home > archive > 2002 > this article
Pravda and Izvestia: American style
By Bruce Walker
Bold conservatives, flying like barnstormers on the frontiers of information technology, have exposed those bloated liberal institutions which pass as journalism and academia. Journalism should be independent, saucy, and current; academia should challenge false premises and test theories objectively. Critical thinking is the last thing rich, established "news" or "education" empires provide.
When events unfold, when analysis is required, the school of fish which call themselves journalists, professors and experts determine the "Party Line" (or "Party Lie") and hold fast to no matter how absurd this requires them to appear. The only shame, to them, is the shame of being outside the herd.
The common man of the Soviet Union understood how to read Izvestia, the daily news periodical whose name means "News" and Pravda, the journal of the Communist Party whose name means "Truth." The average Muscovite said: "There is no Pravda in Izvestia, and there is no Izvestia in Pravda" ("There is no truth in News, and there is no news in Truth.") The way to hunt for bits or truth was to thumb back to shortest columns of the last pages of the periodical.
The spectacular "discovery" of old witch hunts related to "corporate scandals" of President Bush and Vice President Cheney are perfect excellent examples of how our American Izvestia and Pravda invent "news" and manufacture "truth." Thoughtful people react accordingly.
Who actually looks at Newsweek and expects any news of the week? What person watches CNN and expects breaking news stories? The chattering class is frantically trying to figure out what information to share with us proles and what to camouflage and what to drown in oceans of needless sputtering. Hours, days, sometimes weeks later "the story" emerges.
Who with a lick of smarts expects serious thinking from expensive universities, government bureaus, or prestigious foundations? Don't real brains challenge assumptions, examine alternative explanations, and criticize colleagues? The lecturing class does none of that messy stuff.
Thomas Edison, a man who actually did great things, once said "Genius is ninety-nine percent perspiration and one percent inspiration." The heavily sedated tree sloths in tenured positions who ruminate and pontificate on why human beings never act the way they should always react to their failed predictions the same way: lug out Das Kaptial, The Feminine Mystique, Democrat Party press releases, or other affronts to common sense, vainly hoping that uncommon weirdness will be seen as insight instead of idiocy or insanity.
What results is Gresham's Law applied to information, knowledge, creativity, and analysis. Lazy research and convention nostrums drive out real discovery and genuine reflection. Repetition replaces news. Snake oil salesmanship replaces. scholarship. Cliches conquer cognition. Indoctrination incapacitates imagination. There becomes, in America no honesty in the news media, and nothing new in the academic community.
Sound far fetched? Find some "story" in the news, and see if you cannot predict the next paragraphs, the high points, the introductory and concluding sentences, the tenor of the quotations, the angle of the photographs, even the placement of the "news" within the particular body of the periodical.
When you read or hear or see the news story, is the process not akin to walking through a minefield? Where are those hidden deceptions? What does that "statistic" really mean, and can I trust the source? What else did this fellow quoted say - what words that would actually explain and place in context his thoughts?
Or consider the latest "academic study" by some secular druid. Do the self-anointed ones use calm, strong words? Do they write in the clear styles of Euclid or Buckminster Fuller, who knew the truths which they were trying to convey and so wrote simple sentences? Or do they write in the familiar style of bureaucrats trying to say nothing in the most intimidating manner?
The good news is that most people have stopped listening - when the story line of each of our "competing" information giants is the same, it is very boring. The bad news is that all the "junk bonds" of leftist information tends to degrade the value of important information. The left tries to make so much noise that no one can hear himself think.
But they are losing the war. Why? People - not just conservatives - want to know what is happening in the world and now they can. The Samzidat of conservative communication is proving a service that almost everyone wants, while the rusted old machines of orthodox leftism simply recycle stale stories and counterfeit facts. We on the right provide genuine value - agree with our conclusions or not - while Pravda and Izvestia provide nothing at all.
Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a contributor
to Citizens View, The Common Conservative, Conservative Truth and Port
Other related stories: (open in a new window)
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!
© 1996-2019, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.