Popular Nullification of the State’s Propaganda | 1 of 3

Popular Nullification of the State’s Propaganda | 1 of 3


J.B. Shurk

Mass media technologies such as radio and television ushered in an era of State-engineered propaganda on a global scale.  Any lingering allegiance to objective truth was eclipsed by the allure of powerful narratives.  Narratives create false realities that incentivize humans to accept certain ideas or pursue certain actions that they would otherwise never accept or pursue if they were thinking clearly and confronting reality truthfully.  

Over the last century, television and radio have operated as gatekeeper technologies that effectively controlled who was permitted to construct false realities on a mass scale.  In any country — from despotically communist to relatively free — the public is constantly bombarded with messages that reinforce certain narratives.  Whether that narrative is that eating marshmallow cereal will make you happy or that “fossil fuels” are killing the planet, there is always an economic or political motive behind what you hear and see.  In every nation, people with political and economic power have monopolized mass media so that they may monopolize the narrative influences that warp human minds.  You will not find much on television that encourages you to think critically or question authorities.  Television and radio are most effective when people question little and think even less.

The power of mass media takes advantage of human nature.  Target audiences are presented with images and sounds that are naturally appealing.  Then a new idea or suggested action is equated with the appealing scene, and the observer is unconsciously nudged to adopt the new behavior.  For example, a commercial might show a happy family playing around the backyard swimming pool of a large house.  Smiles and laughter abound.  Smoke from barbecued meat drifts through the air and creates an imaginary aroma.  Then an attractive mother looks to the camera and claims that she uses this product, or supports this politician, or believes in this idea.  Because the staged family seems ideal, the viewer imagines herself as part of it, and while placing herself inside the narrative, she is subtly drawn to the product or concept being promoted.  This is propaganda’s version of the Transitive Property of Equality: if the target identifies with the actors, and the actors identify with a product, then the target will identify with that product, too.

The news industry exploits a related phenomenon: intellectual insecurity.  The primary target in this manipulation is news reporters themselves.  You have surely noticed that a lot of well known pundits aren’t that smart.  That’s intentional.  The people who control public narratives don’t want celebrity thinkers; they want eager repeaters — people who mindlessly mimic whatever they’re told.  At the same time, most news repeaters have big egos.  That’s intentional, too.  People whose egos are larger than they merit are particularly susceptible to manipulation. 

They fall victim to what you might call the “lone genius effect.”  In any gathering of people, if one person sounds convincingly more intelligent than everyone else, the surrounding group will accord that person with some measure of authority.  What’s important is not whether the “lone genius” is telling the truth or even an actual genius, but rather that the group perceives the person to be intellectually superior.  In the news industry, oversized egos are vulnerable to the propaganda of the “lone genius.”  Because their psychological health depends upon a self-image of being smarter than they really are, they gravitate toward any individual who appears to be the real deal.  Reporters’ intellectual insecurity makes them easy targets.  

A Marxist globalist needs only one smart-sounding commie to create a wave of mockingbird mimickers eager to repeat exactly what the “lone genius” says.  How do Marxist globalists effectively control any public narrative?  They (1) prohibit truly intelligent people from presenting opposing messages while (2) flooding the media space with intellectual lightweights who wish to be seen as geniuses.  That’s how you construct a false reality in which every media voice claims that catastrophic, man-made “climate change” is “settled science” when scientific research says nothing of the sort.

Censorship of opposing voices combined with the “lone genius effect” creates unanimous journalistic consensus.  Totalitarians always rise to power by preying on insecure people because, once mesmerized by the tyrant’s speech, eager repeaters become goose-stepping sycophants of the highest order. 

Now, how has the internet changed these dynamics?  It has undermined the soft power of propaganda’s Transitive Property of Equality and the “lone genius’s” perceived expertise.  Even before social media platforms transformed communication in the last fifteen years, personal web pages, blogs, and emails provided individuals with the tools to challenge mass media’s narrative construction of false realities.  By empowering a random farmer, blue-collar roughneck, political iconoclast, shy cubicle worker, or teenage prodigy with the means to reach large numbers of people throughout the world in a short amount of time, the public’s voluntary exchange of information shattered the State’s (and the State’s economic allies’) long held monopoly over large-scale propaganda.  

A political or commercial advertising campaign that costs millions of dollars and takes months to produce can be destroyed with a single web page that mocks the effort effectively.  In the process, the psychological pull of a narrative’s false reality can be severed permanently.  When an unknown outsider can undermine the value of a product or idea almost overnight, the power of mass media shifts away from entrenched institutions and toward once easily ignored individuals.  The rise of social media platforms has accelerated this shift.

How have economic and political overseers reacted to this information revolution?  For many years, they have attempted to compete in the new cognitive battlespace by developing narratives that could survive the rough-and-tumble environment of the World Wide Web’s Wild West.  That’s why Taco Bell’s and Burger King’s Twitter accounts are so snarky.  It’s why politicians learned to use humorous sound bites and fifteen-second videos to create viral sensations.  It’s how a niche industry of online “influencers” became sought-after talent for pushing narrative messages.  

All these years later, though, mass media’s worst propagandists have begrudgingly come to accept a striking truth: in a world where anybody can be a messenger, authenticity is king.  You might even say that in a world flooded with competing points of view, authentic truth possesses enhanced power.  The public’s capacity to deconstruct lies means that propagandists must work harder to construct false realities.  Because those with political and economic power no longer maintain exclusive narrative monopolies, they are stuck playing on a more level playing field with everyone else.  No matter how much they might pay homage to the virtues of “democracy,” the last thing those with power want is a world where knowledge, ideas, and viewpoints blossom democratically.

This is why the United Nations and the World Economic Forum have both declared “disinformation” and “misinformation” the planet’s most dangerous threats.  It is why NATO is openly expanding operations to “counter cognitive warfare” by manipulating what the public can see and say on social media platforms.  It is why the United States has joined with most Western nations in embracing censorship and criminalizing free speech (despite the explicit protections the First Amendment provides against such grotesque State encroachments upon the public’s inherent liberties).

Over the last three decades, technological advancements have fundamentally changed the ways we communicate.  These technologies have provided governments with vast powers to spy on their citizens and manipulate their behaviors.  That said, the far greater effect has been the liberation of the public from the constraints of hypnotically effective State propaganda.

One of the chief reasons for social division today is that so many people have begun to turn on their brains and turn off the State.  Popular nullification of government-engineered narratives has never been more effective.  For freedom-minded people, that’s progress; for the totalitarian Deep State, thinking people are dangerous.

Image: Source

Original Article: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2024/04/popular_nullification_of_the_state_s_propaganda.html


The Robin Hood Effect | 2 of 3
AmericanThinker.com J.B. Shurk In a previous essay, I broached the topic of popular nullification in the context of rejecting the State’s propaganda. Citizens are increasingly seeing through the lies Western governments regularly tell their populations in order to buttress their authority and maintain effective social control. As

When ‘Divide and Conquer’ Unites and Enrages | 3 of 3
AmericanThinker.com J.B. Shurk In two previous essays, I have discussed popular nullification in the context of the American people rejecting the State’s propaganda and withdrawing their respect for the rule of law. As the U.S. and other Western governments continue to engage in a cognitive war