IN THE NEWS
The totalitarian Soviet Union where I grew up tried to dominate the truth, to distort it and control it. Reality was whatever the Party put out on the nightly news, or in the official newspapers, Pravda, which means “Truth” and Izvestia, which means “News.”
It was increasingly obvious back then, even to communist true believers, that what we were being told didn’t match the world we saw around us. As the joke went, “there is no news in the truth and no truth in the news.” Eventually the disparity between truth and lies became too great; life wasn’t improving and more and more information was making it through the Iron Curtain. Denying reality became too grave an insult to our dignity, an underestimated ingredient in the spirit of revolution.
"Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise."
Vladimir Putin has signed a law that will allow Russia to declare journalists and bloggers as “foreign agents” in a move critics say will allow the Kremlin to target government critics.
Under the vaguely worded law, Russians and foreigners who work with media or distribute their content and receive money from abroad would be declared foreign agents, potentially exposing journalists, their sources, or even those who share material on social networks to foreign agent status.... full article
"All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume."
Out tumbled the groundless suspicions of Donald Trump. The hacked Democratic National Committee server was somehow in Ukraine. Barack Obama himself might have ordered spies to infiltrate Trump’s campaign. Thousands of Never Trumpers have been plotting against him since he took office.
For an hour last week, the folks at Fox & Friends struggled to get a word in and elicit some facts, any facts, that might have verified the conspiracy theories the 45th president was breathlessly disgorging. “Who are your sources?” one host asked Trump. “I can’t tell you that,” Trump replied. Are you sure the server is in Ukraine? another asked. “Well, that’s what the word is,” Trump said.
"Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. "
Guarding the independence of the press is essential to maintaining truth as a common good. And truth is essential to democracy.
As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “[W]ere it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
"Shame is an unhappy emotion invented by pietists in order to exploit the human race. "