Discernment of reality and truth has always been problematic to the human mind, whether it was aware of it or not (i.e., the subject of epistemology). The process is now made even more difficult by the overall impact of the media, the effect of which is both subtle and unconscious as well as visible and apparent. The most obvious influence of the media is by virtue of the selection itself, as well as the time devoted to its reporting, all of which are enhanced on television by visual as well as musical pictorial additions. Emotional and political distortions and dramatizations add to the editing impact reinforced by the sequence and style of presentation. … The overall impact of the media is the production of a ‘virtual reality’ that includes distorted values.
While the modern, sophisticated viewer is subliminally aware of the foregoing, persons of lower levels of consciousness are not so aware and, like children, they tend to believe fiction is truth and live in an “alternate reality”… Thus, falsehood dominates the thinking and reality testing of the majority of people in today’s world. As the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels observed, if a lie is told frequently enough, it is eventually believed to be factual (a virtual reality) because the population lacks the capacity to discern truth from falsehood.”