Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tail Wags Dog, Part 2

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it...

Smart guy, Aristotle.

The discussion at LinkedIn drew another participant who observed with regard to Michael Carmichaels' article at the Global Research blog:

"First off, this 'news' website is an advocacy site with a particularly anti-western, anti-US perspective. I would not consider it reputable."

I replied as follows:

Everyone has an agenda, the trick is understanding the author's world view or his publisher's editorial policy so that it can be factored into our evaluation of the information and its presentation.

For example, Right Web (which also has an agenda) describes the reference you linked to, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, as follows:

"The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) is one of a handful of influential U.S. policy institutions—sometimes referred to as the “Israel Lobby”—whose central aim is to push an Israel-centric Middle East agenda. Many of WINEP’s current and former scholars have been closely associated with neoconservatism, and the organization has been supportive of many of the same “war on terror” policies pushed by groups like the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Founded in 1985 by Martin Indyk, a former research director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), WINEP was conceived as a think tank focused primarily on influencing the executive branch while AIPAC remained focused on lobbying congress."

Does that invalidate their assessment? No, and I look forward to reading the analysis you linked to. May we assume their world view colors their perceptions and informs their agenda and editorial policy? Of course.

According to his bio at HuffPo, Carmichael is an academic, author, and media talking head with a left-progressive agenda.  Does that invalidate his assessment? No. May we assume his world view colors his perceptions and informs his agenda and the editorial policy at his Planetary Movement blog? Of course.

I tried to find other sources that support Carmichael's claims that Israel intends to deliberately influence the outcome of US elections and found none. I conclude, for now, that he lapsed into editorial mode while claiming to be in reporting mode (but I have sent him an email requesting clarification). My additional reading yesterday uncovered a variety of more mainstream sources that claim a decision to attack Iran has been made and that the attack will occur before the US elections. Some sources claim that the attacks will be timed to coincide with either the nominating conventions or the election itself, when the US political establishment will be distracted, maximally concerned with public opinion, and less likely to act decisively to the detriment of Israel's plans.

I presume that in your career as an information security professional you have learned to assess the accuracy, integrity, and credibility of all your sources and interpret the information they provide accordingly. As Aristotle told us, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” It is a shallow mind that only trusts sources it agrees with.

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