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Wed Jun 13, 2018, 05:18 PM

Trump has turned words winto weapons. And he's winning the linguistic war

Snip
Trump knows the press has a strong instinct to repeat his most outrageous claims, and this allows him put the press to work as a marketing agency for his ideas. His lies reach millions of people through constant repetition in the press and social media. This poses an existential threat to democracy.
Language works by activating brain structures called ďframe-circuitsĒ used to understand experience. They get stronger when we hear the activating language. Enough repetition can make them permanent, changing how we view the world.

Snip
Even negating a frame-circuit activates and strengthens it, as when Nixon said ďI am not a crookĒ and people thought of him as a crook.

Scientists, marketers, advertisers and salespeople understand these principles. So do Russian and Islamic State hackers. But most reporters and editors clearly donít. So the press is at a disadvantage when dealing with a super salesman with an instinctive ability to manipulate thought by 1) framing first 2) repeating often, and 3) leading others to repeat his words by getting people to attack him within his own frame.


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/13/how-to-report-trump-media-manipulation-language

My take:
I wish people would listen to Lakoff, not just journalists but also Democratic leaders, about how to win the message wars. Much of this is about understanding how the brain works.


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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Trump has turned words winto weapons. And he's winning the linguistic war (Original post)
Bradshaw3 Jun 13 OP
Ferrets are Cool Jun 13 #1
Bradshaw3 Jun 13 #2
Ferrets are Cool Jun 13 #3
malthaussen Jun 14 #5
Bradshaw3 Jun 14 #6
malthaussen Jun 14 #7
Bradshaw3 Jun 14 #10
dalton99a Jun 13 #4
elleng Jun 14 #8
Bradshaw3 Jun 14 #9
elleng Jun 14 #11

Response to Bradshaw3 (Original post)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 05:21 PM

1. Repugs have always used words as weapons and they have always won that war.

Sad, but true.

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Response to Ferrets are Cool (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 06:31 PM

2. True they are good at branding, but

Nixon's mafia were guys from advertising like Haldeman so they knew techniques and Reagan and others knew how to play the race card but I don't believe we've seen anything like this current situation with dump.

I realize that it can be hard for people to grasp that by repeating a lie and then trying to debunk it that can often only serve to spead its message. But I'm afraid if the media and Democratic leaders don't recognize what they are up agains they are just going to keep feeding the monster until it's too late.

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Response to Bradshaw3 (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 06:42 PM

3. You are correct. It is a daily amazement as to how

he can lie with seeming impunity.

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Response to Bradshaw3 (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 09:57 AM

5. I harp on this a lot.

Don't dignify nonsense with a response, it only validates it.

The problem is, Mr Trump is not just some anonymous Internet clown spewing toxic wastes. His statements are ipso facto declarations by the US Head of State and Head of Government. No matter how "illegitimate" we think he is, no matter how strongly we pound the table and scream "he's not my President!" -- he is, and therefore anything he says is automatically news, and important. Which he laps up, of course, it's his wildest dream come true. But unlike our embarrassing Uncle Fred, we can't lock him up in the attic and let him drool all over himself -- and with no unanimity from the Press, we can't muster a solid chorus of sense to drown out his nonsense.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #5)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:08 AM

6. Lakoff does offer some solutions

Agee with all you said.

For those who might not want to click on the article, here is what they suggest for the media:

First, journalists must understand how propaganda works on the brain and grasp the cognitive science that marketers of propaganda have implicitly mastered: frames, metaphors, narratives and brain basics.

Second, keep a steely focus on the fact that American democracy is under attack by a foreign power, possibly with collusion from the sitting presidentís campaign. This is a crisis. Certain rules donít apply in a crisis, especially the rule that the press must amplify the presidentís words, whatever they are.

Third, stop letting Trump control the news cycle. Newsgathering should be a serious affair controlled by editors whose power rivals any politicianís. Stop chasing his tweets and elevating every sideshow. Start every story with truth and the context of whatís really important to citizens in a democracy. More BBC, less TMZ.

Fourth, donít spread lies. Donít privilege Trumpís lies by putting their specific language in the headlines, the leads or the hashtags. Donít repeat the lies assuming people will automatically know theyíre lies. People need to know the president is lying, but be careful about repeating the lies because ďa lie repeated often enough becomes the truthĒ. Repetition of lies spreads them.

The job of the free press is to seek the truth and report the truth, especially the morally important truths and their consequences. If the press fails to do this job, not only does it lose its freedom, but we all do.

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Response to Bradshaw3 (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 11:27 AM

7. The *ideal* job of a free press is seeking the truth, etc...

... the real-world job of the press is to make a lot of money, by whatever means expedient. And therein lies the problem.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:46 PM

10. True but there are individuals and some non-profit sites doing good work

But yes even some of the ones I like and respect in the for-profit press always have to keep in mind who signs their checks.

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Response to Bradshaw3 (Original post)

Wed Jun 13, 2018, 10:56 PM

4. Good article

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Response to Bradshaw3 (Original post)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:07 PM

8. Dems have ignored Lakoff for years,

and obviously the press takes no lessons from him.

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Response to elleng (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 12:43 PM

9. I know but I will keep hoping they listen

I used to work with neuroscience and cognitve science researchers so I was able to learn how much of what we do is unconscious behavior. Humans are just not as aware of their own behavior as they think they are, and it is often detrimental to ourselves and sometimes dangerous.

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Response to Bradshaw3 (Reply #9)

Thu Jun 14, 2018, 01:55 PM

11. Ditto I keep hoping.

Fascinating, those you worked with.

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