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American Thinker
American Thinker
16 Dec 2023
Bob Weir

NextImg:How do we know what truth is?

We all get our news from media sources, be it television, print, or internet platforms.  What we see, read, or hear is our way of being informed on the issues we care about, and some we have no interest in.  We’re not able to be on the scene of an incident; thus, our only way of knowing that it occurred is by getting it from a news source.  When a homicide is reported on a breaking news story, we listen closely to the details because our attention has been aroused.  If it’s another street crime in a large urban area, we may change the channel because we’ve heard it numerous times before.  However, if it’s a story about a white cop killing a black man during an arrest situation, we tune in closely, anticipating the usual racially divisive commentary.

In order to keep us tuned in, media reports might indicate that the unarmed black man was shot down for no apparent reason.  The fact that he was shot while wrestling with the officer in an attempt to take his gun may be left out of the story.  Only after demonstrations cause damage to the community, and the media have gotten their bump in the ratings, will that essential part of the report be disclosed.  If the reporter told us in the beginning that the black man was a wanted criminal with a violent past, who told the cop he refused to be taken alive, it might cause reasonable people to side with the cop.

That could mean no protests at the police precinct, no riots, no looting, and no boost in the ratings.  Evidently, we have too much competition for viewership to expect the purveyors of news to search for the truth before running with inflammatory items that often end up burning neighborhoods to the ground.

I don’t think I’m being cynical when I say that honest reportage has become an oxymoron.  Truth has become that which the media can get people to believe.  Moreover, they’ve determined that the best way to make fake news seem real is by repetition of the lie.  According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, people will often be swayed from the truth by the constant repetition of a falsehood.

Repeated statements receive higher truth ratings than new statements, a phenomenon called the “illusory effect.”  This refers to the human tendency to believe a claim or a piece of information to be true after being exposed to it multiple times.  Therefore, if we hear or read something repeatedly, we are more likely to believe it, even if it runs counter to our prior knowledge.  As consumers, I think it’s fair to say we’ve experienced much higher prices since President Biden came into office.  Yet whenever we hear from his press secretary, or the chief executive himself, we’re continually told that inflation is under control.  When we see videos and news reports of millions of illegal aliens invading our country with impunity, Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas looks straight into the camera and tells a congressional committee that the border is secure.

Is it possible that we’re being programmed to disregard what our personal experiences reveal to us?  What else are they lying to us about?  Climate change is a repeated mantra that sells fear to a public that has no direct knowledge of the accuracy of the hypothesis.  We’ve heard it for decades, starting with terms like “global warming,” “global cooling,” “acid rain,” and the more scientific-sounding “inadvertent climate modification.”  The predictions of doomsday scenarios didn’t work, nor did the various phrases, which were mutually contradictory.  Ultimately, the “sky is falling” crowd settled on climate change in order to cover all bases.  Any reasonable person studying that faulty track record would immediately reject any future proclamations on the subject.    

Nevertheless, constant repetition makes such assertions appear to be true, notwithstanding their obvious absurdity.  Our country has invested more than a hundred billion dollars in the Ukraine War, and we’re told Ukraine needs much more to win.  Anyone who asks why we’re protecting the border of a country 6,000 miles away, while we neglect our own border, is being labeled a Russia-supporter or a traitor to the United States.  It brings to mind the Nazi propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels, who said, “Repeat a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth.”

Incidentally, Goebbels quickly took control of radio stations, telling their owners that the media of that era would be used as a tool of the Nazi Party.  He made it clear that people with “inappropriate views” would be removed.  The same was done to the press.  Those who opposed his dictums, including newspaper editors, were sent to concentration camps.  We’re not there yet, but there are ominous signs of censorship being forced upon us, and the fact that Donald Trump, Biden’s strongest opponent in 2024, is being mercilessly persecuted and prosecuted should cause all Americans to revisit history, lest we be doomed to relive it.

Image via Pixnio.