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Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets by Lila Rajiva, Will Bonner

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Swindling the Home Crowd

So, fake news is not new at all. It's old news. Storyboarding does to the news what waterboarding does to prisoners—it persuades it to say what you want to hear. Hoodwinking the enemy on a classical battlefield—which follows its own rules of engagement—is one thing. Bamboozling civilians in modern total warfare is rather different. And swindling the crowd cheering at home is something else altogether.

By that standard, American chariot wheels have not just hit the ground. They have gone through it and are burrowing down into Hades. Storyboarding was directed not at the population in Iraq, which is supposed to be a born‐again democracy now, anyway. It was aimed at the population back home in America. Journalists who faked news stories were firing on this pathetic home crowd, making it impossible for the lumps to get even the tiniest scrap of real information about the war, even though they were being asked to give up their children for it. They thought they were volunteering to fight for the republic; they didn't know they were signing up for Aztec child sacrifice.

Of course, there are always people who will say that you need to put out spin to counter the other fellow. They did it first, is their argument. This is a bit thick. The U.S., after all, went jackbooting into Iraq. Iraqis can hardly be expected to keep still about it. If a quarter of a million Arabs flooded Washington, D.C., and set up camp in the White House, we expect Americans would not remain ...

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