Saturday, February 22, 2020


It is obvious from arguments about the Wet'suwet'en and other issues before, that a lot of people are taken in by propaganda from the fossil fuel companies, the MSM and the far-right. They are taken in because they cannot differentiate between propaganda and factual discourse. There are techniques of propaganda which I will now expose;
* The Straw Man – Here the propagandist makes an absurd caricature of a position taken on an issue and tries to make this as the real position. Eg. Environmentalists seek to PHASE OUT fossil fuel usage over several decades as alternatives become viable. This is straw-manned as seeking to out off all fossil fuel usage right now, which is silly.
* Innuendo – This is where innocent comments are twisted into something unfavorable or an innocent situation is turned into something sinister. Eg. When Elizabeth May made an off-hand comment about how Lavalin should be forced to pay for clean water on FN reserves, this was corrupted into May being in favor of water privatization, something Greens deeply oppose.
* Demonization – A progressive that catches the eye of the media is attacked using violent language and is accused of despicable behavior. In this technique the moderates are always singled out. The theory is, that if you discredit say David Suzuki, the real radicals automatically are placed beyond the pale. Eg, The right wing has attacked the non-violent Wet'suwet'en Land Defenders as criminals, hooligans and anarchists. (The latter, in the right-wing authoritarian mentality being seen as arch-demons)
* Cherry Picking Information 1 – An analysis of a situation may be broadly correct, even if some of the information that it is based upon might be incorrect or interpreted in a different way. The propagandist seizes on those little doubtful morsels and then fallaciously claims the whole thesis is wrong.
* Cherry Picking Information 2 – Here the propagandist deliberately leaves out or minimizes crucial information – information that undermines their perspective on the issue. Eg. The three demoted Wet'suwet'en women chiefs are treated as pure victims of the other chiefs. Ignored or minimized is the fact they took $60,000 from CG – they may have been innocent of bribe-taking, but it isn't hard to see why this act might be interpreted as a conflict of interest.
* Conspiracy Theories – Nothing is allowed to be what it actually is, ie, citizens wanting to do something about the climate crisis or First Nations wanting to defend their territory. No, behind these struggles has to lie a sinister plot. Eg. Through Cherry Picking information the propagandist finds some NGO that has donated a few dollars to a cause, and Bingo! A crazy fantasy George Soros is funding climate activists for the US oil industry. Another favorite - and hoary with age – going all the way back to the Abolitionist movement – are the “outside agitators.” Here, Innuendo twists solidarity and mutual aid into a devilish plot by outsiders to takeover what was until now a bucolic situation. Of course, struggles that are isolated are much more easy to defeat, hence the attempt to demonize solidarity.
* The Big Lie Technique – A bald-faced lie about a group or individual is repeated over and over again. With repetition, a certain number of people will, if they do not fall for the lie, at least believe part of it, or have doubt about those who are slandered. It also serves to waste the victim's time defending themselves. Eg. The aforementioned conspiracy theory about environmentalists working for George Soros or the Tides Foundation, has been repeated over and over again by right-wing politicians and right-wing media.
So why do they lie? – for that is what these propaganda techniques are – different forms of lying. They lie because they have no alternative. When reality is not on your side and you insist on maintaining an erroneous world view, what other choice do you have? You simply cannot make a rational, evidence-based argument against climate science. Nor can you justify gross inequality, injustice and cruelty in a rational way. You are left with changing your opinions (too painful to contemplate) or continuing to engage in self-delusion, for that is exactly what the propagandist is doing.


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