Letter: Truth is casualty of current news cycle
“Gaslighting” is psychological manipulation which seeks to sow seeds of doubt, making someone question their own memory, perception and sanity. Using constant denial, misdirection, contradiction and lying, gaslighting destabilizes the victim and delegitimizes their beliefs.
The term originates in the 1938 stage play Gaslight. In it, a husband attempts to convince his wife that she’s insane by manipulating small elements of their environment and, when she notices, insisting she’s mistaken, incorrect, or delusional. The title alludes to the abusive husband slowly dimming the gas lights in their home, pretending nothing has changed, causing his wife to doubt her own perceptions.
We’re now asked daily to ignore what’s in front of us: to forget what we read, to pretend the interview on television that we watched didn’t really happen. The government expects us to ignore what we’ve seen and heard with our own eyes and ears, simply because they say that we did not.
Constant propaganda apparently isn’t enough, and gaslighting is now firmly cemented in current newspeak. We’re second-guessing ourselves because we’re told to no longer trust what we hear and see. We have become the wife from the play, wondering if something really did, in fact, happen? Or… are we just going crazy? Didn’t we just see it on television or read it in the paper? How can it be true when they just told us it wasn’t? Or vice-versa?
The two sides of the news media have utterly destroyed each others’ credibility in their respective viewers’ eyes, all with the current administration’s assistance and blessing, and certainly in keeping with the bad intentions of our most dangerous adversaries. Disinformation, misdirection and projection are far beyond out of control, and the unfortunate casualty is the truth, since there can only be one possible version of it. The extent of damage to the credibility of of the United States cannot be understated.
Ben Franklin, when asked if we were a republic or a monarchy, responded “A Republic… if you can keep it.” No truer words ever spoken, or more pertinent today.
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