Much propaganda messaging relies on showing us only a limited view of a story. Our quick acting thinking (Kahneman’s System 1 thinking style) jumps to a conclusion based on what we see, and usually fails to consider that there might be more to the story. Hence, this form of propaganda is “What you see is all there is”.
Here is the example that went viral on social media. Here on Twitter, this video clip has been viewed over 3 million times.
A young black woman is accosted at gun point by police, and arrested.
A bystander records video and posts online. This video was also picked up by the national media.
Looks typical of recent videos showing inappropriate police response.
Except this is an example of “What you see is all there is” thinking. If all you see is this clip, you see this as an example of inappropriate police action.
But there is more to the story. What are your views of this video clip when the following information is added to the description:
Daisy McCrackin and Joseph Capone were at the actress’ Los Angeles home back in early May 2017 when defendants Keith Andre Stewart and Johntae Jones overpowered them as part of a ransom scheme, prosecutors said as they announced a grand jury indictment.
The defendants pistol-whipped Capone and dragged him to a waiting car, leaving a trail of blood, the indictment reviewed by the Daily News states.
They forced McCrackin into the car as well and used the dark canvas hoods to “obscure” both victims’ vision during a car ride to Jones’ home in Compton, according to the indictment.
Once there, the assailants beat, punched and kicked Capone, stripped him naked and held him without food in a bathtub for 30 hours, the indictment released by the Los Angeles County District Attorney states.
Even when new evidence is presented (such as the rest of the story about alleged participation in a violent kidnapping and ransom plot), you can see in the Twitter comments that most are sticking with their first impressions and conclusions. That also illustrates that the first message received is the one that sticks with the propaganda target – and shows how it is nearly impossible to undo effective propaganda messaging.