By Robert A. Vella
State-run news and media organizations are the trademark of totalitarian governments. Nazi Germany created the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in 1933, and the Central Committee of the Soviet Union created Pravda in 1912. Controlling the flow and content of information is fundamental to all authoritarian systems; for without it, the people to which it targets cannot be controlled.
Joseph Goebbels, probably the most infamous propagandist in history, had this to say about controlling news and media – from Wikipedia:
“That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result,” he wrote. “It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.”
“We .. intend a principled transformation in the worldview of our entire society, a revolution of the greatest possible extent that will leave nothing out, changing the life of our nation in every regard …”
“It would not have been possible for us to take power or to use it in the ways we have without the radio and the airplane. It is no exaggeration to say that the German revolution, at least in the form it took, would have been impossible without the airplane and the radio. …[Events of great] social-political significance…reached the entire nation regardless of class, standing, or religion…was primarily the result of the tight centralization, the…up-to-date nature of the German radio. …But everything should have a relationship to our day. Everything should include the theme of our great reconstructive work… Above all it is necessary to clearly centralize all radio activities, to provide a clear worldview” 
Albert Speer, the Third Reich‘s Minister for Armaments and War Production, acknowledged Goebbels’ intent in his final speech at the Nuremberg trials:
“Hitler’s dictatorship…made the complete use of all technical means for domination of its own country. Through technical devices like the radio and loudspeaker, 80 million people were deprived of independent thought.“
Fast-forward to January 2015, and this story came out of Indiana on Tuesday – from Daily Kos:
The most remarkable thing about this is how many different people surrounding Indiana Gov. Mike Pence had to think this was a good idea, with apparently not a one of them pointing out that the phrase “state-run news outlet” has a rotten and terrible history and that no freedom-loving ambitious Republican type ought to be stapling themselves to it and parading around like they’ve just invented toast.
Gov. Mike Pence is starting a state-run taxpayer-funded news outlet that will make pre-written news stories available to Indiana media, as well as sometimes break news about his administration, according to documents obtained by The Indianapolis Star.
Hey, American journalists, are you tired of having to write about what’s going on in Indiana under the leadership of Gov. Mike Pence? Good news, then: the Mike Pence administration will do it for you. You just let us worry about what’s going on in the statehouse—it is all very complicated and boring and if something is important we’ll be sure to write it up with, you know, the right “take” and all that news stuff.
The author of the piece asked his readers, “What could go wrong?” Indeed, what could possibly go wrong with a state-run news and media service? Philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist George Santayana has already given us the answer:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”