Long before the invention of the lie detector and its painless technology, the superstitious and untruthful faced a severe fate between the jaws of the Bocca della Verità, or Mouth of Truth, an ancient carving (illustrated) which was said to bite off the hands of liars.
In the present era, where ‘spin’ and ‘fake news’ have been identified as significant risks to the quality of policy decision making, we all need to be alert to the methods used to promote disinformation.
Global Research (the Centre for Research on Globalisation) published an article in 2011 called the Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation, which remains highly relevant today. Here are the top five (click on the link above for the full list and explanations):
- Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
- Become incredulous and indignant.
- Create rumour mongers.
- Use a straw man.
- Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule.
These rules expressed in the negative, of course, are the rules for acting with integrity in a policy debate. They could, therefore, substitute for the Mouth of Truth when we are planning our own advocacy campaigns.
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