Bending the Truth in a Million Little Ways - New York Times
We live in a relativistic culture where television "reality shows" are staged or stage-managed, where spin sessions and spin doctors are an accepted part of politics, where academics argue that history depends on who is writing the history, where an aide to President Bush, dismissing reporters who live in the "reality-based community," can assert that "we're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."

This is a great NY Times article about what the James Frey situation says about our society. It's something I've been talking and thinking about for awhile, the erosion of truth. The Republican right, and the Bush administration especially, as well as corporate America have been on a mission to make sure nobody really knows anything, as evidenced by the quote above. They openly mock scientists, pay other scientists to lie and create fake controversy, "spin" everything, put know-nothings in positions of power and then crow about it, anything they can do to push people towards not believing anything. The point is to get people to think that anything they are told is the true is the truth. It's the ultimate power-grab, the ability to define what is true and real.

At the end of the book 1984, the main character is tortured and is made to say he sees 5 lights when they are really only 4. Most people see this as the ultimate breaking of the character but it's meant as something else entirely. If you accept that there are 5 lights because you are told so by those in power it gives them the ability to define your reality. If you are made to believe, contrary to your own eyes, that there are 5 lights because the government says so, you will believe anything. This is the goal of this anti-truth agenda. They want you to believe that what they say is true because they say so, not because it really is true. The President keeps saying everything is going great in Iraq not because it is going great but because if he says it enough, people will believe it just because he says it. Something like 22% of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11, a completely fabricated story. They believe it because the people in power feel no compunction to tell the truth as it is, only the truth as they would like it to be. This is a very dangerous situation. Cases like the Frey incident only highlight the growing grey area. Those that would like to use and expand the grey area must be resisted at every step.

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