March 7th, 2024


“Who’s Being Naive Kay?” Michael Corleone, The Godfather, 1972

The most common belief shared among people who hold alarmist views about the dissemination of misinformation, is in the gullibility of “others.” These same people often hold the view that there are simple causes and solutions to complex problems. Most of them won’t see themselves as being either simplistic or as being gullible. And most won’t see themselves as holding alarmist views about misinformation, or admit that they have ever been duped into believing something false. Disinformation emanating from powerful institutions is almost always believed to be true by the majority.

We are often told that the loss of faith in establishment political institutions and loss of trust in the legacy media, is a product of the gullibility of “others” believing misinformation and disinformation. “We” believe we know the facts and the truth, it’s just that “stupid” people are susceptible to the disinformation campaigns of crackpots or a foreign government. In relation to the latter, every challenge to the bi-partisan establishment consensus about war is met with the claim that it is “Russian disinformation” coming from “Putin apologists.” There can be no debate tolerated in corporate media regarding the most important global issues of our time. 

If you believe that humans are negatively impacting the global climate, but don’t agree that electric cars and carbon taxes are the solutions, you are labelled a “climate change denier.” If you believe in social justice for everyone, especially those who are members of a minority group, but support open discussion on these topics, you are labelled a bigot. If you believe that there is still much work to be done in relation to social and environmental justice, the censoring of any related discussion is surely not a progressive action. Presumably, democracy and free expression is founded on the idea of the tolerance of views you do not share.

One fact we can establish with certainty, is that what has been accepted as settled fact in the past, has very often been proven false in the present. This is especially true about what we are told about wars. In every war the U.S. and its allies have been embroiled in since the end of WW2, there has been a constant stream of disinformation about the origins and motivations for these violent conflicts that have killed millions of civilians, and it has emanated from Western governments and their corporate legacy media allies. Julian Assange is not being tortured in a British gulag for telling lies, but for publishing the truth.

This same disinformation was present when it was claimed that the pandemic started in a wet market, and those who suggested that the virus may have emerged from a research lab were labelled conspiracy theorists and bigots and they were censored from media, social and otherwise. The real bigotry was the ease with which people believed the cause was a “filthy” Chinese cultural practice, when our own industrial meat production could not be more unethical. We now know that the virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, the product of American research that had been outsourced to avoid regulatory oversight at home.

This small community newspaper has had the courage to publish more than one perspective, while receiving harsh criticism for printing dissenting views about the pandemic. Most of what The Islands Grapevine published on the subject of the pandemic was the information provided to it by local government, 20 local doctors, and material promoted by the Hornby Denman Community Health Care Society. But the truth is that it was never a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”, as we were repeatedly told, and the mandates imposed upon us were based on fabrications. We are proud that this newspaper was a rare source for a diversity of views, and we are committed to carrying this principle forward.

Keith Porteous

Associate Editor, The Islands Grapevine