Declaration of Independence Tweets Mistaken for ‘Propaganda’

In honor of Independence Day, NPR tweeted the Declaration of Indepence, piece by piece. But it was wildly misinterpreted by people who didn’t recognize it.

You’ve heard the old saying about what happens to people who fail to study history.

This story has all the makings of one of the funniest pranks of the year. But unfortunately, the reaction to NPR’s tweeting of the Declaration of Indepence on the Fourth of July is far more sad than amusing.

Obviously not recognizing the text of one of America’s most important documents, and obviously too lazy to bother looking it up, people were quick to turn on the network. Some of those people are supporters of Donald Trump, who they apparently felt was the target of some of the tweets.

One tweet stated:

So, NPR is calling for revolution.
Interesting way to condone the violence while trying to sound “patriotic”.
Your implications are clear.

Another stated:

DEFUND #NPR let the Hollywood Elites pay for your biased propaganda

And another:

Seriously, this is the dumbest idea I have ever seen on twitter. Literally no one is going to read 5000 tweets about this trash.

Trash, eh?

To be fair, the person who tweeted the first message above, upon realizing their failure to recognize the source of the material, posted a subsequent tweet:

I also hope this serves as a lesson to any and all of us to stop and think. I have learned mine.

This is not the ideal way to become popular on social media.

But there’s a much bigger problem here than people not immediately recognizing a 241-year-old document.

There’s so much anger in the political arena these days that we as a people seem more interested in immediately pointing fingers and drawing battle lines than actually trying to reason things out, interpret what’s in front of them, and being open-minded, even for a moment, to process what they see.

It’s easy to assume when we see something that we think could be a challenge to our views that it absolutely must be precisely that.

Unfortunately, it has become the norm.

Aren’t we better than this? Well, I think we’re at least supposed to be, but I’m not certain that we are anymore. It seems we’d rather be intellectually lazy first and not even bother answering questions later.

If the people who are so outspoken about what’s “wrong” with our country aren’t even able to recognize one of the foundational documents of our republic when they see it, why should anyone take value in what they say when they criticize the way the country works?

The people who operate this way need to be the first ones to step away from social media — and political discourse, for that matter — and rethink how they’re looking at their fellow citizens, the government and their country.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.