"Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.” Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals.
In the Alinsky way of Chicago politics the art of disinformation has been very sharply honed. In the absence of being able to run on his record Obama and his Alinskyite strategists will be running their 2012 campaign. You will not hear Obama or his minions proclaiming the wonders of Obama’s accomplishments as there are none. Instead you will be given a steady stream of disinformation to sway the voters for Obama.
Disinformation is a tactic where and organization or person are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address. This tactic was developed by the communists at the turn of the twentieth century and honed into a science at the Frankfurt School to demonize the capitalist and free-market economic system.
Two recent examples of how the left is using disinformation to reelect Barack Obama are illustrated by Harry Reid and Joe Soptic.
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) has been claiming for almost two weeks that Mitt Romney has not paid any taxes for 10 years. He makes this claim based on information he received from an unnamed former Bain Capital investor. Of course he has no evidence to support this claim yet he stands, almost on a daily basis, on the floor of the Senate and tosses this accusation around with total impunity.
According to Politifact Reid has said Romney paid no taxes for 10 years. It was no slip of the tongue. He repeated the claim on at least two more occasions, at one point saying that “the word is out” when in fact it was only Reid who put that “word” out.
Reid has produced no evidence to back up his claim other than attribution to a shadowy anonymous source. Romney has denied the claim, and tax experts back him up, saying that the nature of Romney’s investments in Bain make it highly unlikely he would have been able to avoid paying taxes altogether — especially for 10 years.
Reid has made an extreme claim with nothing solid to back it up just as Alinsky advises in his Rules for Radicals playbook.
Anyone with an ounce of brains knows that the IRS would have been all over Romney like a wet blanket had he paid no taxes. It matters not that Reid has no evidence for his claim the disinformation is out there and the damage is done. Yes, Romney can refute this claim, but it will take energy away from his campaign and Reid can tell any lies he wants from the floor of the Senate without the fear of being called to the bar of justice for liable — as a serving senator he is immune from the laws of liable.
On the other hand Reid has been linked to disgraced fundraiser Jack Abramoff, participated in nepotism-related scandals which are frowned upon everywhere west of the Kennedy compound, and even pushed for a taxpayer-funded “green” high-speed rail system which would directly financially benefit his cronies and him while providing a “vital” rail link between Las Vegas and that heart of West Coast travel and tourism: Victorville, California.
The second, and most recent, example is the claim of Joe Soptic. The Obama supporting Super PAC Priorities USA yesterday introduced us to Joe Soptic who claims Mitt Romney killed his wife. According to CNN this claim is a bold face lie.
Soptic claims in the Super Pac ad that Mitt Romney and Bain Capital bought GST Steel at some point. Romney left day to day operations of Bain in 1999. Thereafter, Bain offered Joe Soptic a buy out and he refused. Eventually the steel plant went out of business and Joe went on the unemployment line. That happened in 2001 — two years after Romney left.
In 2002 or 2003, Mrs. Soptic injured her rotator cuff and left her job. She lost her insurance. In 2006, she was diagnosed with cancer and died a few days later. It is a terrible tragedy that Mitt Romney had nothing to do with.
It seems Mr. Soptic chose poorly on the buy-out offer, lost his job, and would prefer to blame Mitt Romney than anyone else. Priorities USA has set a new standard — Mitt Romney killed a woman, despite being removed from both time of death and decision making. This is disinformation, Alinsky style, at its pinnacle.
There was a time, not too long ago, that governments and the groups of elites that controlled them did not find it necessary to conscript themselves into wars of disinformation.
Propaganda was relatively straightforward. The lies were much simpler. The control of information flow was easily directed. Rules were enforced with the threat of property confiscation and execution for anyone who strayed from the rigid socio-political structure. Those who had theological, metaphysical or scientific information outside of the conventional and scripted collective world view were tortured and slaughtered. The elites kept the information to themselves, and removed its remnants from mainstream recognition, sometimes for centuries before it was rediscovered.
With the advent of anti-feudalism, and most importantly the success of the American Revolution, elitists were no longer able to dominate information with the edge of a blade or the barrel of a gun. The establishment of Republics, with their philosophy of open government and rule by the people, compelled aristocratic minorities to plot more subtle ways of obstructing the truth and thus maintaining their hold over the world without exposing themselves to retribution from the masses. Thus, the complex art of disinformation was born.
The technique, the “magic” of the lie, was refined and perfected. The mechanics of the human mind and the human soul became an endless obsession for the establishment.
The goal was malicious, but socially radical; instead of expending the impossible energy needed to dictate the very form and existence of the truth, they would allow it to drift, obscured in a fog of contrived data. They would wrap the truth in a Gordian Knot of misdirection and fabrication so elaborate that they felt certain the majority of people would surrender, giving up long before they ever finished unraveling the deceit. The goal was not to destroy the truth, but to hide it in plain sight.
In modern times, and with carefully engineered methods, this goal has for the most part been accomplished. However, these methods also have inherent weaknesses. Lies are fragile. They require constant attentiveness to keep them alive. The exposure of a single truth can rip through an ocean of lies, evaporating it instantly.
Today most historians consider Edward Bernays the father of modern disinformation. He believed this manipulation was necessary in society, which he regarded as irrational and dangerous as a result of the 'herd instinct'. One of Bernays' favorite techniques for manipulating public opinion was the indirect use of "third party authorities" to plead his clients' causes. "If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway", he said. In order to promote sales of bacon, for example, he conducted a survey of physicians and reported their recommendation that people eat heavy breakfasts. He sent the results of the survey to 5,000 physicians, along with publicity touting bacon and eggs as a heavy breakfast. It was Bernays who was retained by Woodrow Wilson to shape American public opinion to favor entry into World War I. His books and treatises were widely read by those who wanted to shape public opinion and one of his disciples was Joseph Goebbels, Adolph Hitler’s minister of propaganda.
The mainstream media, once tasked with the job of investigating government corruption and keeping elitists and masterminds in line, has now become nothing more than a public relations firm for corrupt officials and their globalist handlers. The days of the legitimate “investigative reporter” are long gone (if they ever existed at all), and journalism itself has deteriorated into a rancid pool of so called “TV Editorialists” who treat their own baseless opinions as supported fact.
The elitist co-opting of news has been going on in one form or another since the invention of the printing press. However, the first methods of media disinformation truly came to fruition under the supervision of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, a supported of Franklin Roosevelt and big government who believed the truth was “subjective” and open to his personal interpretation.
Some of the main tactics used by the mainstream media to mislead the masses are as follows:
Lie Big, Retract Quietly: Mainstream media sources (especially newspapers) are notorious for reporting flagrantly dishonest and unsupported news stories on the front page, then quietly retracting those stories on the very back page when they are caught. In this case, the point is to railroad the lie into the collective consciousness. Once the lie is finally exposed, it is already too late, and a large portion of the population will not notice or care when the truth comes out.
Unconfirmed or Controlled Sources As Fact: Cable news venues often cite information from “unnamed” sources, government sources that have an obvious bias or agenda, or “expert” sources without providing an alternative “expert” view. The information provided by these sources is usually backed by nothing more than blind faith.
Calculated Omission: Otherwise known as “cherry picking” data. One simple piece of information or root item of truth can derail an entire disinformation news story, so instead of trying to gloss over it, they simply pretend as if it doesn’t exist. When the fact is omitted, the lie can appear entirely rational. This tactic is also used extensively when disinformation agents and crooked journalists engage in open debate.
Distraction and the Manufacture of Relevance: Sometimes the truth wells up into the public awareness regardless of what the media does to bury it. When this occurs their only recourse is to attempt to change the public’s focus and thereby distract them from the truth they were so close to grasping. The media accomplishes this by “over-reporting” on a subject that has nothing to do with the more important issues at hand. Ironically, the media can take an unimportant story, and by reporting on it ad nauseum, cause many Americans to assume that because the media won’t shut-up about it, it must be important!
Dishonest Debate Tactics: Sometimes, men who actually are concerned with the average American’s pursuit of honesty and legitimate fact-driven information break through and appear on TV. However, rarely are they allowed to share their views or insights without having to fight through a wall of carefully crafted deceit and propaganda. Because the media know they will lose credibility if they do not allow guests with opposing viewpoints every once in a while, they set up and choreograph specialized TV. debates in highly restrictive environments which put the guest on the defensive, and make it difficult for them to clearly convey their ideas or facts. Sometimes this is called “Fair and Balanced.”
TV pundits are often trained in what are commonly called “Alinsky Tactics.” Saul Alinsky was a moral relativist, and champion of the lie as a tool for the “greater good”; essentially, a modern day Machiavelli. His “Rules for Radicals” were supposedly meant for grassroots activists who opposed the establishment and emphasized the use of any means necessary to defeat one’s political opposition. But is it truly possible to defeat an establishment built on lies, by use of even more elaborate lies, and by sacrificing one’s ethics? In reality, his strategies are the perfect format for corrupt institutions and governments to dissuade dissent from the masses. Today, Alinsky’s rules are used more often by the establishment than by its opposition.
Alinsky’s Strategy: Win At Any Cost, Even If You Have To Lie
Alinsky’s tactics have been adopted by governments and disinformation specialists across the world, but they are most visible in TV debate. While Alinsky sermonized about the need for confrontation in society, his debate tactics are actually designed to circumvent real and honest confrontation of opposing ideas with slippery tricks and diversions. Alinsky’s tactics as professed in his Rules for Radicals, and their modern usage, can be summarized as follows:
1) Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.
We see this tactic in many forms. For example, projecting your own movement as mainstream, and your opponent’s as fringe along with. convincing your opponent that his fight is a futile one. Your opposition may act differently, or even hesitate to act at all, based on their perception of your power. How often have we heard this line: “The government knows what is best for the people and there is nothing the people can do now.” This is a projection of exaggerated invincibility designed to elicit apathy from the masses.
2) Never go outside the experience of your people, and whenever possible, go outside of the experience of the enemy.
Don’t get drawn into a debate about a subject you do not know as well as or better than your opposition. If possible, draw them into such a situation instead. Go off on tangents. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty in your opposition. This is commonly used against unwitting interviewees on cable news shows whose positions are set up to be skewered. The target is blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address. In television and radio, this also serves to waste broadcast time to prevent the target from expressing his own position.
3) Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.
Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address. This what happened to the Catholic Church over the contraception issue promoted by Sandra Fluke and NOW.
4) Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
The objective is to target the opponent’s credibility and reputation by accusations of hypocrisy. If the tactician can catch his opponent in even the smallest misstep, it creates an opening for further attacks, and distracts away from the broader moral question.
5) Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
“Ron Paul is a crackpot.” “Gold bugs are crazy.” “Constitutionalists are fringe extremists.” Baseless ridicule is almost impossible to counter because it is meant to be irrational. It infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage. It also works as a pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. In essence attack the person with ad hominems not his position.
6) A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
The popularization of the term “Teabaggers” is a classic example; it caught on by itself because people seem to think it’s clever, and enjoy saying it. Keeping your talking points simple and fun helps your side stay motivated, and helps your tactics spread autonomously, without instruction or encouragement.
7) A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
Don’t become old news. If you keep your tactics fresh, it’s easier to keep your people active. Not all disinformation agents are paid. The “useful idiots” have to be motivated by other means. Mainstream disinformation often changes gear from one method to the next and then back again. The term “Useful Idiots” was coined by Lenin to describe journalists like John Reed who would promote his Communist ideology in the capitalistic west.
8) Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. Never give the target a chance to rest, regroup, recover or re-strategize. Take advantage of current events and twist their implications to support your position. Never let a good crisis go to waste.
9) The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
This goes hand in hand with Rule No. 1. Perception is reality. Allow your opposition to expend all of its energy in expectation of an insurmountable scenario. The dire possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.
10) The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
The objective of this pressure is to force the opposition to react and make the mistakes that are necessary for the ultimate success of the campaign.
11) If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside - every positive has its negative.
As grassroots activism tools, Alinsky tactics have historically been used (for example, by labor movements or covert operations specialists) to force the opposition to react with violence against activists, which leads to popular sympathy for the activists’ cause. Today, false (or co-opted) grassroots movements and revolutions use this technique in debate as well as in planned street actions and rebellions (look at Egypt. Libya, and Syria for a recent example).
12) The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. Today, this is often used offensively against legitimate activists, such as the opponents of the Federal Reserve. Complain that your opponent is merely “pointing out the problems.” Demand that they offer not just “a solution”, but THE solution. Obviously, no one person has “the” solution. When he fails to produce the miracle you requested, dismiss his entire argument and all the facts he has presented as pointless.
13) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.
Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. The target’s supporters will expose themselves. Go after individual people, not organizations or institutions. People hurt faster than institutions. This what Harry Reid has done with the issue of Romney’s taxes and Joe Soptic with his wife’s cancer. They are attempting to make Romney out to being a “bad” person
The next time you view an MSM debate, watch the pundits carefully, you will likely see many if not all of the strategies above used on some unsuspecting individual attempting to tell the truth.
The most recent and more powerful means of spreading disinformation is the Internet. Internet trolls, also known as “paid posters” or “paid bloggers,” are increasingly and openly being employed by private corporations as well governments, often for marketing purposes and for “public relations” (Obama is notorious for this practice). Internet “trolling” is indeed a fast growing industry.
Trolls use a wide variety of strategies, some of which are unique to the internet, here are just a few:
Make outrageous comments designed to distract or frustrate: An Alinsky tactic used to make people emotional, although less effective because of the impersonal nature of the Web. This tactic is best illustrated by web sites like Media Matters, Move On.Org, and the Daily Koss. These sites are notorious for posting lies and half-truths in true Alinsky fashion.
Pose as a supporter of the truth, and then make comments that discredit the movement: We have seen on our many forums. Trolls pose as supporters of a conservative movement, then post long, incoherent diatribes so as to appear either racist or insane. The key to this tactic is to make references to common conservative arguments while at the same time babbling nonsense, so as to make those otherwise valid arguments seem ludicrous by association. In extreme cases, these “Trojan Horse Trolls” have been known to make posts which incite violence — a technique obviously intended to solidify the false assertions of the think tank propagandists like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which purports that Constitutionalists should be feared as potential domestic terrorists and racists wanting a return to slavery because they believe in the 10th Amendment.
Dominate Discussions: Trolls often interject themselves into productive Web discussions in order to throw them off course and frustrate the people involved. They also use this tactic by calling into conservative talk radio shows and purporting themselves to be like-minded and then putting forth racists comments to portray conservative thinking people in such a manner.
Prewritten Responses: Many trolls are supplied with a list or database with pre-planned talking points designed as generalized and deceptive responses to honest arguments. When they post, their words feel strangely plastic and well-rehearsed.
False Association: This works hand in hand with item No. 2, by invoking the stereotypes established by the “Trojan Horse Troll.” For example: calling those against the Federal Reserve or ObamaCare “conspiracy theorists” or “lunatics”; deliberately associating anti-globalist movements with racists and homegrown terrorists, because of the inherent negative connotations; and using false associations to provoke biases and dissuade people from examining the evidence objectively.
False Moderation: Pretending to be the “voice of reason” in an argument with obvious and defined sides in an attempt to move people away from what is clearly true into a “grey area” where the truth becomes “relative.”
Straw Man Arguments: A very common technique. The troll will accuse his opposition of subscribing to a certain point of view, even if he does not, and then attacks that point of view. Or, the troll will put words in the mouth of his opposition, and then rebut those specific words.
Sometimes, these strategies are used by average people with serious personality issues. However, if you see someone using these tactics often, or using many of them at the same time, you may be dealing with a paid internet troll.
The best way to disarm disinformation agents is to know their methods inside and out. This gives us the ability to point out exactly what they are doing in detail the moment they try to do it. Immediately exposing a disinformation tactic as it is being used is highly destructive to the person utilizing it. It makes them look foolish, dishonest and weak for even making the attempt. Internet trolls most especially do not know how to handle their methods being deconstructed right in front of their eyes and usually fold and run from debate when it occurs. The only weapon hey have is to scream louder and attack their opposition on a personal and vulgar manner. It you doubt me just look at the vulgar natures of those commenting on these blogs.
The truth is precious. It is sad that there are so many in our society who have lost respect for it; people who have traded in their conscience and their soul for temporary financial comfort or power while sacrificing the stability and balance of the rest of the country in the process.
The human psyche breathes on the air of truth. Without it, humanity cannot survive. Without it, the species will collapse, starving from lack of intellectual and emotional sustenance.
Disinformation does not only threaten our insight into the workings of our world; it makes us vulnerable to fear, misunderstanding, and doubt: all things that lead to destruction. It can drive good people to commit terrible atrocities against others, or even against themselves. Without a concerted and organized effort to diffuse mass-produced lies, the future will look bleak indeed.