A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation

Yves Engler. Fernwood (Brunswick Books, dist.), $19.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-55266-946-4
Engler—whose previous works have critiqued Canada’s foreign policy (Canada in Africa), the role of corporations abroad, and the smug self-congratulation that underlies many of Canada’s foundational myths—turns his sharp eye to the massive public relations apparatus inside the country’s military. Comparing the marketing of war to the promotion of professional hockey, this work skewers what Engler views as a well-oiled governmental machine pumping out a propaganda barrage. But the Canadian government couldn’t shape public opinion alone, he says, requiring a compliant press, targeted defense funding to universities and think tanks, and corporate entities with an interest in securing weapons deals. Engler also discusses an intricate network of institutions that seeks to control both how Canadian history is presented in schools and museums and the manner in which the country’s armed forces are viewed with each new engagement. Engler’s arguments are sure to rankle some, but he backs up his case with solid documentation that often comes directly from his opponents. Drawing on historic case studies and his own personal interactions with military-friendly media editors, Engler’s outrage is palpable. He hopes that social movements will have some restraining capacity and that acts of truth-telling can ultimately give the public a more balanced view of what has for too long been a one-sided story. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/23/2017
Release date: 10/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
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