Expressing opinions or spreading Propaganda?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Drifterwood, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. Drifterwood

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    Can you tell when your opinion has been forged by someone else's propaganda? There seems to be a fine line between expressing opinions and having the premise for these questioned, and hijacking threads to repeat someone's propaganda.

    I get the feeling that there is a big war going on at the moment for people's hearts and minds, I see very different and intransigent stances being taken by opposing sides. Sides indeed being drawn up where I wonder why there has to be conflict.

    The first person to say that opinions are like assholes, gets a smacked bottom.
     
  2. B_Nick4444

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    easy -- the libertards all spout the same programmed nonsense, showing no thought or analysis
     
  3. marleyisalegend

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    everybody's ego has them convinced that they're right and that it's their place to teach the world, although i doubt votes are going to be changed or mentalities are going to be transformed through conversations and arguments on a website about huge schlongs
     
  4. Drifterwood

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    Which votes are you talking about - please God don't tell me that you think it's about the Democratic thing only. There are a few other things happening in the world.

    You make this place what it is.
     
  5. Gillette

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    Opinions are like assholes....
    Doesn't matter how wide or how many times you try to expand them, they'll still contract back to their original shape...for the most part.

    *grabs ankles*
     
  6. Elmer Gantry

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    Everyone's got one.
     
  7. whatireallywant

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    People who agree with you = expressing opinions

    People who disagree with you = spreading propaganda

    :biggrin1:
     
  8. Phil Ayesho

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    Its a question deserving of more in depth thought than has yet been expressed.

    I think debate over issues is important.
    I think all people have opinions, but seldom have most people given any real thought to their opinions, where they came from, and how well any one of their opinions fit with their other opinions in areas that may seem unconnected... and yet bear strongly upon each other.

    Conservatives often seem like "in for a penny, in for a pound" and buy the entire conservative agenda hook line and sinker without any real thought. Vote for it, even...

    And yet, you get them in a real discussion and you find that many of their opinions are not at all in alignment with conservative agendas.



    I do wish debate over issues prompted far less knee jerk jerkiness.. and more actual ARGUMENT....

    ( no, not like you used to do with your sister/brother... argument as used in debate, in law, in science, in philosophy)

    I think stating something, without supporting example, analogy or a line of reasoning is about as creditable as spitting.


    And I think the heart of intellectual honesty and social cooperation is to be willing to entertain the notion that you might be wrong.

    It is often hard, in the heat of debate, to admit that you are in error... or that your opponent has a good point.

    But it is not uncommon for a person, in quiet reflection over days or months, to have their mind changed by a point well made and insightfully presented.

    Most of what any of us currently believe started out as something someone else said... or a collection of things said by a collection of people.

    It is not impossible for something someone else says to have the same effect...


    As we get older it becomes harder for us to remain mentally flexible... we stop looking for new information and start filtering our experience, seeking only that information that will confirm that which we already believe we know.

    We even distort our perceptions to preserve the huge investment we have made in beliefs and ideas.

    We might imagine threats where there really are none...


    I think it is crucial to strive to be able and willing to change our minds.

    To always be willing to hold our own ideas up to scrutiny and look as unflinchingly at our own assumptions as we do at the assumptions of others.


    Ultimately... it does not matter if we agree...

    If a solid debate does nothing but crystalize in your own mind your own position and precisely why you hold it... then it was time well spent.
     
  9. TinyPrincess

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    Darn it - I missed it...

    Well, looking at some of the threads here, it seems a very common issue.
     
  10. Phil Ayesho

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    PS---

    also... the debate is often not for the benefit of the debaters... its for the benefit of the spectators....

    The person whose mind is not case hardened with a conclusion... in reading both sides of an argument... may find the way to their own perspective.
     
  11. ManlyBanisters

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    My first thought upon reading this question is 'of course not!' If one realises one's opinion are being formed in that way then surely one would start to question them - or at very least stop repeating them. Looking at the whole China / Tibet thing (just as an example) I find I don't have an opinion of my own because I just don't know enough about it. I have read about Chinese abuses of human rights and I have read about the Chinese system modernising and certainly moving in the right direction - but not extensively. Most of the general press I read / watch leans towards the anti-China side and I found myself leaning that way at first but I understood that I was not hearing the full story and until I take the time to read the other side I will not form an opinion.

    I appear to have missed out on the smacked bottom so I won't bother with that bit - as to the rest, well, yes, I agree about the fine (and hazy, I would add) line between expressing opinion and regurgitating propaganda. Taking this place as an example, there are some who clearly just spit out the 'line' of whatever cause / issue they happened to have espoused, there are others who seem to do the same but, in deeper debate, appear to also actually believe what they are saying. It's not really anyone's place to tell either of those sets of people that they have succumbed to propaganda - the only thing to do is attempt debate. My own belief (which may be wrong, but I don't think so :rolleyes:) is that those with cogently and coherantly formed opinions are more willing to enter into reasoned debate and far less likely to argue in terms of absolutes. I'm very much a proponant of JS Mill in that regard, in that I believe to support an opinion is it vital to argue the other side to its logical conclusion, and also to listen to others doing so, otherwise your opinion is based on very little.

    Why does there have to be conflict in certain areas? I'm not sure how generally you are speaking but without conflict and debate we get stagnation - I think that is worse. I'm rather willing to put up with the propaganda and unreasoned debating if there are at least some voices in the mix arguing informed opinions intelligently.

    EDIT: I just read Phil's (1st) post - and he makes some very good points.
     
  12. Drifterwood

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    It appears to me that there are deliberate misconceptions in the West with regard to both the Middle and Far East. I spend quite a lot of time in both places. I see both sides of the story and the West seems to want to deliberately distort the truth for their own agenda.

    There is some disbelief here in China at the moment over CNN's coverage of Tibet. They interviewed a Tibeta woman, the Chinese can understand what she was saying, but then they completely misquoted her when translating into the English Subtitles. They were lying. Why?

    Why can't we understand the difference between Muslims and Islamists as we can the fundamentalists in our own faiths?

    I see some worrying agendas being played out and we are the pawns. So I think we need to question even more what we are fed. I worry why our opinions are being polarised. Thank you for all your interesting comments.

    You can all have a smack bottom :smile:
     
  13. TinyPrincess

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    Welcome to the world outside the US :wink:. Of course all media is lying now and then for certain purposes, and not just the US media. There are so many examples from e.g. the Iraqi war (both I and II), Kosovo and not least 9/11.

    Among my favourites are when the Kuwaiti ambassador's daughter lied before the first Iraq war and when BBC broadcasted the demolition of WTC7 before it was pulled.

    On the other hand media gives us great moments of truth, where even politicians and other pros forget to tell lies, e.g. when one of the Mossad agents arrested on 9/11 told that Mossad where only there "to document the event".

    I don't think we will ever see a world where media is 100% truthful - but then can they be? Is the truth absolute? Could you imagine a world where CBS and Fox gives the same coverage and tell the same story? It's terrible than media as CNN for some strange reason seeks a political purpose by making fraudy translations, but I guess that is why you can't base your knowledge on one newspaper, broadcaster, media or even media from just one country.

    You can all have a smack bottom :smile:[/quote]

    Thank you, I was afraid Gillette had beaten us all to it.
     
  14. ManlyBanisters

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    I find that many people can't and don't distinguish between the fundamentalist 'western' Faiths and those that are more reasoned in their outlook.

    We are being polarised because, as always, those with influence seem to believe it is better to present arguments in terms of absolutes to fit in to the minds of the lowest common denominator. This need not be true, of course, but it is assumed the finer nuances of many arguments are beyond many of those who may be called to express an opinion on it (by voting, for example) - so the arguments are presented in a polarised manner. Look at the different presentations of the Treaty of Lisbon by various parties and interest groups across the EU - none of the broad arguments really cover the subtleties of what is on the table at all.

    Jolly good! Whose do I get? :tongue:
     
  15. Guy-jin

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    Why do Chinese news outlets say that the Dalai Lama wants Tibet to secede from China when he's said time and time again that he wants no such thing? Why are they told that the ROC is a bunch of terrorists when it's arguably the true and proper Chinese government? Why are they told that Japanese hate them? Why are they hammered with a "for the greater good" justification for displacing millions of farmers in the interest of building the Three Gorges Dam? Why do they call it the "June Fourth Incident" on the rare occasion it's ever mentioned at all? I could go on.

    Point being, propaganda is abundant everywhere, from China to America, and nowhere is it being used in the interest of the people it's fed to. These things are spread for one reason: to maintain control of the populace.

    You asked why, I obliged. :biggrin1:

    I will say, however, that in this Internet age, it's easier than ever to cut through the BS and find out the truth if one's willing to take the time to sift through the garbage propaganda that's so abundant.
     
  16. Drifterwood

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    :eek: You mean you've stopped eating Protestant children.

    For sure all media has an editorial policy, but then I see increasing use of emotional language where it isn't necessary but it is designed to stir you up, references to cliches that have long ceased to be true and other misrepresentations of historical facts, or cherry picking the unusual and presenting it as the norm, and finally outright lying.
     
  17. Drifterwood

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    What I am seeing here is not quite that. But rather that the recent trouble was started by factions in and out of Tibet who want the Dalai Lama to return to a seceded Tibet. I think everyone knows the DL's views which is why the slogan Free Tibet is a bit of a nonsense.

    And for the record I am here and I just spent twenty minutes on a perfectly accessible website that listed all the different media on recent events, most of which is anti Chinese. But apparently that isn't possible.
     
  18. Guy-jin

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    This thread is about propaganda, not about "what everyone thinks". I've watched the Chinese news myself. They've framed it very clearly that the Dalai Lama is a terrorist who is directly ordering the "attacks" in Tibet by Tibetans against innocent Han Chinese.

    That's propaganda. As much propaganda as CNN portraying it the other way--as Tibetans protesting against Chinese military oppressors. These outlets on both sides purposely simplify and skew the story to fit what they want the public to think and watch.

    That said, if you'd prefer to make this into a thread about the Tibet issue, you probably should change the title. I note that you didn't address Three Gorges or the June Fourth Incident at all, so I wonder if that means you admit that those are serious propaganda perpetuated by Chinese media outlets, or whether you're simply ignorant to what they are and how they've been portrayed. Your posts do have a tinge of Sinophilia in them, to be honest, and I recall well the way you've posted in the past with such disdain for America. I wonder if your opinion here isn't colored by that. I try to avoid allowing myself to be swayed that way, as someone who is himself enamored with the Far East.

    If you're actually taking the stance that only Western, and particularly American, news outlets are propaganda peddlers, I'm afraid you're simply incorrect.
     
  19. Drifterwood

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    No I am not - I am wanting to look at all media.

    I didn't answer your other points because, this isn't another let's bash China thread. Unless that's your agenda.
     
  20. Drifterwood

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    I think it rather disingenuous of you to edit your post after I have posted in response to your original, rather than to answer my point.

    But while we're at it - you are guilty of what I am trying to discuss. You are polarising my opinion again by labeling me as both anti american and pro chinese - in the process you are restricting my right to free speech by manipulating the reader's response to me and my points. Congratulations.

    Furthermore you are not referencing your chinese media source. I don't deny that in a place this size you may be correct. I prefaced my point by saying that what I am seeing, which includes the chinese I meet every day.
     
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