"Truth" - www.wikipedia.org
Friday, 04 June 2021 19:00
Estonian Life No. 22 2021 - Laas Leivat
Putin, Lukashenka, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un and others of the same ilk are well aware that truth is their enemy. The predominant culture of falsehood and deception was inherent in Communist totalitarianism, especially in countries such as Russia, North Korea and China.
Manipulated discourse was not rooted in reality, and did not help to distinguish lies from truth.
The 15,000 to 30,000 lies that hugely prolific Mr. Trump was able to generate and disseminate (the totals vary between numerous fact-check groups) during four years have now been crowned with a flag-ship lie, “The Big Lie”, that the election was stolen from him through massive fraud.
As an Estonian, this writer is saddened that an established political party, EKRE is actively perpetuating The Big Lie even in the face of overwhelming evidence that negates it. Just recently, EKRE’s on-line news portal, Uued Uudised, claimed that an audit of an electoral district’s election results in Arizona had uncovered that some computer files had been deleted and then found by the auditor, when in fact they had always existed and had never deleted.
This seemingly unimportant momentary by-pass of the correct facts is just one in a continuing series of articles in Uued Uudised that legitimizes Mr. Trump’s accusations that hose who speak the truth are liars, traitors and purveyors of “fake news”. Uued Uudised carried at least 27 articles between the US elections of November 7, 2020 and the assault on the US Capitol on January 6 that supported Mr. Trump’s Big Lie.
EKRE’s internet voice has obviously decided not to publish election-related news that 60 court decisions have dismissed accusations of voter fraud by Mr. Trump’s lawyers for lack of any evidence. A Uued Uudised posting states the exact opposite, headlined, “Trump’s team has won most of court cases regarding the elections”. One decision favoured the Mr. Trump’s court appeals, but it did not involve voter fraud. No fraud has been discovered by the numerous election audits and recounts. This information is vitally newsworthy, something that Uued Uudised claims to present but does not share with its readers.
A substantial number of Uued Uudised postings supporting the Big Lie narrative originate from the Epoch Times, now wielding one of the largest social media followings of any news outlet. The Epoch Times ownership has close ties with the Falun Gong, a spiritual movement exposing human rights violations and opposing totalitarianism in China.
Before Mr. Trump’s ascendancy, the Epoch Times had a righteous mission, the fight for democracy. Now it’s lock step with Mr. Trump’s agenda – peddling conspiracy theories, the Deep State, Fake News, etc. In a similar fashion as with Uued Uudised, the truth-based messages that Epoch Times also advances are seriously damaged by this close affiliation. A pity.
One is perplexed by the size of following of the Big Lie. Within the Republican party alone, fully three quarters of its membership is willing to believe this unlikely proposition with no evidence supporting it. They are easily manipulated into accepting something being true when it clearly isn’t.
In studying mass gullibility elsewhere, we witness a glaring contradiction: billionaires thrive in China, where the Communist regime promises to protect the worker against unbridled capitalism. The billionaire must display allegiance to a brutally authoritarian political leadership. This loyalty does not stem from persuasion by thew regime, but rather self-interest, as people seek to ingratiate with those in power, or on the contrary, fear their wrath.
There has never been a more gullible political following than Mr.Trump’s supporters. They believe anything he says, no matter how outrageous or inconsistent. Only a liar, with real contempt for his supporters would insist that he had the “the largest inauguration crowd ever” when aerial photos prove otherwise. Mr. Trump’s minions have soaked up this and thousands of other lies like a sponge.
Just like Americans, Estonians struggle to fully understand complex policy issues and nuanced political aspects of a global community. It’s natural to focus on what we can actually grasp, what we can act on and who is to blame for our suffering.
Mr. Trump may have the rhetorical skills of a talented demagogue. But anyone who can convince us that there is a short cut to a solution or manipulate their hopes with empty promises is dangerous. And for Uued Uudised not to distinguish Mr. Trump’s lies from truth is sad.Laas Leivat