" “The notion that propaganda is always a state-run, top-down affair provides a cloak for our complicity,” she writes. “Social media’s veneer of openness and people-power exemplifies western propaganda’s habit of masquerading as its opposite.”"
This is an old, derivative, and largely idiotic piece. Which, ironically, is trying to capitalize on recent viral videos concerning NK.
You want to know the big difference between propaganda in NK (and equivalent historical dictatorships) and propaganda in the West? It’s easy – in NK, you are only allowed one source of information. In the West, you are bombarded with information. Apple produces very sophisticated propaganda. But so does Samsung, and Google, and all other tech companies. The government is capable of producing sophisticated propaganda to support its position. And its opponents are capable of producing sophisticated propaganda showing that it is dishonest and corrupt.
The one undisputable fact of modern life in western society is that we are bombarded with propaganda from every direction. Which means that we are constantly having to sift competing claims and make choices. Do we always make the best choice? Of course not. But it’s not due to absence of information or even sophisticated critiques of advertising. (Look at Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent” – it is widely popular, has sold thousands of copies, and is read in college classes across the US).
I think one of the comments to the Guardian article sort of summed up where we are: we live in a world so free that we have to make up our own oppression. Which is an insult to people who are actually oppressed. (Although I think it goes to show how much people do want to feel oppressed – if not, otherwise clear thinking individuals would not conflate NK explaining that the harvests are bad due to imperialist interference with advertising in the west suggesting that you buy an iPad, or an S4, or a Tesla.