Prophylaxis and prophylactics: Teri Kanefield gives us some advice so we can recover our sanity amidst the daily barrage of Trumpian lies. We can protect ourselves from being bombarded with falsehoods.
Staying sane—and saving democracy— under a Firehose of Outrageousness.
The Rand Corp. describes the extremely effective Firehose of Falsehoods propaganda method: a rapid, continuous barrage of outrageous falsehoods.
Trump, who adopted the method from Putin, is a natural at this. From the researchers: “Don’t expect to counter the firehose of falsehood with a squirt gun of truth.”(p.9)
Playing whack-a-lie will wear you out. Trump can reel off several lies in a minute. On the other hand, researching and refuting each lie can take hours. Simple lies are easy to tell. Complex truths are harder and don’t fit well into sound bites. This is partly why the Rand Corp. researchers conclude that countering lies with the truth isn’t effective.
Instead of trying to refute each lie, the researchers suggest preparing the population to expect lies, which we’ve now done.
Trump’s supporters know he lies and don’t care. Often now you hear, “I don’t care what he’s done,” from his supporters. The GOP leadership obviously doesn’t care.
Trump’s goal is to destroy democracy, so we counter his Firehose of Outrageousness by strengthening democracy.
How? Volunteer, register voters, put a sign on your lawn, support publications that do good investigative journalism, get organized for 2020. I’ve assembled some ideas and put them here.
The Russian propaganda model is high-volume and multichannel, and it disseminates messages without regard for the truth. It is also rapid, continuous, and repetitive, and it lacks commitment to consistency.
- Forewarn audiences of misinformation, or merely reach them first with the truth, rather than retracting or refuting false “facts.”
- Prioritize efforts to counter the effects of Russian propaganda, and focus on guiding the propaganda’s target audience in more productive directions.
- Compete with Russian propaganda. Both the United States and NATO have the potential to prevent Russia from dominating the information environment.
- Increase the flow of information that diminishes the effectiveness of propaganda, and, in the context of active hostilities, attack the means of dissemination.
Jackie Speier said Trump as a candidate mentioned WikiLeaks “over 160 times in speeches” in the last 30 days of the campaign.
Official counts may vary, but her larger point is clear: Trump brought up WikiLeaks a lot in the waning days of the campaign. He has stayed largely mum about the group since taking office, even as his CIA director said WikiLeaks acts like a “hostile intelligence service.”
We rate this claim Mostly True.