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Private companies — i.e., Fox News, CBS, “New York Times,” Twitter,Facebook, etc. — can and will slant, shape and selectively share news, and other information in any perspective that their corporate management pleases. This has always been the case since the beginning of writing, talking and creating periodicals, and it’s not stopping now.

noun. an employee whose allegiance to his employer comes before personal beliefs or loyalty to fellow workers. Origin of company man. – From Company man | Define Company man at Dictionary.com

Moreover, one must toe the line whether for a company or another conglomerate of people or get ejected from our fold has been the way that it goes. It has been the case since tribal days when dissent meant removal from the tribe and possibly death from not having a material and/or a financial (in much later years) support system.

So people generally conform to survive, it seems. They try to fit into the conglomerate of those around them  as or dire consequences result as they did for my parents’ friend Howard Fast:

Having refused to cooperate with the House un-American activities committee and provide records of the joint anti-fascist refugee committee, he was convicted of contempt of Congress in 1950, and served three months in jail – it was in effect a congressional imprimatur of his leftwing credentials and integrity. It also meant that, overnight, his books became unpublishable. He was blacklisted. Angus Cameron (obituary, November 30 2002), the editor-in-chief at his publishers, Little Brown, came under fire in 1951 … – From Obituary: Howard Fast | Books | The Guardian

So he had no source of income other than the help of friends like my parents, who were absolutely not wealthy. How awful! How else, though, except through charity can one support himself and his family under such circumstances? … No one will publish you and no one will give you ANY sort of job since you are a pariah or they are afraid of being castigated and shunned, themselves, through hiring or otherwise supporting you.The times are certainly better now than when I met Howard Fast during the period that he was unable to make an incomwhile trapped in his grave troubles. Accordingly I know absolutely that truth, such as Howard Fast indirectly represented, is very hard-won and often results in sacrifice — great sacrifice, which is just one more reason for me to love verity and reject lies.

Currently, though, individuals can undertake the action of selectively picking and imparting views as do news sources, which represent freedom of speech and the spirit of First Amendment rights. It’s not like the eras in which Howard or others lived.

Thank goodness for this amendment, but it doesn’t go far enough. How could it protect against massive amounts of bogus misinformation and propaganda that mold large portions of societies?

First Amendment – Religion and Expression. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – From First Amendment – U.S. Constitution – FindLaw

Of course, this option for free speech even further in times past  and past Howard Fast’s wasn’t always the case. If doubting this curtailment that people routinely faced, then check out:

Galileo, free speech & censorship – Stephen Hicks, Ph.D.

Mar 19, 2014 – This week in my Free Speech and Censorship course, we are focused on Galileo’s 1615 “Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina,” which is his …

In relation, a friend, Greg, wrote to me in response to some of my above opinions: “That is correct, say what you want. That is what is all about.”
Of course that is correct unless one is either intentionally or accidentally lying and spreading fake news … or creating it. That’s the caveat.

For example, does anyone really believe that all Huns were bloodthirsty devils, who cut off the breasts of women and threw their babies into wells? Does anyone really believe that all people in another cultural, ethnic or religious group other than his own are evil monsters to be universally hated and rejected? … The answer is: Yes, yes, many individuals do believe this malevolent outlook!

Image result for hun war propaganda image

Apparently the harming of women and throwing of children into wells is a favorite propaganda image spanning several wars. For example, it was even used in at least one Asian war. Certainly it can create terror as a basis for a populous to abhor and collectively work to destroy another group of people.

If they weren’t so horrid and evocative, some of these vile posters at the following link would be slightly amusing: 25 best propaganda posters images on …

My favorite for being dangerous and stupid is the last one. It is certainly applicable today and speaks volumes about the ease with which people can decide to en toto “smite one’s enemy.”

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When I have mistakenly shared erroneous information, people “in the know” are quick to point out the errors and falseness to me. They understand that I appreciate it and know that I absolutely do not want to pose fictitious bogus information as truth when someone sends it to me after which I trust the information and forward it.

So I admit my mistake in support of a mistruth. Then I inform others of it as a correction for those to whom I sent the lie.

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson It is also one of the main foundations of morality and integrity.

Therefore, one must not ever fabricate falsehoods or spread any sort of propaganda, malicious or not, unless under very rare circumstances. For example, I would lie to Nazis were I hiding Jews in my basement during WWII since I have a sliding scale of values and preserving life is higher on the scale than is telling truth. Besides, would I want us all killed in a concentration camp because I told the truth when questioned by Nazis about whether I knew where some Jews were located?
Further, we all know about what happened to the reputation of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and the ultimate tragic circumstances that arose after he became no longer perceived as a reliable, credible source of factually based information.

Story Arts | Aesop’s ABC | The Boy Who Cried Wolf

www.storyarts.org/library/aesops/stories/boy.html

The Boy Who Cried Wolf. letter B. There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, “Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!” The villagers came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away. But when they …

“I’m not upset that you are lying to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

 

We all know where lies and misconceptions can lead. For example, they lead to vituperative and damaging “othering,” which can, in turn, lead to the poison of hatred and lynchings.They lead to a Lebanese Christian restaurant in Worcester, MA being all but destroyed after 9/11. (The family had fled their country for being persecuted and were not Arabs). They lead to a Sikh being beaten and kicked to death in CA after 9/11 as his turban was misidentified as a Muslim headdress.

 

Othering and condemnation are quite commonplace occurrences. Here is an excellent review of the process, which explains some of the reasons for the orientation’s prevalence whether directed against this group (or individual), or another group (or individual).

Othering 101: What Is “Othering”? | There Are No Others

Dec 28, 2011 – By “othering“, we mean any action by which an individual or group becomes mentally classified in somebody’s mind as “not one of us”. Rather …

 

So let’s leave phony baloney to where it belongs: with benign tales of Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and the likes. Truth is too hard-won much of the time to leave it to chance to occasionally arise. And let’s not ever forget all of the rampant lies in Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm serving to viciously manipulate and control thought. Let’s not forget Machiavelli’s take on lies: Chapter 18: The Subtle Art of Lying | The Municipal Machiavelli.

 

einstein-quote

As a tangentially related aside, I find this ensuing article excerpt interesting. As with the bamboozling weapons of mass destruction lie created by Bush, Cheney et al about Iraq, lies do have a terrible way of initiating wrongful actions and fictitious “notions” based little on actual reality. …

In relation, “never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.” – Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

Further, “repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth,” attributed to the Nazi Joseph Goebbels. Oh yes, indeed, this is so and it primes the public, as well as government leaders to accept the lie:

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has responded to the Chilcot Inquiry into Britain’s role in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, saying Britain must never repeat the mistakes of the Iraq war.

Speaking before the House of Commons on Wednesday, Cameron said that then PM Tony Blair took the country into war based on a belief that had lost credibility by 2003.

He told the lawmakers that Iraq’s supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) played a “central” role in Blair’s decision. “However, as we now know, by 2003, this long held belief was no longer a reality.”

The inquiry, headed by Sir John Chilcot and established in 2009 to investigate Britain’s most controversial military engagement since the end of the Second World War, published its 6,000-page report on Wednesday.

The report said that the legal basis for military action was “far from satisfactory” and Blair based his case for war on “flawed intelligence” about Iraq’s WMDs. – From Invasion of Iraq based on false perceptions: Cameron …

Here’s Jonathan Cook‘s “take” on  a similar. situation:

But – and this is the critical information Porter conveys – the IAEA failed to disclose the fact that it was certain the building was not a nuclear plant, allowing the fabricated narrative to be spread unchallenged. It abandoned science to bow instead to political expediency.
The promotion of the bogus story of a nuclear reactor by Israel and key figures in the Bush administration was designed to provide the pretext for an attack on Assad. That, it was hoped, would bring an end to his presidency and drag into the fray the main target – Iran. The Syrian “nuclear reactor” was supposed to be a re-run of the WMD deception, used in 2003 to oust another enemy of the US and Israel’s – Saddam Hussein of Iraq.
It is noteworthy that the fabricated evidence for a nuclear reactor occurred in 2007, a year after Israel’s failure to defeat Hizbullah in Lebanon. The 2006 Lebanon war was itself intended to spread to Syria and lead to Assad’s overthrow, as I explained in my book Israel and the Clash of Civilizations.
It is important to remember that this Israeli-neocon plot against Syria long predated – in fact, in many ways prefigured – the civil war in 2011 that quickly morphed into a proxy war in which the US became a key, if mostly covert, actor.
The Left’s Witchfinder General
The relevance of the nuclear reactor deception can be understood in relation to the latest efforts by Guardian columnist George Monbiot (and many others) to discredit prominent figures on the left, including Noam Chomsky and John Pilger, for their caution in making assessments of much more recent events in Syria. Monbiot has attacked them for not joining him in simply assuming that Assad was responsible for a sarin gas attack last April on Khan Sheikhoun, an al-Qaeda stronghold in Idlib province.
Understandably, many on the left have been instinctively wary of rushing to judgment about individual incidents in the Syrian war, and the narratives presented in the western media. The claim that Assad’s government used chemical weapons in Khan Sheikhoun, and earlier in Ghouta, was an obvious boon to those who have spent more than a decade trying to achieve regime change in Syria.
In what has become an ugly habit with Monbiot, and one I have noted before, he has enthusiastically adopted the role of Witchfinder General. Any questioning of evidence, scepticism or simply signs of open-mindedness are enough apparently to justify accusations that one is an Assadist or conspiracy theorist. Giving house room to the doubts of a ballistics expert like Ted Postol of MIT, or an experienced international arms expert like Scott Ritter, or a famous investigative journalist like Seymour Hersh, or a former CIA analyst like Ray McGovern, is apparently proof that one is an atrocity denier or worse. – From Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot: How the IAEA Conspired with Israel and US

In the end, we all have a choice. We can condone, reinforce and generate lies based on stereotypes and fears that we have or we can try to foist truth forward except in dire circumstances when doing so would cause harm or death for oneself or others.

In this vein, it is up to each and every one of us to be honest with ourselves to discern truth whenever we see it rather than to succumb to castigation, hatred, maliciousness, stupidity and ignorance. This means our not spreading to others, nor personally succumbing to lies except under the most dire and life threatening circumstances.

Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA

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