Orthodox America

 The Propaganda of Silence 

Freedom of the press has been one of the most important elements in American culture. But while we are guaranteed freedom from state control of what we read, or hear, this does not mean that the newspapers are necessarily accurate! ... Despite his freedom, the man on the street nowadays is relentlessly submerged in propaganda on certain subjects; on others, there is a "propaganda of silence.

... The Orthodox Christian who reads what is published in books, magazines and newspapers about religion in general and Orthodoxy in particular, will be appalled. More often than not, the Orthodox simply are not in the picture. When there is information, it tends to be very, very wrong! And as a result, those who do only a halfhearted research on the subject could and do come up with an incredible pack of fables from the media.

Sometimes, at best, this misinformation is rather humorous. Who can forget the children's encyclopedia that printed a photograph of the Taj Mahal captioned, "a typical Orthodox cathedral"!

At other times, and here we see the worst, the newspapers ignore persecutions and massacres in the Old World, thus protecting their perpetrators from public pressure and depriving the persecuted of support. And sometimes the press itself is a mocker of people's religious sensitivities, as in the case of Esquire magazine, which a few years back printed a satire on Stalin's daughter, Svetlana, illustrated by color drawings of actual Russian icons made into political cartoons by giving Christ the face of Stalin, St. John the Baptist that of Khruschev, and the Holy Virgin that of Svetlana. Great numbers sent letters complaining, but Esquire ignored them.

(From "Orthodox Way", VOl. 5, No.3)