s He was, like, a a a broadcaster as big as MSNBC, CNN, Delmar, Delmar, you know, it would have been that sort of size of of media. We we had to understand wasn’t running little kind of ciops. He was doing cultural change.
  • Speaker 3
    0:59:52

    And I’m kind of surprised no one’s done I I I know there’s been investment into local media as a way to wean people off, you know, the really, you know, aggressive propaganda media, and and maybe local media can play a role, but, I’m not against that. But there’s so many cool innovations in America on the micro level. But no one scaled them. I was kind of surprised by it because, you know, everyone’s been worried about this since two thousand sixteen. But no one’s done this sort of massive, and it is massive investment to do something about it.
  • Speaker 3
    1:00:27

    The BBC in Britain emerged in the in the sort of the twenties and thirties and very similar situation. There was a massive polarisation through the press in England, through the tabloids. There was sense that Hitler and Stalin had learned how to use radio better than democracies. And the guy who created the BBC Lord Rieth talked about it as creating the Agora of Old, the market square of Old where people could gather and and be part of one national robust discussion. Now I don’t think you can have the BBC here.
  • Speaker 3
    1:01:03

    I know that’s a very British institution. I I don’t think you can cut and paste it. But whether it’s civic media, whether it’s private, that it doesn’t really matter. It means getting up in the morning and thinking how you do that. How do I reach those audiences and bring them into a conversation with the others?
  • Speaker 3
    1:01:20

    And again, this is not about the middle. People come through, oh, we need the middle. It’s like, no. It’s not about the middle. It’s about diversity, but balancing diversity with with with dialogue.
  • Speaker 3
    1:01:30

    And again, it’s not about being nice to fascists, you know, the let the fascists stew in their fourteen percent, you know, you know, that’s probably where most countries end up with, that’s the amount of sort of very, very sort of, you know, deeply committed to supremacism populations we will have, but you’ve gotta start working with the rest. But that means working with them. That doesn’t it’s not an overnight thing. You don’t do it just before an election. You do it for years and decades.
  • Speaker 3
    1:01:58

    But anyway, as I said, I was surprised. You know, I’ve only been here a couple of years. My research focus hasn’t been fully to do with the US yet, and I’m only starting to see some research now. And I’d like to think that there’s hope. I can’t give up in America.
  • Speaker 3
    1:02:14

    You said at the start I was born in. Well, it’s born in Kiev in Ukraine, and it’s even though my parents ended up in in the UK, I suppose I am so deeply interrelated with the story. That however bad things are in Eastern Europe, there’s always an America that you can head to, which will value freedom and rights And I’m not ready to give up on it quite yet.
  • Speaker 1
    1:02:42

    Neither are we.
  • Speaker 2
    1:02:43

    Neither are we.
  • Speaker 1
    1:02:44

    So thank you, Peter. You’ve been a terrific guest. The book is how to win an information award, the propagandist who, with it Hitler by Peter Promadanza, who been our guest Peter. Thank you for joining us on shield of the Republic. I hope we can have you back again.
  • Speaker 1
    1:03:00

    And once you’ve solved the conundrum of America, we can we can discuss that book.
  • Speaker 3
    1:03:06

    Yeah. I’m just I just yes. Well, I can solve it. I hope it’s not one of these tragic ones where you, like, you solve something as it dissipates in front of you. Like, horror.
  • Speaker 3
    1:03:15

    I get it now. It seems like it disappears over the cliff. I don’t know. I I really don’t understand. I know, we’ve had so many stories about, you know, this is not being recorded now.
  • Speaker 3
    1:03:25

    Is are we still recording?
  • Speaker 1
    1:03:26

    Yeah. We’re still recording.
  • Speaker 3
    1:03:29

    Oh, okay. Then I’ll shut up. I just said there were so many thoughts over the last, even over the last three or four years to create big, big media projects through start to integrate more people into a common dialogue, and they always break down. And, you know, some of the richest men in America were ready to do it. And, you know, and it always breaks down.
  • Speaker 3
    1:03:50

    I’m like, and now you’re worrying again that thirty percent of the nation lives in an alternative reality. I mean, gotta do something about it. I’m just like I mean, I I love, you know, it’s it takes it takes really big investment. It needs structural things. You know, these are not projects.
  • Speaker 3
    1:04:05

    These are like really sort of investing in sort of reorientating things. But not today.
  • Speaker 2
    1:04:11

    Well, let’s hope let’s hope they listen to you, Peter.