Have you ever wondered what the media is like in a totalitarian society? Is the news as rigidly controlled as we’ve been led to believe? Do the people in those societies have any idea of what is really going on in the world around them or are they force-fed some inane mental mush under the guise of the news?
Well, here’s a clue: A research project led by Harvard political scientist Gary King:
“…which took advantage of a trove of government emails, spreadsheets and work reports from a propaganda office in central China leaked online in 2014, concludes that an estimated 488 million fake posts a year ‘enables the government to actively control opinion without having to censor as much as they might otherwise.’”
Take a moment to let that sink in: 488 million fake posts per year for the purpose of influencing public opinion. This is exactly the kind of thing that George Orwell warned about in 1984 yet we have that kind of government control of mass opinion happening on a huge scale to a huge part of the world population (China has 1.375 billion of the world’s population of the world’s 7.4 billion people or 5.38% of the total world population on their own. Basically, 1 out of every 20 people in the world live in China.).
So why should you care? You’re most likely living in another part of the world if you’re reading this, right?
The reason is that it is happening to you, too, and you don’t even know it.
Here is a case in point: The current administration hoodwinked the American people and Congress to get what they wanted. How do we know this? We can thank the New York Times for writing:
“The way in which most Americans have heard the story of the Iran deal presented — that the Obama administration began seriously engaging with Iranian officials in 2013 in order to take advantage of a new political reality in Iran, which came about because of elections that brought moderates to power in that country — was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal. Even where the particulars of that story are true, the implications that readers and viewers are encouraged to take away from those particulars are often misleading or false…
“… In the narrative that Rhodes shaped, the ‘story’ of the Iran deal began in 2013, when a ‘moderate’ faction inside the Iranian regime led by Hassan Rouhani beat regime ‘hard-liners’ in an election and then began to pursue a policy of “openness”…
“… While the president’s statement was technically accurate — there had in fact been two years of formal negotiations leading up to the signing of the J.C.P.O.A. — it was also actively misleading, because the most meaningful part of the negotiations with Iran had begun in mid-2012, many months before Rouhani and the ‘moderate’ camp were chosen in an election among candidates handpicked by Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The idea that there was a new reality in Iran was politically useful to the Obama administration. By obtaining broad public currency for the thought that there was a significant split in the regime, and that the administration was reaching out to moderate-minded Iranians who wanted peaceful relations with their neighbors and with America, Obama was able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that his administration was making…”
In other words, the Obama administration actively mislead us to get their Iran deal, in much the same way that the Chinese government is actively seeking to mislead and influence people using fake social media posts. And, to be clear, this isn’t unique to the Obama administration or to the United States. This is a world-wide issue across party lines.
Our suggestion: Get to know your news sources. Get an idea of who you can actually trust to give you accurate information. And don’t believe anything presented by a government, media outlet, or social media without doing your own fact checking and thinking. We didn’t get to our current level of government oppression without a bunch of people blindly thinking what they are told to think.
How do you go about finding trustworthy news? Tell us below.