Opinion The National Archives' dangerous corruption of history (opinion)

19:02  20 january  2020
19:02  20 january  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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While the National Archives issued an apology and vowed to undergo "a thorough review" of its policies after the Washington Post first reported on This kind of corruption is, perhaps, even more dangerous than intentional conspiracies. The historian Ian Kershaw coined the phrase "working

Dangerous Corruption in India. July 12, 2015. But the rival Indian National Congress party is delighted to be able to turn the corruption tables on the party that booted them out of office, and is unlikely to allow much other business to be debated.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

a person holding a sign© Getty Images

The day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated, demonstrators descended on Washington to stage what was the largest single-day protest in American history.

Almost exactly three years later, the National Archives Museum has come under fire for altering a photograph of the 2017 Women's March on Washington. In the picture that was prominently featured in an exhibition on women's voting rights, protest signs that read, "God Hates Trump" and "Trump & GOP -- Hands Off Women," were blurred out.

National Archives exhibit blurs images critical of President Trump

  National Archives exhibit blurs images critical of President Trump Officials altered a photo of the 2017 Women’s March to avoid “political controversy.”The 49-by-69-inch photograph is a powerful display. Viewed from one perspective, it shows the 2017 march. Viewed from another angle, it shifts to show a 1913 black-and-white image of a women’s suffrage march also on Pennsylvania Avenue. The display links momentous demonstrations for women’s rights more than a century apart on the same stretch of pavement.

Corruption has long been a concern of students of international development, but until relatively recently, it was nearly impossible to undertake quantitative work on the topic. Since corruption by definition lacks transparency and is not officially tracked, it is hard to get quantitative evidence about

The National Archives of Nigeria is headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria, with branches in Enugu, Ibadan, and Kaduna. As of 2017, the current Director of Archives is Malam Abdulyekin Umar.

It turns out that the National Archives, whose mission statement touts "openness" as its first principle, edited out anti-Trump statements in order to avoid "current political controversy," according to a spokesperson. The National Archives also initially defended their decision on the grounds that the photograph was for display, rather than being a historical record, but that's a distinction without a difference when it comes to communicating with the public. In fact, an edited public exhibit might have a greater propaganda effect than an altered historical record.

While the National Archives issued an apology and vowed to undergo "a thorough review" of its policies after the Washington Post first reported on the alteration, having discovered it by chance, as a historian I worry about how many other altered documents the Trump administration has buried in our records. Will we ever know?

National Archives removes display that altered images of Women's March

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We are a non-ministerial department, and the official archive and publisher for the UK Government, and for England and Wales. Sign me up to The National Archives ' mailing list. Subscribe now for regular news, updates and priority booking for events.

Historical writing by its nature includes interpretation. Historians choose among the facts, arrange and organize the facts, and comment on the facts. In the ensuing uproar the management of the National Archives itself was called into question. An internal investigation found twenty-nine forged or

Censoring photographs to avoid angering a political leader is not a new phenomenon: Stalin's regime famously manipulated photographs to shape public perception. It's all part of what Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a history professor at New York University, calls "memory politics," and the American right has played an ongoing role in shaping our memory in ways that support their goals.

Conservatives, for example, have asserted control over history textbooks to play down the horrors of slavery and diminish the degree to which teaching focuses on slavery as the cause of the Civil War. Just last week, Vice President Mike Pence authored a mendacious op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, which touted one senator's vote against the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson as a profile in courage, despite historians' agreement that the senator was, in fact, likely bribed.

It's likely no one from the White House gave the National Archives orders to alter the image. Instead, it seems the museum -- an independent organization that seeks to "cultivate public participation, and strengthen our nation's democracy through public access to high-value government records," voluntarily corrupted themselves and diluted our memory of the past to avoid controversy. But editing a photo and glossing over the fact that many demonstrators turned out to protest Trump is, itself, a political act.

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The Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption is an International nongovernmental organization made up of parliamentarians from across the world, working together to combat corruption , strengthen good government, and uphold the rule of law.

Corruption in health care is more dangerous than in any other sector, because it affects health outcomes and is literally deadly.[34] It is The history of religion includes numerous examples of religious leaders calling attention to corruption in the religious practices and institutions of their time.

We've seen this kind of voluntary self-corruption throughout the Trump regime. Yes, he seems to have surrounded himself with a cadre of amoralclowns, but Trump has also created the conditions for others to abase themselves. That's how White House officials, reportedly without checking with the President, asked the Navy to cover up the name of the USS John McCain and give sailors (who wear hats bearing the name) the day off when Trump, a rival of the late senator, came to visit.

This kind of corruption is, perhaps, even more dangerous than intentional conspiracies. The historian Ian Kershaw coined the phrase "working toward the Führer" as a way to explain how fascist regimes work. Hitler was not a bureaucrat, but a skilled rhetorician able to articulate his values to his administration and countless other Germans, who then on their own worked to figure out how put his ideals into action.

Trump governs in a similar way -- he lays out his principles whether in Oval Office meetings or in mass rallies, then lets others implement them. There's no evidence of secret orders flowing out from the Oval Office, commanding people erase documents or cover ship names to please him. He doesn't have to issue the order.

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Political corruption is the use of powers by government officials or their network contacts for illegitimate private gain. Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism

Yet while corruption is such a huge problem, the national and global efforts to deal with it are often weak. No country has a perfect record on these issues – and so There is also a striking frankness and directness in the politicians who are writing about the history of corruption in their own countries.

We end up with conscientious librarians choosing to alter a photo that might show opposition to the President. What else has been altered? Who else goes out of their way to treat someone cruelly, change a document, shift a contract to a Trump property, all out of the assumption that they are working towards the President's goals.

On Friday, the President quoted Fox News host Laura Ingraham and tweeted, "Years from now, when we look back at this day, nobody's going to remember (Nancy Pelosi's) cheap theatrics, they will remember though how President Trump brought the Chinese to the bargaining table and delivered achievements few ever thought were possible."

In the replies, there's a constant refrain that historians will resist that propaganda, and instead eventually craft a true portrait of Trumpism. I've been hearing that refrain since Trump was inaugurated, but I'm not so optimistic.

Political regimes manipulate historical memory to craft usable pasts. We won't always catch them. Instead, we're going to have to rebuild governing norms so that thousands of officials make decisions based on law and in pursuit of truth, or those historians in the future may have to spend all their time reading between the lines, wondering how so many people chose to act so badly. In the end, the folks at the National Archives are going to have to choose whether to work for the President, or work towards preserving the past.

Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro Confronts Giuliani to Reveal 'Evidence' of Biden's Alleged 'Corruption' .
"Can we see the evidence Rudy, can we see it?" the Fox News host asked, appearing skeptical.Although Pirro has been one of Trump's staunchest defenders, regularly attacking Democrats and dismissing their criticism of the president, the controversial opinion show host appeared on Saturday evening to question whether Giuliani actually had the evidence he has claimed to have. In response, Giuliani insisted he'd already revealed what he knew of Biden's alleged "corruption.

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