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The very idea that the truth won't be triumphant would, until recently, have been heresy to Stengel, a former managing editor of Time magazine. But in the nearly three years since he joined the State Department, Stengel has seen the rise of what he calls a "post-truth" world, where the facts are sometimes overwhelmed by propaganda from Russia and Daesh (ISIS).Stengel argues that the U.S. government should sometimes protect citizens by exposing "weaponized information, false information" that is polluting the ecosystem. But ultimately, the defense of truth must be independent of a government that many people mistrust. As Stengel observed, the problems of today's information-saturated society would have been unimaginable for Marshall, who lived at a time when information was scarce and precious, and openness brought change.The best hope may be the global companies that have created the social-media platforms.The real challenge for global tech giants is to restore the currency of truth. Perhaps someday, a human-machine process will create what Stengel describes as a "global ombudsman for information".
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