Home » OPINION » Columns » BILL CRAWFORD — Truth management skews reality

BILL CRAWFORD — Truth management skews reality



Since the earliest days of civilization “truth management” has been practiced by governments and religions to further their own interests.  Decades ago, the Soviet Union’s disinformation and revisionist history activities stood out. Today truth management pervades international communications, with Putin’s Russia, Iran, North Korea, and ISIL among the stand outs.

The practice of truth management has proliferated to organizations throughout the United States, too, and now pervades presidential politics.
Envision a persuasion scheme that integrates widespread publicity, rampant disinformation, and tailored “truths.”  That’s truth management. 
Our Defense Department has long practiced “perception management” and “truth projection” to influence beliefs – usually foreign but not always. 
More recently, well-funded national policy institutes and research centers have emerged that propagate research and findings supportive of pre-conceived notions, i.e., they tailor “truth” to fit stipulated concepts. These perverted truths are shared with bloggers, talking heads, publicity organizations, and lobbyists who adeptly use them to manipulate the public, politicians and policy makers into believing and proclaiming such as actual truths.
Consider this excerpt from a study of the tobacco industry published by the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, University of California:
“This study adds to the growing literature that draws upon previously secret tobacco industry documents to understand the inner workings of the industry. Previous research has, among other things, revealed how the industry has deceived the public and policymakers about the harms of tobacco, manipulated science, used third parties to promote its agenda, targeted vulnerable populations, and interfered with regulatory and public policy processes. These behaviors are not unique to the tobacco industry; research on internal asbestos and chemical industry documents has uncovered similar actions.”
The tobacco companies managed truth by getting institutes and research centers, which they funded directly and indirectly, to publish studies showing tobacco usage to be not very harmful. They then used these deceitful studies and powerful publicity to manipulate users and politicians into believing that smoking was safe. 
Today’s institutes and research centers funded by billionaires to further their agendas are expanding this approach. Social media, the Internet, and talk radio thrive on their work product.
Senators, congressmen, and their staffs are too busy to do much research. So, they rely on information from lobbyists who get their information from these biased sources.
Policy institutes and research centers actuated by pre-conceived notions have begun cropping up to shape “truth” at the state level too. Legislators have even less time and resources than congressmen to research complex issues. 
Folks, it’s one thing to use facts that support arguments and overlook facts that don’t. It’s quite another to deliberately create and disseminate false truths that skew reality. And that’s what insidious truth managers do.
So, whether it’s Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton, the NRA or the AARP, big business or big government, or a state policy institute, realize their propensity to engage in truth management…for their benefit, not yours. 
Don’t be duped. As Ronald Reagan insisted, verify.
» Bill Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (crawfolk@gmail.com)


… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Contributing Columnist


  1. Mr. Crawford engages in some “truth managment” himself when he leaves out global warming denial in his list of, not to put too fine a point on it, paid liars.

    Without doubt, global warming denial now ranks as the most important form of “truth management”. Why would a columnist, who gets paid to comment on the news, neglect to even mention it?

    Lying by omission is still lying. Can the same be said of “truth managment”? Why no mention of global warming denial? It’s absolutely the best example of the “truth management” you condemn.

Leave a Reply