Colonialism in Denial: US Propaganda in the Philippine-American War
The Philippine–American War (c.1899–1913), which led to the colonial subjugation of the Philippines by the United States for over forty years and the suppression of the first independent republic in South-East Asia, is one of America’s forgotten wars. The historical amnesia surrounding this conflict is no accident. It is an enduring legacy of US government and military propaganda, widely disseminated by a largely supportive corporate press, which contributed in no small way to the American victory both at home and abroad. Propaganda is understood here as the deliberate falsification, distortion or tendentious portrayal of events to justify a political cause to the wider public. What I want to argue about this case, is that successful propaganda does not occur in the context of an otherwise rational and empirically verifiable public discourse. Successful war propaganda has to be reconciled with the symbolic self-interpretations of a national community.