How to spot lies in news (use brain)

From our old friend Huffington Post:

The U.S. has confirmed that the Islamic State group has kidnapped and imprisoned Yazidi women so that they can be sold or married off to extremist fighters, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information came from classified intelligence reports. There was no solid estimate of the number of women victimized, the official said.

This story is a lie. There are several clues contained within, and one large one outside the blockquote there.

One, “the U.S. has confirmed…” The reporter is bringing an anonymous source to bear, disguised with the word “the U.S.” He is doing that because it sounds authoritative, better than, say “some dude at Langley.” If that source wanted to tell a lie, it would be easy because the reporter is merely performing his stenographic function, and has not verified anything behind the wall. That is a common means of introducing lies into news.

Two, “Yazidi women…” The source if this story, most likely CIA a disinformation desk, knows that the reader will have never heard of the word “Yazidi,” and will want to mask his ignorance.

The image is an appeal to an archetype in U.S. Propaganda, that of a mean old terrorist harming an innocent woman, probably virgins. Only harming babies plays better. Such imagery is pure agitprop, used to justify the extreme violence the U.S. will soon bring to bear on the region, including women, children, virgins – the whole cowboy massacre that we will not get to see.

“…classified intelligence sources…” Normally, the Obama Administration throws leakers in jail or pursues them to then ends of the earth. This time, they are just letting the leak go. That’s because it is a lie, disinformation, an intentional leak designed to lay the ground for yet another U.S. attack on Iraq, in conjunction with ISIS, a terrorist force armed by the U.S. and it’s allies.

I love that last line, “there was no solid estimate of the number of women …” Oddly, injecting uncertainty into the lie adds credibility. These guys are good.

And, of course, the reason outside the blockquote that exposes this story as a lie: The military/intelligence/corporate greed sector that has sponsored all the wars the U.S. has started, just in my lifetime, has killed and maimed millions upon millions of people, many if them women and children and babies of varying ethic origins. No one in that sector gives a shit about that.

Ergo, no one in that sector gives a shit about the Yazidi women. If they even exist.

What is really bothersome is that this stuff works. Just like

  • WMD’s in Iraq,
  • preventing a massacre in Libya,
  • saving Albanians in Kosovo,
  • incubator babies in Kuwait

… they return to this well again and again. And even as every lie before is exposed as a lie, the new lies still work.

All we need now is Michelle Obama holding up a sign saying “save the Nigerian Yazidi women.”

About Mark Tokarski

Just a man who likes to read, argue, and occasionally be surprised.
This entry was posted in American wilderness, fear-mongers, Journalism, Marketing, Perception management. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to How to spot lies in news (use brain)

  1. Big Swede says:

    Mark, here is a 500 lb. bomb taking out two trucks laden with women and children.


  2. jmsabbagh says:

    Boko Haram sign which Michelle held in March for the kidnapped Nigerian girls was a little larger.


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