Letter to the Editor: Fake news

Dear Editor:

In his weekly opinion column, former Congressman Lee Hamilton draws our attention to the perils of fake news and yet throughout his article he does not mention even once the number one generator of fake news – the government itself through its various agents. (“Why fake news is dangerous”, Dec. 8, 2016)

Right off the bat he starts with a quote from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who said “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely.” Clearly both Hamilton and Roosevelt are promoters of democracy as are many of our present day politicians and educators, despite the fact that our Founding Fathers were highly critical of democracy and insisted that our form of government was a republic and not a democracy. But that’s another story for another day, that I suspect Mr. Hamilton would also likely label as a fake story.

So let’s stay for now with Roosevelt’s quote above. What both Hamilton and Roosevelt fail to clarify for us is this: Who decides what is wise and unwise? You see, the problem with democracy is that everything is fine as long as the people vote with the prescribed version of accepted wisdom, that is, accepted by the political establishment. If the people vote opposite the prescribed wisdom, then they must not be very wise and democracy is said to fail. This does not sound like democracy to me, does it to you? And keep in mind I’m not even a fan of democracy.

Lee Hamilton couldn’t have picked a better quote and historical person than Franklin Roosevelt to make my point. Why? Because America prior to World War II had the wisdom to keep our country and our young men out of yet another European  War or any other war where our national security was not under attack. We remember this period by such patriotic movements as the America First movement of Charles Lindbergh and a whole host of patriotic Americans. President Roosevelt, however, had no respect for the wisdom of America Firsters and was itching to go to war so bad that he was willing to generate fake news when proclaiming that he will keep our sons out of war mere weeks prior to the imminent Pearl Harbor attack all the while he and key members of his administration were fully aware of the time and place of the Japanese attack on our Pacific Fleet and yet withheld  that intelligence from the commanders at Pearl Harbor leaving the 2403 American servicemen to die so that the wisdom of the establishment he was serving would prevail and not the wisdom of the American people he was supposed to serve.
 
Why does Lee Hamilton not remember the September 5, 1950 day when Senator William Knowland of California rose on the floor of the U.S. Senate to denounce the fake news delivered by the U.S. government to the parents of Captain John M. Birch that he was killed by stray bullets on August 25, 1945, ten days after the war ended, thus keeping classified as secret the truth of Captain Birch’s ruthless murder by a band of Chinese communists, all in order to not jeopardize Mao Tse-tung advances in taking over China, for had the real truth of John Birch’s murder been made public to the American people at the time, as it should have been, and certainly to his grieving family, there is no way that the systematic undermining  of Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist forces by the U.S. government in the ensuing years would have been allowed by an American public sensitized to the real nature of the Chinese communists as foe rather than friend?
 
Yes, fake news is dangerous, so dangerous that between that 1945 day when the fake news of the cause of John Birch’s death was hand delivered to his parents in rural Georgia and 1950 when Senator Knowland effectively declassified the truth in the matter, the fake news was sufficient for Mao’s forces to completely drive  Chiang Kai-shek’s forces out of the mainland and into Formosa (Taiwan) thus clearing the way for the eventual murder of tens of millions of innocent Chinese people in one of the world’s most brutal genocides known to man.
 
Again, how did John Birch’s murder classified label amount to fake news? It was fake news because what the American people should have learned within days of that fateful 1945 day was deliberately covered up by the U. S. government for five years. The absence of true news is fake news. An event that should have been the headline in all newspapers across America was classified secret in a vault in Washington D.C. for political purposes of the worst kind. This is exactly what Mr. Hamilton is lamenting when he says that citizens depend on “accurate information” to function well in a democracy and that they shouldn’t have to vote “in a vacuum.” I agree precisely. But it was the U.S. government that withheld the truth of the death of John Birch from the American people effectively leaving the American people in a vacuum for five years!
 
Instead Mr. Hamilton is afraid that some teenagers in the Balkans are causing our democracy’s circuits to overload by using the “tools of democracy to undermine it.” If his democracy is that weak maybe he should discard it and recognize that America is a Republic and not a Democracy! Mr. Hamilton ends by making fake news the land mine that can cripple our representative democracy. I think that the Lee Hamilton columns are a land mine in the Downey Patriot seeing that he uses the word democracy 7 times in last week’s column and the word republic zero times when in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance the word democracy is nowhere to be found.
 
Please keep our Downey Patriot land-mine free by retiring the Lee Hamilton column and replacing it with Congressman Ron Paul’s weekly columns as soon as possible.

Dan Cristea
Downey