"Propaganda [is] [...] the deliberate attempt to persuade people to think and behave in a desired way. [...] [It constitutes] conscious, methodical, and planned decisions to employ techniques of persuasion designed to achieve specific goals that are intended to benefit those organizing the process. [...] An essential characteristic of propaganda is that it rarely tells the whole truth."
He warned that with all the modern information and communication technology propaganda has become ever more sophisticated, and in an effort to alert the readers, suggested the following questions: "How freely does that information flow? Is anyone controlling it an any way? If so, why? Are we being told everything? Is what we see, hear, and read an unfettered representation of what is really happening? What are we not being told, and why? Is the information on which we base our opinions and perceptions of the world around us free from influence of propaganda?"
The situation in Ukraine is dire, and unfortunately, it is getting worse by the day. It hurts to watch what is going on there, and the concern for family and friends is always on my mind. Following the news, whether in personal capacity or that of an "aspiring academic" is depressing, to say the least. But I have to stay informed (that's what my work is on, after all), and in an earnest effort to keep an open mind, I've been trying to keep up with the information coming from both sides. Honestly, I can't even begin trying to make sense of it all. Below is a somewhat random compilation of masterpieces that, if don't make you cry, will (I hope) at least make you laugh.
If you are sitting in the West, then you are likely to be predisposed to seeing everything coming out of Russia as untrue or distorted. If you're accessing this post from the "non-West", you are very likely to be as skeptical of the information and interpretations presented by the Western leaders and media. Russia is far from being an open or a democratic society. Liberalism, on the other hand, is a sort of a hegemony in its own right, with one established truth which should, absolutely, be accepted, otherwise "you're against us" (this becomes especially visible when foreign crises are involved). In both cases, complexity is sacrificed for political ends, which always prefer the black-and-white binaries. Meanwhile, people's lives, well-being, and their entire future are on the line...
Lack of understanding
I'll start with a very telling example - a perfect "mini"-version of what is going on right now between the "West" and Russia. Complete lack of listening. Total absence of respect. No desire to understand the other. Bias. One-sided, and selective interpretation and presentation of information.