by Michael S. James
Recently, an American political cartoon asked the question, "What
Would Mohammed Drive?" and answered it with a drawing of a man
dressed in Muslim garb driving a rental truck with a missile hanging
out the back. . . .
"The secret in propaganda is that when you demonize, you
dehumanize," said James Forsher, a film historian and documentary
filmmaker who has studied propaganda films, and who is an assistant
professor of mass communications at California State University,
Hayward. . . .
Tales of atrocities also can dehumanize, as readers of William
Randolph Hearst's newspapers learned when they got whipped up for
the Spanish-American war with fake stories and sketches of Spanish
atrocities that probably never happened. Arguably, it set a pattern
for phony or embellished American wartime propaganda that would last
at least through the Gulf War. . . .
"I think the demonization of Islam and the Arab world is identical
to what happened 100 years ago," Winter said. "The Arab is now a
stock figure, a caricature, a symbol of fanaticism, of infinite
cruelty and no regard for human rights." . . .