Michael Stuart Kelly

The Story Wars of Hot Political Issues

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Here is a wonderful story wars technique used by President Trump and analyzed by a disgruntled former Ted Cruz campaign employee, Amanda Carpenter. She is being interviewed by S. E. Cupp (who has become quite the elitist babe compared to her Glenn Beck days.)

This interview was absolutely fascinating to me because of the way Amanda dissected what she calls "gaslighting." She wrote an entire book about it: Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies to Us.

I disagree with much she said about politics (oddly enough, she seems to be brainwashed in her own right), and Cupp for that matter, but her formulation of how President Trump frames an issue and hogs the media is extremely clever. She calls it his form of gaslighting. But I don't agree with her that President Trump has brainwashed America. I do agree that the procedure of his media campaigns are most likely the way she said. That's why this interview was so fascinating.

For someone like me, it's hard to see two women who obviously believe they belong to the superior upper class far above the average hoi polloi schlubs. I usually call these people elitists, but I don't believe either is evil in the manner the nasty powerful elitists are. I think they are mostly the sheep of the elitists. They like belonging to the elitist insider group, they love the perks, they adore the feeling of being superior to the rest of mankind, but I don't sense power-lust in them. Just the vanity elitists tend to have.

Before I quote from the book, let me register my disagreement with Carpenter over the term "gaslighting." This term comes from an old 1930's play by Patrick Hamilton's which was later made into a movie (starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotten). In the story, a man murdered an opera singer to get her jewels, but he had to escape without them. Years later he finds and marries the niece of the opera singer. He is certain she knows where the jewels are. But he doesn't want to kill her. So he decides to try to make her go insane. He moves her to a secluded house and, among other dastardly acts, rearranges the furniture when she leaves the room, but when she returns and asks about it, he denies anyone moved anything. He constantly has the lights dimmed or brightened, then denies this is happening when she mentions it. (The lights were gas lights in the story, which is where the title and the term came from.) And so on. She begins to doubt her own mind and actually starts to go insane, but in a passive way. The story goes from there.

Cults like to gaslight their members, but by isolating them and controlling information, not furniture. This is generally the way the term is used these days.

Carpenter uses it in a different, but similar manner. She even mentions the movie. But ehe means that Trump presents an issue in an irrational way, his followers accept it, and he does it in such a manipulative manner it becomes frustrating and maddening--so much so that people's heads explode and they get sucked into constant outrage in the media. Notice that people never doubt their own minds in this form of gaslighting. They merely become duped (according to her) or outraged. If she wants to call this gaslighting, OK. Just so we know what she means in contrast to the normal meaning.

Now here is the process. Propagandists, please pay attention. This is great stuff and easy to do. From the book:

Quote

... the term didn’t go mainstream until 2016 when so many people began grasping for ways to explain the maddening effect Trump was having on them.
I experienced the phenomenon personally from my perch as a CNN commentator who followed every minute of the 2016 primary and general election campaigns, going head-to-head against Trump’s most fervent surrogates in a high-stakes media atmosphere for hours on end. But I wasn’t alone. Trump was gaslighting America. He still is.

Of course, we are all familiar with politicians who lie, break promises, or obfuscate the truth. President George H. W. Bush’s “Read my lips” promise not to raise taxes went bust. President George W. Bush’s weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were never found. President Barack Obama’s “If you like it, you can keep it” vow about Americans being able to keep the doctors and health insurance plans they liked never held up. Each of these presidents made statements they knew might not prove to be true.

Gaslighting is far more aggressive than any of these misguided lies. It’s an elaborate scheme undertaken with the goal of gaining control over people. Trump is an expert gaslighter and what I want you to understand is that there is a very specific method to his madness.

I showed you how Trump worked through the steps when he was gaslighting people about Obama’s birth certificate. Those very same steps are almost always present in his political attacks. Here they are:

STAKE A CLAIM: Trump finds a political issue or action that competitors are unwilling to adopt and that will ensure a media frenzy. Such as: “President Obama is not a U.S. citizen.”
ADVANCE AND DENY: Trump casts the issue into the public realm without taking direct responsibility. He does this by raising questions about or discussing what other people are saying, reporting, or thinking. Tabloids, YouTube videos, tweets from unknown origins, and unverifiable Internet news stories are often used as sources.
CREATE SUSPENSE: He says evidence is forthcoming that will soon get to the truth of the matter. Trump can remain in this mode for weeks, months, or even years.
DISCREDIT THE OPPONENT: If critics gain traction, Trump attacks their motives and personal character.
WIN: Trump declares victory, no matter the circumstances. This step usually takes a long time to reveal itself, and Trump will often engage it when he is ready to drop the matter.

There it is, Trump’s gaslighting method, which he has used time and again. This is how he achieves the true goal of every megamanipulator: attaining complete control over his environment and the people in it. It’s enough to drive sane people mad if they don’t understand how it works and why he uses it.

Is that method cool or is that cool? To my mind, it is accurate. But instead of being used to gain control over people, President Trump uses it to gain control over the media. Other than that (and a few other less essential things) Carpenter explains it much better in the video. But this gives you the gist.

I find it totally odd a lady who can see this misses the nonstop propaganda deceit of CNN (and so many other things), but there it is.

This process is not a story per se for the theme of this thread, story wars. But it is a strong effective template on which stories are attached to effect a political outcome. So, in my mind, it qualifies. It's definitely a first rate propaganda technique for moving the Overton Window (which is a sliding scale of topic extremes permitted to be discussed in a culture).

Michael

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On 7/18/2018 at 7:42 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

... if you want to use humor as a story war tool, you fizzle when you tell the same joke over and over. People already know the punchline from acclimation so there effectively is no punchline qua punchline any longer.

. . .

... The same joke can work when it's appearance is unexpected. But when it is presented in a pattern of regularity, it gets old real fast. That doesn't work for comedians and it doesn't work for propagandists.

Wanna see a great example?

Look what just happened to Michelle Wolf now that the shock of her depraved grimy humor at the  White House Correspondents' Association dinner wore off.

No audience.

And no audience means no persuasion... no story war.

Like Jack Posobiec said:

Womp womp.

:) 

Michael

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All stories need a theme based on some truth, and all truths in stories need a form of gauging them for accuracy. I'm talking about stories that move minds and hearts and persuade people. Non-effective stories are not worth looking at in terms of the story wars except, maybe, as examples of what not to do.

Scott Adams just presented a proposition that I find brilliant. He claims factual accuracy is a way to connect a truth proposition to validity (in other words, its alignment with reality), but direction, not accuracy, is the best way to present the truth in terms of persuasion.

This is critical in storytelling. I will elaborate later, but right now, this is light-bulb-going-off-in-brain important.

Let's hear from Scott. He discussed this after he talks about the MAD thing (which is interesting in itself--he says if the Deep State ever managed to take out President Trump for real, during the months of processing, Trump, or any Republican who followed him, would guarantee that Hillary Clinton would go to jail).

But that's not nearly as interesting from a philosophical point of view as what follows.

When you think about this idea of direction being vastly more important than factual accuracy for persuading about the truth, you get at the crux of Ayn Rand's entire aesthetics.

Her purpose of writing was to present the ideal human being. This character then be a model for readers to aim at with their own lives. Seeing the model in reality, even if only a projection, would give them what she called "emotional fuel" or "spiritual fuel" to keep going.

Were the heroes she created factually accurate? No. They were romantic projections. Were they in the right direction? Yes.

Ayn Rand's fiction still sells today and the only reason her nonfiction is on the shelves is because they promise to explain the ideas in her fiction (and by consequence, her philosophy) to the vast public of book buyers.

Had Rand presented factually accurate heroes, she and her influence would have faded down the memory hole. In fact, Rand ranted and railed for a good part of her life against presenting factually accurate characters in fiction as priority and she called the school of literature based on that "Naturalism."

Lots to think about here...

Michael

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Here is story war based on an Alinsky tactic. And President Trump just out Alinksied Alinsky.

From Rule 5 of Rules for Radicals:

Quote

... the fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.

Now that's not a story war tactic per se. That's just a propaganda tactic.

You get into the story wars when you deal with the heroes of the core stories in society. It's wicked hard to ridicule a cultural hero and make it stick. Ridicule can take out a man, but not the core story. For instance, how often is Jesus Christ ridiculed? All the time and it's nonstop. But no about of ridicule seems to have worked to diminish his influence. That's because he is the hero in the Christian core story and that core story resonates with a lot of people. Ditto for the heroes all kinds of influential core stories, Marx and Rand to name just two.

And, more importantly for my point, this applies to secondary heroes in these core stories if they stay true to their calling, especially heroes still living. 

But if you can ever have the good fortune of watching such a living hero step on his dong in something that diminishes the nature of his heroism (using the nature of his heroism, not the truth, as the standard), you can ridicule that hero, then watch as his cultural influence as a magnet for attracting and unifying new adherents to the core story goes bye-bye.

That just happened with Carl Bernstein. He was one of the two guys who took down Nixon. A hero to the left if there was ever one. A fearless journalist of integrity who got the truth out about a lying politician and thus destroyed a presidency.

Well, Bernstein didn't just step on his dong, he stomped all over it. He signed a fake news story about President Trump and Michael Cohen that was so fake, his source (Lanny Davis) even said in public that he lied. CNN, in shock, knows what's at stake, so it is not backing down even as the rest of the fake news media is livid and making corrections.

(Notice that they all said they independently verified the story, but they all used the same source, Bernstein's source, Lanny Davis. However, that's just gravy for the real damage.)

So CNN is stonewalling, but its efforts are way too little way too late.

Right on cue, President Trump pounced with killer instinct. He called Carl Bernstein "sloppy," and "a man who lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool, making up story after story." And to make sure his intention is ridicule and signal that his supporters are to continue ridiculing Bernstein, Trump said Bernstein "is being laughed at all over the country!"

With a tradition-laden leftie hero of this magnitude, and a public dong-stomping of the magnitude Bernstein did, and with President Trump's comment to millions of people in one whack, we will witness something we don't see very often. We will witness Alinsky's fifth rule of ridicule used against a long-standing cultural hero and taking him out.

Story wars-wise, that's a big deal. 

Michael

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Sifting, identifying, premise-checking ... dong-stomping.

16 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Well, Bernstein didn't just step on his dong, he stomped all over it. He signed a fake news story about President Trump and Michael Cohen that was so fake, his source (Lanny Davis) even said in public that he lied. CNN, in shock, knows what's at stake, so it is not backing down even as the rest of the fake news media is livid and making corrections.

Just adding some links.  First, the 'fake news story about President Trump and Michael Cohen' ... Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting, written by Jim Sciutto, Carl Bernstein and Marshall Cohen. [Updated 9:47 AM ET, Fri July 27, 2018]

So, the Sciutto, Bernstein, Cohen piece was 'so fake, his source (Lanny Davis) even said in public that he lied'? Source? 'Sources said'?  Well, I don't know, it's a claim that could easily be demonstrated with a link and/or quote were it true.

However, Lanny Davis did update his earlier let's-call-them-errors in a subsequent story, published two days ago, written by Sciutto and Bernstein: Attorney for Michael Cohen keeps changing his story on Trump Tower meeting

"I should have done a much better job of speaking with more suspicion than certainty, and I regret my mistake," Davis told CNN.

Bernstein stomping on somebody's dong?  Not so much to date.

Quote

(Notice that they all said they independently verified the story, but they all used the same source, Bernstein's source, Lanny Davis. However, that's just gravy for the real damage.) 

So CNN is stonewalling, but its efforts are way too little way too late.

Right on cue, President Trump pounced with killer instinct. He called Carl Bernstein "sloppy," and "a man who lives in the past and thinks like a degenerate fool, making up story after story."

That sounds like a zany bulletin from the DPRK news service (or its parody) -- "Thinks like a degenerate fool!"

But story wars, yeah.  This is part two ...

The Daily Caller's Chuck Ross has been reporting on the dongery-pokery of Lanny Davis. This is a section from Memeorandum's dated archive from two days ago:

Quote

 

Edited by william.scherk
Added Chuck Ross headline etc from Memeorandum.org

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7 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Bernstein stomping on somebody's dong?  Not so much to date.

William,

I must not have been clear.

Bernstein didn't step on somebody's dong. He stomped all over his own dong.

He signed a fake news article that he knew was fake.

And he got busted.

Michael

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He must have reallllllly realllly short legs.

  • Haha 1

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Lmao‼️

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