“The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda”. The late science writer Michael Crichton certainly put his finger on the spirit of our age.
If you don’t believe Crichton was right, consider this. Our smartphones collate and spit out our diet of fast-news, while Twitter’s 140 characters provide much of our analysis. The 30-second sound-bite and 24/7 news is all we have time for, especially where the latest claims of transient science are concerned. Never has a generation been so vulnerable to superficial thought and, in consequence, the pro-activism of the propagandist social engineer; hence Crichton’s assessment. Step forward a pseudo-scientific movement with an agenda—and the very latest technology able to help them take advantage.
Remember the media furor in 2006 when astute bloggers—note, not paid journalists—exposed a photoshop of horrors? How it was that a Reuters photographer was able to Photoshop billowing smoke into a picture ‚Äòproving’ an Israeli airstrike had hit civilian targets? How the German newspaper Bildt and others ran a staged shot of an ‚ÄòIsraeli’ soldier carrying a dead girl—part of a Hezbollah PR stunt? How the New York Times front page ran a pic of a Pakistani family standing around an artillery shell in front of a derelict house—until it was pointed out the shell had clearly never been fired?…..
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