Cherry Picking #Socialmedia #Propaganda

1610063_1034383819988005_5767839952915136507_nTL;DR Summary:

  • Example of a simple to understand poster that is out of date and misleading but lives on forever on the Internet! The post is from 2014 but was still being shared in 2015 and 2016.
  • The $15 a month figure is the minimum payment if you are making too much money to qualify for more assistance.
  • State governors largely reversed the changes.
  • The issue has nothing to do with taxing the wealthy and the U.S. still has a future 🙂

This post was shared into my FB news feed. Can you spot the problem in this propaganda message? There are many!

 

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Kafkatrapping, a logical fallacy used frequently in arguments

TL;DR Summary:

  • Kafkatrapping is an argumentative form used frequently in propaganda messaging to convince you of someone’s agenda.
  • If you have seen the movie, Monty Python’s The Holy Grail, you may remember that “only a witch would deny she is a witch”.  That’s kafkatrapping! A denial is confirmation!
  • There is no possible defense to the accusation. The argument is framed in a way that to deny the argument is admit that you are guilty!

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Poles march against Muslims? #Socialmedia #Propaganda

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TL;DR Summary:

  • A widely shared poster makes exaggerated and false claims to rile the emotions of the message target. The claims are false. But the assertion encourages everyone else to “get on the bandwagon!” and join us!
  • Claim: Hundreds of thousands of Poles are protesting against a “Muslim invasion”, the largest protest in Poland’s history, and the media never covered the event.
  • Method: Assertion, exaggeration, get-on-the-bandwagon

What Actually Happened

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Scaring us to death #OccupyPropaganda

TL;DR Summary:

  • HOW IT WORKS – Fear is a powerful motivator and is frequently used by the propagandist. Fear of terrorists, fear of burglars, fear of loss of health, fear of growing old.
  • Fear works in part, because we have a natural inability to understand risk and uncertainty.
  • A scary item, with an extremely low likelihood of occurring often results in panicked and disproportionate responses.

I have been reading “False Alarm” by Marc Siegel, M.D. He reminds us of the “scares” that were created largely out of thin air a decade ago, whipping the public into anxious hysteria.

  • Do you remember the Anthrax scare?
  • How about West Nile Virus?
  • SARS?
  • Several “influenza crises”
  • The smallpox scare?
  • Nuclear “dirty bombs” and stock piling potassium iodine tablets?
  • Or preparing for chemical weapon “mass destruction”?

People were calling doctors offices seeking to prescriptions for Cipro as a preventative measure against the very minuscule likelihood of encountering anthrax. When the government decided smallpox was a threat and mandated that soldiers get vaccinated (with a not very effective vaccine), many members of the public thought they too should be vaccinated. For a disease that was eradicated worldwide about 50 years ago!

All of these were blown way outside of proportion (see “False Alarm” for details). But they did succeed in scaring everyone. Many people suffered sleep and other anxiety related disorders. Government response was over the top, and the media quickly blew things up to far worse than they were, losing all context or sense of proportion. As Siegel notes, the media has no memory. Weeks to months later, all of these issues vanished from the radar.

Fear is one of the most powerful motivators used by propagandists. Activists know this, governments know this, the media knows this. A side effect is many of us in the general population are kept in a near perpetual state of anxiety, which is bad for our health and bad for clear thinking.

But good for promoting one’s agenda and good for prescriptions of SSRIs.