He Who Lies First, Lies Best

– by ‘tamerlane’

The Lie We Remember

Studies have shown that people tend to remember the first piece of information told them, even if it’s later proven to be false.  Even when corrected in as little as 30 seconds, the false information is still given at least partial, permanent credence by the recipient.

So, when Sean Hannity tells you that 2008 was one of the coolest years on record, and I later prove that it was actually one of the warmest,  Hannity’s lie is still stuck in your head.

When Shrub spoke in ominous tones of proof that Iraq was purchasing uranium in Africa, your fear lingered even after learning the “proof” was a crude forgery.

When Chris Mathews waves a piece of paper he insists is an original birth certificate, then you later learn it was only a recent computer printout … well, you get the picture.

For fun, let’s play this trick right here.  First I’ll tell you a lie:

Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts proves that Americans

have had enough of Obama’s crusade to force a multi-trillion-dollar health-care “reform” on America, replacing private healthcare with a government-run system that will empower federal bureaucrats to make life-and-death decisions about your medical care.

Now, count to thirty before reading the following:

82% of Obama supporters who voted for Brown support the public option, as do 86% of Obama voters who stayed home.

57% of Obama voters who stayed home support the Senate health care bill or think it doesn’t go far enough.

Of Obama voters who cast a ballot for Brown, nearly half (49%) support the Senate bill or think it does not go far enough.  Just 11% think it goes too far.

The first statement (lie, to-the-point, emotional) came from an Human Events email.  The second (truth, long-winded, dry) came from MoveOn.  Which version have you heard most?

Propaganda War

Many liberals think the GOP is in for a shock because they’re misinterpreting the message behind the Brown victory.  Guess what  —  the GOP doesn’t care what the real message was.  They created their own false message — ‘the voters rejected socialized healthcare’ — and broadcast it loud and long until it is now the generally accepted “truth.”

Not only have the Democrats said nothing to refute this lie, they’ve helped reinforce it.  Throughout Coakley’s campaign, the Dems joined the GOP in proclaiming the special election a referendum on health care reform.  Then, lending credence to the GOP lie that Brown’s victory signaled the voters’ rejection of real health care reform, Obama gleefully lopped off the few remaining useful components of his bill.

The Brown victory spin capped a masterful GOP propaganda campaign that began months ago with the astroturfed protests of the Dems’ town meetings on health care reform.   Faced with a substantial majority of Americans favoring universal health care with a public option, the GOP didn’t even bother with changing actual opinion.  It’s enough to simply give the impression that most Americans just adore their current private health care, counting on people go along with the “majority” (sic).  This is known as the “bandwagon” technique :

“Bandwagon is an appeal to the subject to follow the crowd, to join in because others are doing so as well. Bandwagon propaganda is, essentially, trying to convince the subject that one side is the winning side, because more people have joined it. The subject is meant to believe that since so many people have joined, that victory is inevitable and defeat impossible. Since the average person always wants to be on the winning side, he or she is compelled to join in.”

The bandwagon is just one of several propaganda techniques identified and given names in the late 1930’s by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis.  The term propaganda originally meant any form of persuading of large numbers of people as to the veracity of a statement, but modern propaganda techniques are considered devious. Their messages are brief, simple, and target basic human emotions, and therefore powerful enough to override logic and reason.

To counter deceitful propaganda, simply telling the truth is not enough.  Your message needs to be brief and touch people’s emotions ….OK, also propaganda, but true.  In marketing terms, you need to talk benefits and not features.

How to Make Friends and Influence Voters

Even though their ideals aren’t shared by most Americans, Republicans consistently defeat Democrats because, while the Democrats give dry, albeit veracious, minutiae, Republicans use propaganda.  In 2000, 60% of voters agreed with Al Gore’s positions, yet only 51% gave him their vote.  That means over 9 million people were tricked into voting for the wrong person.  Why? Because most Americans felt Bush would be more fun to have a beer with.

Democrats used to be quite good at “messaging.”  JFK’s innovative use of an advertising “jingle”, with a chorus of voices chanting “Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy!”, was classic bandwagon.  The 1964 “daisy” attack ad, aired only once, was devastatingly effective in tapping into a primal fear that Goldwater’s bellicose stands, coupled with his notorious explosive temper, would lead to nuclear armageddon.

But when Nixon returned to the game, he’d learned his lesson on propaganda — the False Assertion that he had a “secret plan to end the war” was a key component (along with some criminal and treasonous acts) of his ’68 campaign.

The nadir of Democratic propaganda effectiveness came in 1984, when Mondale was so desperate for a marketing message he had to bum a line off a Wendy’s ad.

It was Bill Clinton’s personal charisma that won over the common folk, but his mojo could not be bottled for the rest of the party.  And, so, the Dems were powerless to resist the Glittering Generalities of The Contract on America.

In 2000, when, despite Donna Brazile’s hardest efforts, Al Gore still won the election, Republicans astroturfed a protest of the Florida recount to plant the meme that most Americans wanted to ‘move on’ and ‘seek closure’, lest a count of every vote cast precipitate a frightening ‘constitutional crisis’.  In a bold counterattack to recapture public opinion, the Democrats droned on about wonky legalisms.

The Circus Left Town

There’s no need to describe here the massive propaganda circus staged for obama’s nomination, or to enumerate the many, egregious lies it propagated.  For the first time in decades, the Democratic Party ran an effective presidential campaign employing all the tools, including terse, emotion-stirring propaganda, but it was against a fellow Democrat.  Once that victory had been secured, the whole show pulled up stakes up in the middle of the night, leaving only some flattened grass to indicate it ever existed.

And now the Democrats are back to their impotent ways, standing mutely by while the GOP convinces Americans that they don’t really want the healthcare reform they say they want.  Most peculiar.

(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.  All rights reserved.

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