“We Fudge the Truth” – The Daily Prophet and the Order of the Phoenix

 

TheBoyWhoLies

The Ministry Becomes the Ministry of Lies—Its Slogan, “We Fudge the Truth”

In the book that we have already spent so much time discussing and dissecting, we find out that the Daily Prophet has spent the entire summer (following the murder of Cedric Diggory and Harry’s escape from Voldemort) denouncing Harry’s story and publishing articles denigrating and attacking Harry Potter (OP 73). When the ten Death Eaters escape from Azkaban, the Ministry of Magic uses the Daily Prophet to present its conclusion—based solely on the fact that Black had previously escaped from Azkaban— that the Death Eaters were assisted in their escape by Sirius Black (OP 544–45).

Dumbledore repeatedly tells Fudge and the others the truth, but they refuse to have any part of it. Only at the end, when Fudge sees Voldemort with his own eyes (and in the presence of other witnesses!) does the paper finally print the truth about Voldemort’s return—as well as Harry Potter’s redemption as the lone voice of truth in the wilderness of lies (OP 817).

Umbridge Daily Prophet

Notice how the Daily Prophet is also used to extol Professor Umbridge’s values as a Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts and as Hogwarts’s first High Inquisitor (OP 306–8). In the process of describing what a wonderful headmistress Dolores Umbridge is, the Daily Prophet obtains a single countervailing view from one Professor Marchbanks—and then immediately attacks her credibility via a separate article providing “a full account of Madam Marchbanks’s alleged links to subversive goblin groups” (OP 308). Talk about argument ad hominem!

Near the end book 5, an alternative newspaper, The Quibbler, prints an exclusive interview with Harry conducted by none other than Rita Skeeter. This game-changing piece is eventually reprinted in its entirety by the Daily Profit—er, we mean Prophet—once the return of Voldemort is finally acknowledged.

Spy Term

argument ad hominem (n): a fallacy in logic in which the position or viewpoint of a particular person is rejected based solely on a negative view of that person.

Example: The Daily Prophet repeatedly rejected Harry’s statements that Voldemort had returned by attacking him personally. It damaged his credibility rather than addressing his claims head on with evidence that Voldemort had not returned.

Quiz: The Daily Prophet Reveals All

Cho Valentine

Voldemort may have stayed undercover for most of Order of the Phoenix, but the alert spy had plenty of chances to find out little bits of what the Dark Lord was up to. How much do you know about his clandestine operations? Oh, and how much do you know about girls? Harry certainly struggled to understand Cho….

1. Harry “feels” that Voldemort is very, very happy about something, which is front page the next day in the Daily Prophet. What has happened?

2. As Harry and Cho head for their Valentine’s date, Cho observes that unlike when Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban, something is missing. What?

3. Being a good intelligence analysis, what does Harry conclude from this fact and from the escape itself?

4. In the same edition of the Daily Prophet, Hermione discovers that someone was killed by a deadly plant. Who was killed and by what plant?

5. Harry had seen the plant but didn’t do anything. Why not?

6. Hermione concludes what about the placement of Devil’s Snare next to Bede’s hospital bed?

7. What does Harry mention during his Valentine’s date with Cho that results in making the date go terribly wrong?

8. When Harry finally realizes why Cho is jealous of Hermione he fails to maintain his demeanor or apply situational awareness and laughs at the idea of him and Hermione as “an item.” What does Cho do?

9. When Harry meets up with Hermione at The Three Broomsticks he first talks to a friend who has perhaps drank too much. Who is it?

10. When Harry goes to sit down with Hermione, what other two people are with her, to Harry’s great surprise?

 

Spy Terms:

It’s high time we discussed the different levels of secrecy in the CIA. Author Peter Earnest, current Director of the International Spy Museum, spent 25 years as a clandestine officer. But what does that mean exactly?

Clandestine Operation (n): An operation sponsored or conducted by governmental departments or agencies in such a way as to assure secrecy or concealment. A clandestine operation differs from a covert operation in that emphasis is placed on concealment of the operation rather than on concealment of the identity of the sponsor.

In plain English: The operation is so secret you won’t even know it happened. The people who conduct these operations essentially don’t exist.

Harry Potter Example: Voldemort had intended his return to life/form to be a clandestine operation. No wizard (other than his followers) was supposed to know he’d returned.

Covert Operation (n): An operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor

In plain English: The world knows something happened. They just don’t know who did it!

Harry Potter Example: When the Death Eaters escape from Azkaban, everyone knows someone set them free. No one, however, seems to know who did it. Those who believe Harry when he says Voldemort is back understandably suspect the Dark Lord. The Daily Prophet, however, convinced many that Sirius Black was responsible!

Trivia: Dumbledore’s Army at Work

Ron as Keeper

 

It’s time for more trivia! We’re making our way through Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ten trivia questions at a time. This week, we’re adding SPY TERMS to our trivia. Words or phrases in bold will be defined and demonstrated with examples from Harry Potter following all of the questions. Let us know what you think!

1. Cho’s suggestion that they call their subversive organization “Defense Army”  is rejected because it implies what they are doing. Who suggests Dumbledore’s Army?

2. Why do the students decide on Dumbledore’s Army as the name?
3. Harry decides to start the DA training by working on one basic spell. What is it?
4. Which student thinks the spell is too simple, until he is told Harry has used it against Voldemort?
5. What does Cho tell Harry about Marietta that makes him wonder if she is a security risk?
6.  What device does Hermione come up with to use for Harry to communicate to all the DA members about meeting times?
7.  The Hermione’s idea about the fake Galleon reminds Harry of what Death Eater communication method?
8. What do the Slytherins use at the Quidditch match to conduct psychological operations against Ron?

9.  How does Malfoy bait the Gryffindor winners?

10. Gryffindor’s win at the Quidditch match is a Pyrrhic victory? How so?

Important Spy Term:

Psychological operations (n): Also known as PSYOPS, this term refers to the use of psychological intelligence  in an operation normally intended to convince a person (an enemy or a potential agent) of the need to act a certain way.

Example: Professor Umbridge’s use of detentions and torture was intended to break Harry and convince him to cooperate with the Ministry. Fortunately for Dumbledore’s Army, it had the opposite effect!

To test your Harry Potter knowledge to the max, try our trivia beginning with the first chapter of Order of the Phoenix by clicking here. Answers will be posted tomorrow!

Break the Code: Decipher the Prophecy!

Prophecy Label

Last time we figured what the number 6—2—4—4—2 means.  These are the numbers Mr. Weasley enters when they go to Harry’s trial in the Order of the Phoenix—and the number Harry later uses to get in to the Ministry of Magic with his friends to rescue Sirius.

In the Order of the Phoenix when Harry reaches the Department of Mysteries, Harry comes over and reviews the card (780) right beneath a prophecy, which states

S.P.T. to A.P.W.B.D.

Dark Lord

and (?) Harry Potter

Remember the Mirror of Erised, where the letters carved into the mirror needed only to be read backwards to reveal its message? Here we have a code based on abbreviations, though Harry does not know it yet.

Does anybody remember what SPT stands for, or ABWBD?

Let’s think about it for a bit. We are dealing with a prophecy, a prophecy about Harry. First of all, who delivered (that is, spoke out loud) the prophecy?

And who heard the prophecy being given?

Perhaps a certain Divinations teacher and a certain Headmaster?

Quite correct you are!

SPTstands for Sibyl P. Trelawney!

And APWBD stands for Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore!

Thus, the abbreviations stand for “Sibyl P. Trelawney to Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore”!   OP 780, 840, 841

But there is more to figure out.

Why is there a question mark? Because the prophecy could apply to Harry Potter, but it could also apply to some other boy born at the end of July whose parents thrice defied Lord Voldemort. And we all know who that boy is, don’t we?

Yes!

Neville Longbottom!