Caitlin Johnstone: Assertions Without Evidence, May Be Dismissed Without Evidence

The U.S. media class is saying whatever it wants about Ukraine because five years of Russia hysteria have taught them that they will suffer zero professional consequences when they are proven wrong.

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article.

We’re being bashed in the face with Western propaganda about the Ukraine situation with increasing forcefulness.

Every day now we’re seeing things like “analysts” claiming Putin definitely wants a large-scale war, very familiar-looking puff pieces about Ukrainian guerrilla freedom fighters based on claims by anonymous intelligence sources, think pieces on why Americans should all care about Ukrainian freedom from Kremlin tyranny and, of course, a lot of entirely unsubstantiated assertions about what Russia is doing.

Despite the British government’s evidence-free claim that Russia was planning to install a puppet regime in Ukraine being debunked within hours and then shown to be a U.S. intelligence claim dishonestly packaged as a British one days later, mass media outlets still to this day repeat the allegation like it’s a real thing.

Despite the entirely unevidenced U.S. government claim that Russia was plotting to stage a false flag attack in eastern Ukraine failing to prove true in subsequent weeks, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez went on CNN over the weekend and declared that this false flag which never actually, physically happened was grounds to sanction Russia effective immediately.

The U.S. political/media class is just saying whatever it wants about what Russia is doing and planning to do with no regard for facts or evidence. Nothing is too cartoonishly hysterical; in fact the more clickbaity and attention-grabbing the better.

They feel free to scattergun these outlandish claims willy nilly all over our information ecosystem because five years of Russia hysteria have taught them that they will suffer exactly zero professional consequences when they are proven wrong, and that they will in fact see their stars rise as a reward for advancing the interests of the U.S. empire.

So they’re just churning out all these plot hole-riddled stories about hordes of Russian troops being on the verge of a full-scale Ukraine invasion with complete indifference to what’s actually happening and the reality on the ground. And people are lapping it right up. My social media notifications are full of people calling me a Kremlin operative for disputing the official line about Russia and Ukraine as this barrage of mass-scale psychological manipulation washes over our entire civilization.

Media Literacy

It’s interesting how in all the talk about “media literacy” over the last few years and the push to teach the public to distinguish between real news and fake news, the overwhelming majority of the mainstream public has remained blissfully unaware that it’s actually bad practice to swallow unevidenced assertions by Western government officials about countries the U.S. doesn’t like.

Despite this government’s extensive and thoroughly documented history of lying to us about exactly this sort of thing over and over again for generation after generation, it’s still considered perfectly normal and acceptable to just deep throat whatever it tells us to believe without the slightest twinge of gag reflex.

So, this is just a quick, friendly reminder while all this Ukraine stuff is happening that the burden of proof is always on the party making the claim, and that any claim that has been presented without evidence may be dismissed without evidence. This applies to individuals, and it most certainly applies to untrustworthy governments as well.

The epistemological razor “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence” is generally attributed to Christopher Hitchens, who ironically has a rather significant history of failing to follow his own advice when it comes to claims made by Western government agencies.

But that’s precisely when it is most important to take Hitchens’s razor to heart: not when you’re arguing with someone about whether or not God exists, but when a very consequential claim is being made by the most powerful people on our planet.

Anything that’s been asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence. It’s true of arguments, it’s true of government claims, and it’s especially true of claims coming from governments that we know for a fact make false claims all the time.

What this means is that a simple “Nah” is all that’s required whenever you’re presented with these claims, or if you’re feeling particularly generous a “Proof, or it didn’t happen.” If anyone objects to your low-energy dismissal of their parroting claims by Western governments, simply tell them that what has been put forward without evidence may be dismissed without evidence. They might want you to try to prove their position wrong, but that ain’t how the burden of proof works, buttercup.

Hitchens’s razor. It slices. It dices. It wins arguments. It keeps the news man from turning your brain into clam chowder. Use it, and use it often.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium.  Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative MatrixRogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

5 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Assertions Without Evidence, May Be Dismissed Without Evidence

  1. robert e williamson jr
    February 5, 2022 at 16:37

    ” Anything that’s been asserted without evidence, may be dismissed without evidence.”

    The pretty much sums up one major problem our leaders needs to solve. Only a fools trusts the liar who is habitual exercising this habit. That behavior exposes weak, inept leadership.

    Great stuff Caitlin.

  2. Scott
    February 5, 2022 at 10:18

    Love your work, keep it up !

  3. Maria Sause
    February 4, 2022 at 07:43

    Well said, Caitlin! Thank you!

  4. February 4, 2022 at 00:00

    @ Caitlin Johnstone
    Its good of you to resurrect Christopher “Hitchens’s razor. It slices. It dices. It wins arguments.”

  5. Piotr Berman
    February 3, 2022 at 16:27

    “U.S. intelligence claim dishonestly packaged as a British one days later, mass media outlets still to this day repeat the allegation like it’s a real thing.”

    When I was a young participant of a conference in NYC, in early evening we would form groups choosing a restaurant for dinner. I remember a person reading “George. British cuisine with American touch”. Bland with a touch of tasteless, or the other way around?

    Nowadays, the reputation of the intelligence provided for public consumption by UK, and by USA seem to have similarly abysmal reputation.

Comments are closed.