Video of journalist saying ‘propaganda’ is necessary goes viral, before being mysteriously disabled

Former State Department official endorses domestic 'propaganda' as neccessary
Support us and go ad-free

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.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free


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

   The CFR have disabled this video on "fake news" via their Youtube channel

The video seemed to be reactivated after The Canary 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 Canary:

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.

Get Involved!

Support independent journalism at The Canary.

Follow the work of US media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR).

Follow the work of UK media watchdog Media Lens.

Learn more about British propaganda via Spinwatch.

Featured image via screenshot

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed