During the cold war, the East German state security service, the Stasi, was very good at using disinformation to cover and deflect what was really going on behind the Berlin Wall.

The Stasi’s “active measures” Department X was run by Col. Rolf Wagenbreth, a master of disinformation, for 20-plus years.

I found a quote of his that is appropriate for today’s massive information and disinformation highway we live in every day with our powerful phones, computers and messaging whereever we turn.

Wagenbreth said: “A powerful adversary can only be defeated through a sophisticated, methodical, careful and shrewd effort to exploit even the smallest ‘cracks’ between our enemies and within their elites.”

Dictionary.com defines misinformation as “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.”

Disinformation, on the other hand, is defined as “deliberately misleading or biased information; manipulated narrative or facts; propaganda.”

When the Sandinistas were busy starting a revolution in Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega, my brother was in that country as a member of the Montana Army National Guard’s media detachment. During the day, he was showing pro-democracy movies to people. At night, the communists would be in the same room showing movies on the wonders of communism.

Bernie Sanders was probably the projectionist.

During the past three years since the election of Donald J. Trump as America’s 45th president, we have seen a whirlwind display of disinformation and misinformation. The media in America has been complicit in spreading both.

Facts do not matter anymore. Being first with the information, right or wrong, is all that matters.

It’s hard to sort out all the B.S. from reality with as much “media” as we are exposed to 24/7 365 days a year.

I learned how to research while in college. Then, we had books we used for finding out information on class projects and assignments. You had to learn how to use the Dewey Decimal System, which was first used by Melvil Dewey in 1876.

Today, research is as easy as Google, Firefox, Yahoo, Explorer, Twitter and Facebook (or “Fakebook” if you choose).

What you find on many of these modern-day media platforms is sometimes suspect. Or as Trump puts it, it’s “fake news.” You really must check and cross-check sources, check names, read more and then research more to make sure you are reading a factual story or information.

Why? In December 2016, the Pew Research Center did an extensive survey that suggests that 23 percent of U.S. adults have shared fake news, knowingly or unknowingly, with friends and others. That was three years ago. It’s not hard to imagine that number is now at 50 percent or higher, considering all the internet hackers and trolls out there on both sides of the fence.

How do you sort out truth from fact? Heck, reporters can’t even do it or don’t want to.

Now we even see Congress using news articles from various suspect media organizations. Members ask for this article and that article to be entered into the Congressional Record as “proof” that this or that happened. It’s madness.

Well, if YahooNews.com bases a report that Trump colluded with the Russians on a paper or fax from inside the National Security Agency, FBI or CIA, then it must be true, right?

Wrong. The New York Times, Washington Post and many others are not the standard professional newspapers they used to be.

Cable news has become opinion-based, not fact-based.

Bloomberg News announced it will not investigate its owner, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg or any of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination out of fairness. Say what?

But Trump gets the old exploratory daily colonoscopy? Yes, that’s fair.

Two weeks ago, John Weaver, an alleged Republican strategist who served as a presidential campaign consultant to the late Sen. John McCain and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, suggested that anyone who voted for and supported Trump or went to his campaign events was part of a cult. Really? Those 62.9 million of us are now in a cult, not just deplorables.

As I get up off my knees from the Orange Man Good shrine in my front room, I put on my Make Christmas Great Again T-shirt and matching underwear. I hang MAGA ornaments on our artificial Christmas tree. I even hang a snowflake ornament on the tree out of respect for their horrible plight.

E pluribus unum is Latin for “out of many, one.” We all need to look at all that Trump has done the past three years for all of America. I pray for him daily. I believe God helped him get elected but I believe that was true of President Barack Obama, too.

Pray for Trump’s continued success and that of America. We are one nation.

Now back to reality: In May, Attorney General William Barr assigned U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John H. Durham to investigate how the Russia probe began and whether it was “lawful and appropriate.”

Will the Durham report be ugly? It will if investigators have the stones required to hold the parties accountable and make them walk the plank.

A whoopin’ is about to ensue.

You have been fooled and lied to for three-plus years. We, the cult members, have seen right through it all along. Cheers.

Sayre of Lewiston served as regional director to former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig. His email address is sayre@cableone.net.

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