Joseph Goebells on meth. GOP Goes Full “Big Lie”

June 5, 2017

It all seemed like such a ridiculous game. “Barack Obama was born in Kenya”. WTF? Are these people that stupid? Well yes and no.

I never understood the Big Lie technique until I started seeing it this close.

Paul Krugman in New York Times:

On climate change, influential conservatives have for years clung to what is basically a crazy conspiracy theory — that the overwhelming scientific consensus that the earth is warming due to greenhouse-gas emissions is a hoax, somehow coordinated by thousands of researchers around the world. And at this point this is effectively the mainstream Republican position.

Do G.O.P. leaders really think this conspiracy theory is true? The answer, surely, is that they don’t care. Truth, as something that exists apart from and in possible opposition to political convenience, is no longer part of their philosophical universe.

The same goes for claims that trying to rein in emissions will do terrible economic damage and destroy millions of jobs. Such claims are, if you think about it, completely inconsistent with everything Republicans supposedly believe about economics.

After all, they insist that the private sector is infinitely flexible and innovative; the magic of the marketplace can solve all problems. But then they claim that these magical markets would roll over and die if we put a modest price on carbon emissions, which is basically what climate policy would do. This doesn’t make any sense — but it’s not supposed to. Republicans want to keep burning coal, and they’ll say whatever helps produce that outcome.

And as health care and climate go, so goes everything else. Can you think of any major policy area where the G.O.P. hasn’t gone post-truth? Take budgeting, where leaders like Paul Ryan have always justified tax cuts for the rich by claiming the ability to conjure up trillions in extra revenue and savings in some unspecified way. The Trump-Mulvaney budget, which not only pulls $2 trillion out of thin air but counts it twice, takes the game to a new level, but it’s not that much of a departure.

It sounds crazy. Why would sane people cling to ideas that are easily checkable and found to be false? How can you win elections that way?

Well, they are playing a different game than the one we are used to. Better get up to speed with this piece that’s been making the rounds over the weekend.

Richard Sollenberger in Paste: 

Now let’s see exactly what’s up here. Together, we’re going to Google the phrase “trump no evidence collusion.” (And because Google searches change over time, I’ll drop screenshots of my results here.) What will emerge is a picture of an invisible hand writing a specific argument, over and over and over. That hand belongs to Robert Mercer, Trump’s data man, who gamed Google and fake news during the campaign and whose return to the scene is heralded by Trump’s war room and bot boom. If you want, you can read more about this crazyAF, richAF, crackpot genius with a heart of shit.

Before we begin, though, we need to establish the fact that this statement is a lie: “There’s no evidence of collusion!” The reason I’m using this specific example is because this highly nuanced claim is the perfect loophole to exploit for misinformation, to shade the truth as lie and get away with it clean.

The truth: no one in the intelligence community and no one on any of the Congressional committees looking into this thing, be they Democrat or Republican, none of them have said categorically, flat-out, “There is no evidence of collusion.” Period. People investigating the case will only go so far as to say they haven’t seen any evidence. Or that there hasn’t been any evidence made available to them yet. But they don’t ever say there flat-out isn’t any evidence of collusion. Ever. Read this if you don’t believe me.

Back to the Googs. Here’s what I saw when I Googled “trump no evidence collusion” on the afternoon of May 29.

RogerS2.png

How many mainstream sites do you see on the first page? Zero. Let’s go to page two.

RogerS3.png

Ah! There, buried under InfoWars and National Review and The Blaze and not one, not two, but three pieces from The Free Beacon, we finally find good old Reuters! And, lo: the good old Washington Post! And what about The Failing New York Times? Truly failing. Here’s page three:

RogerS4.png

Uh. Page four?

RogerS5.png

Nope. The New York Fucking Times doesn’t pop up until page five. Ahead of it: Lifezette; Talking Points Memo; The Blaze; The Daily Caller; something called ntknetwork; constitution.com; GOP.com; GatewayPundit; the aptly named NewsBusters; TownHall.com; and, kings of kings, Breitbart and InfoWars.

And when I googled the search term the night of May 31, as I’m writing this, it’s even worse. The Washington Post, which had a page two hit on May 29, is now at the bottom of page four.

RogerS6.png

Now, to state the obvious, the way those results are ordered isn’t exactly organic. Alexa ranks the NYT at 120 globally; WaPo at 190. Now, what about the illustrious townhall.com, which had not one but two hits on page one? It’s ranked at 9,109. In other words, those first four pages (four full pages of synchronized bullshit) are evidence of a massive and centrally managed strategic misinformation campaign being waged on your brain.

These dozens of sites are all peddling the same lie with articles published at the same time. So if you wondered whether there really was collusion and wanted to dig into the Googs to get your story straight, you’d be overwhelmed by four fucking pages of what look like news sites telling you that even Democrats say there’s flat-out no evidence of collusion. So why the fuck, you ask, are we wasting our time and resources attacking poor, duly-elected President Trump on false pretenses?

First: Create content that subtly masks the truth.
Second: Shape that content into something people will share.
Third: Make it identical, and make a ton of it.
Fourth: Flood the internet with that content.
Fifth: Flood the internet with that content.
Six: Flood the fucking internet with that content.

The Google algorithm orders its search results, among other ways, by popular keywords used, publish date, and how many other links point to your site. You can do things to max out your keyword SEO, like I did in my last job, but the results we’re seeing here, their consistency, the thoroughness of their victory, and the standardization of the messaging all requires a well-funded, well-coordinated effort. Ask any digital marketing expert: This is an organization of writers and data geeks who are paid handsomely to spend all day churning out content, pointing readers from one site to another, and using social media bots as vectors to beam this misinformation out to micro-targeted demographics.

It’s a truly amazing operation. Time Magazine did an outstanding piece of reporting on this quite recently. So did The Guardian, here. Those pieces will scare the shit out of you. If they don’t, I’m afraid you’re an unwitting casualty of this war.

So now, does this make sense?

McClatchy:

A party that traditionally has had a fraught relationship with the media has become outright hostile, led by a president who picks more fights with journalists than any GOP leader since Richard Nixon.

But interviews with Republican strategists and party leaders across the country reveal that what started as genuine anger at allegedly unfair coverage — or an effort to deflect criticism — is now an integral part of next year’s congressional campaigns.

The hope, say these officials, is to convince Trump die-hards that these mid-term races are as much a referendum on the media as they are on President Trump. That means embracing conflict with local and national journalists, taking them on to show Republicans voters that they, just like the president, are battling a biased press corps out to destroy them.

David Woodard, a political consultant for South Carolina Republicans whose clients have included Sen. Lindsey Graham and Reps. Trey Gowdy and Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, recalled the old adage often quoted by politicians: “Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”

That’s dead now.

“If you pick a fight with them, I think it kind of helps you, and I don’t think many people care,” Woodard said.

The strategy certainly doesn’t mean literally fighting the media. The strategists interviewed say they don’t want their candidates imitating Republican candidate Greg Gianforte, who last month was charged with assaulting a reporter in Montana.

But the aftermath of that incident was instructive for party strategists. Conservatives media figures, such as Laura Ingraham and Brent Bozell, didn’t rush to condemn Gianforte; they criticized the reporter. And the ensuing coverage, according to one Republican watching the race, energized the GOP voters. (Gainforte went on to defeat Democrat Rob Quist.)

The conservative base needed more of an enemy than the Democratic candidate to become engaged.

“Hillary Clinton is not on the ballot so you have to have something else to run against,” said Charlie Sykes, a former conservative talk radio host from Wisconsin who has been openly critical of Trump. “And the media is perfect.”

It’s “going to be a major part of the strategy,” he predicted.

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12 Responses to “Joseph Goebells on meth. GOP Goes Full “Big Lie””

  1. ubrew12 Says:

    This is a very informative post. We are reluctantly going to have to work to understand how this new propaganda age works, to combat it effectively. The Sollenberger piece is really quite illuminating, about how and why rightwing ‘news’ sites collude, rewrite old articles to appear new, and make up fake twitter and facebook bots to ‘like’ them: all to appear higher up on the Google search engine. It linked to a Time article (‘Inside Russia’s Social Media War on America’) that is also very informative. Quote: “[recently]…Russians… sent… messages carrying malware to more than 10,000 Twitter users in the Defense Department…When clicked, the links took users to a Russian-controlled server that downloaded a program allowing Moscow’s hackers to take control of the victim’s phone or computer–and Twitter account… During… a terrorist attack, Pentagon Twitter accounts might send out false information… the result could be panic”

    Another quote: “…investigators are looking at ties between… [Cambridge Analytica, owned by Robert Mercer, and Breitbart News] and right-wing web personalities based in Eastern Europe who the U.S. believes are Russian fronts… [meanwhile] FBI… investigators were probing whether far-right sites like Breitbart News and Infowars had coordinated with Russian botnets to blitz social media with anti-Clinton stories [last year]”.

    Make no mistake about it: we’re in a War. Its immediate aim is to radicalize the right in a manner similar to the way ISIS radicalizes Muslims; and I think eventually to a similar effect. Underlying that is a full-scale attack on our democracy, our defense forces and our intelligence agencies.

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    US First Amendment getting eroded…

    => US anti-Trump protesters facing decades behind bars

    More than 200 anti-Trump protesters are facing felony charges that could land some in prison for 70 to 80 years.

    “I’m looking at spending more than three times my age in prison for going to a protest. No human being should be in a cage that long, especially not for trying to live.”

  3. Sir Charles Says:

    Hitler had a pact with Stalin. This time the fascists don’t call themselves National Socialists”. They call themselves Republicans, and are indeed predator capitalists.

  4. Sir Charles Says:

    Since Tramp got elected the good mails ending up in the spam folder of my email accounts have more than quadrupled. All of a sudden. Even my Financial Times subscriptions don’t arrive at my inbox any more. Now, way more good mails are ending up in the spam folder than junk mails. There is a lot wrong with the algorithms by Google, Microsoft et al. The web has been captured by dark forces.

  5. Andy Lee Robinson Says:

    Google’s motto: “do no evil”, yet here they are unwittingly or otherwise, doing evil.

  6. andrewfez Says:

    =”The New York Fucking Times”=

    …is war propaganda, climate denialist propaganda, and anti-Tesla propaganda.


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