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Posted by: schrodingerscat ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 09:50AM

https://www.msnbc.com/american-voices/watch/as-trump-supporters-cling-to-conspiracies-here-s-how-to-help-them-face-the-truth-99242053548

Pro Tip: Don’t use facts. Use emotional appeals. Remind them of the loving, supportive relationship you once had and want to recultivate, because we want them to come back into loving, supportive society, not to be isolated.

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Posted by: Human ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 03:38PM

Your understanding begins with a misstep. If you want to be supportive of your neighbours, both on your left side and right side, try to understand this first:


The moment a group of people stormed the Capitol building last Wednesday, news companies began the process of sorting and commoditizing information that long ago became standard in American media.

Media firms work backward. They first ask, “How does our target demographic want to understand what’s just unfolded?” Then they pick both the words and the facts they want to emphasize.

It’s why Fox News uses the term, “Pro-Trump protesters,” while New York and The Atlantic use “Insurrectionists.” It’s why conservative media today is stressing how Apple, Google, and Amazon shut down the “Free Speech” platform Parler over the weekend, while mainstream outlets are emphasizing a new round of potentially armed protests reportedly planned for January 19th or 20th.

What happened last Wednesday was the apotheosis of the Hate Inc. era, when this audience-first model became the primary means of communicating facts to the population. For a hundred reasons dating back to the mid-eighties, from the advent of the Internet to the development of the 24-hour news cycle to the end of the Fairness Doctrine and the Fox-led discovery that news can be sold as character-driven, episodic TV in the manner of soap operas, the concept of a “Just the facts” newscast designed to be consumed by everyone died out.

News companies now clean world events like whalers, using every part of the animal, funneling different facts to different consumers based upon calculations about what will bring back the biggest engagement kick. The Migrant Caravan? Fox slices off comments from a Homeland Security official describing most of the border-crossers as single adults coming for “economic reasons.” The New York Times counters by running a story about how the caravan was deployed as a political issue by a Trump White House staring at poor results in midterm elections.

Repeat this info-sifting process a few billion times and this is how we became, as none other than Mitch McConnell put it last week, a country:

Drifting apart into two separate tribes, with a separate set of facts and separate realities, with nothing in common except our hostility towards each other and mistrust for the few national institutions that we all still share.

The flaw in the system is that even the biggest news companies now operate under the assumption that at least half their potential audience isn’t listening. This leads to all sorts of problems, and the fact that the easiest way to keep your own demographic is to feed it negative stories about others is only the most obvious. On all sides, we now lean into inflammatory caricatures, because the financial incentives encourage it.

Everyone monetized Trump. The Fox wing surrendered to the Trump phenomenon from the start, abandoning its supposed fealty to “family values” from the Megyn Kelly incident on. Without a thought, Rupert Murdoch sacrificed the paper-thin veneer of pseudo-respectability Fox had always maintained up to a point (that point being the moment advertisers started to bail in horror, as they did with Glenn Beck). He reinvented Fox as a platform for Trump’s conspiratorial brand of cartoon populism, rather than let some more-Fox-than-Fox imitator like OAN sell the ads to Trump’s voters for four years.

In between its titillating quasi-porn headlines (“Lesbian Prison Gangs Waiting To Get Hands on Lindsay Lohan, Inmate Says” is one from years ago that stuck in my mind), Fox’s business model has long been based on scaring the crap out of aging Silent Majority viewers with a parade of anything-but-the-truth explanations for America’s decline. It villainized immigrants, Muslims, the new Black Panthers, environmentalists — anyone but ADM, Wal-Mart, Countrywide, JP Morgan Chase, and other sponsors of Fortress America. Donald Trump was one of the people who got hooked on Fox’s narrative.

The rival media ecosystem chose cash over truth also. It could have responded to the last election by looking harder at the tensions they didn’t see coming in Trump’s America, which might have meant a more intense examination of the problems that gave Trump his opening: the jobs that never came back after bankers and retailers decided to move them to unfree labor zones in places like China, the severe debt and addiction crises, the ridiculous contradiction of an expanding international military garrison manned by a population fast losing belief in the mission, etc., etc.

Instead, outlets like CNN and MSNBC took a Fox-like approach, downplaying issues in favor of shoving Trump’s agitating personality in the faces of audiences over and over, to the point where many people could no longer think about anything else. To juice ratings, the Trump story — which didn’t need the slightest exaggeration to be fantastic — was more or less constantly distorted.

Trump began to be described as a cause of America’s problems, rather than a symptom, and his followers, every last one, were demonized right along with him, in caricatures that tickled the urbane audiences of channels like CNN but made conservatives want to reach for something sharp. This technique was borrowed from Fox, which learned in the Bush years that you could boost ratings by selling audiences on the idea that their liberal neighbors were terrorist traitors. Such messaging worked better by far than bashing al-Qaeda, because this enemy was closer, making the hate more real.

I came into the news business convinced that the traditional “objective” style of reporting was boring, deceptive, and deserving of mockery. I used to laugh at the parade of “above the fray” columnists and stone-dull house editorials that took no position on anything and always ended, “Only one thing’s for sure: time will tell.” As a teenager I was struck by a passage in Tim Crouse’s book about the 1972 presidential campaign, The Boys in the Bus, describing the work of Hunter Thompson:

Thompson had the freedom to describe the campaign as he actually experienced it: the crummy hotels, the tedium of the press bus, the calculated lies of the press secretaries, the agony of writing about the campaign when it seemed dull and meaningless, the hopeless fatigue. When other reporters went home, their wives asked them, “What was it really like?” Thompson’s wife knew from reading his pieces.

What Rolling Stone did in giving a political reporter the freedom to write about the banalities of the system was revolutionary at the time. They also allowed their writer to be a sides-taker and a rooter, which seemed natural and appropriate because biases end up in media anyway. They were just hidden in the traditional dull “objective” format.

The problem is that the pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction of politicized hot-taking that reporters now lack freedom in the opposite direction, i.e. the freedom to mitigate.

If you work in conservative media, you probably felt tremendous pressure all November to stay away from information suggesting Trump lost the election. If you work in the other ecosystem, you probably feel right now that even suggesting what happened last Wednesday was not a coup in the literal sense of the word (e.g. an attempt at seizing power with an actual chance of success) not only wouldn’t clear an editor, but might make you suspect in the eyes of co-workers, a potentially job-imperiling problem in this environment.

We need a new media channel, the press version of a third party, where those financial pressures to maintain audience are absent. Ideally, it would:

not be aligned with either Democrats or Republicans;

employ a Fairness Doctrine-inspired approach that discourages groupthink and requires at least occasional explorations of alternative points of view;

embrace a utilitarian mission stressing credibility over ratings, including by;

operating on a distribution model that as much as possible doesn’t depend upon the indulgence of Apple, Google, and Amazon.

Innovations like Substack are great for opinionated individual voices like me, but what’s desperately needed is an institutional reporting mechanism that has credibility with the whole population. That means a channel that sees its mission as something separate from politics, or at least as separate from politics as possible.

The media used to derive its institutional power from this perception of separateness. Politicians feared investigation by the news media precisely because they knew audiences perceived them as neutral arbiters.

Now there are no major commercial outlets not firmly associated with one or the other political party. Criticism of Republicans is as baked into New York Times coverage as the lambasting of Democrats is at Fox, and politicians don’t fear them as much because they know their constituents do not consider rival media sources credible. Probably, they don’t even read them. Echo chambers have limited utility in changing minds.

Media companies need to get out of the audience-stroking business, and by extension the politics business. They’d then be more likely to be believed when making pronouncements about elections or masks or anything else, for that matter. Creating that kind of outlet also has a much better shot of restoring sanity to the country than the current strategy, which seems based on stamping out access to “wrong” information.

What we’ve been watching for four years, and what we saw explode last week, is a paradox: a political and informational system that profits from division and conflict, and uses a factory-style process to stimulate it, but professes shock and horror when real conflict happens. It’s time to admit this is a failed system. You can’t sell hatred and seriously expect it to end.

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/we-need-a-new-media-system?r=cwsd&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&utm_source=copy

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 04:24PM

"uses a factory-style process to stimulate it"

Everything modern, repeatable, automatic, mass produced makes businesses rich. Watch The Lorax and just breath...around some trees.

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Posted by: G. Salviati ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 06:48PM

Human:

Do you blame the MSM for the visual images and sound recordings we saw and heard on MSM as related to the events on January 6th?

Do you blame the MSM for the tweets, speeches, and actions of Trump that we have seen and heard 'directly' on MSM for 4 years--whether we like him or not?

When, in your view, do such images, visuals, statements and actions speak for themselves such that a person can make a judgment for themselves reasonably independent of any MSM spin?

I, for one, don't like what I have 'seen' Trump do for four years. I, for one, don't like what I have 'heard' Trump say over four years; and I, for one, don't like what I saw occurring on January 6th. All of that came from the MSM. But I do not need the MSM to tell me what to think about such things once the images, statements, and actions are presented as visual and oral images of the person being judged. I could see what Trump was about for myself. Is that naïve?

When you constantly blame the MSM for everything that people believe politically, it devalues humans as agents who at least in principle can sort out and interpret much of what they see and hear for themselves, regardless of slanted interpretations and agenda driven influences one way or another.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 06:50PM

Thank you for this post.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 10:55AM

You can led people to water but you can't drown them without their consent.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 04:40PM

You don't get to spin people breaking down the doors to the Capitol, threatening the Vice President and legislators, and bearing weapons and zip ties that were clearly meant to be used as restraints. You don't get to spin someone bashing a police officer over the head with a fire extinguisher, and killing him. You don't get to spin people doing this because they were unhappy with the results of a fairly conducted election.

There are the facts (see the above,) and then there are lies.

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Posted by: Cauda ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 04:57PM

Show them another idol. Distract them. Bread and circuses.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 05:28PM

It is a little more complicated than that with billions of people on the planet.

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Posted by: Humberto ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 05:35PM

It isn't bread and circuses. It is quite the opposite. The masses aren't placated, they're enlisted to the cause and animated.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 05:49PM

Well most people here on RfM I believe are spectators. I don't know if she is truly not from The United States but the idea that the entertainment industry (liberal conspiracy) is a part of her circuses seems to be what I see.

I wonder how many people think they "see" the bigger picture and their individual emotions get rolling into their personal colosseum?

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Posted by: Cauda ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 06:00PM

How common is this kind of preaching in the US?

”Capitol Psyop To Put Down Election Objections”

sermonaudio.com/sermon/18211739382307

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 10:56AM

I have no idea how common any preaching is in the U.S.

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Posted by: Cauda ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 05:20PM

Discovered the C-Span homepage and the segment ”viewer Calls” when I followed the 2016 election.

People who call in are generally very ”salty”.

It is like many americans live their life like they play a life long sowing game.

Like Mancala.
Leaving everybody else without any legal move.

If the republicans wins = The confederacy is back
Democrats = communism

Zero sum game.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 05:55PM

What about feeding their persecution complex? That should work.

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Posted by: JoeSmith666 ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 06:01PM

Trying to teach an idiot to think and reason is a waste of time.

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Posted by: Humberto ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 06:26PM

Critical thinking is a skill that can be learned by the intelligent and the less gifted alike. There are many high IQ people whose dirty thinking methods keep them from fully using their grey matter.

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Posted by: Grey Wolf ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 07:05PM

Humberto Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Critical thinking is a skill that can be learned
> by the intelligent and the less gifted alike.
> There are many high IQ people whose dirty thinking
> methods keep them from fully using their grey
> matter.

Not much critical thinking over the past year. People believe what they're told by whichever faction they back. When the fact checker speaks the thinking has been done.

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Posted by: ookami ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 06:51PM

My method is "Don't Bother Trying." I barely have the people skills necessary to deal with regular folks, let alone the dolts who buy into conspiracy theories.

And if any conspiracy theorists are reading this, doing anything violent just makes you look like the whack-jobs people think you are. Not trying to "get through" to you, just giving some free advice.

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Posted by: schrodingerscat ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 07:11PM

"Facts never convinced an idiot of anything." Mark Twain

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Posted by: schrodingerscat ( )
Date: January 11, 2021 07:17PM

Aristotle's Rhetorical Triangle of appeals still work.

https://media.buzzle.com/media/images-en/buzzle/1200-605792-used-rhetorical-appeals.jpg

Ethos - Can you be trusted?
Pathos - Do you make an emotional connection with your audience?
Logos - Logic, Reason, Science.

I think all of us have in common, family who believe conspiracy theories and we want to bring them back into loving, supportive society. I think we can through finding common ground, but first there needs to be some sorting out, some finding balance, striking a balance, between the two extremes, perhaps outside of the extremes, above the extremes,
or below



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2021 07:20PM by schrodingerscat.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 10:58AM

I have 0 family that believes in conspiracy theories. I'm probably the most prone to them. They are very well adjusted to American Society mostly Utah American Society.

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Posted by: macaRomney ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 10:32AM

I generally agree with all the above posts and especially Human's. There's another aspect that should be noticed that has driven this hysterical tantalizing news monolith. And that is that we are a nation that is centered in Washington. Generally the highest salaries and greatest opportunities exist in the 'Swamp.' the greater Washington DC and Maryland. They own the best minds, the highest IQs, making the most money working in that 'military industrial complex infrastructure' the result being that our innovation and quality of life for ordinary people has perhaps been stifled as Eisenhower warned in 1960.

The result of everyone with rhetorical skills working in Washington journalism is that we have a bunch of lazy reporting. Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Shapiro, Crowder, Jones, Jared Taylor, these are men who sit in dark basements, never leave their studios, don't know their neighbors, never go out in public, but sit and just spin the narative, tell the story.

What we need is real journalism, people willing to get in their cars and actually drive to the scene and report what's happening. Instead of telling stories from the basement.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 11:00AM

macaRomney Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Instead of telling
> stories from the basement.

Being a conspiracy theorist and extreme prepper is easier mentally to do from the basement.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 12:11PM

And yet several of the people you criticize here are the sources of your political views. . .

Strange, that.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 12:17PM

Grand conspiracy creation means no one is immune from being complicit tacit or otherwise.

It is kinda like Remote Viewing. If it fits you need to see it regardless of where it is coming from.

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Posted by: thedesertrat1 ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 03:43PM

What make you think that you CAN get through to a delussionary person?

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Posted by: Anonymous Muser ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 04:06PM

4 out of 5 Annunaki recommend this question.

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Posted by: schrodingerscat ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 04:26PM

thedesertrat1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What make you think that you CAN get through to a
> delussionary person?

I don't hold out a lot of hope, but I do believe in Aristotle's rhetorical appeals. Employed effectively, I've had it work before.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 04:38PM

You are your emotional appeals and attempting to tie them to Aristotle. Yeah, sure.

"Pathos

Pathos is frequently translated as some variation of “emotional appeal,” but it originally referred to the elements of a speech that appealed to any of an audience’s sensibilities. Today, many people may discuss the pathos qualities of a text to refer to how well an author appeals to an audience’s emotions. Pathos as “emotion” is often contrasted with logos as “reason.” But this is a limited understanding of both pathos and logos; pathos more closely refers to an audience’s perspective more generally. In this resource, pathos means “audience.”"
https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/rhetorical_situation/aristotles_rhetorical_situation.html

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Posted by: ookami ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 04:59PM

That's why I usually don't bother trying.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 12, 2021 04:43PM

I've noticed that almost all of my Trump-loving friends are weirdly quiet on social media lately. Either they've shut me down, or they may finally be realizing that Trump has gone too far.

The FBI and other LEAs are slowly arresting the most egregious of the rioters. And those rioters are going on the no-fly list.

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Posted by: moremany ( )
Date: January 13, 2021 11:05PM

Ignore - and Avoid - Them

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 13, 2021 11:38PM

Until they break into your offices with guns and zip ties, looking for people to kidnap or kill, stealing furniture and defecating in the corners. At that point you may realize that you ignored them for too long.

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Posted by: moremany ( )
Date: January 14, 2021 12:02AM

Oh, I didn't know we were talking about politicians here. I thought the question was directed toward the individual. There are things people can do.

And, I'm not talking about conspiracy theories but unfortunate realities, digressive communications, American foreign - and domestic - policies, and utter intolerance for unity.

Don't feed the conspiracy theorists. They might get fat.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 14, 2021 12:04AM

Well, now some of them are unlikely to get much exercise so they may well grow fat.

The point is that you can ignore a cult until its echo chamber produces the will to act. In effect beliefs engender actions, and then it is sometimes too late.

Never presume that Kool-Aid drinkers understand that their delusions are delusions.

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