Why are they lying about Occupy Wall Street – and why are they getting away with it?

  • Published on October 13th, 2011

Lies, lies, and more liesThe opponents of the Occupy Wall Street Movement criticize it with lies. Paper-thin arguments that defy logic. Easily-disprovable, direct, baldfaced lies. This tactic is nothing new to the Right, and it’s important to understand how they are getting away with it – why they are being believed, at least by some, and what you can do to combat them. I recently came across an essay called “The Crisis of Public Reason”, by Phil Agre (PhD), a Professor of Information Studies at UCLA. It offers a rather frightening explanation for the Right’s tactics.

What is ‘Public Reason’ ?

Professor Agre defines public reason thus:

“The theory behind public reason, which dates to the Enlightenment, is that power-holders can be constrained by compelling them to give reasons for their actions. If the reasons don’t make sense then citizens can point that out, and the disjunction between reason and action will eventually cause the power-holders to lose their legitimacy and thus their power.”

This, in a way, is saying that we agree on what reality is. Further, that we agree on the building blocks and connections that we use to create reality – such as logic and critical thinking alongside underlying ethical considerations (murder is bad, education is good, etc.). What struck home to me about this is not only the definitional aspect of it, but how it recognizes cause-and-effect. What leaders do needs to make sense in a human-experiential-connect-the-dots way, or regardless of ideology, they get shown the door. The thought being that we are not going to make the mistakes of our forebears and engage in the magical thinking that, in turn, results in profound human suffering. That is what the Enlightenment was all about. But in the United States the Enlightenment – the current era in Western cultural life that began in the 18th century, that advocates reason as the primary source for governmental legitimacy and authority – is under attack by corporatists and religious zealots. And this attack – which has been going on for thirty years now – is and has been accomplished using the psychologically manipulative techniques of public relations.

Next page -> Here come the cowboys (Reagan and the right)

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About the Author

Tech geek, screenwriter, Drupal themer, amateur historian.
  • Derek Birch

    this is an interesting article, but I wish it went into more detail about how the right use the media to distort the truth. it stops just when it should really start moving. the reason I say this because i believe this too and have for a long time, but I really don’t have the information to back it up and I need it. I want to post this to my facebook page, but there aren’t any hard facts.

    I will tell you that Sun TV in Canada, which is almost equal to Fox in the US, except that they are required by law that they are not allowed to lie, so instead they distort the truth, were out at the march in Toronto on Saturday, They were interviewing people by asking loaded questions, in the hopes of finding some Yahoo who would make the cause look bad, and then that is the person they put on TV. They probably had to interview 500 people before they found their Yahoo, but in the end they found him and used him to make the cause look foolish to their viewers.

  • The media is lying because they are owned by the corporations being held to account by Occupy Wall Street. They will keep lying and hope that people believe. This is the philosophy of propaganda — an often repeated lie is much more likely to stick.

  • Here is one of my contributions to the movement…. so far. Pass it along.


    Worth watching… subscribe if you like it.

  • Dee

    both sides, the right and the left, distort. Not a just a rightwing thing. Its the nature of the media.

    • Jeremy Bloom

      Dude, if you got two resumes, and one of the guys claimed he had been president of his high school class, and the other guy claimed he had been president of Uzbekistan, would you shrug your shoulders and say “Both guys are distorting, so I guess it doesn’t matter which one I hire?
      Some distortion is bigger and worse. And more destructive.
      But hey, Clinton lied about a blow job, and Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction and Saddam being involved in 9/11. So i guess that’s both equal too, right?
      Tell me again.. how many people died because of Clinton’s blowjob?

      • Clark

        A lot of people died because of Clinton’s blow job. If he had been doing his day job instead of getting a blow job wasting more time covering up the blow job – He should have concentrated more on terrorist attacks against Americans and less on his Mojo and lying to keep his job.

        Nov. 13, 1995 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: car bomb exploded at U.S. military headquarters, killing 5 U.S. military servicemen.

        June 25, 1996 Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: truck bomb exploded outside Khobar Towers military complex, killing 19 American servicemen and injuring hundreds of others.

        Aug. 7, 1998 Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: truck bombs exploded almost simultaneously near 2 U.S. embassies, killing 224 (213 in Kenya and 11 in Tanzania) and injuring about 4,500.