Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Maybe Tin Foil Hats Should Be In Style

As I wrote a way back, the media's behavior has made the claims of conspiracy, selective editing, outright bias, lies and everything else tossed around about news stories more likely to be believed - on both sides. Don't like the way a story about, say, Tom DeLay and Abramoff makes the Republicans look? Claim bias, or maybe false reporting. Does a story about Hillary Clinton bring up some bad points? No problem - the source itself has to have its own agenda.

This is extremely harmful to the public intellect. It allows people to believe only the facts they find acceptable, not the ones that are true.

So what happens when the government does it? It verifies that for some people, ideology trumps truth. As Azir Nafisi wrote in her book "Reading Lolita In Tehran" (highly recommended), "We lived in a culture that denied any merit to literary works, considering them important only when they were handmaidens to something seemingly more urgent - namely ideology." Expand that out a little bit to include "scientific works" now.

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