Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Big Lie: Politicians and the Media

Editor's Note: No one is attempting to compare the American news media or any particular political party to German Nazis and genocide, but only comparing their propaganda techniques to misinformation and disinformation.

Note that misinformation is false or inaccurate information that is spread unintentionally. It is distinguished from disinformation, which is intended to mislead. Disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is an act of deception and false statements to convince someone of untruth. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false.

Unlike traditional propaganda techniques designed to engage emotional support, disinformation is designed to manipulate the audience at the rational level by either discrediting conflicting information or supporting false conclusions. A common disinformation tactic is to mix some truth and observation with false conclusions and lies, or to reveal part of the truth while presenting it as the whole

"Lies, damned lies and statistics" is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent's point.

The Big Lie is a propaganda technique, and the expression was coined by Adolf Hitler when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf about the use of a lie so colossal that no one would believe that someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.

Later, Joseph Goebbels put forth a slightly different theory: "The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous."

The phrase was also used in a report prepared during the war by the United States Office of Strategic Services in describing Hitler's psychological profile:

His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.

Some right-wing media outlets often tell big lies, or even tell "half truths", just like right-wing economists and politicians. They will usually use disinformation, but only sometimes do they report misinformation (because of sloppy journalism by reporters, or because of sloppy math by economists). Otherwise, it's all "lies, damned lies and statistics".

One particular cable news station claims that the (misleadingly named) business lobbying group, the United States Chamber of Commerce, is against ObamaCare — and that this group is compiled of 98% small business owners. This may or may not be true, but what they don't tell their audience is that 98% of ALL small business owners in the U.S. don't belong to this group (a hedge fund manger with two employees could be classified as a small business) --- a half truth --- disinformation.

And that same cable news station likes to brag that they are the #1 watched "cable news show" (which they are); but what they don't tell their audience is that when compared to all other TV news shows (CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS — or even John Stewart and Stephen Colbert), collectively speaking, most people get their news from OTHER news sources --- a half truth --- disinformation.

And a poll actually concludes that this particular cable TV news show is "the most distrusted news source".

Sourced from Wiki:

  • Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean has referred to that cable TV news station as a "right-wing propaganda machine".
  • Frank O'Donnell, a former producer of that cable TV news station, says: "We were stunned, because up until that point, we were allowed to do legitimate news. Suddenly, we were ordered from the top to carry [...] Republican, right-wing propaganda".
  • CNN founder Ted Turner accused that cable TV news station of being "dumbed down" and "propaganda" and equated the network's popularity to Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1930's Germany.

It's been said that the U.S. government learned much of their own propaganda techniques from Nazi Germany (the reason for going to war with Iraq is just one example), and since then corporate advertisers (to sell products), the media (relying on advertising revenues) and economists and politicians (to influence public policy) have adapted the same techniques for their own reasons. But only to be politically correct, do we use the word "disinformation" rather than "propaganda" --- but be some other name, what's in a name, that which we call a lie, by any other name would smell as rancid.

Politifact reported last year in 2013 that according to a study, Republicans lie more and are to be less trustworthy than Democrats. Fifty-two percent of Republican claims were rated "mostly false," “false” or “pants on fire,” versus just 24 percent of Democratic statements, according to George Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs. By the same token, 54 percent of Democratic statements were rated as "mostly true" or "true," compared to just 18 percent of Republican statements --- Republicans lie 3 times more than Democrats (Read the entire study here).

On Glenn Beck's website, The Blaze, they conclude this about the study:

"Digging into the findings, one can come to one of two conclusions: Either there's a bias against the GOP — or Republicans lie much more fervently than Democrats...As CMPA notes, this isn't the first time that analysis of PolitiFact's work has yielded disparities. In the past, the Mitt Romney campaign was given more negative ratings that the Obama campaign. Again, it's possible the former lied more regularly, although many would debate this."

No, only the GOP would deny debate this...because they lie, just like Mitt Romney has consistently lied! Tell a big lie, and tell it often, and people will believe it.

In 2011 Professor Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs, who examined more than 500 PolitiFact stories from January 2010 through January 2011, found the same two tendencies: Republicans are called wrong more than three times as often, and when they’re found wrong, they’re more than three times as likely to be called a liar.

 Joseph Goebbels: "It depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous."

Last year Obama was given "the lie of the year" by Politifact: "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it." He forgot to add, "Unless your insurance policy is crap to begin with, and it doesn't meet the newer and better standards, your policy might be cancelled by your insurance company."

Did New Jersey Governor Chris Christie lie about closing the George Washington Bridge? Business Insider: Bombshell Documents Show One Of Chris Christie's Top Aides Ordered George Washington Bridge Lane Closures

New Jersey.Com: "Private messages between Governor's Christie's deputy chief of staff and two of his top executives at the Port Authority reveal a vindictive effort to create traffic problems in Fort Lee by shutting lanes to the George Washington Bridge and apparent pleasure at the resulting gridlock."

From Chris Christie's statement of denial: "What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge."

Christie had previously played it down, shrugged it off, and made a sarcastic remark: "I just worked the cones" (as if this menial job were beneath him); and then said that the reporting on this was only because, "I'm a national figure" — as though he were a national hero. Was Chris Christie lying?

Joseph Goebbels: "It depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous."

As an aside: Television producer Randi Harrison told Mr. Sherman that while negotiating her salary with Roger Ailes at NBC [now of the previously aforementioned cable TV news show] in the 1980s he offered her an additional $100 each week "if you agree to have sex with me whenever I want" --- and Sherman also documented an allegation that Roger Ailes used an anti-Semitic slur towards an employee in 1995 (when that cable TV news station claims to be pro-Israel.)

And another well-known talking head at that same cable TV news station (who claims to promote "family values") was also sued for sexual harassment. He denied doing so, but settled out of court (Why, did he lie?)

So not only should we consider the source of our information, but we should also consider the moral integrity of the people who are reporting this information/misinformation/disinformation (if they lie to their spouse, they'll lie to you too.)

The moral of this post being, no media outlet or political party can ever claim the moral high ground over the other...but it always appears that one media outlet and one political party always claims they do. But since they make these claims, naturally they are challenged --- and time and time again it's been shown that this particular media outlet and political party actually travels the low road of morality. And the Pope seems to agree, because he crucifies Reaganomics (cutting taxes for the rich while starving the poor).

Marco Rubio recently lied --- From Crooks and Liars: "I know from my time in the Florida legislature that if states were given the flexibility, they would design and pursue innovative and effective ways to help those trapped in poverty." (But Florida is one of the states refusing to expand Medicaid, and has a higher poverty rate than the U.S. average!)

As another aside: Back in 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all the news media in the U.S. — and by 1992, fewer than two dozen owned and operated 90% of the mass media. By 2000, these six corporations owned 90% of the media in America.

Related Post: What's the Difference between an Economist and a Politician?

"If economists, government statisticians, the media and politicians tell us that the unemployment rate is only 7%, naturally most average people will assume that 7% of the working-age population is out of work — and that this is a "fact", and not just someone's opinion" — or just a big lie.

* How do you know when a Republican is lying? Simple, when they open their mouth. That's why friends shouldn't let friends vote Republican, because they would be voting against their own best interests. The so-called "centrist" Democrats aren't much better (like Hillary Clinton) --- so always vote for a "progressive" Democrat, such as Elizabeth Warren.

Other links on the same subject of the media and political lies: link, link, link, link, link, link, and link (Note to NSA: You are not mentioned.)

2 comments:

  1. George Orwell famously examined the malleability of political language in the hands of society's rich and powerful. "Political language," he wrote, "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

    Throw in the innovations and conscious attempts to manipulate political language that spew forth from Frank Luntz's focus groups and the producers at Fox News, and it's pretty clear that Orwell's insight has been proven correct with a vengeance.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-a-palermo/maybe-we-need-to-find-a-n_b_4563091.html

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  2. Another BIG LIE --- today's jobs report:

    Last month the BLS reported 10.9 million were unemployed.
    This month the BLS reported 10.4 million were unemployed.

    For a difference of 500,000 less from the month before (but only 74,000 jobs were created), yet the unemployment rate went DOWN again from 7% to 6.7%

    http://bud-meyers.blogspot.com/2014/01/unemployment-will-be-0-in-2-years.html

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