Friday, June 7, 2019

Carl Rose: Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Did a Madison Avenue advertising campaign successfully counteract Axis propaganda? Ad agency Young & Rubicam's 1943 ad illustrated by cartoonist Carl Rose attempted to alert wartime readers to the presence of supposed news stories that were in reality disinformation promulgated by "Goebbels and his propaganda machine." Rose dutifully illustrated a trio of menacing Nazi wolves disguised in sheep's clothing, which the ad copy described as "the cloak of loyal opposition." Readers were warned that any alleged news that hurt morale; fostered distrust in government, business, or labor; discredited our allies; or benefited our enemies automatically should be suspect. But, while these may have aroused one's suspicions, was that truly the way to verify that a news story was absolutely false? Sometimes the truth can be demoralizing. Sometimes our government or our allies deserved to be discredited. And sometimes a formula for spotting enemy propaganda could be woefully simplistic.

"Praise the Lord—we'll pass as opposition!"
Carl Rose
Young & Rubicam advertisement

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