Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Proposition, the Opposition, and the Truth

You know, propaganda's not really so bad. It can be dangerous if you only get one side because it may be difficult to recognize the bias, but propaganda from two or more opposing sides can be a much more efficient and reliable way to get the truth than getting your information from one supposedly objective source.

A truly objective source is hard to come by. There are a lot of sources that try to appear objective, but that just means that they try harder to disguise their bias. An obvious bias is easier to filter out, especially when you have an equally obvious opposing bias to use a reference point. It's like the ultimate 'pro' and 'con' list.

With information from both sides, you can see the inconsistencies and boil the information down to distill truth. This method also gives you a more complete picture. For instance, in the case of a piece of legislation, if there's something important in the "fine print", one side or the other will usually point it out, whereas it might have gone unnoticed even if you read the bill for yourself. This was especially apparent when I was researching California Proposition 89. The government-provided summary was far less informative than the combining the bullet-point lists on the "yes on 89" and "no on 89" websites.

Of course, you still have to think for yourself in order to tell the truth from the lies and half-truths presented in propaganda, but an obvious bias makes this easier to distinguish, and this requires less thought than finding a truly balanced source.

Now, if you wanna be really sneaky, what you should do is create propaganda against your position, and do a shitty job of making the case, in order to discredit the opposition.

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