I remember the years of World War II when one of the slogans of our war effort was: “Our secret weapon—Truth.” This was meant to convey the idea that our nation told the truth concerning the facts of the war while the people of the opposite side heard only propaganda from their governments. The slogan itself was not entirely true. It was necessary for the government to withhold many pieces of information from the public for fear of spies coming into possession of it. We all knew that and accepted it but I believe most people accepted the idea that we were told the truth about the war in general and that was oine of the things that kept our country strong.
I was young during those war years and as I recall I believed the government was serious about telling the truth. It was only when I grew up and some of that naiveté wore off that I began to question what I was told. I found then that there were many incidents when facts about many things were either withheld or distorted by those in power. Still, I am somewhat amazed by the situation that exists today. These days there is little attempt made to conceal the fact that untruth is a part of the information given to the public. It is not called or looked upon as propaganda and is not viewed as such. It’s called ‘spin’ and people who are involved in generating it seem very proud of the fact and, apparently, are paid a great deal for their efforts.
Nevertheless, it seems to me that skewing or withholding information is a form of propaganda and can be legitimately referred to as lying. These days, the government is not the only guilty party in this. It seems to have spread to industry and commerce as well. What amazes is the fact that ‘spin’ seems to be considered normal. It is, it seems, considered just a way of doing business. I don’t think I can subscribe to that. That part of me is still back in the days of my boyhood in the early 40’s when I really felt the secret weapon of our country was—or should be—truth.