Propaganda Has a New Name - Encyclopedia Britannica

Feb 06, 2003
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The Encyclopedia Britannica is widely used in education. But what if it is trumpeting a specific political message? That is the argument presented in this article as the author surveys a number of listings and concludes, "When (the CD and DVD version of) Britannica discusses anything that is liberal, they spend half the article criticizing and refuting it. When conservative causes are presented, there is usually not such a two-sided presentation. There is no critique of the conservative worldview and its inadequacies." Some of the items are telling. When we search for 'liberalism,' for example, we ae taken to an article from the National Review which asserts that liberals cannot deal with terrorism. The term 'altruism' is described as a failed philosophy. Based on this item, I certainly think that the editors of the Encyclopedia should be called to account. Teachers, meanwhile, may want to consider affixing warning labels to the disk.
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