Rather than telling the truth about U.S. actions in other people’s countries, mainstream media present us with a false picture, a patriotized history. In this imaginary world, U.S. actions have the same five characteristics regardless of place or time. They are:
* self-sacrificing (not for selfish U.S. interests)
* benevolent (intended to help the people of the target country)
* self-defensive (never aggressive)
* freedom-pushing (trying to force others to be democracies)
* legal (possessed of legitimate authority)
We can call these five the core myths of patriotized history. Events and facts from real history that show U.S. behavior as opposite to these five myths get removed or redefined as their own opposites, so that the message, the meaning conveyed by the texts, always conforms to them.
One reason patriotized history is so powerful is that it is rarely delivered directly. A lie is most vulnerable when it is held up for examination as an explicit claim. This encourages listeners to consider whether they agree or not, whether they know enough to agree or disagree, and even to do some research and find out the facts. By contrast, if the lie is slipped into the conversation as if it were something we all already know to be true and agree upon as a matter of course, it is likely to go unchallenged. It is even more convincing if it is the implied, but unspoken message. Strongest of all is if it is implied in the negative, by its absence.