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Here's one way not to be duped by right-wing propaganda: Unplug.

Here's one way not to be duped by right-wing propaganda: Unplug.
David Hogg, a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, speaks in support of gun control in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Feb. 17. (Al Diaz / TNS)

To the editor: I read Virginia Heffernan's op-ed article, "The David Hogg 'crisis actor' video wasn't bullying. It was propaganda," with eyebrows raised.

As we search for the causes of our great social divide and our dangerous split in divisive political clans, Virginia Heffernan's column on the backlash to a Parkland, Fla., student's gun-control activism was an illuminating spotlight.

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Provocative, sometimes ludicrous stories trigger something basal in our psyche, and provocateurs bathe us in it. Heffernan highlighted one such cattle prod: a YouTube video casting one of the school shooting survivors as part of some diabolical plot to usurp our inalienable right to arm and slaughter each other.

I wondered: Why hadn't I heard of this? Because I wasn't watching. I don't follow. I don't tweet.

I consider myself a proactively informed person. I read. I ask. I am an NPR nerd. I even subscribe to sources diametrically opposed to my political views to retain some insight [into] and even empathy for people who disagree with me.

My advice is to unplug often. When strolling through a carnival, we eschew much of the din around us. We rationally insulate our senses from the bearded lady here, the two-headed child there, and thus survive the madhouse. Modern media is, alas, more formidable than the carnival crier, but we could do well to turn it down, to refrain.

Don't worry about what you might miss. Go outside and take a walk.

Edward Cruz, Newbury Park

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