Re: “Hockney’s Record Masterwork,” Nov. 17 by Deborah Vankin: So this most pedestrian painting by sells for $90 million. I am not anti-Hockney, but to pay this amount for any painting seems unseemly when we learn that 130 children per day under age 5 are dying of malnutrition in one African country. The human race needs to get its priorities in order. Something seems radically wrong with the way we use our treasure.
Alvin S. Tobias
Timothy Clary’s wonderful photo of a woman looking at David Hockney’s painting is haunting; it’s a stunning tribute to Hockney’s own compositional artistry.
The spread of disinformation
Before the 2016 election, I never imagined that the Calendar section might provide compelling political insights [“Forget ‘Fake News,’ It’s Propaganda,” Nov. 18]. But neither did I suspect that our country might ever be subjected to reality-show governance. Nothing I’ve read lately tops what Times TV critic Lorraine Ali posits about the deluge of lies emanating from the White House. Sure, President Trump’s predecessors may have dabbled in distortions of facts. But over the last two years, we’ve been fed propaganda on steroids.
Many thanks to Ali for her excellent article calling out Trump’s so-called fake news for the propaganda it truly represents. Last summer, we visited the Dokumentarzentrum museum in Nuremberg, Germany — the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds. The permanent exhibit “Fascination and Terror” looks at the causes, context and consequences of the Nazi regime of terror and tries to explain how it could happen in a civilized country like Germany. Frankly, this excellent exhibit should be required viewing for Americans: The parallels to strategies used by the Trump administration — mass rallies, creation of false “enemies,” discrediting the media with claims of “fake” news — are truly alarming.
Just one antidote can save our teetering democracy: the truth.
If anyone is putting out propaganda, it’s The Times. The editors and reporters have been writing and publishing liberal propaganda for years, but particularly since Trump took office. I’ve sent more than 100 emails to dozens of your colleagues accusing them of writing propaganda instead of reporting the news.
The Times’ reporters should be the last people to accuse anyone of putting out propaganda.
Palos Verdes Estates
Bravo to Ali for the outstanding piece on propaganda. It clearly lays out the Trump agenda for state messaging. It is time to spread the word and make all of our citizens aware of the fact that America is under a propaganda attack from the White House. This, along with the clear reality that Fox News has become a “destructive propaganda machine.”
Marina Del Rey
While consistent and blatant propaganda generated by this White House clearly marks a negative turning point, lack of facts permeates and harms our political process at every level. I think it’s up to the media to rethink their presentation of the news and learn a way of isolating and exposing harmful “distortions,” “half-truths,” big “L” lies and big “P” propaganda. Now is the time to reestablish factual news as basic who, what, where, when-why and how.
Sharon D. Graham
May this message spread far and wide: This lying propaganda must be called out.
This is a brilliant piece. Thanks for having the courage to call it what it is. I am so tired of blatant lies coming from the White House.
If you accept Neil Postman’s critique in “Amusing Ourselves to Death” that television journalism is a form of entertainment, then a profit-focused TV outlet will emphasize ratings, and the content can be legitimate, sponsored or propaganda. For sophisticated outlets, the three can be consciously blended to create a distinct brand.
And with the rise of click-bait journalism, print outlets with a digital presence are under pressure to achieve viewer engagement; this explains the current prevalence of articles with a Trump angle.
It also points the way to a potential business model for traditional print outlets, which can market themselves as trustworthy providers of context in a world drowning in information.
Yes, your “P” word article is on target, but you pass over the most important question. How did we end up with so many people believing this? Perhaps there isn’t an intelligent answer at this point. I grew up in New York City with Trump in the tabloids. He was a creep then, same as he is now; he was never taken seriously for anything; he was a joke that most people didn’t even pay attention to.
Sorry to ask the unanswerable, but it seems like we do need to know how this happened.
How do we shout this from the mountain tops and from the valleys, and how do we discredit Fox News as the propaganda vehicle it has become?
Thank you for saying it so directly. For nearly two years now, I’ve been pointing out to anyone who will listen that techniques of propaganda are being applied in America today.
David L. Zemel
Penn Valley, Calif.
Thank you for writing your great piece about fake news in American politics. You chose the right word for it: propaganda. I fear that, as uninformed as the average American voter (and nonvoter) is about American politics, the Trump administration’s and Fox News’s frequent use of propaganda will undermine important American institutions like the three branches of our government and, as important, our healthy free press, all of which are essential for the survival of our democratic republic. Articles like yours contribute greatly to the education of the “low-information voter” and will surely help preserve our democracy.
Keep up the great reporting.
Thank you to Ali for having the courage to use the “P” word with regards to the Trump/Fox News media machine. Ali’s column belongs on the front page of The Times rather than being buried in the Calendar section.
I would suggest a neologism to describe what Trump does. Let’s call it Trumpaganda.
It’s Trump’s own unique orange-hued spin on the facts — the truth, as objectively defined, even as documented by photographs — in a rambling, incoherent word salad that his true believers take as gospel while the majority of Americans (as shown by the Democratic versus Republican Party vote tallies in the midterm elections) look at as we wonder, “How much Russian help did this incompetent buffoon need to become our president?,”, as the president denies the reality of that intervention. That’s Trumpaganda.
A better world, full of music
Regarding “Goodwill Flows at Disney Hall” [Nov. 14]: Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, if only we had more pianos, violins, cellos, etc., than guns, the world would be a better place. Mark Swed’s reviews always enrich my day.
Still rockin’ after all these years
Randy Lewis’ review of Jerry Lee Lewis’ performance [“‘The Killer’ Still Lives Up to Moniker,” Nov. 19] delivers again. A great review of a real icon and legend. Harkens back to a time when musicians had to sing or play. Lewis’ last few albums have been great. And there is a recording of “Catch My Soul.” I have it.
Marina Del Ray
‘Judge’s’ ruling: Superb review
Lorraine Ali’s review of the PBS documentary “The Judge” [“Opposing Arguments on Mideast,” Nov. 19] is excellent. The accompanying photo of the female sharia judge is a tribute to your impartial coverage of Islamic subjects. I will look for more insightful stories in The Times about Muslim topics.
The conversation continues online with comments and letters from readers at latimes.com/calendarfeedback