Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Big Lie is alive and well

"Since the MS press has its' (sic) feet forever planted in the corner of the unions they aren't about to throw gasoline on the fire of union thuggery. I have however seen reports of the Washington ruckus on the FNC - no surprise there - as they generally report all the news no matter who it impacts." Post on Sept. 11, 2011, on the Post Register's message board regarding reporting on illegal activities of union members at the Longview, Washington grain terminal 

"All this was inspired by the principle--which is quite true within itself--that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods." Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

No, I am not comparing the person who posted on the Post Register's web site to Adolph Hitler. I am noting, however, that the strategies they employ are strikingly similar. In the case of the Post Register poster, I'm quite sure the use of the strategy is completely incidental. It's become so commonplace to buy into and pass along the latest Big Lie that we don't even recognize when it's being done.

In this case, there are two Big Lies. The first is that there was precious little reporting on the outrageous actions by union members in Longview. It's simply not so -- all major news outlets covered it thoroughly, led by the newspapers in the Longview area.

The second is that the "mainstream media" (who are these people, anyway?) are so in lockstep with unions that they'll never report on them negatively. This is utter nonsense that lacks any shred of evidence. This Big Lie is perpetuated mostly by people who have heard it from elsewhere and chosen to believe it because it conforms nicely to their world view.

I did a series of searches on the Longview story. Most of the coverage started with local newspapers and was picked up by the Associated Press. Reuters did its own reporting on the story, as did a number of regional TV stations and Oregon Public Broadcasting. From there, every major national/world news outlet picked up it, save two: NBC and CNN. Ironically, however, that "liberal" bastion, MSNBC, had the story.

To be fair, the story did not appear in the Post Register. I think this was an oversight, but we simply don't publish much national and world news -- that's not what we're about. You want to know what's happening in eastern Idaho, we're all over it. Elsewhere, there are myriad other sources that do a far better job. That tendency will only increase in the future.

The Internet is the perfect place for spreading Big Lies among the intellectually lazy. On the other hand, for those willing to do a little effort (and who understand how to use search engines and select credible information sources), the Internet can kill any Big Lie.

The question is, do we want to know the truth or simply live within our version of reality? It's a damn good thing Hitler didn't have the Internet.


  1. "You want to know what's happening in eastern Idaho, we're all over it."


  2. Anonymous:

    Your implied slight is lazy and your anonymity is cowardly. If you'd like to have a meaningful dialog, identify yourself and make your case.