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Disinformation: A Web of Distortions

The Name of the Game

During the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union and its satellites, disinformation was the name of the game. On all sides.

Below are a few quotes from a 2002 Reuters report.

“You would try and recruit a journalist and he would become an agent of influence,” a former U.S. intelligence officer said.

“The foreign journalist was either paid or acted out of hatred for a regime that harmed his family, and he would plant stories which were favorable to your side,” he said.

“The Russians did it, the Brits do it, the French do it — it’s regular intelligence procedure to try and influence a country’s policies through the press.”

Trained by the best, Lawrence Martin-Bittman became a master at the game. Among other tasks, his job within the Czech Communist Party involved planting fake news in major publishing outlets throughout Europe and America. His mission: poison the relationship between the U.S. and its western allies.

However once the crushing forces of the U.S.S.R turned its might on his homeland in 1968, Martin-Bittman fled to the United States with his wife. He spent the rest of his life teaching college students how to recognize lies in the news. He founded the Program for the Study of Disinformation at Boston University and wrote several books on the topic.

Back in the 1960s, Martin-Bittman learned how to steal signatures of Americans right off of their Christmas cards, then transfer the signatures to false documents. If he could do that fifty years ago, think what enemy agents can do to spread disinformation over the internet! So easy!

And it’s NOT easy to untangle the web of lies planted in newspapers, news broadcasts, and online. I’ve spent hours trying to pare down the concept of disinformation and give examples–a simple project, I thought. But I found cherry-picked statistics in so many resources I didn’t know how I could use them as facts. I would be propagating fake news myself!

Diligence and Discernment

Can we stop the game of disinformation among nations? I doubt it. But we can do some due diligence in researching what we read. What sources did the writer of an article give? Look them up. Are they based on opinion or measurable data? Pray for discernment.

Those who know what is good and what is evil can stay true to their principles, doing what they know is right in the eyes of God, even if the world around them says they’re wrong.

We are now living in an age that Isaiah spoke of in chapter five, verse twenty: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” Never forget there will always be evil people who lie to gain an advantage.

History deleted equals History repeated.


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