Manipulation (continuation)

Selective truth Selective facts are more dangerous than fake news. We use news to bring decisions by ranking (consciously or unconsciously our options). The media mogul Rupert Murdoch declared: ”Produce better papers. Papers that people want to read. Stop having people write articles to win Pulitzer prizes. Give people what they want to read and make it interesting.”79.
As it was discussed in the previous chapter, we are subject of confirmation bias, so we prefer to read news which fits into our mental framework. So, while traditionally news were supposed to reflect reality, now there is a news filtering mechanism which amplifies our beliefs. To put it another way, media organizations tries to find out (and data and algorithms help them to do it efficiently) what are the engaging news for us, and they feed us with such kinds of news.80.

How we react if we get selective facts from the other side? Actually I have some fresh experience. I am writing this section in July 2018 in Budapest. As you already know, I am a soccer fan, so am watching almost all games of the World Cup on the state-controlled Hungarian sport channel. In the half time there are short news, and literally all items speak over an over again about crimes immigrants committed somewhere in Europe. The Hungarian leader learned the lesson: repetition, repetition and repetition (of oversimplified and one-sided) messages!
Repetition. Lewis Caroll (real name: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898)) wrote in The Hunting of the Snark nonsense-poem:”What I tell you three times is true.” While English literature was probably not his strength, Hitler famously put ”no limit on what can be done by propaganda; people will believe anything, provided they are told it often enough and emphatically enough, and that contradicters are either silenced or smothered in calumny”81

We know political slogans of our time, from Yes We Can 82 to America First. In Orwell’s Animal Farm 83 Old Major repeats the same idea with slight stylistic variation to argue against the humans: ”Man is the only real enemy we have.” ”Remove Man from the scene and the root cause…is abolished.” ”Man is the only creature that consumes without producing.” ”Only get rid of Man.” More systematic psychological studies shows that repetition create the ”illusion of truth”84. My own suggestion is, please don’t repeat things without carefully checking if they are true. If you do, you are are also responsible to make a world where it is difficult to discriminate between lies and truth. So, please, please, please, think before you repeat!

Repetition. Lewis Caroll (real name: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898)) wrote in The Hunting of the Snark nonsense-poem:”What I tell you three times is true.” While English literature was probably not his strength, Hitler famously put ”no limit on what can be done by propaganda; people will believe anything, provided they are told it often enough and emphatically enough, and that contradicters are either silenced or smothered in calumny”81

We know political slogans of our time, from Yes We Can 82 to America First. In Orwell’s Animal Farm 83 Old Major repeats the same idea with slight stylistic variation to argue against the humans: ”Man is the only real enemy we have.” ”Remove Man from the scene and the root cause…is abolished.” ”Man is the only creature that consumes without producing.” ”Only get rid of Man.” More systematic psychological studies shows that repetition create the ”illusion of truth”84. My own suggestion is, please don’t repeat things without carefully checking if they are true. If you do, you are are also responsible to make a world where it is difficult to discriminate between lies and truth. So, please, please, please, think before you repeat!

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