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  • "Every movie is technically propaganda, it just depends on what the themes are."


    Social proof is the tendency to believe what most people believe.

    Identifying a few people who believe a proposition, and encouraging them to go public (especially repeatedly) creates the impression that lots of people are experiencing something real. Repeated affirmations create the impression that the assertion is true.

    Appeals to authority

    It may matter little that the expert is the only one in the universe with that opinion, if he or she is the only one whose opinions we often hear.

    Politicians are persuaded to join in unfounded but politically advantageous rhetoric.

    If a popular actor, media figure, politician, or local hero joins the process, more people will endorse the perceived reality.

    Vivid examples -- especially dramatic case histories -- often influence judgments more than dull but more accurate quantitative examples.

    Inviting the single child with a birth defect to the town hall meeting may overwhelm the fact that there are fewer birth defects in the neighborhood than in most similar residential areas.

    Manipulators strive to divorce us from the facts rather than encouraging us to examine the evidence and reasoning of people who appear to disagree with us, they block communications and openly or indirectly try to persuade us that people who disagree with their views are dishonest, not trustworthy, incompetent, biased, racist, only concerned with money, insulting our intelligence, corrupt, betrayers of the American dream, and so on.

    The subtext is: "Do not consider alternative points of view. Do what we tell you, without realizing that we are controlling you."

    Like cult leaders, manipulators encourage us to close ranks and form an in-group suspicious of those who question the party line.

    People tend to assume that the sensational represent reality.

    Multiple chemical sensitivity and Gulf War syndrome are prime examples.

    The existence of a name does not necessarily mean that there is a corresponding real event.

    However, spurious allegations may appear plausible if associated with common symptoms. of human existence, especially if depicted by an expert.

    Another misleading technique is the use of categorical terms that lead away from a more reassuring (and more reasonable) quantitative reality.

    January 3, 2010