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Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking LogoImagine a world where every person had complete access to the truth
AND
had sufficient education to separate it from propaganda.
A goal of this site is to provide unbiased access to the truth. This section, in particular, is devoted to helping readers recognize the truth, in the midst of all the propaganda.

Mainstream Media’s ‘Victimhood’

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  • Just weeks ago, mainstream U.S. media decried “fake news” and backed a blacklist of independent news sites over “Russian propaganda.” Now, under fire from President Trump, the MSM loves a free press.
  • Related: Watch Jon Stewart on 'Colbert' Urge Media to Dump Trump 

Robert Parry, Consortium News

http://media.salon.com/2010/04/white_house_reporters_afraid_to_criticize_the_white_house-460x307.jpgFebruary 28, 2017 | It’s heartwarming that The New York Times and The Washington Post are troubled that President Trump is loosely throwing around accusations of “fake news.” It’s nice that they now realize that truth does not reliably come from the mouth of every senior government official or from every official report.

The Times is even taking out full-page ads in its own pages to offer truisms about truth: “The truth is hard. The truth is hidden. The truth must be pursued. The truth is hard to hear. The truth is rarely simple. The truth isn’t so obvious. …”  On Sunday, those truth truisms ran opposite an alarmist column by Jim Rutenberg entitled, “Will the Real Democracy Lovers Please Stand Up?” Meanwhile, The Washington Post launched its own melodramatic slogan, “Dies in Darkness.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from barnesandnoble.com).

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Watch Jon Stewart on 'Colbert' Urge Media to Dump Trump, Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone 

Former 'Daily Show' host encourages press to get over breakup with president, find new hobbies like journalism.

  • http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Jon%20Stewart%20on%20Stephen%20Colbbert%27s%20Show.jpgFebruary 28, 2017 | Jon Stewart tunneled from his farm to Stephen Colbert's desk where he encouraged the media to get over its breakup with President Trump on The Late Show Monday.
  • Stewart spoke about the President's contentious relationship with the press, from attacks on specific news outlets like CNN and Buzzfeed, to outright lying. "Nobody says 'believe me' unless they are lying," Stewart said. But Stewart also urged the media stop hanging on Trump's every falsehood and attack, and insisted it was time for the press to "get its groove back."

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Most People Today Want to be Propagandized

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  • Intellectually insecure and socially uprooted, many people are now desperate for some authority to cling to, someone who will give simple expression to the inklings of thoughts and instincts to which they can neither give adequate voice nor adequately live out. 
  • "We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die." --WH Auden, English Poet
  • Related: 

     

    Will Americans Submit to Despotism in an Urge to 'Escape from Freedom'? 

     

     

Daniel Lattier, Intellectual Takeout 

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Politics-%20Truth%20vs.%20Propaganda.jpg January 24, 2017 | There’s a principle in hypnotism that goes like this: A person cannot be hypnotized against his will. He must be a willing subject. He must be fully cooperative.

So it goes with propaganda. For propaganda to be effective, it requires submissive subjects. As Professor Nicholas O’Shaughnessy wrote, propaganda is a “co-production in which we are willing participants.”

Propaganda is typically defined as the dissemination of particularly biased information in support of a political or ideological cause. In his 1965 book Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, philosopher Jacques Ellul provided us with some of the basic characteristics of propaganda: it thwarts dialogue, it is geared toward the masses, it utilizes various media, it is continuous, it is not intended to make one think.

Daniel Lattier is the Vice President of Intellectual Takeout. He received his B.A. in Philosophy and Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas (MN), and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Related:

Will Americans Submit to Despotism in an Urge to 'Escape from Freedom'? Conor LynchSalon / AlterNet

  • The pioneering psychologist explained the rise of Hitler with an analysis that seems way too relevant now.
  • Erich Fromm Saw It Coming.
  • Related: Most People Today Want to be Propagandized

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NPR Guest Warns Against Living Wages With Fantasies of $16 Apples

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  • It would be nice if (NPR's) Morning Edition could get someone to discuss Trump’s Homeland Security pick who didn’t believe exploiting immigrants was necessary for Americans to be able to afford food.
  • Related: From the Archives | Do You Know Where Your Tomatoes Come From?

Jim Naureckas, FAIR.org

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http://fair.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Apples.jpg December 13, 2017 | To comment on Donald Trump’s naming retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as his Department of Homeland Security secretary, NPR‘s Morning Edition (12/9/16) brought on George W. Bush’s Homeland Security chief, Michael Chertoff.

A more independent observer might have brought up Kelly’s oversight of the US’s Guantánamo internment camp, where he has defended the force-feeding of hunger-strikers, a procedure condemned by human rights groups as torture.

Jim Naureckas is the editor of FAIR.org

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From the Archives | Do You Know Where Your Tomatoes Come From? Lauren Feeney, Moyers & Company 

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  • “Harvesting tomatoes and other produce from the nation’s agricultural fields is arguably the worst job in the country,” journalist Chris Hedges writes in his book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.
  • Related: Why Women Who Pick and Process Your Food Face Daily Threats of Rape, Harassment and Wage Theft
  • Related: 1960: "Harvest of Shame"

Series | Trump Nation, Part 8: Is the U.S. Becoming a Banana Republic?

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James Fallows, the Atlantic

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Atlantic%20%7C%20How%20Trump%20Could%20Build%20an%20Autocracy.jpgFebruary 21, 2017 | David Frum is worried it will happen under President Trump. “The fancy term is authoritarian kleptocracy,” Frum says in a long and enriching talk with Atlantic editor Scott Stossel last Thursday about the dangers of the Trump administration (starting at the 10:22 mark).

The SoundCloud audio version is here. And if you haven’t yet read David’s cover story on Trump, or want to read it again in light of this discussion, here’s the link. If you prefer to listen to it on the go or while doing chores around the house, here’s the audio version.

James Fallows is a national correspondent for the Atlantic  and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne.

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Previously in this Series:

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