The rules of disinformation at play in the US today--one view
This is a follow-up to my earlier post on Truth and Alternate facts. If we are to try to understand the truth, we should develop some skills and understanding of what devices people use to hide the truth.
Note: The first six rules are generally not directly within the ability of the surrogate to apply. These rules are generally used more directly by those at the leadership, key players.
1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don't discuss it -- especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it's not reported, it didn't happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.
2. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations -- as useful tools to neutralise sensitive issues or impede resolution.
3. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and effectively neutralise all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. Once a favourable verdict is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed.
4. Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favourably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.
5. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.
6. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of their character by release of blackmail information, or merely by destroying them financially, emotionally, or severely damaging their health.
7. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the kitchen.
8. Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the 'How dare you!' gambit.
9. Create rumour mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumours and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well
10. Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent's argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.
11. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary 'attack the messenger' ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as 'kooks', 'right-wing', 'liberal', 'left-wing', 'terrorists', 'conspiracy buffs', 'radicals', 'militia', 'racists', 'religious fanatics', 'sexual deviates', and so forth.
12. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer.
13. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could be taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.
14. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough 'jargon' and 'minutia' to illustrate you are 'one who knows', and simply say it isn't so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.
15. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues except with denials they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.
16. Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of the straw man -- usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with - a kind of investment for the future should the matter not be so easily contained.)
17. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the 'high road' and 'confess' with candour that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made -- but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion. Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for 'coming clean' and 'owning up' to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.
18. Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve.
19. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards or with an apparent deductive logic which forbears any actual material fact.
20. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the issue at hand completely.
21. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking.
22. Vanish evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won't have to address the issue.
23. Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic.
24. Emotionalize, Antagonise and Goad Opponents. If you can't do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent.25. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the 'play dumb' rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his/her disposal.) In order to completely avoid discussing issues, it may be required that you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by the government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.
The information above was obtained from ideas in the work of H. Michael Sweeney.
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