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re PR in our epoch

Reader comment on item: Op Eds Now More Central in War than Bullets

Submitted by Jascha Kessler (United States), Oct 19, 2006 at 13:49

I believe it was John Dos Passos who first described this phenomenon in full detail in his masterpiece, the trilogy, USA, 1936-1938, who foretold the rise of PR after WW I, and even presented it in his italicized mock-chapter introductions, which he called Newsreels. It is worth everyone's time to read that great work, collected in one volume.

More to Mr. Pipes' point, is a letter in today's FINANCIAL TIMES [19 October], in which at length an American from Chicago pronounces with glee, seizing upon amd believing a fraud of great consequence, which on the 17th and 18th was exposed in detailed length in the WALL STREET JOURNAL. I refer to the 600,000 and tens of thousands more of Iraqis declared to have been killed since the invasion by America and the UK. All based upon a clearly wrong and tendentious, and unacceptable polling survey, or series, cited by LANCET in the UK, and issued from Johns Hopkins University. Every detail of the socalled surveys is as far from standard practice as the closest Cepheid variable star is from the Milky Way Galaxy.

Bad enough that most polls, even with 5-6% leeway for bias, are simply unreliable and untrue, pursuing the moving ephemeral target of public "opinion," which has been doubtful for meaning and accuracy since Socrates questioned it and its publicists in Plato's day, millennia ago. But this is serious lying, outright. And should be denounced and declared false as widely as possible. Even perhaps in the NEW PAMPHLETEER. Were some really smart political scientist to take up the challenge.

Jascha Kessler


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