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When think tanks produce propaganda

The war in Afghanistan is one of ideas and ideologies. Ideologies, in that the Pashtun extremist worldview is far from our own. Ideas, in that our society is likely to prevail only if it makes wiser and cleverer decisions than theirs. That is why, when one adds up Canada’s advantages in this war, there is none greater than our values of inquiry and debate.


Comment from Jeff T
Time February 22, 2008 at 6:02 pm

Ahhh yes, and your side produces exactly zero propaganda eh? You idiots had best define propaganda, before tossing the word around, as sooner or later, you will run into someone who knows it’s meaning. Whoops, too late.

You engage in propaganda whenever you open your useless, ignorant gob. Just as I do when I counter your ignorant ramblings. Propaganda is merely the dissemination of information for a purpose. Thus governments, regardless of political stripe (including the right dishonourable Jack ‘Taliban’ Layton) engage in propaganda every time the talk.

Now the trick is, figuring out fact for fiction… Something your side has been very very incompetent at from day one.

Comment from Andrew
Time February 22, 2008 at 7:00 pm

I realize that every group presents information in pragmatic ways. I don’t expect to find pro-war articles linked on this website, for instance. However, there is a difference between the bias of this website and the Department of National Defense using millions of tax payer’s dollars (680,000 to UNB alone) to fund supposedly neutral institutions, with, in some instances, the goal of using these institutions to influence the public.

The author of the article wants money to be directed through another, less biased branch of the government and have individuals who are receiving funds disclose this information when they publish.

I don’t see how you find this so offensive. As you said, the trick is to figure out fact from fiction. Why not make that easier for Canadians by ensuring that the military does not influence intellectuals, and if it does influence them, that they make that information available to the public when they publish?

This article is from the Globe and Mail, the largest national newspaper, so I think that you should reread it and consider that it comes from a mainstream source and that it was approved by the Globe’s editors, who are no doubt aware of the consequences of slander. If you can point out any flaws or “fictions” in the article I would welcome it if you’d post them here so that they can be discussed.

Comment from Andrew
Time February 22, 2008 at 7:08 pm

(By slander I meant liable.)

Comment from Jeff T
Time February 23, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Hmmm, actually, where the money comes from is not hidden. Point of fact, it is no different then any other lobby group out there. All this article really does, is demonstrate that the information is out there, and easy to get. If it was hidden, we would not be having this conversation, not in a million years.

If you like, I could get into the utter hypocrisy this whining little article belies.

Mr Attaram is all about his fifteen mins of fame… Thankfully, that is finally coming to a close, and this is just the last gasps.

Comment from Andrew
Time February 24, 2008 at 1:26 pm

The information is available, but having it clearly stated when they write would still be a good move. Not everyone is going to go out of their way to check into the funding of all of the articles they read. If “our side” is so incompetent at separating fact from fiction, I’m sure we can use all the help we can get.

I still think that the idea of the military as a “lobby group,” as you put it, is rather disturbing. I also don’t see how this is “coming to a close,” unless Canadians suddenly decide to trust all of the information that the military and their government provides to them.

Comment from Jeff T
Time February 24, 2008 at 5:08 pm

As someone who is in the military, I am not even coming close to suggesting “trust everything I say”… I am however against the idea of silencing any group, and given the number of very vocal (and I suggest ignorant) left wing groups out there that would dismantle the military completely, there comes a time when a counter voice has to come out.

The information is out there, on everything, and everyone. Question everything, and allow everyone to have a voice. That is our society… Too many out there would silence some voices, because they go against what they believe in (Operation Objection anyone?). The right wingers can be bad at disclosure, but this particular think tank is hardly the right wing monsters the author of this article would have us believe… If it were, there is no way he would have found the source of funds, and further, given the resources available, no way he would have gotten published.

We live in an imperfect society… However, it is not nearly as bad as some of the places I have been, and frankly is the best, most egalitarian society on the planet. We have far to go, but we are miles ahead of everyone else…

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