Winston Churchill reportedly said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” That was before corporations had perfected the art of public relations, investing millions of dollars in PR campaigns to advance their commercial and political interests.
The fact is, there are a number of things most people know are true—except they’re not. That’s the result of well-planned, well-funded, long-term propaganda campaigns designed to make people believe things that are against their own best interests.
One relatively new example is the climate denial industry, which is funded by some of the richest corporations and CEOs on the planet to protect their profits from regulations that would address climate change. Although it’s one of the biggest threats we have ever faced, an increasing number of Americans believe there is widespread disagreement in the scientific community about climate change.
But that’s not true—there is actually widespread scientific agreement on climate, and a few dissenters, most paid in some way by the oil industry. Millions of dollars have been spent to create the appearance of disagreement, including deployment of so-called experts and even TV meteorologists to repeat talking points favored by big oil.
In the past year, the Internet and social media have brought together social movements across the globe, and there are signs that, in this new information age, people are breaking through the fog of corporate disinformation. But some of the “facts” have been repeated for so many years that a lot of people still think they are true.
“Social Security is Broke”
—The Cass City Chronicle (Jan. 22, 1976)
For more than 30 years, opponents of Social Security have peddled this lie.
The roots of the efforts to attack Social Security run deep in the far ...