Is outrage alive today?

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  • #1
mathwonk
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I am watching a pbs special on daniel ellsberg who exposed the pentagon papers in the 1960's that revealed the fact that 5 straight presidents, truman, eisenhower, kennedy, johnson, and nixon, had all lied to the public about our involvement in the war in vietnam, and even supported dictators in blocking elections required by the geneva accords, and supported torture. this traumatized young americans in those days. it changed my life. we were not even aware then that nixon and ehrlichmann had authorized burglarizing ellsberg's psychiatrist trying to discredit him somehow. (this is substantiated by signed documents displayed and tapes played on the tv show. oh yes, and ehrlichmann added to his notes that he required hiding his approval from disclosure.)

my feeling is that today people assume their leaders lie to them and would not even give a flip. what do you younger people say? In the 1960's, the government sought a sentence for ellsberg of 115 years in prison, but the supreme court dismissed the government's assertion that the publication of these papers was prohibited. what do you think todays supreme court would do?
 
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  • #2
mathwonk
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my apologies for bomb throwing. bless you all.
 
  • #3
Bobbywhy
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mathwonk, you’ve raised some important issues about how our government (and five Presidents) lied about the Vietnam War and about how Daniel Ellsberg, the “whistle-blower” was illegally persecuted. I know you’ve asked for younger people’s opinion, but this “oldster” just can’t resist!

“In the 1960s, Ellsberg was a high-level Pentagon official. He was a former Marine commander who believed the American government was the good guy. But while working for the administration of Lyndon Johnson, Ellsberg got access to a top-secret document that revealed senior American leaders, including several presidents, knew that the Vietnam War was an unwinnable, tragic quagmire.
The Pentagon Papers, as they became known, also showed that the government had lied to Congress and the public about the progress of the war. Ellsberg leaked all 7,000 pages to The New York Times, which published them in 1971.”
http://articles.cnn.com/2011-03-19/us/wikileaks.ellsberg.manning_1_daniel-ellsberg-pentagon-papers-young-man?_s=PM:US [Broken]

“Although Ellsberg emerged unscathed from President Nixon’s threats to throw him in prison for releasing the Pentagon Papers and one could only speculate the result of Manning’s fate, policy-makers have been forced to question the boundaries of free speech and how to balance that freedom with the need to protect sensitive government information and U.S. national security.”
http://nationalsecuritylawbrief.com/2012/01/08/bradley-manning-and-daniel-ellsberg-heroic-or-traitorous-leakers/ [Broken]

How can we know when our government or President is lying to us, such as in the Wars against Vietnam and Iraq?
Should the Espionage Act of 1917 be revised? This federal statute states it is a criminal offense for anyone with unauthorized possession to willfully release and communicate information relating to the national defense that could cause damage to the United States.
If Manning did leak all those documents to Wikileaks, could he be prosecuted under the Act? IMO, no, because the government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Manning had a specific criminal intent to injure the United States and that he acted in bad faith.
 
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  • #4
E_M_C
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@mathwonk

I know that our leaders lie to us, and I happen to give a major "flip." Under similar circumstances, I'm sure that SCOTUS would now rule in favor of government secrecy, and against our right to expose it.

You mentioned that young Americans in the 1960s were shocked by our government's attempt to cover-up lies. That's because young Americans in that period had their finger on the pulse of American politics. But young Americans today sit in front of the television for hours, warp their minds with video games and ipods, and once in awhile catch a glimpse of a mainstream media news article online, and accept it as gospel. Young (and old) Americans have the wool pulled over their eyes: they have no idea what kind of government they have, and no idea what their rights are.

So to answer your original question: Yes, outrage is alive, but it's scarce.
 
  • #5
AnTiFreeze3
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@mathwonk

I know that our leaders lie to us, and I happen to give a major "flip." Under similar circumstances, I'm sure that SCOTUS would now rule in favor of government secrecy, and against our right to expose it.

You mentioned that young Americans in the 1960s were shocked by our government's attempt to cover-up lies. That's because young Americans in that period had their finger on the pulse of American politics. But young Americans today sit in front of the television for hours, warp their minds with video games and ipods, and once in awhile catch a glimpse of a mainstream media news article online, and accept it as gospel. Young (and old) Americans have the wool pulled over their eyes: they have no idea what kind of government they have, and no idea what their rights are.

So to answer your original question: Yes, outrage is alive, but it's scarce.

As a certifiable "youngster," I would have to agree with you. I know of two other classmates in my grade who are politically-involved, and get their news from unbiased sources. Outrage is far more noticeable and powerful when it has numbers. Outrage is most certainly alive today, but only to a much lesser extent than in the past.

I also can't help but shake the idea that we are almost used to lying politicians at this point.
 
  • #6
Andre
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I know that our leaders lie to us, and I happen to give a major "flip." Under similar circumstances.

Almost an example of that was Operation Northwoods; had not JFK canceled it.

But if this is one example that happened to drop out of secrecy, how about other possible false flag operations?

See also this post.
 
  • #7
lisab
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Maybe the best way to see outrage in young people today is to rig a favorite video game so that you can't get beyond noob level :rolleyes:.
 
  • #8
@mathwonk

I know that our leaders lie to us, and I happen to give a major "flip." Under similar circumstances, I'm sure that SCOTUS would now rule in favor of government secrecy, and against our right to expose it.

You mentioned that young Americans in the 1960s were shocked by our government's attempt to cover-up lies. That's because young Americans in that period had their finger on the pulse of American politics. But young Americans today sit in front of the television for hours, warp their minds with video games and ipods, and once in awhile catch a glimpse of a mainstream media news article online, and accept it as gospel. Young (and old) Americans have the wool pulled over their eyes: they have no idea what kind of government they have, and no idea what their rights are.

So to answer your original question: Yes, outrage is alive, but it's scarce.

Actually I completely disagree with it being scarce. I'm not sure if I count as a "youngster" or not anymore (I'm not as young as I used to be), but everything these days is inundated with politics. It actually kind of sickens me and I closely watch politics as a hobby (or whatever you want to call it).

Even in video games. I reluctantly admit that I play an MMO, and in the general chat (live chat box), it is rare for the conversation of politics to not come up every few hours. I'm not joking at all, in a video game that has nothing to do with politics, said politics is probably the most talked about subject (other then the game).
 
  • #9
chiro
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I don't think people are as clueless as you think.

People are becoming aware of more and more thanks for inventions like the internet and all of its related technologies.

Sure you have lots of people, all for their own reasons who don't care what's going on outside their own personal world: some people don't just care, some people are jam-packed for time worrying about putting a roof over their head, feeding their kids, getting them to school and some are worried just to get through the week let alone to worry about anything else.

But having said this, people are becoming more aware of things and are changing their own personal habits as a result: not all people, just some.

Personally the way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised if these constant video gamers you are talking about have to go through a world of hardship soon enough like those in the depression era had to when the SHTF.

We are seeing this in places like Greece, Spain, and many other countries and the music is starting to stop and has stopped in many places already.

You have to remember that a lot of people are born into a state of relatively high wealth and standard of living, so these people have never had to worry about getting access to clean water, energy, food, education, and so on but when these people experience the kinds of stuff that some of these countries have to go through, then things will change.

As the saying goes: "People don't change until the hit the precipice of destruction and only then choose to change" (I am paraphrasing this quote from the movie "The Day The Earth Stood Still") and the quote is right.

You can not value what is not scarce, or at least "thought" not to be scarce.
 
  • #10
SixNein
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I am watching a pbs special on daniel ellsberg who exposed the pentagon papers in the 1960's that revealed the fact that 5 straight presidents, truman, eisenhower, kennedy, johnson, and nixon, had all lied to the public about our involvement in the war in vietnam, and even supported dictators in blocking elections required by the geneva accords, and supported torture. this traumatized young americans in those days. it changed my life. we were not even aware then that nixon and ehrlichmann had authorized burglarizing ellsberg's psychiatrist trying to discredit him somehow. (this is substantiated by signed documents displayed and tapes played on the tv show. oh yes, and ehrlichmann added to his notes that he required hiding his approval from disclosure.)

my feeling is that today people assume their leaders lie to them and would not even give a flip. what do you younger people say? In the 1960's, the government sought a sentence for ellsberg of 115 years in prison, but the supreme court dismissed the government's assertion that the publication of these papers was prohibited. what do you think todays supreme court would do?

At this point in my life, I'm not troubled by the honesty of politicians; instead, I'm troubled about how everyone believes his or her candidate is the honest one.
 
  • #11
Bobbywhy
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The outrage among American citizens is barely audible when our government is found to have lied, created misleading propaganda, and committed immoral (“false flag”, for example) activities abroad. There are at least four possibilities: our citizens either
a.) accept the propaganda promulgated by our media as the truth, or
b.) suspect they are being lied to and don’t care, or
c.) suspect government dishonesty but feel helpless to do anything about it, or
d.) totally ignore our government’s actions outside the US because they are too busy being “entertained”.

Political force in the USA is wielded by powerful economic interests. Two examples are the Pentagon and the large defense contractors, together known as the “military-industrial complex. Our nation’s defense spending is larger than any other nation on Earth and represents a massive economic and strategic world power. These groups have a strong interest in keeping the war machine functioning and together form a powerful force, extending their influence into our legislature. Together they have insured that military production has been spread among nearly every Congressional district so that most Congresspersons, even if they are against increasing armaments, are reluctant to challenge defense work in their home districts.

The infamous Military-Industrial Complex, with the cooperation of some mass media interests, will stop at nothing in their efforts to sway public opinion to be more sympathetic with their murderous goals. One typical method is to try to instill fear in the population by exaggerating some threat to our homeland. In the sixties it was the “Domino Effect”: the threat that a communist victory in one country would lead to many more countries to topple from the feared “communism”. Saddam Hussein’s WMDs in Iraq is a recent example: in the twelve months leading up to the invasion the Bush administration raised the threat of WMDs hundreds of times in public statements and speeches. The staggering resources we spend on the production of armaments to increase our military’s strength, to support a world-wide empire of bases, hugely expensive fighter aircraft, and maintain a massive Naval Fleet has not increased our national security. These activities have only increased criticisms that the USA wants hegemony and intends to create a global empire for its corporate and military interests, and not for the self-defense of our nation. The process of global expansion continues today using the catchphrase “in our strategic interest”.
 
  • #12
Not an expert on it, but the U.S. government having supported dictatorships throughout the history of the Cold War doesn't bother me a whole lot, because in quite a few instances, that was about blocking communism. Democracy is often looked upon as a high ideal, and something no free nation should seek to influence or block in another nation, but it really isn't when in its pure form. If the people literally do not know what they are voting for and are thus very likely to vote in a Lenin or Mao Zedong or Fidel Castro versus a George Washington, then the democracy is really no good. It will lead to another people falling to a brutal dictator, communism further encroaching around the world, and also a system that will likely be very oppressive to certain sub-groups of people (as it isn't a liberal democracy).

For example, the initial U.S. involvement in Vietnam involved stopping democratic elections there. But that was because the number of people in the North outnumbered the South and also the fear was that the Communist North would rig the elections anyhow. Sometimes support for a dictator was just the lesser of two evils. If you had a country that was a region of the world that strategically absolutely could not be allowed to fall to the Communists, and elections are supposed to occur, but if they occur, the people will likely vote in the communist leader (who themself will probably assume dictatorial powers, only this time he'll be allied with the Soviet Union), then do you continue to support the dictator who is friendly to the United States or allow the elections?

I think this is a more complicated subject then some people realize. Remember, communism was a real threat at the time, and unless people wanted the United States to try building liberal democracies throughout the entire world, supporting dictators was often the only alternative option. A lot of this never would have been required had the Soviets not been trying to spread their empire and communism all over the world at the time.

The outrage among American citizens is barely audible when our government is found to have lied, created misleading propaganda, and committed immoral (“false flag”, for example) activities abroad.

I think today if there is real hard evidence that the government lied flat-out, then there is a concern, but the thing is that usually the claims of lying seem to be political. Ask a Republican and they can point out lots of ways they think Obama is a liar that many Democrats will counter is either nonsense or nitpicking. And the same with Bush. A lot of people will say Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq, but others can argue that greatly. The last incidence where a politician got caught really lying was Bill Clinton over Monica Lewinsky, and that was more laughable to many people then something to be outraged about.

The infamous Military-Industrial Complex, with the cooperation of some mass media interests, will stop at nothing in their efforts to sway public opinion to be more sympathetic with their murderous goals.

I wouldn't go so far as to claim that the MIC has murderous goals. Not saying they are a bunch of saints either though.

One typical method is to try to instill fear in the population by exaggerating some threat to our homeland. In the sixties it was the “Domino Effect”: the threat that a communist victory in one country would lead to many more countries to topple from the feared “communism”.

Two things:

1) How do you know the Domino Effect wasn't real? The U.S. fought a sustained war in Vietnam at the time which may have prevented the Domino Effect from occurring.

2) Why do you put "communism" into quotes? Communism was a real system and one that constituted a major threat the free world at the time.

Saddam Hussein’s WMDs in Iraq is a recent example: in the twelve months leading up to the invasion the Bush administration raised the threat of WMDs hundreds of times in public statements and speeches.

The administration did, but I don't know if that constitues the MIC.

The staggering resources we spend on the production of armaments to increase our military’s strength, to support a world-wide empire of bases, hugely expensive fighter aircraft, and maintain a massive Naval Fleet has not increased our national security. These activities have only increased criticisms that the USA wants hegemony and intends to create a global empire for its corporate and military interests, and not for the self-defense of our nation. The process of global expansion continues today using the catchphrase “in our strategic interest”.

The massive military spending is because the United States is the nation that underwrites global trade and security and I would say it very much contributes to our national security. The claims about hegemony are baseless and mostly rhetoric. If the U.S. truly wanted hegemony, we were in a perfect position to acquire it at the end of World War II. Instead, we poured lots of funds into helping the European nations rebuild themselves and also protected them from the Soviets. In Iraq, so many called the invasion "imperialism" for the oil and so forth, yet there was nothing imperialist about it. The U.S. didn't set up any kind of colonial government to govern the place for itself and give itself sole access to the oil there (to the contrary, Iraq has been auctioning off its oil to non-U.S companies). A major benefit of the U.S. military is that it is able to send relief to areas of the world that have suffered disaster as well.
 
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  • #13
Duplicate mistake
 
  • #14
Tosh5457
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What was done about the Bush administration and Bush himself lying about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction? That's my answer...
 
  • #15
Gokul43201
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I think today if there is real hard evidence that the government lied flat-out, then there is a concern, but the thing is that usually the claims of lying seem to be political. Ask a Republican and they can point out lots of ways they think Obama is a liar that many Democrats will counter is either nonsense or nitpicking. And the same with Bush. A lot of people will say Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq, but others can argue that greatly. The last incidence where a politician got caught really lying was Bill Clinton over Monica Lewinsky, and that was more laughable to many people then something to be outraged about.
What do you think of this direct quote from Bush:
"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."​
http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040420-2.html
 
  • #16
dipole
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Yes, I assume that deception and lies are a fundamental part of politics, and I assume that pretty much all politicians lie to the public to some degree or another.

I also assume it is routine for the U.S. to make up excuses or falsify justification to go to war so that we can further our own political interests, and that an elite few profit greatly from war at the expense of thousands or millions of human lives.

Do I care? Sure, but as long as almost no one else does what am I supposed to do about it? People are much more comfortable just saluting the flag and chanting USA!
 
  • #17
Andre
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Yes, I assume that deception and lies are a fundamental part of politics, ...Do I care? Sure, but as long as almost no one else does what am I supposed to do about it? People are much more comfortable just saluting the flag and chanting USA!

Furthering my points made earlier, any idea how it feels to have made a career of saluting flags and chanting, only to discover the abject manipulation later? :frown::frown::frown:

Anyway, just count fallacies and war talk in the election war campaign and vote for the one that uses the least.
 
  • #18
Alesak
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I am watching a pbs special on daniel ellsberg who exposed the pentagon papers in the 1960's that revealed the fact that 5 straight presidents, truman, eisenhower, kennedy, johnson, and nixon, had all lied to the public about our involvement in the war in vietnam, and even supported dictators in blocking elections required by the geneva accords, and supported torture. this traumatized young americans in those days. it changed my life. we were not even aware then that nixon and ehrlichmann had authorized burglarizing ellsberg's psychiatrist trying to discredit him somehow. (this is substantiated by signed documents displayed and tapes played on the tv show. oh yes, and ehrlichmann added to his notes that he required hiding his approval from disclosure.)

my feeling is that today people assume their leaders lie to them and would not even give a flip. what do you younger people say? In the 1960's, the government sought a sentence for ellsberg of 115 years in prison, but the supreme court dismissed the government's assertion that the publication of these papers was prohibited. what do you think todays supreme court would do?

I think reaction to such shocking event(I can't tell how much shocking it was, I don't know much about it) would be very much the same. Situation now is different in that respect, when politician today lies, he has always comfortable plausible deniability. Such as "lower taxes for the rich benefits the poor" lie, that Romney is currently spreading. He can always point to number of superficial but plausible reasons in support, so no one can say "you are lying, you say this not because of poor people but because of your election".

So I'd say problem today is, among others, conservative systems of thought, rather than lying politicians.

And as for what young people think: I'm 23 and I'm extensively interested in politics and it's still not very clear to me how politics today works. I know 95% of politicians say these plausible lies to get elected and practice "legal corruption", but I know next wave of politicians would behave very similarly(look at Obama). So unless current politicians do something entirely outrageous, I don't think there will be huge demonstrations.
 
  • #19
Pythagorean
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Outrage is alive today, but the outrage isn't appropriately focused. For instance, everyone jumped on the PIPA/SOPA proposals but not many people where fighting the patriot act or the so-called "protect america act" or any of the other hundreds of privacy and rights violations packaged as protection acts. While I completely agree with the anti-SOPA movement, I think a lot of its momentum simply came from the actual threat to piracy itself.

A more recent example is the outrage over Chik-Fil-A, who campaigns politically against homosexuals. What about the homosexuals being murdered across the globe? Why isn't the outrage there?

But there's also the issue of categorical imperitave. I disagree with Kant. The ends can sometimes justify the means. There may be good reasons for government keeping particular parties in power in foreign nations, there may be utilitarian arguments for killing a few innocents to protect a larger amount of innocents. These are the kinds of decisions governments have to make, and the reason most of us won't make it into a powerful position; because most of us are too emotional about decisions that have an obvious better end when the appropriate means are applied.

Unfortunately, this creates a veil between the public and government, allowing corrupt officials to make decision that have no public ends, only personal ends, but using the 'ends justify the means' argument to feed their private ambitions.

And more unfortunate, if I did have outrage... I wouldn't know how to direct or focus it productively, especially in a way that ensure it's not being misused. That's what a leader is supposed to do for me. But I haven't really found a leader who I'm willing to give my outrage to for optimal utilization.
 
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  • #20
Alesak
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the patriot act or the so-called "protect america act"

That's one thing I really hate about american politics. Even for the most sh1tty law the lawmakers can come up with noble name, and suddenly half of electorate is ok with it.

It can be other way though. Here in Czech Rep there are no law names as far as I know, only numbers, such as "302/2004 Sb." Congress should pass "Less manipulation of America act" that would make such change.
 
  • #21
ApplePion
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"is outrage alive today?"

Unfortunately outrage is completely gone, and I am outraged about that.
 
  • #22
ApplePion
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<<mathwonk, you’ve raised some important issues about how our government (and five Presidents) lied about the Vietnam War and about how Daniel Ellsberg, the “whistle-blower” was illegally persecuted. >>

Some of the stuff done to Ellsberg was indeed illegal. The people who did it would argue that they did it for a higher good.

However, Ellsberg's publication of secret documents was also illegal. You did not seem to find anything wrong about that. Are you going to argue that it was OK because he did it for what you consider a higher good?
 
  • #23
ApplePion
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<<If Manning did leak all those documents to Wikileaks, could he be prosecuted under the Act? IMO, no, because the government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Manning had a specific criminal intent to injure the United States and that he acted in bad faith.>>

There are laws against publishing classified documents. I realize that to violate a law there needs to be some sort of intent. I'm not sure what "bad faith" really is. If someone sincerely thinks killing the president is best for the country, does that mean he has not acted in bad faith? If there needs to be a requirement that the accused wanted to injure, does that let a drunk driver off the hook for killing someone, being that he did not really want to kill the person?

Even more specifically to WikiLeaks, some of the leaked documents indicated that while Saudi Arabia needed publicly to not be suportive of our efforts against terrorism, behind the screnes they actually were trying to help us. A reasonable person should have realized that disclosing that would be bad. And even if a potential leaker did not know something specific like this, should he not have to think it possible he might accidentally disclose something damaging?
 
  • #24
ApplePion
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<<In the sixties it was the “Domino Effect”: the threat that a communist victory in one country would lead to many more countries to topple from the feared “communism”.>>

That actually really was happening. They were taking over country after country!

<< Saddam Hussein’s WMDs in Iraq is a recent example: in the twelve months leading up to the invasion the Bush administration raised the threat of WMDs hundreds of times in public statements and speeches.>>

Bush might not have been correct, but on the other hand Saddam had a history of violating his WMD agreement with us, and he had stopped the weapons inspectors from inspecting. It hardly seems implausible that he was developing WMDs. And if we just did nothing, we were risking serious harm to ourselves.
 
  • #25
jim mcnamara
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Here is another view of the "noisemakers"

In 2009 this came out:
Kathryn Olmsted (UC Davis),
'Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories in American Democracy'

A precis of the book (all of this is my impression, please blame me for any factual distortion):

This book is the recent history of conspiracies. From WWI through 9/11.

Premise:
Many US citizens believe that their own government is guilty of real crimes. A live alien landed in Roswell and was hidden away. Government agents shot the JFK. NASA faked the moon landing. In order to cover up their crimes, the US Government commited even more crimes.

You know the drill. We try to avoid this on PF.

All of this has led to conspiracy theorists flooding the internet and other media with a lot of nonsense interposed with blobs of correct information. Implied in the book is that the number of people in the US who buy into at least one of the major "theories" is worrisome. I do not recall what percentage worrisome translates into. If anything.

Conclusions:

1. The theorists beliefs have been reinforced by real cover ups like Northwoods. They use them to validate their own POV.

2. It prevents meaningful political dialog because the theorists refuse to accept anything except what they already espouse, and view politics under their own lens. And they show up at political debates and rallies.

3. In some instances, theorists have forced the US government to be more forthcoming on information.

Overall:

Therefore, theorists have contributed a lot to the background white noise,
and interposed themselves into other dialogues. The end result is
mixed, but with more negative than positive effects on US democracy. (my opinion)

So, in the context of this thread - here definitely is noise, but we here at PF need to view it as disruptive. Or counterproductive.

mathwonk - here is the outrage you wanted to see. Anyway, it is all about being lied to, real or imaginary, by the US govt. And it is alive and well. The Social Security Administration purchase of bullets and the ensuing nonsense reminded me of the book.
 
  • #26
E_M_C
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Here is another view of the "noisemakers"

In 2009 this came out:
Kathryn Olmsted (UC Davis),
'Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories in American Democracy'

A precis of the book (all of this is my impression, please blame me for any factual distortion):

This book is the recent history of conspiracies. From WWI through 9/11.

Premise:
Many US citizens believe that their own government is guilty of real crimes. A live alien landed in Roswell and was hidden away. Government agents shot the JFK. NASA faked the moon landing. In order to cover up their crimes, the US Government commited even more crimes.

One thing that disturbs me is the title of that book. We've cozied-up quite well to the word "democracy." And we hardly ever hear of the "Constitutional Republic" anymore, as though "Constitution" is some kind of curse word. It's unfair to muddy the water by lumping all of those well-known conspiracy theories together, as to imply that anyone who believes in a cover-up about the JFK assassination also believes that aliens landed in Roswell, for example.



[...]

Many US citizens believe that their own government is guilty of real crimes.

[...]

Conclusions:

1. The theorists beliefs have been reinforced by real cover ups like Northwoods.

[...]

So we can accept that Northwoods is real, but we can't conceive of the idea that officials within the government commit crimes?

In addition to holding our governmental servants accountable, as alluded to in the OP, we ought to be "outraged" about the lack of accountability in the mainstream media. As for all the conspiracy theories that one may find distasteful, consider this: perhaps those distasteful theories wouldn't exist, or be as prevalent, if the MSM had a sense of duty and patriotism, and would simply do their job. Or perhaps they wouldn't exist if we did a better job of holding the MSM responsible for their content.

MSM reports are full of just as many holes as some outlandish conspiracy theories, but we're supposed to accept them as pure truth? Why? Because some handsome news anchor puts on a fancy suit, gets up on the stage, spits out a bunch of conjecture, and spins it as gospel? That sounds a lot like church to me. The mainstream media has become the Church of Politics. And every time we hear some neat-and-tidy, yet unverifiable report, we're supposed to jump up and yell out "hallelujah!" and "amen!" Being fans of the scientific method, we seem to have a hard time applying it to journalism. We need incontrovertible proof that an electron moves counterclockwise in a magnetic field, or that it carries a charge of 1.602 X 10-19 C. But we don't need incontrovertible proof of exactly why we're sending our men and women off to war, for example? There's something very wrong with that picture.
 
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  • #27
jim mcnamara
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I took mathwonk's question to be: where are [fill in the blank]. The people described as theorists in the book [fill in the blank]

And the book was not journalism, see the bibliography.

I don't get where your points have much to do with the book's POV. I do see that MSM (I take this to be Main Stream Media) irks the heck out of you. So what constitutes a good news source? - the PETA monthly publication or the Survivalists Guide to the Post-apocalypse? Neither is MSM, and one is FAR left and the other is very FAR right. The Onion? Fox News? Tell us.

Every reporting agency exercises editorial rights. None are truly unbiased. My father was a photographer for the Washington Post 1933-1978. 1974: He shot pictures of Rep. Wilbur Mills near a sports car just as the stripper (Fanny Foxe ) he was with made a dash for a swim the Tidal Basin. Mills was pulled over for what we call DWI now. His face had been flayed by Fanny's nails. He looked great... She got a trip to Saint Elizabeth's - the local nut house. She was released the next day. Mills got a return trip to his elected post. Courtesy: voters.

The story made page one. All kinds of legal assaults ensued against the paper, Mills got reelected. The Post was accused of all kinds of reporting bias. For running the story the way they did. But they did not print the photos because they thought it was in bad taste. The MSM at work, I suppose. Baloney. Pick your media and don't grouse about the ones you think are lying. Maybe the one you like lies, too. Ya never know. Until you were actually there, as my Dad was. Then you are free to grouse. And accuse most of the media as irresponsible liars. (my opinion and mine alone --not given to me by the MSM or by your news source either)
 
  • #28
E_M_C
43
0
@jim mcnamara

I apologize for the confusion. There were two (separate) parts to my previous post. The first part was, of course, a response to the book that you cited, and the second part was simply a continuation of the thread's subject matter (political outrage) as it pertains to the mainstream media. That is why my latter points didn't "have much to do with the book's POV." I didn't intend for you to mix the two parts, but it's my fault that you did. Next time I'll make two separate posts.

That's an interesting story about your father and his career as a photographer. I read that shortly after Rep. Mills was re-elected, he had another drunken incident which incentivized him to resign as the chair of the Ways and Means Committee and he didn't seek another term. I imagine your father's photos had a lot to do with those decisions. Let me be clear: When I voice my distaste for the MSM, I'm not speaking of people, such as your father, who appear to be busting their humps to get the real scoop.

Pick your media and don't grouse about the ones you think are lying. Maybe the one you like lies, too. Ya never know. Until you were actually there, as my Dad was. Then you are free to grouse. And accuse most of the media as irresponsible liars. (my opinion and mine alone --not given to me by the MSM or by your news source either)

Put simply, I don't have to "actually [be] there" to form a disagreeable opinion (or grouse, as you mistakenly understood it) any more than you have to "actually [be] there" to form an agreeable opinion.

As for choosing news sources, it's difficult, because as you pointed out, not a single one is unbiased. One could probably write a book on how to pick-and-choose reliable news sources, so I won't go into much detail about it here. But one admirable attribute that I tend to look for is the mention of Constitutional Law and natural rights. After all, how can one make heads or tails of a political issue without considering the supreme law of the land? Another attribute would be the avoidance of placing blame solely on the left or on the right. This left-right nonsense has unnecessarily polarized the voting population. We elect a republican, then a democrat, then a republican, then a democrat... and so on. And regardless of the party in office, we continue our economic struggles, our loss of national sovereignty, our loss of personal sovereignty, our loss of privacy, and more. Republican, democrat, republican... and we get the same result. Sound anything like Einstein's definition of insanity?
 
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  • #29
Gale
676
2
I'm not sure how young you're looking for but my two cents...

I think there's actually a sort of opposite problem. I think lots of people feel "outraged" and that in fact, "outrage" itself has become sensationalized to the point that people are very proudly "outraged" by any number of things. The SOPA, PIPA (even chik-fil-a) examples demonstrate this. "Outrage" is the overwhelmingly popular response.

Indeed, I think too often today, young people try to associate the political issues of our generation with that of the '60s. If anything, the younger generation sort of idolizes that generation. Even looking at fashion and music, and the entire trend of hipsters (which I personally believe is indicative of quite a lot,) it's apparent that today, the younger generation has this obsession with reliving the past, trying to recapture the spirit and yes, "outrage" that possessed earlier generations.

The Bush WMDs and invasion of Iraq were very often directly compared with Vietnam. And as would be expected, many college campuses were full of students actively protesting. However, these protests were the sort of sensationalized "outrage" I'm talking about. While there are definitely those who felt very passionately about the war, it was instead the popularity of opposing the war that drew the large crowds. This is apparent because protests gradually dwindled and the immediate "outrage" became less trendy. In fact, an opposing trend "support our troops" became much more fashionable. And interestingly, both trends advocated ending the war, (the first because the war was WRONG, the second because they wanted to "bring our sons and daughters home".)

And not to be critical, but I think part of this phenomenon is that the older generations, who did in fact live through Vietnam and rightly remember the wrongs that occurred, seem to encourage this trend as well. Legitimizing this "outrage" in a way.

Honestly, I'm not personally terribly outraged by the government. I'm more disappointed in the masses of people wrongly directing their interest toward "trendy" issues, and "trendy" responses to them. People get more "outraged" at the president for implementing policies that he was basically forced into because of various levels of bipartisan politics, than they'll get at their local school board for refusing to supply books or supplies to their own children. Or they'll complain about corruption at the executive level and never stop and examine how some local businesses practices are affecting the local environment. People, old and young, should be engaged in politics at a much more civil level that doesn't require "outrage" in order to be active. However, today, we are so insulated from local affairs, and constantly bombarded by "news" that is so far removed from our local environments that we associate our lives more with national (or even international) level politics than local. While I don't advocate ignoring the higher levels of government, I think people should take a much more passive stance regarding its decisions. Stronger local situations will help mitigate any national issues, as well as provide a firmer foundation on which national politics take place.
 
  • #30
mathwonk
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
11,391
1,630
I suspect two things have tamped down outrage against recent excesses at least as bad as the vietnam war, and the first is loss of news coverage of outrageous behavior by the US. The war in IRAQ was just not covered as well as that in vietnam so the public was unable to see all the devastation it wreaked on innocent Iraqis.

As Rick Perry said, I forget the second thing, but it may have been the loss of an expectation of justice and honesty from our government. It is hard to be as outraged when a villain behaves just as you expected him to do, as it is when someone you trusted betrays you.
 
  • #31
russ_watters
Mentor
22,056
9,153
Are you kidding? The Iraq war was probably the most media reported war ever, with an extremely high level of access!
The Embedded Press System Can be Judged as Widely
Successful Across a Broad Range of Outcomes and
Measures
Summary page 8: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2004/RAND_MG200.pdf

Are you equating the negativity of Vietnam coverage with inherent superiority? Throughout its length, the Iraq war was a cakewalk compared to Vietnam, for both sides. The Vietnam War killed something like 20x as many people!
 
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  • #32
Galteeth
65
1
Outrage is alive today, but the outrage isn't appropriately focused. For instance, everyone jumped on the PIPA/SOPA proposals but not many people where fighting the patriot act or the so-called "protect america act" or any of the other hundreds of privacy and rights violations packaged as protection acts. While I completely agree with the anti-SOPA movement, I think a lot of its momentum simply came from the actual threat to piracy itself.

A more recent example is the outrage over Chik-Fil-A, who campaigns politically against homosexuals. What about the homosexuals being murdered across the globe? Why isn't the outrage there?

1.The SOPA thing was a novel threat, in the sense that people are used to a free and open internet, thus the outrage. People have become accustomed to political corruption, lies, the growing police state. As far as the latter, it's been done through incrementalism, a policy that has worked going back to Augustus Caesar.

2.People never get too upset about things that happen outside America.

3. The chik-fil-a thing is an example of the growing popularity of sports coverage. The "team blue/team red culture war" thing is treated by the media like a sports game, to generate controversy, web hits, ratings, etc. People buy into it and play along for the same reason they get so passionate about their local sports franchises. My team versus your team for the future of america, rah, rah, rah. (SOPA didn't fit into this narrative, as both teams are dependent on the internet in the same way)
 
  • #33
Galteeth
65
1
I'm not sure how young you're looking for but my two cents...

I think there's actually a sort of opposite problem. I think lots of people feel "outraged" and that in fact, "outrage" itself has become sensationalized to the point that people are very proudly "outraged" by any number of things. The SOPA, PIPA (even chik-fil-a) examples demonstrate this. "Outrage" is the overwhelmingly popular response.

Indeed, I think too often today, young people try to associate the political issues of our generation with that of the '60s. If anything, the younger generation sort of idolizes that generation. Even looking at fashion and music, and the entire trend of hipsters (which I personally believe is indicative of quite a lot,) it's apparent that today, the younger generation has this obsession with reliving the past, trying to recapture the spirit and yes, "outrage" that possessed earlier generations.

The Bush WMDs and invasion of Iraq were very often directly compared with Vietnam. And as would be expected, many college campuses were full of students actively protesting. However, these protests were the sort of sensationalized "outrage" I'm talking about. While there are definitely those who felt very passionately about the war, it was instead the popularity of opposing the war that drew the large crowds. This is apparent because protests gradually dwindled and the immediate "outrage" became less trendy. In fact, an opposing trend "support our troops" became much more fashionable. And interestingly, both trends advocated ending the war, (the first because the war was WRONG, the second because they wanted to "bring our sons and daughters home".)

And not to be critical, but I think part of this phenomenon is that the older generations, who did in fact live through Vietnam and rightly remember the wrongs that occurred, seem to encourage this trend as well. Legitimizing this "outrage" in a way.

Honestly, I'm not personally terribly outraged by the government. I'm more disappointed in the masses of people wrongly directing their interest toward "trendy" issues, and "trendy" responses to them. People get more "outraged" at the president for implementing policies that he was basically forced into because of various levels of bipartisan politics, than they'll get at their local school board for refusing to supply books or supplies to their own children. Or they'll complain about corruption at the executive level and never stop and examine how some local businesses practices are affecting the local environment. People, old and young, should be engaged in politics at a much more civil level that doesn't require "outrage" in order to be active. However, today, we are so insulated from local affairs, and constantly bombarded by "news" that is so far removed from our local environments that we associate our lives more with national (or even international) level politics than local. While I don't advocate ignoring the higher levels of government, I think people should take a much more passive stance regarding its decisions. Stronger local situations will help mitigate any national issues, as well as provide a firmer foundation on which national politics take place.


1. I agree with you about trendy issues. I remember thinking, when I was observing the 2004 protest of the RNC- What difference are these people making? By protesting something, theoretically you make a minor contribution to something that might make a slight difference in public opinion that might lead to a change occurring. Whereas you could say, sponsor a third world child and provide them with food and some other basics for a few dollars a month. Obviously, as far as the contributing to world justice, one gets you a lot more bang for your buck. But protesting is fun and sexy, and it's a community thing. It's also an assertion of your identity, a way to make your voice heard, a way to meet people, a way to feel that you're not alone in your identity/moral convictions, a way to feel like you're part of something historically significant. I remember the 2004 protest I referred to was more like a parade then a serious political action. The whole thing just seemed silly. Working for social justice can involve sacrifice, be depressing (when you don't succeed), take time and effort, not be high profile, and can often be dangerous.

2. Sorry, but I hate the sixties. The whole boomer nostalgia thing makes me sick. I don't think most kids like the sixties or anything, i think that is just a projection of the boomers. There is such an obnoxious mentality. Oh, there was this unique time (when we were young), and everything we did was so significant and original, and will never be done again, and nothing can ever compare with that, and we've seen it all and mistakes were made and now we've decided to be stock brokers and make media do endless retrospectives on the sixties and dedicate entire radio stations to the music that was popular when we were 20. Bleh!
 

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