Only those who do not wish to see can be deceived. – Dianna Hardy, Saving Eve
Some time back I listened to a politician speak.
He said little of substance – and the audience was generally hostile.
And then I listened to the radio – where a local reporter was asked what the politician had said.
Now, here’s the thing.
I was there.
I heard every word.
And what the local reporter said was said wasn’t.
Said, that is.
Many of us, naively perhaps, trust the news – we trust what we see and hear.
And it seems that, increasingly, we shouldn’t.
I’m reading Wanda Teay’s book Second thoughts: critical thinking for a diverse society and taking another look at what we think is happening in the world around us.
Now, some things have always been – and will continue to be.
The messaging you get, for example, falls into a continuum.
Teays references Margaret Thaler Singer, a specialist on cults, as noting that what you see and hear can serve five purposes.
- Thought reform
In the free world propaganda is the tool of choice by those who wish to be or stay in charge.
Propaganda is used to persuade you by appealing to your logic and your emotions – although it’s the appeal to the latter that really gets people worked up to the point where they do bad things.
But, while education and advertising might try and use the truth or at least a version that is not false propagandists are less reluctant to use misinformation or manipulation.
None of this is new.
What is, however, is the speed by which propaganda can reach everyone in the world through radio, television and twitter.
And whatever other way you choose to consume your media.
It should not surprise us that we are being subjected to a barrage of propaganda – but we should be aware of how it’s getting better and better.
From tweet and article factories around the world to deepfakes – nothing you see or hear can be trusted without verification.
It’s safest to assume that everything is spam.
And you need a filter – not one run by other people like the media or journalists, but one that you operate yourself.
A filter called critical thinking.
A filter with which you can examine language, arguments, logic, analogies and identify what’s good, what’s not and what’s right.
So you know what to say.