People Are Sharing Media That They Think Is Actually Sneaky Propaganda, And There's A Lot

    I will accept that Top Gun is just military propaganda, but I will also continue to watch it all the dang time.

    Content warning: This post contains a mentions of pedophilia and sexual assault.

    Recently, Redditor u/Ponymations asked, "What piece of media is just straight up propaganda?"

    Some of the responses were obvious, but others made me go, "Oh my god, that WAS propaganda!" And while many of these are movies and shows, some are other bits of media like songs or even social media posts. Here are some of the best responses:

    1. Undercover Boss

    CEO of Loehmann Steven Newman in an episode of Undercover Boss

    "Ugh. Even if we were to believe that stuff wasn't staged and people were genuinely surprised to discover it was their boss, it's often a puff piece for the company where the undercover boss finds some problem and takes decisive action to fix things up, and they are shown to be kind and compassionate as they listen to their employees' troubles in their private lives and then with the massive life-changing gift at the end. One episode I watched was so obviously transparent. It was a guy with a chain of hotels and a massive ego talking about how he pulled himself up on his bootstraps and how amazing his hotels are. He talked to some cleaner who basically said life was hard because she gets paid peanuts. So then he announced at the end he was giving her fifty grand or something, no announcement about raising the wages for the rest of his staff though!"


    2. CSI

    "Anything dealing with forensics. A job in forensics is boring. You know when they match a fiber sample and can exclude it from 5,000 other samples? Someone had to compare the fiber in question 5,000 times and say, 'Nope, next.' Not to mention, the paperwork required is painful."


    "I went to university in the peak of CSI’s popularity and forensic science was one of the most oversubscribed degrees at our uni, thousands of students, they were standing in the lecture halls. Someone explained that given the number of crime labs in the country the likelihood of any one of those kids getting into the industry was super slim."


    3. Top Gun

    "I love Top Gun. It's a huge guilty pleasure of mine and I can't wait to see Maverick in theaters. That being said, it is 1000% propaganda for the Navy, to the point where the Navy had a lot of say in the script and they set up recruitment booths outside the theatre."


    4. Shen Yun

    poster outside a theater

    "I went to see Shen Yun not knowing what it was. It starts slow with the propaganda but then by the end it’s just basically smacking you in the face with it over and over. It was wild. Good dancing though."


    "We just saw it on Sunday and I was so mad. Beautiful dancing, an awful singer, and holy cow the proselytizing was awful. One line from the awful song actually said 'Atheism and Evolution are fraud and deceit.' (Not exact as I already tossed out my program.) Most of the 'souvenir' T-shirts and tote bags said 'Falun Gong is Good' on them. No thank you, not giving you another dime."


    5. The Internship

    "Just Wedding Crashers but taken over by our Google overlords. Praise be."


    6. Saving Mr. Banks

    Tom Hanks waving as Walt

    "It's Disney getting a handle on the mythmaking behind the relationship between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers. I mean, movies take artistic liberties all the time but this film portrays the opposite of what actually happened.

    The film depicts Travers being moved to tears by Mary Poppins, with images of her childhood interspersed throughout the scene. In reality, she was moved to tears by her anger at how much she hated the movie, lol. She felt that Mr. Disney treated her so poorly that her will forbids any of her material being adapted ever again."


    7. American Sniper

    "I’m still mad that I got tricked into thinking it was a movie about PTSD."


    "That scene, where he just got out of deployment for some time, but then decides to get back made me barf. His wife asks him, 'Why do you wanna go back? You said it was hell! You just came back here, please stay.' And he turns around and goes, 'Because i love my country." I mean this shit can fuck right off lmao."


    8. Rocky IV

    rocky about to fight in the ring

    "I was in 9th grade when that movie came out. Everyone so pumped to see America kick Russia's ass."


    "I saw it in a theater on opening night, I've never seen anything like it, it was fucking madness. People cheering a movie boxing match like every punch was real. Easily the loudest theater audience I've ever experienced. And I swear half the people leaving the theater were either shadow-boxing by themselves or play-fighting with their friends. It was weird."


    9. "Business articles on LinkedIn that talk about how people should stop seeking work/life balance and start embracing work/life integration. No thanks."


    10. "Feel-good stories, like '8-year-old kid saves up $3000 by working to help sister afford her surgery.'"


    Why are make a wish kids feeding the homeless instead of the government???

    Twitter: @JoshuaPotash

    11. America’s Got Talent

    "It promotes the idea that talent goes hand in hand with struggle, so much so that genuinely awful acts make it through on the strength of their sob story. People have a hard enough time accepting the work that goes into being a creative without having to attach a tragic backstory to it."


    12. Nationalistic country songs like "God Bless the USA" or "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue."

    a country singer playing a guitar with an american flag on it

    "Remember that Toby Keith song that played everywhere after 9/11?"


    13. Cop shows like Blue Bloods

    "The entire 'cop show' genre. It goes back to the radio drama days and spans drama, comedy, infotainment, documentary, and multiple other genres, but it almost always presents the police as being the white-hatted Good Guys out to stop the Bad Guys."


    14. Call of Duty

    "One of the most interesting videos on Call of Duty is Does Call Of Duty Believe In Anything? by Jacob Geller

    Short of it is, despite the creator's insistence on it being 'non-political' it is indeed incredibly political. It, intentionally or not, glorifies the military, and tells us that 'you can't judge those atrocities committed by the military because you weren't there!'

    There is no non-political media. The creator's feelings and biases will always be there."


    15. "God's Not Dead and similar Christian movies."


    "That movie was huuuuge when I was in high school. At the end of the movie in theaters I guess they tell everyone to text all their friends 'God's Not Dead' and a Bible verse or something. Because I got that text from over 20 people I knew in high school. Thought it was really creepy."


    16. Atlas Shrugged

    a tram

    "It really is a terrible book. Even if you were into her politics I don't understand how anyone could enjoy that self-important meandering pile of shit. Also, she was really fucking bad at naming characters. Like comically bad. I mean one of her evil government men is named Wesley Mouch. For fuck sakes Ayn you could have at least made an effort.

    I also love her laughably silly portrayal of socialism. Her version in the book is that all things must cost the same no matter what. No, Ayn, that's not socialism, that's a dumber version of capitalism."


    17. The Wizard

    a kid standing to play a video game on a huge screen

    "A 90-minute ad for Mario Bros. 3"


    18. Superhero movies

    "Superhero movies are endorsements of extrajudicial punishment. Rewatch the Nolan Batman movies, and replace Batman with like, an NSA agent. The Dark Knight especially. Not just the cellphone panopticon shit, but extraordinary rendition, etc. Hell, even the latest Batman movie joked about it with the chain of evidence joke, and that was still an endorsement of such behavior because 'he's Batman, so it's ok.'

    Batman's not alone in this. Iron Man carried out military interventions on foreign powers. Agents of SHIELD was all over the place with 'regulatory oversight would hinder our mission' bullshit.

    We get mad when we catch governments doing this shit, but we cheer when superheroes do it, and I think that makes us just a little bit less mad about governments doing it each time we see superheroes do it."


    19. The US version of The Apprentice

    contestants on the show

    "I genuinely don't think Donald Trump could have made it into the Oval Office without the false image of him created and bolstered by that show. Millions of Americans were led to believe that he's a business genius — in reality, he somehow managed to bankrupt three different casinos in Atlantic City. You have to be a special kind of incompetent to not make money off of running a casino."


    20. Hidalgo

    men lining up on horseback

    "This was years ago, but Hidalgo (2004) was just awful. The trailers made it seem like some Indiana Jones-type movie, but it was a massive pile of barely disguised US propaganda.

    It was released during the Iraq war and it's about an American cowboy who participates in a horse race through 1900s Iraq, full of Arab stereotypes, the cowboy just wants to be free, I mean it lays it on THICK."


    21. VeggieTales

    "For American kids growing up in Christianity, it’s a cute and entertaining continuation of Sunday sermons and youth group. But to their non-Christian peers? Toxic shaming culture, misuse of Biblical scripture, fear-mongering, and God as the ultimate champion of patriarchy. Having left the church as an adult after being deep in ministry leadership for years, I feel nostalgia around some of the songs (which were excellently produced), but the script and overall messaging was coded with some psychologically harmful shit for kids. I think in many academic circles it’s regarded as propaganda these days."


    22. What the Bleep Do We Know?

    text that says, with wild ideas and mind-bending science

    "Oh man, there was a 'documentary' a while back called What the Bleep Do We Know? that advertised itself as a science documentary exploring the weirdness of quantum physics. It sounded cool and I actually went and saw it in the theater.

    Turns out it was a flat-out scam promoting the ideas of ... the Ramtha School of Enlightenment. A handful of physicists were duped into appearing and heavily edited to appear as though they agreed with the cult's message. I've never felt so cheated leaving a theater."


    23. Black Hawk Down

    The cast including Ty Burrell and Jeremy Piven as soldiers carrying a wounded comrade on a stretch next to a downed helicopter in a scene from the movie

    "Black Hawk Down is pretty much 90% propaganda. They left out one of the soldiers holding a family hostage, not to even mention that the main character's name had to be changed because the guy he's loosely based on went to prison for raping a little girl."


    "BHD is REALLY bad if you know the truth behind it, and since most people don't know much about US involvement in Somalia, people don't really question the things that the movie presents. The movie says 'the evil warlord riled up the people against the Americans for no reason,' reality says that people were mad at the Americans for constantly bombing them, including an attack directed at a peace negotiation of clan elders."


    24. And finally, the original Captain America comic books

    close up of someone sorting through a pile of comics

    "Though I think it's worth noting that Captain America #1 was dated March 1941. Obviously, the war was big in everyone's minds in the US at the time, but the US was not yet in the war. So Captain America was more than just 'support our troops' propaganda, it was 'we should join this war' propaganda, which feels a bit different, especially considering Joe Simon and Jack Kirby were both Jewish. If you're a Jewish artist living in New York at the start of the war, you had to feel pretty helpless. Your country is remaining on the sidelines and Nazis are holding enormous rallies like the one at Madison Square Garden in 1939.

    And then you've got an opportunity to make a comic book that can get people fired up to go stop the people who are trying to exterminate your entire race. Art is powerful shit, even when it's 'just' a comic book."