Rebuttals of the Week #27: Propaganda trumps truth

The controversy surrounding the now infamous TIME magazine cover and the reactions to its distortion and manipulation has revealed something quite fascinating about how people in our era relate to the media. Specifically, it showed how much of a blindspot there is for the degree to which the media constructs our view of the world.

By now it is well known that the little girl whose image was used in the montage to promote the Trump “snatching children out of the arms of their mothers” narrative was not only not separated from her mother but, according to the child’s father, was the one child of four whom the mother didn’t abandon in Honduras but paid a human trafficker $6000 to illegally smuggle along with herself into the US.

To be fair, at least judging by my perusal of the reactions online to this story it appears that the majority of people who are commenting are lining up on the side of condemning TIME for their glaring misrepresentation of reality. But there are a lot of people downplaying or dismissing the egregiousness of an elite mainstream media outlet… owned by the same people who own CNN by the way… willfully sacrificing truth in service of popularizing a politically partisan interpretation…. not to mention defending doing so when they are caught!

What is notable is that people are not denying this is a misrepresentation of objective truth by mainstream media. The point that you see being made over and over again is this:  The imagery that was constructed to convey the mainstream media’s narrative  is clearly a lie… but the overall narrative itself is true and that’s all that matters.

But if members of the mainstream media elite have been caught demonstrating their indifference to objective truth so long as the perception they desire is being generated… why would you have any confidence that your perception of the ‘overall’ situation is ‘true’ when you got it entirely from the mainstream media?

Have a look and see how consistently this blindspot is demonstrated in this sample of my online interactions below:


Brandie: No it does not matter..  the atrocities are real. the children are being traumatized and detained in deplorable conditions. THAT IS WHAT MATTERS! don’t let this photo take away from the REAL ISSUES> please i BEG of you 🙂 don’t lose sight of the horror and act hastily to rectify it.

Going to Getugly: Brandie, the intention behind the construction of this image… which is a misrepresentation of reality... was to bypass the public’s intellect and manipulate the emotions of people who never learned how to think like responsible mature adults. Your comments reveal that you were among the target audience.

Here is some objective analysis : ALL of the interpretations that you have expressed here have been provided to you by the mainstream media. This incident with TIME magazine is proof that the mainstream media is misrepresenting objective reality in order to construct and disseminate a particular perception of the situation.

The question that you need to ask yourself therefore is this : Why would you continue to trust a perception of the situation which is a product of the media… when this is proof the media is deliberately distorting objective reality in order to manipulate your perceptions?


Marilyn E: What is the difference what child it is?

Going to Getugly: “What is the difference what child it is?” Seriously?

Marilyn, where are we all getting all of our perceptions about what is happening at the American border with Mexico? We’re getting them from the MEDIA. This TIME magazine incident is proof for those of you who seem to be completely ignorant about this stuff that the mainstream media is willing to misrepresent objective reality in order to manufacture perceptions among the public that reflect their own political preferences.

In other words, when you say “What is the difference what child it is?”… what you are really saying is “I see no problem with the media lying to me.”


Jane: It’s called symbolism – a viral symbol of Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. A picture of a little girl who’s being searched by border patrol agents. Terrified and scared.

It was taken by award-winning Getty photographer John Moore, who’s followed the border crisis for years and it was meant to embody the horror of Trump’s policy to prosecute all people crossing the border illegally, leading to the separation of families.

It helped fuel the public outrage that forced Trump to backtrack by issuing an executive order to end the practice.

Going to Getugly: Right. So to put it simply… it was pure manufactured propaganda designed to bypass the public’s intellect and play directly to their emotional response for the purpose of manipulating their perceptions and reinforcing a partisan political agenda.

Yeah, that’s just great Jane.


Sylvia: Does this mean children aren’t being separated from their families and locked in cages? No. Stop getting tripped up in the details and pay attention to what is happening. Geez.

Going to Getugly: So let me see if I understand your logic here Sylvia…. Your entire perception of this situation.. your interpretation about children “being separated from their families and locked in cages”…  is 100 percent, totally dependent on what has been delivered to you by the mainstream media. But this incident with TIME magazine is proof of the willingness of the mainstream media to misrepresent objective reality in order to manipulate the perception of the public and to generate a politically partisan interpretation.

That being the case… how do you justify your certainty that your perception of what is “happening” is actually what is objectively “happening”?

“Geez” indeed.


Monica: This is silly. The actual report told the truth. What if Time had used a stock photo of a random crying child to illustrate it? Or had an artist do a pencil drawing of a crying child? The story is still true.

Going to Getugly: Yeah. It’s just “silly”! After all… the only thing that happened here is that the mainstream media demonstrated its willingness to misrepresent objective reality in order to manipulate the public’s perceptions and to promote a partisan political agenda. You big sillies out there thinking there’s anything about that for responsible thinking adults to find disturbing and worthy of criticism!

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JMH

JMH is a blogger from Canada. His work is influenced by his interest in psychology, media, consciousness studies, politics and philosophy.

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