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Healthcare “disinformation”

August 7, 2009

There’s been a lot of outrage that the White House would set up a website and an email box so that Americans can report on each other–and rightfully so.

But what caught my ear was Linda Douglass’ use of the word “disinformation.”  This aging director of information for the Office of Health Care reform is clearly old enough to know that disinformation was a Soviet propaganda tool–in fact, the English word derives from the Russian.  Wikipedia has a good article on the Cold War use of disinformation along with some great examples that include the idea of “nuclear winter.” (Precursor to “global warming”?)

Current use of disinformation in health care reform  includes the fiction of “47 million” uninsured.  When you factor out the illegals, those who earn enough to buy health insurance but choose to self-insure, and those who just don’t want it, you’re left with something around 5 million.  Despite the fact that these numbers have been debunked repeatedly, the left continues to trumpet 47 million.  This, then, becomes an example of the Big Lie propaganda technique: lie big enough and repeat it often enough and it will be accepted as fact.

This Cold Warrior is not surprised that Ms Douglass understands the term disinformation and uses it correctly.  A mainstream American seeking to correct or rebut errors of fact would have used the term “misinformation.”

By using the word disinformation, she’s seeking not only to discredit the facts but also to cast the people spreading the facts as some kind of cabal intent on fooling the American people.  In psychological terms, that’s called “projection”:  It’s what they would do.

The problem with disinformation in an open society is that the truth eventually comes out.


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