Have you ever wondered how the government’s misinformation gains traction?
What I have noticed is that whenever a stunning episode occurs, such as 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombing, most everyone whether on the right or left goes along with the government’s explanation, because they can hook their agenda to the government’s account.
The leftwing likes the official stories of Muslims creating terrorist mayhem in America, because it proves their blowback theory and satisfies them that the dispossessed and oppressed can fight back against imperialism.
The patriotic rightwing likes the official story, because it proves America is attacked for its goodness or because terrorists were allowed in by immigration authorities and nurtured by welfare, or because the government, which can’t do anything right, ignored plentiful warnings.
Whatever the government says, no matter how problematical, the official story gets its traction from its compatibility with existing predispositions and agendas.
In such a country, truth has no relevance. Only agendas are important.
~ from Why Disinformation Works by Paul Craig Roberts ~
I both agree and disagree with Roberts' thesis. While I think much of American political discourse IS agenda-driven, how could it not be? Each one of us -- Roberts included -- has a perspective and we view life through this perspective. Put another way, objectivity is difficult to attain in a subjective world.
That said, I do agree that Americans, by and large, too readily accept government pronouncements. If a government official stated the sky is purple, a good majority of the people would run around saying the sky is purple without bothering to take a look at it for themselves! Being a natural born skeptic as well as a student of American history, I tend to take the opposite view. If the government declares the sky is purple, I immediately presume that it is anything but!
Of course, that too is a perspective (or agenda). ;-D