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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

What is the payoff for producing such obviously counter-productive propaganda?

One of these links will take you to an article in today’s Times by David Charter:

“Texas stops teaching that Ku Klux Klan was morally wrong”

“Texas stops teaching that Ku Klux Klan was morally wrong”

“Texas stops teaching that Ku Klux Klan was morally wrong”

“Texas stops teaching that Ku Klux Klan was morally wrong”

Which link is it? It doesn’t matter*. You all guessed right. You had no need to actually read the article to predict with a high degree of accuracy what it would say. You had no need of a Times subscription to know that whatever Texas was doing would turn out to be something far less dramatic than the headline suggests.

I am not going to quote the article even now. Do not feel deprived. As I find increasingly often these days, the readers’ comments are better than the stuff above the line.

A commenter called Dick Marlow says,

I think that this headline is misleading.

As I understand it the State of Texas has decided that it should not enumerate in law incidents and beliefs that 99.9% of Texans accept were both wrong and repugnant. This is not the same as “stops teaching that the KKK was morally wrong” which can be interpreted as meaning the state permits teaching that the KKK was morally acceptable.

This is not what they are attempting to do. They are shifting the responsibility of identifying which unacceptable events need to be taught from the state legislature and shifting it downstream, nearer both the ISDs, parents and teachers.

But you already knew it would turn out be something like that.

Why do they do this? I cannot even say that a clickbait headline lets down a respectable article, since the unknown subeditor has merely re-phrased Mr Charter’s very first line. The Times used to be better than this. David Charter has been known to be better than this. It’s not like they’re fooling anyone: there is a veritable flood of comments saying, no, the Texas Department of Education has not decided to take a neutral position on whether the Klan was a Bad Thing.

What is the payoff for producing such obviously counter-productive propaganda?

*The important question, and the one to which you will not find the answer by hovering your mouse over the link, is which of them takes you to the cute video of a sloth in a boat.

9 comments to What is the payoff for producing such obviously counter-productive propaganda?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    What is the payoff for producing such obviously counter-productive propaganda?

    It’s virtue signaling and it helps the Left politically.

    Two birds, one lie.

    These days, this is called journalism.

  • Y. Knott

    “the really cute video of a sloth in a boat”

    – Ah yes, the slothboat; for those of you not in-the-know, it’s the opposite of a speedboat. Sorry – had to… 😉

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Headlines just need to be attention-grabbing. If they also have a touch of truth in them, that’s a bonus!

  • pete

    As bad as the UK police and local councils ignoring mass child sex abuse, mainly of girls, in Rochdale and Rotherham.

    Our liberal and progressive friends never were outraged about this.

    The feminists were silent too.

    Let he who is without sin ….

  • JohnK


    If it had only been Rochdale and Rotherham, it wouldn’t have been so bad. Likewise, if we could say that “grooming” (an odd term for the mass rape of children) was all in the past.

  • Rudolph Hucker

    Is The Times a member of the Trusted News Initiative?

    July 2020, the BBC said

    At the summit, the TNI also agreed to engage with new verification technology, called Project Origin, led by a coalition of the BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, Microsoft and The New York Times.

    The partners currently within the TNI are: AFP; BBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, European Broadcasting Union (EBU),Facebook, Financial Times, First Draft, Google/YouTube, The Hindu, Microsoft , Reuters, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Twitter, The Wall Street Journal.


  • Paul Marks

    The excuse for this dishonesty (for dishonestly it is) is “it catches the eye of readers – it gets clicks”.

    But only leftists would click on an obvious LIE such as headline implying that the government of Texas is pro KKK – and leftists would not buy the Times, they buy the Guardian or the “I”.

    So the Times is going for audience that is available to it.

    Like Star Wars and Star Trek (and virtually every other famous “franchise”) going for “Woke” people who DO NOT LIKE SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, and so will not watch and will not buy the toys.

    “Let us alienate our audience and go for a new audience of people who will always hate us, regardless of what we do” is not a good business plan.

  • SteveD

    ‘What is the payoff for producing such obviously counter-productive propaganda?’

    It lets the writer pretend (lie) to himself.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes SteveD – perhaps the newspaper headline writers really do (partly) believe the lies they write.

    To the Times “journalist” the KKK was a “right wing” organisation (it was not – it was highly Progressive in its Collectivist politics), and the Governor of Texas and the State Legislature are “right wing” as well – so the latter (the Republican government of Texas) must support the former (the KKK).

    It all makes sense – it one starts from assumptions that are, in fact, false.

    If one asked the person to define what “right wing” means a total mess would follow. There would be no clear definition at all – just a lot of guff about “racism” and so on.

    If they said “a right wing person wants deregulation, an end to “Gun Control” and so on, and wants lower taxes and government spending and….” it would be hard to match this up to the KKK which supported Gun Control, wanted higher government spending (to help the poor), wanted more government control and regulations (to oppose the “capitalists”) and supported eugenics laws and other radical (indeed revolutionary) government interventions into Civil Society.