American Propaganda Lives!

While our companies are shipped overseas...

By , Columnist

Ah, for those of us of the age, so to speak, we remember our parents telling us that the difference between America and the Soviet Union was that the Russians forced their people to think about things they dictated and America had 'freedom of speech'. It was like the difference between legislated PR and thinking that we were actually doing the thinking. We may have been doing the thinking, but we weren't doing the press. Now we've switched. The press is doing the thinking.

Recently, a British friend of mine said, "In the communist countries, propaganda is clearly defined as propaganda, but in America, that's called 'the movies'" (or TV in this case). And maybe that's why Americans think Bud is still an American beer. It's not. Budweiser is now owned by Inbev and headquartered in Belgium. An American beer? No more; an international beer with corporate headquarters in Lueven, Belgium. Not American at all anymore.

But I'm sitting here in Vietnam watching a CNBC program that makes everyone think Anheuser Busch is still an American Company. InBev, a Belgian company, bought AB in 2008. Google that. The CNBC program is called American Originals. Great history, but not much current news or reality there. AB does not own Inbev. Other way around. But CNBC still sells it as an American company. Propaganda. And shameless as such. It tells everyone America drives AB/Inbev's international expansion. Truth is, they wouldn't be selling American beer worldwide at all if they didn't have a European partner. And that continues to be America's problem. We suck at international with anything aside from a war.

SAB/Miller is owned by South African Brewery and Molson/Coors is Canadian (we can't even handle our beers). Chrysler is owned by Fiat, an Italian company. And the largest advertising agency holding company is British. America gets #2 but not #3 - that's French. Hmm. There was a day when the Soviet Union owned propaganda and we owned the real stuff. Now we own propaganda as we sell off the real stuff. The things we do when we're low on cash.

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David has spent most of his career in advertising. That alone should call his writing skills into question. David currently writes the Wild Wild East Dailies from Saigon but has trouble seeing the forest for the trees because it's a jungle out there.

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