The greatest threat to democracy is not knowing what sources of information one can trust. When people don’t know who they can trust, they are left with opinion, which is easier to manipulate than fact. This is why powerful, ultra-wealthy organizations spend so much time and money demonizing legitimate, credible sources of information as they do pushing their own political agendas. (CLICK HERE to learn how some of this money flows into Idaho).
You don’t have to look very far to find organizations in Idaho that fit this “ends justifies the means” approach to swaying public opinion. Some are fanatic in denigrating government institutions, such as the public school system. Others propagate simplistic, inflammatory, ideological rhetoric that promote fear, hate and anger at the expense of working together to find real solutions.
They all start with a pre-determined, desired outcome supported by slick brochures and cherry-picked articles from dubious sources. They have at their disposal a war chest filled with anonymous money to sell their opinions as “facts” to the public. It reminds me of the words of Winston Churchill, who wryly said: “These, gentlemen, are the opinions upon which my facts are based.”
What we need are facts upon which critical-thinking decisions are based. The legislature took a major step last week to deny the public – and itself – the real facts needed to make important, well-informed decisions.
OPE, JLOC and House Bill 68
House majority leadership launched a deceptive, disingenuous campaign several weeks ago to destroy one of the best, most trusted sources of credible information pertinent to real issues that impact the daily lives of most Idahoans: the Office of Performance Evaluations (OPE) and the committee that oversees it (JLOC – Joint Legislative Oversight Committee, of which I am a member).
Why would they do that? To control the availability of information that may be inconvenient to their political goals.