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PROPAGANDA, INFORMATION MANIPULATION AND CONSPIRACY THEORIES

We are in a new age of propaganda in the US, something that we don't expect, are not familiar with and don't know how to respond to . . . and it is coming at us from all different angles.

  • Facts support that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election, they have continued during the intervening years and are planning to interfere again in the 2020 election. We can expect other countries to interfere as well -- China, Iran, others.

  • The president lies all the time. I think he got to over 13,000 by November. Lies are both small and large, some consequential. My understanding that they are sometimes told to upset liberals. Surely the lies are told to numb people so they are more easily fooled and manipulated.

  • The president of the US constantly call the free press "fake news" all the time. This daily attack on the media serves to divide our country and to cast doubt on mainstream reporting.

  • The president of the US also has brought right wing, conspiracy theories into the mainstream of political life, amplifying lies, hate and complete fabrication. The Southern Law and Poverty Center tracks white nationalists groups, terrorist groups, hate crimes, anti-Semitism and more. Even a few years ago, conspiracy theories were rarely discussed, now the president brings them to Twitter almost daily.

  • The changes in the news industry have been sweeping. The transition to digital upended the industry and the shake out resulted in fewer newspapers and fewer journalists, especially at the local level. And the government rules regarding ownership have changed to allow monopolies. Sinclair Broadcasting, a conservative media owner, owns a huge percentage of local news stations and dominates what can be broadcast, ensuring that conservative views are aired. Browse for Sinclair on the web and you will get a very good picture by reading only a few articles.

  • Saved the best for last . . . FOX news has captured the propaganda flag. The "entertainment" part of FOX dominates the air waves. A huge percentage of the American population listen to FOX  exclusively. FOX listeners are less well informed than the rest of Americans.

President Abraham Lincoln wrote: “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”