Tuesday, February 26, 2013

All the "news" you wish to hear

A good case study of modern propaganda is the false "news" that gets taken seriously. Think The Onion declaring North Korea's Kim "sexiest man alive". Or when "serious" media post stuff from The Duffel Blog - and lawmakers believe it. Or the shark-killing Serb of Sharm el Sheikh, one of the best-known hoaxes by the satirical Njuz.net.

Partly to blame is the style of actual news reports. Purposefully designed to be formulaic and dense, it can be imitated fairly easily. And by adjusting certain words and tone, it is very conducive to perception management (as I've documented before). Imitate the style of authentic news in a spoof report, and you'll find a lot of people will believe it.

But the other element here is wishful thinking. Even if the fake report doesn't bother with passing as authentic, it will still be believed by some people simply because it tells them what they want to hear. Wishful thinking is an ally of all manipulators.

Last week, "news" that the actor Tom Hanks allegedly expressed support for the Serbs in Kosovo quickly made the rounds, fooling both the legacy media and the blogosphere in Serbia. Even the Imperial propaganda outfit Balkan Insight reported on it, though they actually contacted Hanks' publicist and established the report as false. Still, many in Serbia - and abroad - believed the story. Why?

It was packaged to be believable. Supposedly, Hanks was driven by his alleged Orthodox faith (his wife Rita is Greek, so the whole Orthodox connection is cleverly insinuated). Confirmation bias did the rest. Furthermore, the report claimed Hanks' alleged declaration that Kosovo was "Serbia's Jerusalem" supposedly took place on "E!" network. This is not a coincidence; the network is familiar to many Serbs from a 2011 scandal, when Chelsea Handler belittled the former Defense Minister for his idiotic tweets following an Amy Winehouse concert. Yet few seemed to notice the lack of a date, time, occasion, or actual name of the show where Hanks supposedly said what he said. Which makes sense, because it never happened.

Obviously, whoever crafted this fake report knew which buttons to push. Take a network previously involved in a verbal spat, add a long jump to conclusions about Hanks, garnish with the Serb sentiment about their occupied territory, and voila - instant propaganda.

Figuring out who was behind the fake story, however, may require more resources than a blogger half the world away possesses. To the best of my knowledge, the story was traced to "Pravda," a paper close to the ruling Progressive party. If true, this suggests a government ploy to distract the public from its unconditional surrender demands from Brussels and Washington regarding Kosovo.

Yet there might be more to it. The fact that many critics of the government swallowed the fake story hook, line and sinker may be used to discredit them (with the legacy media being collateral damage). Also, all these false reports may annoy the celebrities dragged into them, to the point where they embrace the causes of Serb enemies (if they haven't done so already, that is).

I don't think for a second that Serbia's current regime would have any moral qualms about engaging in something like this. They are already thieves and traitors, a bit of lying won't bother them. I do, however, doubt they are clever enough to come up with this by themselves. They are, after all, clients of the Empire - which relies on a manipulating media establishment to conjure and support the virtual reality it inhabits. 


LVB said...

A very good commentary on mass media tactics, Gray, and whoever is imitating their methods in order to create the false sense of "truth".

I marvel at all of it, and wonder when most people will finally realize that ALL of the mass media is controlled and designed to manipulate our opinions, beliefs and our very consciousness on an emotional (not intellectual or logical) level.

Disinformation, truth mixed with lies and style over substance and facts. They've been doing this to us for a very long time, and they have many tricks up their sleeves and nearly all the the power as far as what we are told via mass media.

It is psychological warfare, plain and simple, just as the US govt has always used in wartime against foreign "enemies".

You DO have to pay attention, but you don't have to be a genius to know that WE are the "enemy" that is being targeted by this psycholgical warfare.

I think the hardest part for most people is to recognize and admit that they have been completely fooled by and unaware of these efforts have been ongoing for several decades now.

No one likes to feel stupid, and this denial also works to the advantage of the mass media and their globalist controllers.

But, it is always better to be a fool for a moment in order to learn something important, than to deny it and thus remain a fool forever.

Aleks said...

FYI and slightly off topic, but Julia Gorin recently posted: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/13/shame-of-srebrenica-history-repeated by one Liam Hoare.

Bells rang and it looks like he is a chip off the old block, the notorious serbophobe Marko Atilla Hoare. A brief google investigation shows that he's just started out as a journalist(!) and still looks very wet behind the ears from his profile pictures. Curiously, for all his multiple presences on the internet, there is no obvious link with Big Chip.

I did find a letter in the Guardian that may be the clincher though:


Looks like Big Chip wasn't that far away at all, subject, content and address. He seems to be normal on other subjects though. Too early to say if he will go off his rocker like Big Chip.