Fresh on the heels of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict comes waves and waves of propaganda from both sides on the Internet. People using social media often share photos and videos that they haven’t even watched thoroughly. Most people only read a shocking headline and then instantly forward it to all of their lists. I’m reminded of a line by Mark Twain “A lie runs around the world twice before the truth has time to put on its shoes.” People often don’t scrutinize closely the information being sent to them and will believe what almost any media outlet reports immediately. Even trusted news sources make mistakes and when that happens the results can be disastrous for getting the truth out on a particular situation. Also some Internet users seem oblivious to the fact that government agencies, terrorist groups and PR spin doctors are constantly creating information designed at misleading people. One meme circulating in libertarian circles these days is a photograph of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a fake quote. People are forwarding this around as if it were real but the source comes from a Hamas tied news agency and there is no record that the Prime Minister ever spoke these words. This is a good lesson to learn that people have to be diligent about sourcing things before spreading them around as fact. The truth about the quote has been sourced to here: CAMERA Quote Debunking
Reason Magazine has a great interview with Ryan Holiday, a media strategist who explains how he manufactures controversies for PR purposes. It’s a good lesson in not believing everything you see, hear or read on the Internet. What do you think? Are we constantly barraged with PR and propaganda?