(We did not write this; we discovered this HERE)
The purpose of modern propaganda is not only to misinform, but to get people to trust nothing by flooding valid information streams with obvious lies. It is to override peoples’ ability to use logic with their frustration, alienation, and feelings of side vs side tribalism.
Propaganda isn’t just about changing people’s beliefs. Propaganda also has an alternate use that is becoming much more prevalent now that the internet has opened up the floodgates of information: To get people to distrust information altogether.
This excerpt from a recent reddit post I came across says it well:
“Modern propaganda works by getting you to believe nothing. It’s like lowering the defenses of your immune system. If they can get you to believe that all the news is propaganda, then all of a sudden propaganda from foreign-controlled state media or sourceless loony toon rants from domestic kooks, are all on an equal playing field with real investigative journalism. If everything is fake, your news consumption is just a dietary choice.”
This is how the masses are confused in to silence, by flooding all the forums with nonsense. It’s infuriating, and it’s designed to make your fury override your logic. This pushes people in to a more base animal-like response, because they are highly emotional and as a result their sense of logic is limited.
“In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and nothing was true. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.” – Hannah Arendt
f every time you try to discuss a certain topic it quickly dissolves in to an clickbait trollfest, then that not only limits everyone’s ability to discuss that topic, but it also creates an association in your mind that will prevent you from thinking about that idea because you associate it with those unpleasant emotions and that unpleasant situation, and you might never bring it up not only on forums but in real life too.
So any topic that the powerful don’t want us to talk about, or any source they don’t want us to trust, they can flood the associated discussions with half-baked assertions that seem looney, but now with social media they can also be upvoted to appear as if they are popular public opinion, creating a false public consensus. For example I saw this today:
On what should be a relatively benign interview about space, the top youtube comments are all flat earth nonsense with 30 upvotes and an anti-masonic association to give them a veneer of credibility. In the first few hours of the video being up. If you stand back and look at it, it makes more sense that people are trying to make RT look like an invalid news source, than it is that 50 vocal flat earthers found the video in the first few hours and heavily upvoted each other, doesn’t it? It’s not that people are losing their minds, it’s that the people losing control of the message want us to think that everyone is losing their minds, so we don’t trust anything. “Don’t trust RT, insane people hang out here.” is the message. If done across all media sources, then we’re completely immobilized, because nothing seems true. It seems like we’re surrounded by lies, so we trust nothing. This is a form of control. This is the next level of PR now that the message control is failing. I am certain people have experienced similar cage-rattling emotionally overwhelming media environments in past war-time eras, but today we have the unique ability to be lied to through the social media, where it has an additional appearance of legitimacy to us because we believe the opinions to be crowd-sourced. But perhaps this is also the thinking of those who watch TV and listened to radio during WW1. “They wouldn’t air it unless people wanted it, right?” The game has changed, but the strategy has not.
However, we have the distinct advantage of being able to express ourselves to the world public through posts like this, whereas the TV and Radio generations couldn’t just make their own stations. This is huge. This battle for trust has been waging for some time now, in the background. We should be bringing it to the foreground, so we can understand what is happening to our media and our minds. I can’t help but think of the quote:
“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” – William Casey, CIA Director, 1981
They’re trying to game the signal-to-noise ratio to drown out the signal. The only solution is to make the signal louder by broadcasting our voices, and to get better at recognizing the causes of the noise. The more we recognize their game, the less it works and the more quickly we can disassemble it. We can do this.