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Engaging The Fear Machine: Media Manipulation

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posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 07:31 AM
Hello again ATS!

Over the years I've created a few threads on the subject of manipulation techniques and how they are utilized to mislead us. This morning I came across an article on Addicting Info that speaks to a specific facet of one method of manipulation - the use of misleading visual cues to distort how we will interpret and process information being provided to us.

This is a very fascinating and relevant subject because we all tend to think of ourselves as above this sort of manipulation. After all, we are evolved and educated enough to understand that our eyes can play tricks on us and that appearances can be deceiving... But, sadly, our vanity and ego plays right into the hands of those who wish to mislead us.

There are reasons why reporters and news anchors tend to be physically attractive people who are, essentially, interchangeable from one to the other as far as appearances go. Barbie and Ken read us the news because, well, we tend to trust Barbie and Ken at their word more than we trust, say, an Ernest Borgnine at his. On a very primal level, we tend to take beauty at it's word. We tend to let our guards down when our sexuality is triggered.

We also tend to process information in levels of priority. And, as rational as we like to think ourselves, visually acquired information takes priority whether we know it or not.

While the article on Addicting Info focuses upon Fox news, this sort of manipulation is universal. It's rampant in advertising ( Carl's Jr. / Hardees know damn well that nearly naked women writhing around has nothing to do with cheeseburgers. But they do understand that nearly naked women writhing around will trigger our primal urges and by associating these desires with their product, we will be inclined to spend ) and in all forms of media. Madison Ave has been perfecting the art of using our senses against us for a very long time - and that art form now infects every other form of media dissemination.

So please do not think that I am singling out Fox news here. I am simply using them as the example of a universal issue.

Let's look at a single graphic and break it down...

There is a lot going on here.

First, let's state what the screen captured graphic is actually seeking to convey... 215,000 jobs were added and unemployment is down

Is that the feeling and impression you get from looking? Chances are, no - it isn't. That is by design.

Red is the color of danger in nature. A warning that something is venomous or toxic. It is also the color of blood and fire. All things that we are instinctively hard wired to fear and avoid. Notice how much red is on the screen.

Particularly the large red downward pointing arrow. This single visual cue tell us, on a primal level, to think one thing... Something is dropping and is dropping sharply, dangerously.

A quick glance at this graphic would almost certainly leave a person assuming that what they saw was a statement that we are losing a lot of jobs. Yes, the words shown state differently, but look at those. "Jobs added" is in a passive color that closely matches the background, whereas "Unemployment rate" is, again, in bright red - triggering the fear/threat instincts.

Another subtle manipulation can be found in the line of cameo people. In the West we read left to right. Notice that, in looking left to right, the cameos start small and become larger the further right you go. The mind sees this and interprets it as growth. With those cameos directly beneath the bright red "Unemployment rate" the subconscious message is clear... Unemployment is growing...

Only the article itself is supposedly discussing the exact opposite message. The facts behind the story are diametrically opposed to the visual message being presented. The visuals are deliberately designed to manipulate how the viewer processes the information. In this case the actual fact is that unemployment went down... but the graphic is designed to trick the viewer into processing the information as exactly the opposite... it leaves the casual viewer with the impression that the job situation got worse.

These methods of manipulation are not limited to the visual, by any means. Every medium has it's propriety tricks, which sadly, in this day and age also includes outright lying. However, even when an actual fact is being discussed, how it is presented, the words used, the tone, the rhetoric, colors, shapes, associations... all can be employed to change how we interpret a fact.

And when how we digest a fact is no longer trustworthy on face value? Well, it's a brave new world indeed.

Personally I find it very troubling to know that my own nature is being used to control and manipulate me. Knowing that propaganda is now legal, and the media can outright lie... it disturbs me deeply to know that, even when the media tells the truth, they are often doing so in a way that tends to bend the message anway.

How you do feel about this ATS? Do you believe that these are deliberate manipulations - or just people reading too much into thrown together stories and graphics? Do you believe that you are immune to such cheap tricks?

I am eager to read your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!

edit on 8/12/15 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 07:50 AM
The problem is one of "Freedom of Speech" without the requirement of responsibility.

I know people hate thinking about any changes to the Constitutional Amendments including the bill of rights.

But what if?

What if lying to We The People was listed as a Crime Against the very fabric of Democracy?

In my view it should be!

And it should come with penalties equivalent to terrorism. How wrong is it to lie to people, especially as they prepare to vote?

The whole current system reeks of lies and omissions with no thought given to the very foundations of our society.

In my view, politicians, business, LEO and a whole raft of others should be jailed for lying to We The People.

But you will never get those changes in place.


edit on 12/8/2015 by pheonix358 because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 07:53 AM
a reply to: Hefficide
Damn I wish I had your writing skills Heff. I'd make some real threads for a change.

Social engineering is both a science, and an art form. Hypnosis, NLP, subliminals, paraliminals, supraliminals, etc. are all used liberally by media and advertising to change our perception of reality. Once a person studies these things, they start picking up on them, and it is helpful to minimize their effect, but no matter how much we study, we aren't immune. However unethical the practice may be, it's the world we live in. All we can do is be aware, and try to limit our exposure. Understanding how it works, and exposing it like you just did is the best weapon we have right now.

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 08:07 AM
Very good article. Well... exposing secrets like this is important.
I know some NLP - which is mostly with words or personal presence but originally it has a self-correcting mechanism in the context of therapy. Not when used in advertising.
It's the specific techniques that are important.
BTW I never watch TV on my own initiative. But I was staying at a family for a month in the US where Fox News was on every afternoon and sometimes I had to beg them to tune it lower in the morning. So I have no basis of comparison but as a communication expert I found it mostly very manipulative, far exceeding my expectations.
Russian TV is said to be quite bad too - the results are frightening.
I remember when I talked to some people from the US after 911 and many of them just naturally juxtaposed the Iraq question to "finding the terrorists". Which most of my EU friends found terribly manipulative...
Juxtaposing is another visual and sequential technique. After the President, who is cut off curtly and brutally in a manufactured sound bite, news about a deadly tornado follows - and already while he is talking, the bottom ribbon reads Deadly tornado hits Northern Texas...

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 08:18 AM
a reply to: Klassified

You can be immune to a bunch of things though. In NLP, after trying twenty-some verbal formulations of hypnotic commands, I usually gave my students instructions on a "bull# detector" and saw that everyone "installed" it like an anti-virus program.
The trick is to ring a bell in yourself or flash red lights or whatever when certain linguistic forms are used and combined, which can be done after a few hours of studying these grammatical forms. It does require independent thinking and the equivalent of a sixth grade grammar though.

I already dislike TV as it is though I sometimes watch creative films or series or nature movies downloaded. But these infographics... well. They are really something.
I think it isn't a really healthy exchange of information when someone is talking and showing pictures at the same time... I try to avoid it and generally read my history or politics or economics. When I see these big colored markers in explanatory pictures my alarm goes off. Especially when they are rushing my attention and showing some Ken and Barbie-like folks selling it with perfect teeth.

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 08:22 AM
And those are the obvious. Some are more tricky. A guy in the comment of the news (linked by the op) propose a book called "How to Lie with Statistics". This book have now more than 60 years! It should not have copyright anymore, if it does, it's immoral anyway) So there a link from someone that uploaded it.

If you are a french speaker I propose the book "Petit guide d’autodéfense intellectuel`.
ISBN: 978-2895960447

edit on 12-8-2015 by PersonneX because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 08:28 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

Thank you for sharing this article, I honestly had no idea of how easily we could be deceived. I quickly went out and started poking around the different news organizations for examples. You are right, it is everywhere. I am amazed at how easily we can be lead down a path without having any idea it is occurring.

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 08:42 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

Do you believe that these are deliberate manipulations

Yes, propaganda is now so globally entrenched that folks actually believe, and will live by and die for, the crap that MSM spews.

The TV stations, radio, glossy magazines and non-banned books are a beacon of hope for the establishment of the NWO.

Everything you know is wrong

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 08:46 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

Media manipulation is everywhere, in every aspect of media. ATS is media, too, in exactly the same way. Here members will use every tool in the book to enhance and propel their opinions, just as any other media does.

I have never seen anything expressed in media that does not use manipulation to one degree or another. I have seen ATS members use their looks, their gender, their politics, statistics to suit, etc. It is a game we all play, including you OP.

You are comparing media to a fear machine. It is much more than that. Fear is used to encourage certain responses and perceptions, but it is not the whole.

Media is the main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the Internet) regarded collectively. Just using Photoshop to enhance and portray an image of oneself that is more attractive than how you actually appear is manipulation. You are creating an illusion and presenting that to others as a representation of your physical appearance that is hyped. You are manipulating others.

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:01 AM
a reply to: Revolution9

This is a fact I once outlined in an OP. The thread became so contentious that it was closed. The only thread I have ever written that wound up closed.

So, yes, I am aware of the universality of manipulation and how we all use it to augment points.

Having said that... When it comes to individuals, our misrepresentations tend to revolve around ego-based agendas. We tell white lies or dress things up a bit to make ourselves feel better or look better. Hell, the clothing we choose to wear, our grooming choices, make-up, cosmetic surgery... all things that serve this end.

Advertising usually uses tricks to make us want to spend money.

But when "news" engages in it? At best it is stealth editorializing. At worst it is intentional misrepresentation of fact.

As a writer I do not claim to be a journalist. Sometimes I choose to post based upon personal conviction ( editorial ) and sometimes I prefer to do my best to simply share information.

News agencies used to be regulated and held to standards in the US. They had to, by law, indicate when they were editorializing. Now those restrictions are gone and we have to educate ourselves on these tricks if we hope to be suitably informed.

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:02 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

Excellent post! In fact, my husband and I saw this exact visual and had a discussion about the manipulation technique, colors and symbols.

Since violating free speech is not the answer (and I wouldn't want that, anyway) we must all take on the responsibility and attitude of "buyer beware"! NOTHING you see on a propaganda channel (which is what most news sources are) is real. Everything you see needs critical analysis. Don't believe ANYTHING on first glance. We are responsible for GETTING the truth, even when the media doesn't GIVE it.

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:07 AM
a reply to: Hefficide

Yes, an excellent post, and oh so true.

Our perceptions are heavily manipulated. I suppose the same could be said even before the television, but since the television manipulation of the public perception is very much an art form, as mentioned by another poster.

Perhaps when Woodrow Wilson hired Edward Bernays to enhance "public relations" the whole thing started?

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:20 AM

originally posted by: Benevolent Heretic
a reply to: Hefficide

Excellent post! In fact, my husband and I saw this exact visual and had a discussion about the manipulation technique, colors and symbols.

Since violating free speech is not the answer (and I wouldn't want that, anyway) we must all take on the responsibility and attitude of "buyer beware"! NOTHING you see on a propaganda channel (which is what most news sources are) is real. Everything you see needs critical analysis. Don't believe ANYTHING on first glance. We are responsible for GETTING the truth, even when the media doesn't GIVE it.

We are responsible for GETTING the truth, even when the media doesn't GIVE it.

But where are you getting what you call "the truth" from? Yet more media, yet more interpretation, yet more opinion infiltrated versions.

An action is easy enough to describe. The factors around the action quickly become subject to interpretation and manipulation. Human beings take sides. Some agree with an action and some disagree. Both will begin to develop arguments to back their choice of interpretation. They will develop manipulation strategies to persuade others to think as they do.

Mainstream media, fringe media, all is the same. I see no difference at all. Every member here uses the same tools as mainstream journalism.

Truth is what we believe, a subjective state. Doesn't every religion, political party, organisation of any kind do that? Does the individual with an interpretation, an opinion and a version do the very same?

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:23 AM
a reply to: Revolution9

Facts are facts. They are objective. The method I personally prefer to use to find them is by research and comparison. There are still good places to find raw data - and raw data doesn't lie. We might draw subjective conclusions of our own from it, but the data, itself, when looked at as a whole, tends to be purely objective.

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:28 AM
I don't know that this works too well at a population level. People have different wiring, and perceptions. Our brains activate differently, or prioritize sets of information differently. When manipulating an individual, you have to tailor your skillset for their particular vulnerabilities. If this works on people, it's that the type of psychological profile has already been vetted, as in the types of people who would watch the channel/program would tend to be... ya feel me?

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:34 AM
I don't know if anyone's noticed how when, what looks like an attractive female avatar, all the guys on ats start being nice and defending the pretty girls opinions. It happened a few months ago. When someone joined using a few very attractive photos as an avatar and everyone would respond to their posts and some desperadoes would leave a nice message on their wall, paying a compliment. It's quite funny if you see through it. Doing a google image search on their avatar and realising what is meant to be their real photo, is a stock Google photo. I've fallen for it myself and seen experienced members fall for it. Such a simple way of trolling. They usually get caught when it becomes too obvious.

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:40 AM

originally posted by: Revolution9
But where are you getting what you call "the truth" from?

No single source. I watch several news channels, but more importantly, I research online. Like Heff said, I only trust facts, raw data. I always look behind the headline, the poll, the story, the opinions. In the majority of cases, I end up feeling like I have not found the truth, so I have become comfortable with not always knowing the truth. And then, I usually have my opinion, but don't fool myself into thinking I know the truth of the matter.

Like the Planned Parenthood fiasco. I don't know the truth, but after all I've researched (and that's a LOT) I have formed an opinion. But I know it's an opinion, and don't try to pass it off as the truth.

Human beings take sides.

I hate that about human beings. Most people are in such a rush to take a side and attach themselves to it, they don't take the time to figure out what they really think! I pride myself for hanging out on the fence. I may never know the truth, but I'm OK with that, because I don't have a "side".

Truth is what we believe, a subjective state. But one's own personal "truth" is really just an opinion. THE truth is a fact, and is not subjective.

(post by KZrkiller removed for a manners violation)

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 09:51 AM
a reply to: woodwardjnr

100% This.

I caught on to this very thing happening in here and said the same exact thing. Pretty pictures bring out the best replies. I even called out the poster about it and they were very defensive and even changed their fake avatar (which they claimed was a real picture of themselves) and the person put up another similar avatar. Possibly attracting the same exact attention.

As to this thread, and of course to the great Heff...

Your thread is spot on and is the majority of reasoning behind me tossing out cable years ago. I admittedly judge people who only get their news from cable broadcast sources and even start chuckling when they say the news doesn't lie.

It is a sick and disgusting world that keeps feeding off of the naive and innocent only to breed more ignorance of the real facts and truths. Too bad we all don't see it and unitedly turn off the TV. (at least turn off the major networks)

I see all too often the misleading of the public almost like leading a herd of cattle to slaughter.

Excellent thread Heff!

posted on Aug, 12 2015 @ 10:01 AM
You are part of the herd and you don't even know it, that's scary dude.

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