#Facts, #AlternativeFacts and Propaganda
In October, 1933, the Nazi’s passed The “Editors Law” (Schriftleitergesetz), which is mostly knows for forbidding those of “non-Aryan” descent from working in the media. However, Section 14 is far more applicable, which says:
Editors are especially obligated to keep out of the newspapers anything which:
a. is misleading to the public by mixing selfish interests with community interests;
b. tends to weaken the strength of the German Reich, in foreign relations or domestically; the sense of community of the German people; German defense capability, culture, or the economy; or offends the religious sentiments of others;
c. offends the honour and dignity of Germany;
It seems to me that President Trump’s gag order on various federal agencies (not to mention his clear disregard for facts), and his advisor’s adoption of “alternative facts” reeks of the propaganda machine witnessed above, to say nothing of the rumors of his potential manipulation of the press corps’ access to the White House.
Further, the administration’s new policy that any EPA official who wants to publish scientific findings will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Trump team itself stinks of Section 14.
I’m actually very sympathetic to the idea of subjective (or cognitive) relativism, where “facts” are inherently connected to the judgments of those perceiving them (if I understand it right), but I don’t think that is what the Trump team is going for, I think they are going for “newspeak,” and that has me greatly worried.
“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” — George Orwell, “1984”