Monday, January 23, 2017

Propaganda Barbie & Alternative Facts

For those of you who don't own a dictionary or are too lazy to Google it, a fact is "a piece of information presented as having objective reality." That is, something that can be objectively* proven.

An alternative fact, on the other hand, is a falsehood, or lie, something told or written with the express purpose to deceive. Or, as we students of political science and history call it, propaganda, "information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view."

During World War II, there were a handful of women (and men) who used the airwaves (radio) as a means to spread Nazi and Axis propaganda. Two of the most famous, or infamous, were Axis Sally (who was born in Maine but moved to Berlin in 1934) and Tokyo Rose (another American, who broadcast from Japan).

Over 70 years later, in 2016, another woman has joined their illustrious ranks, rising to fame on her ability to create or repeat and spread lies and half-truths over the airwaves. Her name, Kellyanne Conway, or, as she was recently dubbed, Propaganda Barbie.

Back in the 1940s, before there was the Internet, determining what was true and what wasn't could take a little time -- and a trip to the library. Today, though, it is easy to separate fact from fiction, thanks to a number of objective fact-checking sites, such as PoliFact, FactCheck.orgSnopes, and Fact Checker.

Yet millions of Americans are too lazy, or biased, to search out the truth, preferring to hear what they want to hear rather than risk cognitive dissonance. Which, to quote our new Propagandist in Chief, is "sad."

Bonus video: Depeche Mode, "Policy of Truth"

*And for those who don't know what objectively means, it means independently or without bias.

UPDATED 2/3/17: Propaganda Barbie (aka Kellyanne Conway) strikes again! There was no "Bowling Green Massacre," folks, nor did the Obama administration ever "ban" refugees.


Anna said...

Whilst I totally agree with you, I just saw part of Sean Spicer's press conference. He came up with a bunch of numbers of online viewers of the inauguration that supposedly in total added up to the biggest viewership EVAH! I'm sure fact checkers will roll with it, but if it's true, then really the Trump people and the mainstream press were comparing apples and oranges (i.e. alternative facts ?).
Perhaps we all need to chill a bit, and listen to one another better. I think Spicer could have done a much better job in the first place of clarifying what he was talking about (he DID have pictures of the inauguration crowds in the background, and probably came up with this idea after the fact) and Conway is always speaking like she's in the Twilight Zone. However, maybe if we sit back a bit and not jump on every little thing, we might be able to focus on the crucial issues that are crumbling as I write.

J. said...

@Anna, Spicer earned Four Pinocchios from Fact Checker -- and many other sites and independent sources have disproved his claims re the size of the crowds. Also, once you consider some lies, or alternative facts, acceptable, you are headed down a very slippery slope.

VB said...

This wasn't about crowd size. It was about lying to the press about something provable. The break of trust between the WH and the press and therefore us. To make such a big deal about something so petty. I just heard that the US air force is on a joint mission over Syria with Russia.

Betty Cracker said...

Depeche Mode FTW!

Michael Talley said...

I have a dog named J (because Jefferson was two too many syllables given the number of times I have to call him every day).

J approves.

JR in WV said...

The claims he made about what he said about the inauguration were themselves lies. He said this inauguration crowd was the biggest ever PERIOD. In person and around the world.

This scans to mean the crowd in person was the biggest evah, AND the crowd watching around the world was [also] the biggest evah! Now, today, with the photos published everywhere, he claims he meant both the crowd in person PLUS the crowd around the world was the biggest ever. But that is not what he said.

Daily Reflections From One Soul said...

Lying is NOT a "little thing"