Tuesday, November 27, 2018

media manipulation

One reason why it's so hard to talk to people on the other side of the aisle is that many of those people don't realize the extent to which they're being hoodwinked by their mainstream-media sources (a.k.a. the MSM). This is why I've switched almost entirely to the alt-media for my information, media that depict a very different universe from the one the gatekeepers want you to see. Instapundit recently linked to a particularly egregious example of gatekeeping, in which many of the major news networks reporting on the situation at the US-Mexico border decided to tweet almost the exact same image and report it almost the exact same way. If this isn't evidence of bias, groupthink, and other Orwellian tendencies, I don't know what is.

Others in the alt-media have noted the hypocrisy of decrying the use of tear gas now, when the fact is that Obama had done the same thing for years. (Granted, the Washington Times isn't alt-media, but you don't have to go far to find alt-media remarks on this topic.)

Is it possible to convince your interlocutors on the other side of the aisle to drop their current media sources and switch over to alt-media? I doubt it. The switch is difficult for any number of reasons. Ego plays a major role: switching over means admitting one was wrong, and if there's one thing that's hard for people (especially men) to do, it's to admit they are wrong. Fear—which is related to ego—is another reason: we fear to step out into a new world, a new way of thinking. The way we currently think is comfortable; being thrust into a new thought-world threatens who we are. And to be charitable, a third factor making it difficult to switch over is the sincere belief that people like me are the crazy ones, the arrogant ones, the self-deluded and condescending ones. How dare we adopt, or arrogate to ourselves, the mantle of truth? Then, of course, there's a fourth factor: good old Buddhist attachment to our perspective. Face it: it feels good to hate Trump because it places us on the moral high ground. It allows us to be self-righteous, to virtue-signal. It feels good to abandon our own humility, to forget about the beam in our own eye, as we jeer at the Clown-in-Chief. Every silly gaffe Trump makes reassures us that we are, at least, better than him.

And all of this relates back to Factor 1: ego.


  1. Funny you should mention Instapundit, who just deactivated his Twitter account in protest of systemic removal of conservatives accounts.

    The best way to see through the MSM is to be profiled by it a few times, as I have been myself. What you tell them and what they present are often wildly divergent.

    Observing the 2008 candlelight protests here in Seoul also woke me up to how craven the MSM can be. Members of the liberal MSM these days are mostly activists who do not represent reality neutrally or fairly, but rather as they wish it to be.

    In any case, you have to understand that people care about status and social approval above almost everything else, and what media you consume is a way of signaling what kind of person you are to your peers and colleagues. The more conformist you are, the less likely you are to stray from the "manufactured consensus."

  2. Yeah, I thought about mentioning Glenn Reynolds's departure from Twitter. The commenters' reactions to it have been generally positive, although some people think Reynolds caved in or took the coward's way out. I left Twitter in 2016, primarily for security-related reasons, but also because I was getting sick of the increasingly repressive, anti-conservative culture. Paul Joseph Watson recently did a video about China's new attempt to assign "social credit" to its citizens. In this video, he quotes Styx, who notes that the social-credit thing is already happening in the US via the massive de-platforming of people who don't toe the leftist line—such as is happening on Twitter and Facebook.

    I agree that people care about status and social approval. Of course, I think that's a sword that can cut two ways, and it's something the right (or should I just say "non-lefties" to avoid all the confusing "right/alt-right" terminology?) needs to watch out for. My hope is that the alt-media will develop all of its own parallel services and institutions to rival Facebook and Twitter (Gab seems to be on its way upward, despite being held back by a load of bigoted dreck on its pages) and YouTube. If there's one thing the left fears, its loss of control of the levers of power and persuasion.

    That said, for non-liberals to take over Hollywood, they're going to have to become a lot funnier and a lot more charismatic overall. A few scattered witty folks and beautiful people can't be expected to do all the heavy lifting for the right. Smart, serious people with no sense of humor don't make for good marketing.

  3. I agree that people care about status and social approval. Of course, I think that's a sword that can cut two ways, and it's something the right needs to watch out for.

    Do conservatives even have a social status worth protecting in The Current Year?

  4. I think some conservatives can and do succumb to the temptation to say to their fellows, "See? I'm not like them." Do they gain any street cred from doing that? Yeah, among other conservatives.

    In fact, I'd say the same goes for the liberals. Liberals who preen and virtue-signal don't gain any street cred or respectability among conservatives, but they do among fellow liberals. The question of social status can't be judged from some objective, outside position: it's relevant only within those enclosed social circles. Lefties can rise high in leftie circles, but they gain no clout among the righties. And vice versa.

    But my point isn't particularly deep. All I'm saying is that conservatives should take care to avoid the ego-traps that self-righteous liberals fall into routinely.



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