14 Propaganda Techniques Fox “News” Uses to Brainwash Americans
… The good news is that the more conscious you are of these techniques, the less likely they are to work on you. The bad news is that those reading this article are probably the least in need in of it.
1. Panic Mongering. …when people are afraid, they don’t think rationally. And when they can’t think rationally, they’ll believe anything.
2. Character Assassination/Ad Hominem. Fox does not like to waste time debating the idea. Instead, they prefer a quicker route to dispensing with their opponents: go after the person’s credibility, motives, intelligence, character, or, if necessary, sanity. No category of character assassination is off the table and no offense is beneath them. Fox and like-minded media figures also use ad hominem attacks not just against individuals, but entire categories of people in an effort to discredit the ideas of every person who is seen to fall into that category, e.g. “liberals,” “hippies,” “progressives” etc. This form of argument – if it can be called that – leaves no room for genuine debate over ideas, so by definition, it is undemocratic. Not to mention just plain crass.
3. Projection/Flipping. This one is frustrating for the viewer who is trying to actually follow the argument. It involves taking whatever underhanded tactic you’re using and then accusing your opponent of doing it to you first. …
4. Rewriting History. This is another way of saying that propagandists make the facts fit their worldview. The Downing Street Memos on the Iraq war were a classic example of this on a massive scale, but it happens daily and over smaller issues as well. … They will literally rewrite history if it serves their interests. And they’ll often speak with such authority that the casual viewer will be tempted to question what they knew as fact.
5. Scapegoating/Othering. This works best when people feel insecure or scared. It’s technically a form of both fear mongering and diversion, but it is so pervasive that it deserves its own category. The simple idea is that if you can find a group to blame for social or economic problems, you can then go on to a) justify violence/dehumanization of them, and b) subvert responsibility for any harm that may befall them as a result.
6. Conflating Violence With Power and Opposition to Violence With Weakness. This is more of what I’d call a “meta-frame” (a deeply held belief) than a media technique, but it is manifested in the ways news is reported constantly. For example, terms like “show of strength” are often used to describe acts of repression…. There are several concerning consequences…. First, it has the potential to make people feel falsely emboldened by shows of force – it can turn wars into sporting events. Secondly…. Violence become synonymous with power, patriotism and piety.
7. Bullying. This is a favorite technique of several Fox commentators [can anyone say Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity? – editor]. …. Often, less self-possessed people will feel shame and anxiety when being berated and the quickest way to end the immediate discomfort is to cede authority to the bully. The bully is then able to interpret that as a “win.”
8. Confusion. As with the preceding technique, this one works best on an audience that is less confident and self-possessed. The idea is to deliberately confuse the argument, but insist that the logic is airtight and imply that anyone who disagrees is either too dumb or too fanatical to follow along. Less independent minds will interpret the confusion technique as a form of sophisticated thinking, thereby giving the user’s claims veracity in the viewer’s mind.
9. Populism. This is especially popular in election years. The speakers identifies themselves as one of “the people” and the target of their ire as an enemy of the people. … The idea is to make the opponent harder to relate to and harder to empathize with. It often goes hand in hand with scapegoating.
10. Invoking the Christian God. This is similar to othering and populism. With morality politics, the idea is to declare yourself and your allies as patriots, Christians and “real Americans” (those are inseparable categories in this line of thinking) and anyone who challenges them as not. Basically, God loves Fox and Republicans and America [no matter what we do – editor]. And hates…. [The truth is that none of these liars and deceivers are real Christians based upon what the Bible really says – editor]
11. Saturation. There are three components to effective saturation: being repetitive, being ubiquitous [having or seeming to have the ability to be everywhere at once; omnipresent – editor] and being consistent. The message must be repeated …over and over, it must be everywhere and it must be shared across commentators: e.g. “Saddam has WMD.” Veracity and hard data have no relationship to the efficacy of saturation. …regardless of whether it’s true or if it even makes sense. …Fox’s own slogan of “Fair and Balanced.”
12. Disparaging Education. There is an emerging and disturbing lack of reverence for education and intellectualism in many mainstream media discourses. …
13. Guilt by Association. This is a favorite of Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart, both of whom have used it to decimate the careers and lives of many good people. Here’s how it works: if your cousin’s college roommate’s uncle’s ex-wife attended a dinner party back in 1984 with Gorbachev’s niece’s ex-boyfriend’s sister, then you, by extension are a communist set on destroying America. Period.
14. Diversion. This is where, when on the ropes, the media commentator suddenly takes the debate in a weird but predictable direction to avoid accountability. This is the point in the discussion where most Fox anchors start comparing the opponent to Saul Alinsky or invoking ACORN or Media Matters, in a desperate attempt to win through guilt by association. Or they’ll talk about wanting to focus on “moving forward,” as though by analyzing the current state of things or God forbid, how we got to this state of things, you have no regard for the future. Any attempt to bring the discussion back to the issue at hand will likely be called deflection, an ironic use of the technique of projection/flipping.
In debating some of these tactics with colleagues and friends, I have also noticed that the Fox viewership seems to be marked by a sort of collective personality disorder whereby the viewer feels almost as though they’ve been let into a secret society. Something about their affiliation with the network makes them feel privileged and this affinity is likely what drives the viewers to defend the network so vehemently. … It’s akin to the loyalty one feels by being let into a private club or a gang.
…the fact that a lot of people believe something is not necessarily a sign that it’s true; it’s just a sign that it’s been effectively marketed.
[Very HEAVY!] Who is Rupert Murdoch? Could people be this evil? — The EVANGELICALS are the “fertile ground” for his message of hate and deceit — LIE to the people, give them ENEMIES to hate, arrange WARS for them to fight and stand back and watch them destroy themselves.
[BRILLIANT! Video] Real-Historian G. Edward Griffin: The Collectivist Conspiracy — How “the people of the United States have lost control of their own government” • “As long as we depend upon the phony wrestlers, and depend on their well-paid cheerleaders in the media, to keep us focused on secondary issues, we’re never going to get out of this mess”
Related at ONEcanhappen (my spiritual freedom site):