[...] has ever had at his disposal—a servile propaganda operation.1

I was looking at some ngram for collocations with propaganda and there are many more results with campaign and machine for instance than there are with operation. Campaign doesn't work here but do you typically have at your disposal a propaganda operation? I guess I don't really get what operation means in this context (is that merely a business?). What's the difference with a propaganda machine (similar to political machine, with the possible meaning for machine being: "An organized group of people whose members are or appear to be under the control of one or more leaders: a political machine", AHDotEL)?

In the article operation is used one other time with smooth-running to refer to the White House and that seems to mean something generic, an undertaking. Do you suspect the same meaning is used in the quote and therefore that this is not about a collocation/compound or specific meaning for propaganda operation but rather it just means a servile operation (as in a generic undertaking, or more specifically a news business since that's what we're talking about here), which is into/about spewing propaganda?

1 Context: “In a hypothetical world without Fox News, if President Trump were to be hit hard by the Mueller report, it would be the end of him. But, with Fox News covering his back with the Republican base, he has a fighting chance, because he has something no other President in American history has ever had at his disposal—a servile propaganda operation.” ♦ [Jerry Taylor, co-founder of the Niskanen Center, as reported in the article "The Making of the Fox News White House" (The New Yorker)]

  • It's meaningful to me, but it seems it's not meaningful to you. I don't know how to answer this question aside from that comment. – Jason Bassford Mar 7 at 6:51
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it’s designed merely to quote a viewpoint. – Xanne Mar 7 at 10:31
  • Content should reflect reality. I have opinions, including political ones, and accordingly I read news from sources & journalists I trust or which show a color of intellect, as well as real discussions, and the context will reflect that as I react to those and come up with questions which qualify as actual and practical problems with the language. Yet my reaction to the collocation here is genuine although mostly compounded by the fact I'm no native speaker. Comments maybe show some native speakers wouldn't ask the question because they always get it or have a different viewpoint. Fair enough. – Jurgfeyce Hinn Mar 7 at 22:08

My suspicion is that the author intends the word 'operation' here to be read in the sense of a 'military operation' and all the allusions and contexts that carries with it.

A military operation is the coordinated military actions of a state, or a non-state actor, in response to a developing situation. These actions are designed as a military plan to resolve the situation in the state or actor's favor. [Wikipedia]

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