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Here’s an interesting inversion, made plain during discussion of recent protests about censorship in China.

In China, practically no one believes the newspapers. Many are state organs, and even if they are not, they can only publish what the state permits them to publish. Consequently, people go to the internet for their news. The state tries to control the internet, but that’s more difficult.

Here in the States, people still trust the state more than they do in China. The Wild West internet is rather more suspect. Thus the 9/11 Commission gives us the government’s official account of those events, and that account becomes the standard by which other accounts are measured. Other accounts are tagged conspiracy theories. Significantly, you’ll often see references to internet conspiracy theories, and you know the first adjective is no more favorable than the second.

The Chinese have it right. The state is not trustworthy. The internet may not be perfect, but for intelligent readers, it is far more comprehensive and trustworthy than the state. We need to get to the point the Chinese have reached: routinely hold suspect information that orginates with the government. Reconsider it only if independent evidence suggests the information might have some value.

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