Thinly-veiled propaganda is often confused with actual journalism.
Those who frenzied us to one president’s Iraq invasion told us that questioning that war was despicable and unpatriotic. Television newsmen told us to hate and ridicule anyone reluctant to go to war. We were told the presidency was sacred; that real Americans should shut up and do as they’re told.
Then, they scolded another president when he asked Congress for military support for women and children whose government attacked them in Syria. They told us combat was simply illogical when it meant protecting the innocent. We took that as news.
They told us to be angry about dropping supplies to refugees who’d been chased from their homes by ISIS militants and left to die atop a mountain.
We supported one war for fear of weapons of mass destruction that were never found. A president marched young people to war without Congress’s approval. We cheered him.
Then we saw chemical weapons used against innocent civilians and we turned away. We pouted that our president even considered asking Congress to help those people.
After months of berating a president for not protecting one embassy enough, he sent soldiers to keep ISIS troops from overtaking another and we stomped our feet like angry children. We let soft-handed pundits who haven’t left the safety of their desks in decades tell us that another war would be deplorable.
Now we’ve watched in horror as two of our countrymen were murdered by masked cowards and our puppeteers in their news studios tell us to shame our president for not acting strongly or swiftly enough against ISIS. They criticize an administration for failing a pre-emptive annihilation of a group that’s only been operating in force since June.
We tune in daily to be told how to feel. For lack of critical thinking, we’re told that all heartache, instability and bloodshed we see stems from the current administration. We’re told that anyone who doesn’t think the same is at the root of all of our problems and that everyone unlike us is destroying our nation.
We’re told these terrible things and we seethe with anger. We’re turned against each other by men who irresponsibly call themselves journalists, disseminating a propaganda that they’ve cleverly and purposefully mislabeled as news so that when they manipulate us we might mistake what we hear and see as actual information.
These are not real journalists. They rely upon deceit and warn us that everyone else is lying to us.
They prey upon us to sell books and advertising, manufacturing hatred to further their personal interests. We keep tuning in to let them. We’re tired and it’s easier than sorting through information or thinking for ourselves.
Real journalists have no need to manipulate. They want only to bring a story to light. Real journalists offer only factual information. They sacrifice everything to give us just the slightest glimpse of what’s real and they leave it up to us to decide how we feel.
“In a time of universal deceit,” as George Orwell said, “telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
The lifetimes of revolutionaries aren’t glamorous. Revolutionaries are rarely treated to a peaceful end. Theirs often come gruesomely and violently. That is the cost of the truth now.
We’ve watched two U.S. citizens pay that price in recent weeks. Don’t dishonor their memory or their work by perpetuating misinformation and propaganda from fake journos who have no integrity.
Think freely and think for yourself.