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Ovid (2709)

Ovid
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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Thursday December 18, 2003
07:54 PM

Revisionist History

[ #16411 ]

Remember Winston from 1984? His job was to rewrite history to fit what the current administration wanted the public to believe. Apparently, despite the tragic ending in the novel, he has been hired by the Bush administration.

From this Washington Post article:

  • The U.S. Agency for International Development has had information removed from its Web site which stated that our cost to rebuild Iraq would not exceed 1.7 billion dollars.
  • The White House changed the headline "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended" to include the word "Major" before "Combat".
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID have removed or revised fact sheets on condoms, excising information about their effectiveness in disease prevention, and promoting abstinence instead.
  • National Cancer Institute, meanwhile, scrapped claims on its Web site that there was no association between abortion and breast cancer.

The first deletion might arguably be justified -- why allow someone's erroneous statements on official Web sites where people might get confused? The second item, if true, is straight out of 1984, but given this administration's playing curious shell game with the facts, I'm not surprised. The last two items, though, truly disturb me. Are government agencies not allowed to give us accurate and timely information if it conflicts with the political agenda of the current administration? Already there have been complaints that references to homosexuality or studies of diseases associated with human sexuality are being frowned upon.

Anyone remember Lysenko?

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  • Major (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pudge (1) on 2003.12.18 20:04 (#26689) Homepage Journal
    The White House changed the headline "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended" to include the word "Major" before "Combat".

    This is absolutely true. However, the second headline was entirely accurate, while the first headline was false. Bush never said that combat operations in Iraq had ended, he said MAJOR combat operations in Iraq had ended. They fixed an error, because the headline said Bush said something he never said. That hardly qualifies as revisionist history. I can find no fault with it whatsoever.

    I suppose in the historical/journalistic purity sense, it would be nice to have a record of what the headline actually said the day it said it, but that's what archive.org is for. Online news publications constantly change articles and headlines when they are found to be inaccurate.

    As to the last two items: politicians have been manipulating agencies like this for years. They actually have control over these agencies. That's the real problem, not specific instances of control being exerted. Clinton had similar problems with a few agencies.
    • I stand corrected about the White House site changing the headline. I did some research on the speech and you are correct, though it makes me wonder why they had an erroneous headline in the first place. Since so many people merely scan headlines, it's easy to paint a false picture and then later claim "that's not what was said". I've often had fun reading articles and seeing how closely they match the headline. Frequently they don't and I think that is also a form of dishonesty.

      I also agree that poli

      • Political parties suck.

        That's the truth. So why wring your hands over their perpetual failure to
        deliver democratic control of society? Just admit that capitalist republics
        don't deliver democracy, and look for something that does.
        • Just admit that capitalist republics don't deliver democracy, and look for something that does.

          I can't admit that because I don't believe it. From my perspective, there are three major things wrong with the US system: money, media, and machines (political ones, that is). The media is an obvious problem. The yellow journalism of Fox News is just the most obvious example. Make the media truly competitive or, better yet, permanently publicly fund the media as a public resource (rather than forcing the

            • I'm still astonished at those who believe that huge mega-corporations are spewing liberal propaganda.

            I'm still astonished that people don't see the liberal propaganda being spewed by the mainstream media. The media writers, reporters and producers are overwhelmingly liberal, just ask them. Polls always indicate a far left bias in the opionion of media workers.

            There may be some examples of corporations influencing the media content, but the mega-corporations run the risk of this becoming widely known a

            • It's been a long time since I picked up Bias and leafed through it, so I honestly can't tell you what my objections were at that time. However, the media watchdog group "FAIR" has an interesting piece about Golberg's book [fair.org]. I routinely check what FAIR has to say about a topic because they have impressed me with the thoroughness with which they research material. In this particular case, they did not go through on a point-by-point basis, but I felt that there points were relevant.

              For opposing views, look

                • I routinely check what FAIR has to say about a topic because they have impressed me with the thoroughness with which they research material.

                FAIR thorough and well researched? FAIR is hardly a "media watchdog", but rather a reaction to AIM (Accuracy In Media), Reed Irvin's group that started criticizing liberal media back in the 70s.

                I challenge you to find even a single example of any FAIR issue that is critical of the media for having a liberal bias. You would think that a balanced watchdog group could

                • OK, I thought about responding to your points, but you and I will not see eye to eye on many issues and I'd be wasting my time. I did, however, note that, while you didn't assert that AIM was reasonable, I suspect that this might actually be your point of view (though I certainly hope not).

                  From AIM's FAQ [aim.org]: We encourage members of the media to report the news fairly and objectively--without resorting to bias or partisanship.

                  Hoo boy. That's a real howler. From their article with the completely non-alar


                    • OK, I thought about responding to your points, but you and I will not see eye to eye on many issues and I'd be wasting my time.

                    I guess you are either saying that I'm a narrow minded idealogue or that you are, I'm not sure which. In any case, while we may have hardened positions, and I recognize that, I often join these "debates" for the benefit of those reading here. If I was interested in only persuading you, I'd take it to email


                    • I did, however, note that, while you didn't assert that AIM was reason
                    • The mainstream press is mainstream corporate -- that's where the advertising
                      money comes from. They don't rock the boat, in general. Just as you won't find
                      the NY Times advocating land redistribution (giving land back to small-scale
                      farmers, for instance), or pointing out the human cost of drug patents, you also
                      won't find them working overtime to dig up corporate malfeasance or official
                      corruption.

                      Not rocking the boat goes both ways. So "anti-conservative" might apply, if by
                      "anti-conservative" you mean "opp
                      • They don't rock the boat, in general. Just as you won't find
                        the NY Times advocating land redistribution (giving land back to small-scale
                        farmers, for instance)

                      If you are saying that the media in this country is not of a Marxist bent, I would agree. That's completely in line with the fact that Socialism is pretty much unpopular with the American people in general and the media is no exception.

                      • or pointing out the human cost of drug patents

                      If you are referring to the fact that there would be no miracle dr

                    • As an example -- in my opinion, any "objective" newspaper would have been running a headline every day for the last couple years saying "The Government is obviously making all this shit up as they go along."

                      I'm sorry, I think you mean s/objective/opinionated/. Or maybe s/objective/crap I happen to believe is true/.
          • If you don't believe it, then point to examples of capitalist republics that do
            involve democratic control of society.

            The failures of social democracy are systemic, and repeat everywhere. The
            states with the most egalitarian policies are those facing the strongest left
            threats to their existence. As unions have become weaker, the "welfare state"
            has shrunk in many countries.

            The trouble is not with particular politicians -- it is with the system that
            makes them temporary dictators. The problem is not with pa
          • Make the media truly competitive

            What does competitive mean in this sentence? I see a lot of competition. Granted, it's on minutiae that bore me, but it's competition.

            • I almost didn't answer this because I really wanted to withdraw from this thread (but if I can't take the heat I should stay out of hell). However, you asked a fair question and I think it deserves an answer.

              A good primer on the topic is Unreliable Sources [amazon.com] by Martin Lee and Normon Solomon. It was published back in 1991 one and explained very thoroughly the problems with media consolidation over a decade ago. The problem has become worse due to increased media mergers [progressive.org]. We're all familiar with monopolie

                • The short (and cheap) answer is I don't know if people would notice and if things would change. If competition led to better quality news but people still chose sizzle over steak, that would be a disappointment, but at least people would be freely choosing instead of having the choice made for them. There is good information out there now, but it's not always easy to find it [projectcensored.org].

                  A more accurate answer would be to discuss why I desire more competition -- or more precisely, a different sort of competition (ni

                  • During the same period lunch cancer was determined to be the number one killer of women...

                    Lunch cancer? What the hell is lunch cancer? It must be another story the media has covered up. Yeah, that's it!

          • The main problems with the media are far greater than simple bias or "yellowness." Ben Franklin's newspaper was horribly biased and sensationalistic, by our standards. The real problem is the media control of the information the citizens need to make choices. Why did Bush and Gore get so much more coverage than Nader, for example?

            I find it funny you call the Democrats "Republicans Lite," as lately, I'd say you have it backwards. :-)

            As to money, I like how you say it there. It's not that money itself i
  • I finished reading "1984" two days ago having read "Down and out in Paris and London" just prior to that.

    I think that the Internet will remain free from the systematic revision of history that 1984 envisages. Nevertheless, we should still be cautioned by the danger inherent in accepting lies as fact, either passively or deliberately. In particular lies that are told "for our own good".

    "Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4. If that is granted, all else follows."

  • While condoms are 90%, according to the World Health Organization, against AID transmission, they are completely ineffective [family.org] against the transmission of HPV. HPV is thought to be almost entirely responsible for cervical cancer. More women die of cervical cancer in the US than die from AIDS every year.

    Condoms are also ineffective against Herpes transmission.

    Now, tell me again why we should be promoting practices that only protect you 90% of the time from AIDS transmission and are completely ineffective a

    • My observation is that that telling people not to sex each other up has rather
      limited effectiveness. See, people want to. A lot.
        • My observation is that that telling people not to sex each other up has rather
          limited effectiveness. See, people want to. A lot.

        It's been my observation that people who drive like to speed a lot. Should we, as a society, eschew traffic laws and responsible driving education in favor of "Safe Cars" and tell people that no injury could come to them if they use one of these cars?

        Clearly, the level of promiscuity has a huge effect on the level of transmission of STDs. Sorry, that's the facts. People shoul

        • It's been my observation that people who drive like to speed a lot. Should we, as a society, eschew traffic laws and responsible driving education in favor of "Safe Cars" and tell people that no injury could come to them if they use one of these cars?

          No, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't make cars safer or educate people about car saftey features. Just because we teach people not to drive recklessly doesn't mean we don't also tell them to wear seatbelts, and doesn't mean we don't install airbags in the

    • HPV -- Human Papilloma Virus? Warts?

      You do understand that there are strains of HPV that can cause actual warts anywhere, right? And that something like 80% of sexually active humans are estimated to have had contact with it at some point, right? So the only 100% effective way for a human being to avoid contact with HPV is to avoid contact with other human beings, period.

      Cervical cancer sucks, indeed. HPV's a ghost, though. There's really no way to truly avoid it, even if you're sexually inert.

      --

      ------------------------------
      You are what you think.