To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Monday, March 20, 2023


Propaganda Machine



Sharon MartinThe headline read “Thousands May Be Kicked Off ObamaCare.” Of course, you can’t get kicked off ObamaCare. You can be denied coverage by an insurer, however, if you aren’t a citizen.

The headline should have read, “Thousands of Illegals Will Be Denied Insurance Coverage on the Exchanges Because ACA Works as Promised.”

When a news organization starts with misleading headlines in an attempt to hide the truth, that’s the propaganda machine working. The lazy among us won’t read past the headline.

An illustration making the rounds on Facebook represented the lungs of a tobacco smoker and a pot smoker. It claimed that unfiltered marijuana cigarettes coated the lungs with four times as much tar as filtered cigarettes. Buried in the text were these words, “cigarette for cigarette.”

Twenty to 40 joints a day sounds excessive. And does this claim account for the additives in commercial tobacco? Who stands to gain with this sideways lie?

The consequences of blindly accepting what those in power say can be dire. A June review of the book, 935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity [in Moyers and Company] said that we have a “history of government officials and media pundits speaking and repeating [and repeating and repeating] untruths to shape public opinion and policy.”

Author Chuck Lewis counted 935 lies that led up to the invasion of Iraq by the U.S.  On the backs of those lies, a few people got immensely wealthy but a lot of people died.

Then there’s climate change.

We all know of a certain pair of Kansas brothers who make outrageous fossil fuel profits but don’t want to be responsible for their mess, either to the environment or its impact on the climate. They sponsor junk science, foundations, institutes, and Americans for Prosperity [theirs, that is]. They also founded the Mercatus Centre at George Mason University, a pipeline of free market ideology straight from the university to the legislature.

One of the brothers also contributes to Nova, “to further the understanding of science.” Subtle, eh?

As George Monbiot writes in The Guardian, the job of the Kochs, besides funding the Tea Party, “has been to persuade the people harmed by [their] agenda that it’s good for them.”

With Facebook, Twitter, and photo- or video-editing software, a good lie can go viral. More and more people are becoming aware that we must research every claim made, whether in the news, online, or by the fellows at the coffee shop.

Question everything, including authority, even your own inner beliefs. And please, please, note the fine print.

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.