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The GOP's misinformation machine

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bobweaver Donating Member (953 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-04 03:38 PM
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The GOP's misinformation machine
The Republican party is actually run very much like an army, with a top-down hierarchy of power and control, even of the control of information. Ideas and policies are hatched in right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundatin and others, and strategies are developed by paid strategists such as Karl Rove and others. There is tight control over the messages that are channeled out to the public in all directions - from Rush Limbaugh to the TV networks to newspaper columnists and web sites. The message may have slightly different wordings but the message is identical at all outlets - and the catch phrases are always identical. "Death Tax," "flip-flop," "bleeding heart liberal," "marriage penalty," "tort reform," "defense of marriage" - these and many more are all coined in the right-wing think tanks and are always copied verbatim in the various channels and outlets. The Republicans run a very centralized, hierarchical power structure in their party and their campaigns, and dissent within the party is frowned upon. Free thinking by the rank and file is not part of the Republican party's overall plan. Actual discussion of issues is not particularly encouraged either. The emphasis is on repeating and echoing the same message, by the millions, that came down from the control centers of the party. These messages are then hammered home into the public's mind by the endless, rote repetition of them by the followers of the Republican party. Republican candidates all around the country seem to be parroting the same basic talking points - it's like franchises of a national fast-food chain. You can see them echoed even in the posts on message boards and forums of the right-wing, or boards in which a lot of right-wingers participate in, such as The vast army of "dittoheads." It's all very streamlined and it makes it easy for people to participate in the party because they basically don't have to think for themselves, they just echo what someone else said, who echoed what someone else said, and so on. The end result is that the original ideas and catch-phrases that were hatched in the right-wing think tanks are echoed in the minds of the public, almost entirely intact in their original intent, expression and even wording that they had in the think tanks. Whether or not the information being disseminated is true or even has any base in reality is beside the point. (How many Americans still believe to this day that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 9/11 attacks? Thank you, Republican misinformation machine.
In contrast to this, the Democrats have a much looser structure where control and the flow of information is much more widely distributed rather than centralized, and there doesn't seem to be nearly as strong of hierarchical power structure, to me at least, but I'm not an insider to the Democratic party. Ideas, information and strategies can enter the information flow from almost anywhere and can be disseminated throughout the party and its followers in any direction or by any medium (but most effectively in printed publications and the Internet, since radio and TV channels appear to be locked up by the right). Initially this would seem to be an advantage for the Democrats because they would have much more access to information and ideas, and be able to pick and choose the best ideas and strategies to advance their cause. But it also seems to be a disadvantage in that the flow of information is less organized, and not everyone is on the same message. There's almost a cacophany of voices and differing issues, and different emphasis on specific issues, and differing viewpoints on a particular issue, and different ways of stating the same points, and on and on. Quite a few people I communicate with are basically talking about the same issues and points, but saying it in such different ways that you're never quite sure if they are on the same issue or are veering off onto a related issue. This diversity of viewpoints and opinions is valuable in a democratic society and in the Democratic Party. However, it does not seem to reverberate as well in the public's mind as the prefabricated and predigested catch-phrases and oversimplified talking points that the Republicans churn out with such cold, machinelike and corporate efficiency. The variety of issues and viewpoints and styles of expressing those viewpoints is valuable and creates a rich political culture - but the Democrats need to learn the game of catch-phrases and the technique of planting the catch phrases in the various media on a consistent, regular basis so that they lodge in the publics consciousness (and subconsciousness) as effectively as the Republican's catch phrases do. They can still allow for free thinking and diversity of opinions and viewpoints, but the Democrats need to provide some stable anchors that everyone can identify with when making his or her own points.
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benddem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-04 04:17 PM
Response to Original message
1. You're right
we've got to get organized and consistently on message. We have to refer to pro-lifers as believers in enforced pregnancy...death tax either tax for the poor or gift to the already rich. Read George Lakoff
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