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Author Topic: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi  (Read 29609 times)

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ov 7, 2019, 8:23 AM

The Seven Deadly Sins of 😈 Propaganda Are Still Alive And Well 👀

While we generally strive to stay current in addressing the day-to-day denial, today we’re looking a little further back–all the way to November, 1937 🧐 (h/t Dr. Jennifer Mercieca).

That’s when the Institute for Propaganda Analysis published an explainer on “how to detect propaganda,” describing “seven common propaganda devices.” In the 80+ years since, precious little has changed.

The first tool of propaganda in the 1937 explainer is Name Calling, where “the propagandist appeals to our hate and fear” by “giving ‘bad names’ to those individuals, groups, nations, races, policies, practices, beliefs and ideals which he would have us condemn and reject.” Pretty straightforward: attaching a negative label to a person or group of people is a great way to pit your fans against your enemies.

The second is Glittering Generalities, where the propagandist “appeals to our emotions of love, generosity, and brotherhood.” It’s the flip side of name calling in that it seeks to “make us accept and approve, without examining the evidence.” This approach works best when combined with name calling, in that “words make us create devils to fight or gods to adore.”

Third, we have Transfer, “a device by which the propagandist carries over the authority, sanction, and prestige of something we respect and revere to something he would have us accept. For example, most of us respect and revere our church and our nation. If the propagandist succeeds in getting church or nation to approve a campaign in behalf of some program, he thereby transfers its authority, sanction, and prestige to that program. Thus we may accept something which otherwise we might reject.” 

Then there’s the pretty self-explanatory Testimonial, “a device to make us accept anything from a patent medicine or a cigarette to a program of national policy” by quoting some ostensibly qualified and unbiased other person’s opinion.

Next is the inverse of the expert testimonial, the “Plain Folks” appeal. This is an attempt “to win our confidence by appearing to be people like ourselves-- ‘just plain folks among the neighbors.’”
When we see someone who reflects our values, speech, or worldview, they appear “just as common as the rest of us… and, therefore, wise and good.”

The sixth feature of propaganda is Card Stacking, when someone “stacks the cards against the truth” by using “under-emphasis and over-emphasis to dodge issues and evad facts… resorts to lies, censorship, and distortion,” and  “creates a smoke-screen of clamor by raising a new issue when he wants an embarrassing matter forgotten.” Basically, the propagandist says all sorts of things that may or may not be true as a distraction from the one big thing he doesn’t want you paying attention to, overwhelming your ability to check facts by flooding the discourse with lies.

Finally, there’s the Band Wagon, “a device to make us follow the crowd, to accept the propagandist’s program en masse” to give the impression that “everybody’s doing it.” To do so, the “techniques range from those of medicine show to dramatic spectacle. He hires a hall, fills a great stadium, marches a million men in parade. He employs symbols, colors, music, movement, all the dramatic arts.”

The aim of each of these is to use emotions to short-circuit rational thought, clouding decision-making with appeals to base instincts and prejudices, creating a bond between propagandist and follower that no factual intervention could possibly impeach.

[Editor’s note: in Monday’s discussion about nuclear winter, we described the climate science community’s rejection of Carl Sagan’s “nuclear winter” hypothesis. But as a reader pointed out, more modern climate models actually ended up affirming Sagan’s more catastrophic view, further illustrating the still-ongoing nature of the debate Kessler claimed never happened!]

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He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37


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