Why You Should Be Outraged That Area 51 Is Real

Government is now controlling what's real, and we're OK with that: Joseph Lapin

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 9, 2013 12:39 PM CDT

(Newser) – Last month, the CIA acknowledged it: Area 51 is real, and it was used to test spy planes. But the news seems largely to have washed over Americans without any pushback, and that's a shame, writes Joseph Lapin at Salon. Not only did the government keep another secret from us—it actually told people that the odd objects they spotted flying around were in fact just tricks of the light or weather balloons. "Why are we not more outraged that for half a century our government has been feeding misinformation to its citizens?" Lapin wonders.

One answer: "The timing" of the news, amid revelations about the NSA and other government programs. Still, Lapin wonders: "How does it affect the American psyche when people who clearly see something are told they are wrong?" Experts note that Americans are OK with giving up some freedoms in exchange for perceived protection. But "by controlling and choosing how to disseminate information, the government becomes a major stakeholder in what is real—and what is not," Lapin writes. "For the officials we trust to protect our freedoms, truth and reality are malleable." And our reaction, it seems, is "apathy." Click for his full column.

In an Aug. 4, 1955 photo provided by the CIA, the prototype U-2 spy plane is tested at what became known as Area 51 in Nevada.
In an Aug. 4, 1955 photo provided by the CIA, the prototype U-2 spy plane is tested at what became known as Area 51 in Nevada.   (AP Photo/CIA)
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