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Many assume propaganda is explicit. If a news item is not about a particular person or system, then that item is unrelated to any animus or support for a position or person.

Not so. Propaganda is, and must be, continuous and universal. There is no requirement it be immediate or logical.

Several examples from the news. Recently, there was a story about funding for PBS. The story read, “Only extremists, like Trump, would oppose PBS.” The article was not about President Trump, and any opened-minded person would have to agree there might be many reasons to oppose funding even if you support the cause.

Another example: A rather good article was recently printed in Scientific American about the characteristics of conspiracies and the people who believe them. One of the aspects found in almost all conspiracy theories is contradictions.

For their example, the authors stated, “some deniers of climate change agree that there is no scientific consensus on the issue while framing themselves as heroes pushing back against established consensus. Both cannot be true.”

Do you see the problem? Actually, there are several. First, this article had nothing to do with global warming. Second, I have looked into the true believers and the deniers on climate change. Deniers do not say that there is no consensus on climate change. They say there is no universal consensus, precisely because that is what the true believers falsely claimed. Second, I know of no deniers who claim to be heroes. Most, in fact, see themselves as victims of a closed system which, like the implications of this otherwise good article, demonizes and misrepresents any opinion or findings other than its own.

Another example that will probably get me into trouble. Pro-abortionists make an interesting defense by pointing out the supposed hypocrisy of the anti-abortion supporters. If an anti-abortion advocate does not buy into every social welfare proposal that might affect children, then they are hypocritical about abortion. If educational unions don’t get every dime they demand, then anti-abortion people are hypocritical. If an anti-abortion person supports death sentences for heinous crimes, then their anti-abortion stand is hypocritical.

All of this is similar to saying that if you don’t enjoy skiing, then you are a global warming denier. Things that look easy to connect become difficult to logically associate. In other words, what does one thing have to do with another? Are these people actually saying killing defenseless human life is justified because some people may be hypocritical about other aspects of human life?

Are they saying, along with long discredited eugenic advocates, that terminating unborn children is justified if they are going to grow up in a world other than the one dreamed of by social activists?

They seem to be suggesting those who would save children are the very ones who would deny and abuse children.

Now that is, indeed, contradictory.

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Dennis Clayson is a marketing professor at the University of Northern Iowa. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not reflect those of the University of Northern Iowa.


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