I despise propaganda - It's just too sneaky.
But the question in the media today is whether it's right for propaganda-prone organizations, like Alex Jones's Info Wars, to be banned by corporate giants as an action against fake news? I didn't want to think about it, but the discussion in my head kept interrupting me --
Some would say it's a free speech issue - others a protection issue. At first I thought, okay, if Info Wars were a news outlet then it shouldn't be banned - but it really isn't news or even serious commentary, is it? I mean, the show is so provacative - shocking at times for the violent 'remedies' proposed against fellow citizens. Or, does that even matter because, after all, "this is America" as some twitter feeds screamed today in defense of Info Wars and free speech... to which I think I agree on the free speech principle. But maybe I'm being snookered. These are private companies... so is the free speech issue being conflated here when it should not be? I remembered the cake-baker story and how the court ruled... Then, I thought, "Wait a minute." Alex Jones still has free speech, no matter being dropped by a privately owned company. And, on and on, my brain went.
The argument about when and how to limit our freedoms is a big one. l remember after 911 how we were persuaded to give up freedoms for the sake of security. So should Info Wars be protected or not? If so, by whom? To me, Alex Jones and others like him (forget parties) hurt people and our country's civility by purposefully voiding the humanity of their enemies, which then justifies all manner of abuse. This is a subject Darrell and I wrote about in our first book.
Info Wars is by definition a propaganda outlet for their overt bias, partial truths, and perfectly placed lies. The attorney for the organization said so himself when he said to an accuser in a recent libel suit, "You didn't believe that, did you?", suggesting what is said on the show should NOT be taken seriously. I suppose the attorney thinks this is obvious to all Americans as if the show is watched like we watch alien conspiracies. And... that leads me what finally surfaced as my absolute core issue.
The bigger issues isn't whether Info Wars or any other organization, liberal, conservative, or alien, has the right to distribute propaganda on one platform or another. It is our susceptibility to believe propaganda along with our incapacity to recognize or question it, however it comes. Propaganda is not news because it has an agenda, it withholds parts of truth, skews the rest, and rallies unsuspecting supporters. It sneaky that way. The world has a long history of propaganda-enticed horrors: The Holocaust, Bolshevik and Russian Revolution, Manifest Destiny, etc.... It's only after the fact, that citizens realize they were duped or complicit.
So, since this is my central worry, and I can now dismiss the free speech argument from my head, I thought it would be helpful to provide information on propaganda techniques in order for us to better discern half-truths, bias, and misleading rhetoric. This comes from the University of Vermont on how to recognize propaganda and the dishonesty and fallacies codified in it.
Please print it from the link below and keep it as a reference. It may be useful in these uneasy, post-truth days. After that you may go further by doing o a study on logical fallacies or study propaganda use during the World Wars. Propaganda is everywhere, once you can see it.