Aside from the evidence of our own senses, almost everything we know about the past or the news of today comes from bits of ink on paper or colored pixels on a screen …

Ron Unz: Our American pravda

In the information age, the information we think we have consists chiefly, not of facts deducible from personal and direct experience, but alleged facts based on the alleged personal and direct experience of others.

The emergence of means for the dirt cheap dissemination of “information” thus has removed our understanding of the world further from directly experienced reality than that of our Medieval ancestors, which raises the question of whether we truly know more than they, or perhaps much less.

In Our American Pravda, Ron Unz explores this question in light of multiple failures of the American media to inform the public about the harm done by Soviet spies and financial fraudsters, or inform them of easily established facts about the 2001 anthrax attacks and many other questions.

Naturally, one looks forward to Unz’s examination of the role of the media in the coverage of 9/11, only to be disappointed to find Unz as silent as the New York Times about the aerobatic flying skills of Hani Hanjour, or the Islamic credentials of Mohamad Atta.

But then there are limits beyond which even a radical American magazine publisher can go. In fact, once public perception has been corrupted by the media beyond a certain point, only lies are credible, and truth speakers are almost universally ignored, ridiculed or condemned as liars or lunatics.