Open thread Nov. 23, 2018 Dan Crawford | November 23, 2018 8:50 am Tags: open thread Comments (1) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
We should all have a simple rule. The more outlandish the claim, the more demanding we should be about the quality of the sources and the quantity of interlocking credible facts.
The problem in the US is that Americans have quit questioning what they read or hear. They almost never question the credibility of a source as long as that source seems to confirm their general beliefs.
Once upon a time, opinion was limited to the last paragraph of articles in my local newspaper, but at some point opinion began to be allowed in the first. It was as though the writers wanted to be sure that I understood what was to be thought. When I no longer trusted them, I dropped my subscription.
The CIA supported the story about Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons. The result was that the US military invaded Iraq and we spent vast sums of money in that endeavor. The government which the US State Department placed in power was seriously flawed and it allowed Iraqi Shiites to take revenge against Iraqi Sunnis. And that created violent confrontations in that area which continue to this day. In 2016 officials at the highest levels in the FBI appear to have acted based on political views. They were no longer as worried about the credibility of a source as they should have been. How can we doubt their culpability when the result was multiple resignations. Why should I automatically trust the opinion of any of those agencies?
Politicians in the US make outrageous and/or inane claims about their opponents. The commentators who support them are even worse. And is there any accusation that a PAC will not fund?
Most Americans no longer demand proof or punish loose accusations. They accept the word of anonymous officials. I understand why news outlets quote them but why do WE accept the word of someone who has violated the trust of his employer and demands anonymity? (He has no skin in the game!) What sort of small men are they quoting?
Our problem with foreign propaganda, is that domestic propaganda is just as poorly sourced and improbable. How are we supposed to detect what is foreign?