Propaganda vs. Truth

The right-wing propaganda machine has kicked into high gear over the past two weeks in defense of the State Board of Education‘s mutilation of proposed new social studies curriculum standards for Texas public schools. A blizzard of press releases, blog posts and viral e-mails have claimed that the “liberal media” has unfairly criticized the board’s politicization of the standards.

But that propaganda gets even basic facts wrong about what the state board is doing. Today’s example is a post on the conservative Lone Star Times that repeats board Chairwoman Gail Lowe‘s absurd defense of the board’s treatment of Thomas Jefferson in the standards.

The post quotes Lowe as justifying the removal of Jefferson from a key world history standard on Enlightenment thinkers, claiming that Jefferson was not, in fact, an Enlightenment philosopher. As we noted in March, Ed Countryman — a highly respected historian at Southern Methodist University — has blown that absurd claim out of the water: “There is absolutely no question that Jefferson is an Enlightenment figure of the first order.”

“Liberals,” the Lone Star post says anyway, “continue to stir up outrage by twisting and misrepresenting the facts.”

Really? It seems to us that the board’s misguided defenders are the ones pushing ridiculous falsehoods. At least the board’s critics are listening to scholars and others who actually know what they’re talking about.

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3 Comments

  1. James F
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

    -Stephen Colbert

  2. Posted May 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    There are several time tested principles of propaganda that serve to help decode hidden agendas:

    1. Parkinson’s Law of Inverse Relevance: The amount of time and effort spent on an issue is in inverse relation to it’s importance.

    2. The Law of Inverse Attribution: Tout with one’s weakest virtue, blame others with one’s strongest vice.

    3. A powerful argument contains: Permission, Proof and Power. Permission comes from authority, proof is a fact or two, and Power comes from emotion.

    4. Karpman’s Drama Triangle describes three basic roles by which life’s games are played: Victim, Rescuer, and Prosecutor. This is facilitated by the creation of Villains and Heroes.

    5. Logic is easily overwhelmed by appealing to Heroes: ( Knight, Nurse, and Innocent) to over come Villains (Vicious, Vindictive, and Voracious) resulting in collecting emotional payoffs which can be warm fuzzies, cold prickleys, hot anger, et al.

    6. Facts are dull and confusing: Fabrication makes sense.

  3. Coragyps
    Posted May 3, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    claiming that Jefferson was not, in fact, an Enlightenment philosopher

    But Thomas Aquinas was…………….??

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