Scott Adams (“Dilbert”) thinks Donald Trump is a master propagandist

I have no idea if Trump is a master propagandist but Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams thinks Trump is highly effective at using the methods of persuasion. Propaganda is a set of methods for persuading others to adopt an action (in this case, vote for Trump):

SCOTT ADAMS: I’ve been studying persuasion for decades and when I saw Trump last summer displaying the tools of persuasion I thought, ‘Oh my God, he’s not a crazy clown. Everything he’s doing, including his complete ignoring of the facts, is persuasion perfection. I called him to be the landslide winner in the general election last year.

Essentially he’s basically bringing a flamethrower to a stick fight. There’s nobody using the same tools that he’s using. So his complete ignoring of facts are actually part of the persuasion because he doesn’t give you targets. He doesn’t give you details of his policies, usually. So he’s reducing the number of targets while making you feel good and focusing on the things he wants. So it’s not about facts, it’s about focus and attention.

Source: ‘Dilbert’ Creator Scott Adams to Bill Maher: Donald Trump Will Win Election In A Landslide | Video | RealClearPolitics

Which is similar to the techniques used by Bernie Sanders. For example, Sanders proposes a health care system more luxurious than any in the world (no premiums, no co-pays, no co-insurance, no deductibles, no prescription costs plus full dental, vision and mental health)  saying we can deliver vastly more while saving everyone thousands of dollars. The math does not work at all but the vision is delightful and it gets his supporters to “feel good”. Facts (and math) do not matter in the sales pitch.

Trump and Sanders are both masters of propaganda, each selling ideas that make little sense when one looks at details. Both hook their targets on an emotional level. Once System 1’s quick and intuitive thinking is engaged, System 2’s data-driven and logical analysis is thrown out the window.

And then there is Hillary Clinton with her entire plane load of baggage. Oh, this is LOL material: “Unlike Donald Trump‘s lies, which he usually vomits up spontaneously like a vesuvian geyser, Ms. Clinton’s were carefully prepared, typed up and repeated for all the world to hear over and over again.” There’s even funnier quotes at the link!

It’s just propaganda!


Thinking Fast and Slow author Kahneman, and creator of the “System 1 and System 2” thinking concept acknowledges that 11 of 12 studies cited in his chapter on “priming” were from weak studies. That chapter implied that “subtle cues in their environment can have strong effects on their behavior outside their awareness“. This does not mean his conclusions are wrong but that the evidence supporting his conclusions may be weak on the subject of “priming”. This acknowledgement is independent of the System 1/System 2 thinking style issues.

#OccupyDemocrats is giving propaganda a bad name

13221075_1142063239220062_3008991528034194593_nTL;DR Summary

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Denmark has the world’s highest personal debt – surprised?

A popular and widely distributed social media propaganda poster proclaims Denmark as the happiest nation on earth because of a host of mostly false assertions about life in Denmark. Read the entire series about that nonsensical yet highly effective propaganda here.

As yet another counterpoint to that silly poster, Danish households also have the world’s largest level of personal debt:

Danish households owe their creditors 321 percent of disposable incomes, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That’s the highest ratio in the world and a level that’s prompted warnings from both the OECD and the International Monetary Fund to rein in borrowing.”


Do we really want the United States to be more like Denmark?



Do more people go to jail than to college?

10513476_892508824175506_5896618412694483809_nTL;DR Summary

  • This type of quote is known as a “glittering generality”. The clearly implied assertion is that more people go to jail than to college but this is false. The quote makes for good propaganda but it is a lie.
  • Comparing “instant in time” measures, there were 20.6M in college in the fall of 2012 to about 2.4 million in prison or jail or detention. 41% of those aged 18-24 are in college!

Poster source: Occupy Democrats

Even though the quote is dumb, it was shared 17,000 times and “Liked” over 50,000 times (which is the same as sharing since FB, by default, shares your likes to your friends). That this easily disproved quote was shared so widely demonstrates the incredible power of social media propaganda to influence millions of people.

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Heads of state meet with social media CEO over propaganda opportunities

German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Facebook Nation president Mark Zuckerberg to request that Facebook Nation censor certain kinds of speech on social media:

Speaking to the European leader at a luncheon, Zuckerberg was heard saying ‘we need to do some work’ in reference to the German push against racist and xenophobic posts on the Internet.

‘Are you working on this?’ Merkel, who has seen an increase in violence against immigrants in her country during a massive intake of Syrian refugees, pressed again.

Zuckerberg replied, ‘yeah’,….

Read more:

Because social media has become the world’s most influential platform for propaganda dissemination, heads of state are negotiating with social media CEOs. As Peter Sunde observes, this suggests social media platforms have become de facto nation states. More here.

Facebook seeks to be unbiased propaganda platform

Or something like that 🙂

After allegations of bias and censorship by Facebook towards conservative viewpoints and groups, a survey done by YouGov indicates those who identify as Republican have dramatically cut their interest in Facebook (See The chart that shows why Mark Zuckerberg is hosting Glenn Beck and fellow conservatives at Facebook today – Recode)

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