Over the last twenty-five years or so, a sort of a movement-within-a-movement has steadily gained strength, to the point where's it's become almost mainstream. It goes by the name of "recasting".
As the Seventies drew to a close and the possible end of Modern Liberalism loomed on the horizon, its adherents faced with dread the coming of any sort of return to traditional American values. By the non-coincidence of the near-total possession of the arts and information media, the Left harked back to their forebears to relearn about the power of making the message and owning the (as it's now called) narrative.
From the start of the Soviet empire, the functional beginning of the Liberal/Leftist/Socialist/Statist movement, taking over the information delivery has been a key element of an ideology that would never, if brought into the light of day, have been saleable to Americans and other free-thinking peoples. There was no effort to conceal the concept of owning the narrative, not in the early years. Socialist propagandists blithely chatted on about how they were going to demolish capitalism (one of the early buzzwords of the Left, which may be loosely translated as "America").
Of course, as repulsive as Socialism is to a people who believe that individuals can, should, and must run their own lives in order to have a workable and free society, it was only a couple of decades before the need to be a bit stealthier with the takeover message became evident.
During an era of rapid advancement in the standard of living, the 1920s, Socialism's lack of progress in gathering in the actual intended benefactors of its beneficence, the unwashed non-elite, non-intellectual grubby masses, may have looked to be a march to oblivion.
The messiness and unevenness of actual freedom converged in a train-wreck that gave the movement new life- the Great Depression. A series of events not well understood in the rapidly-evolving process of capitalism led to a widespread calamity, made many times more calamitous by opening the door for Socialism and the nanny staters to get a foothold that continues to bedevil free enterprise to this day.
Socialism was ready to strike. It had put together a codified plan of considerable breadth and went about implementing it with what must have been glee.
The depredations of the Stalin regime could well mark the very worst point in human history. But ensconced in the isolation of its biggest and most fearsome adversary, the United States, a large number of people remained ignorant of the evil emanating from Moscow and its fellow travelers. Indeed, the New York Times, the most self-satisfied media organization of all, cheerfully dove headlong into enabling and assisting the rearrangement of the the narrative. Journalist Walter Duranty led the way with dispatches from the information battlefront extolling the virtues of the hoped-for world-engulfing wave of Communism that both deliberately concealed the ghastliness of real-life, practical Socialism and continuously sought to denigrate Americanism.
But the Soviet machine was far more peripatetic than just buying and operating a crew of mainstream media reporters and editors. Early on, it determined that crushing Americanism would require the use of marketing in the form of entertainment and so formed operations devoted to injecting Socialism into the American bloodstream painlessly, with the use of the popular arts. Few Americans today are even aware that famous folk signer Pete Seeger has been a member of the Communist Party for decades, and that his music, and the music he has helped to propagate, is that of undoing Americanism in favor of Socialism. Even today, Seeger, once public about his membership in the Party, will not renounce or deny it when pressed. Nor will he say that he has removed himself from it.
It must be mentioned that an aged and possibly slightly repentant Seeger, just recently in 2007, took a baby step or two back from his admiration of Stalin by stating publicly that perhaps a bit of rethinking of the processes of the Soviet machine might be needed.
And forty million hideously-departed innocents thank you, Mr. Seeger, for your consideration.
Meanwhile, try this test sometime, maybe in Chicago somewhere: walk up to someone and say: "Pete Seeger, the folksinger, is an avowed Communist and has worked his whole adult life towards his stated goal of bringing down the American way of life and installing Socialism." See what happens.
That's the power of the narrative working.
So now, when the narrative machine gets into gear and starts an information campaign like, say, the (most recent) attack on radio talker Rush Limbaugh over the "phony soldiers" comment, in which Limbaugh did indeed sneer at persons attacking American policy on Iraq while claiming falsely to be US military combat veterans, and then the Machine recast it into a national story on nearly every Mainstream Media front page saying that Limbaugh was calling any veteran who disagreed with the Iraq invasion to be a "phony soldier" (look it up- it's not what he said), there's no stopping the story.
For goodness sake, even the ancient and wobbling "Doonesbury" comic strip worked the canard today with a casual falsehood right there, on the narrative's mark.