sheep to the slaughter; cast your ballot


Lately I have been really pondering the power of propaganda. Especially in light of the speed in which information (or mis-information) is available these days. As americans we think we have the luxury of believing that it is only other countries that exploit their citizens with slanted information to control the population.That may have been true once.

But that luxury is long gone.

And I think we need to be careful or we may end up not learning from the mistakes of other's past, and then be doomed to repeat it thinking we were impervious to such a thing. I would rather keep a good bead on my government than to end up like a pre-hitler germany.

That may be strong words but I have had a couple conversations of late that make me concerned that the american people (in all parties) are dumping their brains and are buying into mis-information served up by various media made available. I thought it was obvious that any thinking person understands that they can't believe everything they read, hear, or see. But maybe this isn't true for everyone. My age group is probably cynical enough from seasoned advertising saturation that when Pat Boone is advertising reverse mortgages we know that dear old Pat does not have a reverse mortgage himself and doesn't necessarily believe in them, but is just collecting a paycheck as an actor. It is an ad meant to sell a product.

I am jaded and that is a good thing.

I remember lecturing Daniel at a very young age about advertising, pointing out specific ads for toys and such that caught his fancy explaining the motives of the advertiser, the times of day aimed at target age groups, etc...and thus helping him to be wise about how to determine when you are being sold something that isn't really in your best interested.

But discerning advertising is easy.

What is not so easy is news. (or what we call the news)

What our parents once trusted as an unbiased delivery of the facts no longer exists in its pure form. Apparently it is too boring and as a collective voice we have chosen in its place a form of entertainment that we like to point at as our news.

Which wouldn't be a problem as long as we understood the game, and that it is actually not ALL news.

A recent conversation with a dear friend revealed this even further when he reiterated something he had heard from "the news" as if it was fact. This particular "fact" was extremely slanderous towards one of our presidential candidates. A few seconds on revealed that it was bogus.

I wasn't surprised.

But what scares me... really scares me is that when something smells of slander or has a clear slant or is worded in a particular way to create guilt by association, people don't always check it for themselves...

they just believe it.

Granted, the checking is labor intensive because even sources that claim they have no bias may slant a tad (or a whole do you spell "fox".) Usually you can tell it from the language, but using multiple sources for double checking is probably the safest thing to do.

And that takes time. Time that most of us don't have. So we settle for the entertainment and miss the fact that mis-information is seeping into our souls and doing it in such a way that we barely notice.
(Pr 18:8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.)

Is it any wonder that jesus equated gossip and slander to murder?

I think a telltale sign of this seeping mis-information is "talking points". Sitting in a restaurant and overhearing a heated discussion about the present campaign using only talking points to make a case made me even more concerned. Can't we have legitimate conversations about what each candidate has to offer, how they plan on delivering, instead of passing around gossipy emails camoflaged as fact (without citing the source or author's name) that actually came from some wing-nut blog?

(having said that please don't quote this person's opinion blog unless you site the source;-)

I have called these "political, hit and run" emails in the past and they still bug me. Most of these are designed to make a case that will either provoke the receiver, or reinforce the assumed same belief relationship of the sender. Neither one is productive. I usually try to take them lightly but I got one recently that forced me to send a reply asking the question, "Did you actually want a reply from me on this"? As in "do you really care what I think and want to open a dialogue?" The reply I got on that one was an implied "no".

Too much time is getting wasted in the deluge of heresy and even outright lies meant to steal our ability to make an intelligent choice. This makes me a little snippy, because I hate wasted time. And when faced with talking points I am left speechless because there is no conversational entry point.

So rather than walking around like pull-string dolls repeating what we have heard on talk television, let's have a conversation that deals with the stuff at a deeper level. Breaking down the issues in a detailed fashion, sincerely listening to one another's opinions, and checking and rechecking facts against the propaganda machine's slanderous spin might just give us the ability to cast a ballot that is worthy of the lives that paid for it.


Good article. But do you really think fox is the only one that slants things. If so your are doing exactly what you are saying you don't like. I listen to all the news channels and talk radio. They all do it and not just a little. That is why I have said before we are responsible to do the research. Ignore the junk in between (name calling, stories about family, etc. and find the issues. Then decide. It is difficult but it is our duty and privlege especially as women.

Thanks. And I totally agree. I thought I made it clear that I was pointing at all talk "news" as being at fault. Slant is everywhere, but I did cite fox because of its reputation, its founders, the fact that it advertises itself as being "non bias", and mostly because it happend to be the one that reported the bogus piece that my friend mistook as news.(and slant is different than outright lies and this particular issue was that) And if my friend believes it, others will too which is what I find so disturbing. Slant is everywhere to be sure but not everyone realizes that it is just that, and I totally agree that one has to dig into the issues using more dispassionate sources like government fact sites and print and websites that function as debunkers. Taking the whiny voices out of the frame helps. Ultimately regarding the campaign, I think the debates may help. As long as people survive the smear ads! Our responsibility as women...your right on that one too. My dear friend (in our conversation) assumed right away that because I am a woman that I would like Palin just because she is a woman. Quite the assumption.

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This page contains a single entry by Blair published on September 7, 2008 5:56 PM.

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