Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Is Hillary Clinton using Propaganda tactics described by Adolf Hitler?

Excuse me if I didn't get permission from the high priests of propaganda; but after reading Hitler's description of propaganda tactics written about ninety years ago and looking at the tactics used by the Clinton campaign and media outlets supporting her it seems clear that they have a lot in common. However modern propagandists have improved on Hitler's tactics; and they've learned not to pursue a course of action so extreme that it even destroys themselves, or at least not immediately.

This isn't limited to Hillary Clinton using propaganda tactics; it now dominates the consolidated media and that includes the right wing Republicans. It also includes most comparisons with Hitler to Clinton from right wingers who support radical extremists that might be as much like Hitler, if not more, than Clinton. This often plays to Clinton's advantage especially if they do a bad job with their comparisons. When this happens Hillary Clinton can claim that it is an unjustified attack and that the right wingers are the real threat and that she is the one standing up for the public.

Whether you consider the comparison to Hitler legitimate or not it should be clear that a greater effort needs to be made to teach the public about propaganda tactics that can be used to manipulate them so they can make their decisions based on rational research, instead of deceptive lies. Neither the mainstream media or many if any politicians do this. When a politician does try to inform people of manipulation tactics they're often only doing so selectively when they're being used against the politician not when they're using it against others.

However a closer look might indicate that even though the right wing extremists don't make a good argument comparing her propaganda tactics to Hitler's there may still be a reasonable comparison after looking at the details.

Don't take my word for it; look at some of Hitler's quotes from Mien Kampf and judge for yourself. If you don't recognize some of these tactics in modern media I'll follow it with a few examples:

Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favourable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side. It was a fundamental mistake to discuss the question of who was responsible for the outbreak of the war and declare that the sole responsibility could not be attributed to Germany. The sole responsibility should have been laid on the shoulders of the enemy, without any discussion whatsoever. …..

In this respect also the propaganda organized by our enemies set us an excellent example. It confined itself to a few themes, which were meant exclusively for mass consumption, and it repeated these themes with untiring perseverance. Once these fundamental themes and the manner of placing them before the world were recognized as effective, they adhered to them without the slightest alteration for the whole duration of the War. At first all of it appeared to be idiotic in its impudent assertiveness. Later on it was looked upon as disturbing, but finally it was believed. …..

The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas. These slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward. If this principle be forgotten and if an attempt be made to be abstract and general, the propaganda will turn out ineffective; for the public will not be able to digest or retain what is offered to them in this way. Therefore, the greater the scope of the message that has to be presented, the more necessary it is for the propaganda to discover that plan of action which is psychologically the most efficient. .....

In journalistic circles it is a pleasing custom to speak of the Press as a 'Great Power' within the State. As a matter of fact its importance is immense. One cannot easily overestimate it, for the Press continues the work of education even in adult life. Generally, readers of the Press can be classified into three groups:

First, those who believe everything they read;

Second, those who no longer believe anything;

Third, those who critically examine what they read and form their judgments accordingly.

Numerically, the first group is by far the strongest, being composed of the broad masses of the people. Intellectually, it forms the simplest portion of the nation. It cannot be classified according to occupation but only into grades of intelligence. Under this category come all those who have not been born to think for themselves or who have not learnt to do so and who, partly through incompetence and partly through ignorance, believe everything that is set before them in print. To these we must add that type of lazy individual who, although capable of thinking for himself out of sheer laziness gratefully absorbs everything that others had thought over, modestly believing this to have been thoroughly done. The influence which the Press has on all these people is therefore enormous; for after all they constitute the broad masses of a nation. But, somehow they are not in a position or are not willing personally to sift what is being served up to them; so that their whole attitude towards daily problems is almost solely the result of extraneous influence. All this can be advantageous where public enlightenment is of a serious and truthful character, but great harm is done when scoundrels and liars take a hand at this work.

The second group is numerically smaller, being partly composed of those who were formerly in the first group and after a series of bitter disappointments are now prepared to believe nothing of what they see in print. They hate all newspapers. Either they do not read them at all or they become exceptionally annoyed at their contents, which they hold to be nothing but a congeries of lies and misstatements. These people are difficult to handle; for they will always be sceptical of the truth. Consequently, they are useless for any form of positive work.

The third group is easily the smallest, being composed of real intellectuals whom natural aptitude and education have taught to think for themselves and who in all things try to form their own judgments, while at the same time carefully sifting what they read. They will not read any newspaper without using their own intelligence to collaborate with that of the writer and naturally this does not set writers an easy task. Journalists appreciate this type of reader only with a certain amount of reservation.

Hence the trash that newspapers are capable of serving up is of little danger - much less of importance - to the members of the third group of readers. In the majority of cases these readers have learnt to regard every journalist as fundamentally a rogue who sometimes speaks the truth. Most unfortunately, the value of these readers lies in their intelligence and not in their numerical strength, an unhappy state of affairs in a period where wisdom counts for nothing and majorities for everything. Nowadays when the voting papers of the masses are the deciding factor; the decision lies in the hands of the numerically strongest group; that is to say the first group, the crowd of simpletons and the credulous. Complete online copy of Mien Kampf

Is there any doubt that few if any of the highest profile candidates including Hillary Clinton "investigate the truth objectively" and try to convince the public to base their decisions on it? How much research does it take to determine that an enormous number of the claims from Hillary Clinton's campaign or the campaigns of the Republicans doesn't hold up to basic scrutiny, if it's actually applied? The media which used to try to at least appear to fact check many politicians claims and even investigate some stories that politicians never bring up have virtually given up this responsibility. They still fact check some of their stories; but in most cases they only check things that average voters with access to the internet could do themselves.

I have no doubt that those whop do a good job researching Bernie Sanders claims will find that they're almost always much closer to the truth. The reason for that is almost certainly because, unlike Hillary Clinton, he rose through the grassroots in a much more progressive state that was much more involved in the political system through town hall meetings, more common in Vermont than many other states. His followers have done much more research to determine that they've been following the right candidate. He claims that his enemies, presumably the British during World War I, before Mien Kampf was written, repeated their propaganda over and over again and the Germans weren't nearly as good. This was probably at least partly true, although it almost certainly wasn't completely true.

But don't take my word for that; if you doubt it do your own research.

In addition to describing his own propaganda tactics, Adolf Hitler also demonstrated them in practice, including the practice of attributing his negative characteristics to his opponents and implying that they don't apply to him. Hillary Clinton's campaign is doing the same thing. Her campaign manager even claimed that Bernie Sanders is trying to rig the system when he attempts to get the "super-delegates" to switch to his side even though they're supporting Hillary Clinton by a seventeen to one margin when the popular support is much closer. This claim is so bad it is clearly at the state where it appear "to be idiotic" and it is hard to imagine this one will ever appear rational unless the public doesn't do any of their own research, which unfortunately a lot of them don't.

However one tactic that somehow has become acceptable within the mainstream media, and ironically even Hillary Clinton uses it, is the irrational phrase, "there's no there there." This is a senseless blunder that makes no sense and, for those who don't remember it was ridiculed when Bill Clinton was the first to use this phrase. When he was defending against accusations which later turned out to be true about Monica Lewinsky, he was well known for using legal denials that often seemed very deceptive to the majority of the public even some of his supporters more worried about other issues. He often relied on narrow definitions of one word or another to avoid legally admitting to one thing or another. This led to famous blunders like "that depends on what the definition of is is," and "there's no there there."

Young people that were born about twenty years ago might not even remember this or understand why media pundits are mangling the English language when they say, "there's no there there," but this was how it started. As Hitler might say, "At first" this phrase "appeared to be idiotic in its impudent assertiveness. Later on it was looked upon as disturbing, but finally it was," accepted as a legitimate denial. On several occasions including a few days after was recently asked about donations from fossil fuel companies by Greenpeace Hillary Clinton responded by saying "there's no there there," even though further research indicates that she did receive six times as much money from employees as Sanders and much more, three to four million by most estimates, went to her super-PAC. Bernie Sanders doesn't even have a super-PAC. This is actually a common phrase for her as you can see if you google "Hillary Clinton there's no there there," she's turned her husbands blunder into a regular denial and the media practically never reminds the public.

Does the Clinton campaign believe Hitlers claims that, "The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget." If so it will explain why they think they can flip on almost every issue important to the public, including the Keystone pipeline, support for TPP, CAFTA, Fracking, gay marriage the war in Iraq and many other issues which Bernie Sanders has been consistent on. A list of issues that she flip-flopped on during the election would include dozens of issues if people have the time to research them, which a lot of people don't. But her propaganda is often repeated over and over again, often unchecked by the traditional media.

Some things have changed since Hitler wrote Mien Kampf. In the twenties the vast majority of news was spread through newspapers or word of mouth from those that read them to those that didn't; now most people get their news from television but the best informed people are more likely to get their news either from newspapers or alternative media outlets on the internet. Instead of counting on, "those who believe everything they read," the Clinton campaign and most Republicans might be counting on a group of people that believe everything they see on television repeated over and over again. Or some of them might "no longer believe anything" they hear from mainstream media but when they find a demagogue that demonizes the media like Donald Trump they might believe everything they hear from him, even though he's getting enormous amounts of free coverage from the media they don't trust and he doesn't even make as much sense as the traditional media.

It's hard to make less sense than the traditional media but Donald Trump manages to do it.

The third group that Hitler speaks of may not be the same size that it was when he wrote his book in the 1920s; but his basic idea is probably close to the truth even if he didn't follow up on his beliefs in a rational manner. I doubt very much if most people that fall into this group would be inclined to trust Hillary Clinton's claims or the claims that most of the Republicans make. Since Hitler wrote his book there has been an enormous amount of research into manipulating the public and very little of this was used to teach the public how to avoid being manipulated by demagogues. Instead it has been used to significantly improve on how they manipulate people. I have reviewed some of this in Manipulation Tactics; Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment; and Eli Roth’s Milgram/Obedience experiment much more extensive than most people realize in an attempt to show how the government and the military has been involved in this and how people can avoid being manipulated, at least to some degree.

Some of their tactics are much more complicated now; but some of them are very simple when you think of it. The simplest way they can ensure that grassroots candidates don't win is simply not to cover them at all. This is much more effective now that the media is now controlled by six corporations that can rig high profile elections by simply refusing to cover the best candidates. In many cases the most qualified people fro many offices are almost certainly ones that no one has ever heard of.

Fortunately there are some exceptions like Bernie Sanders who seems to have gained enormous amounts of coverage by slowly developing a grass roots following big enough that the media feels they can't ignore him as much as most other qualified candidates, without having his follower abandon them for alternative media outlets and exposing how corrupt they are.

A closer look at propaganda tactics described in Mien Kampf comparing them to tactics that are currently being used will turn up many more similarities, although in many cases they've been improved upon. One of the biggest improvements is that they play two parties off against each other. This is simple to recognize but they keep presenting us with the lesser of two evils arguments and a shocking percentage of the public falls for it every time. As long as the public keeps falling for this obvious tactic they'll keep using it and we'll never have a real democracy.

However one of the most common tactic remains the same, war propaganda which Hitler was most famous for. One of the simplest examples was described by Hermann Göring in an interview that might be famous among people familiar with alternative media outlets, although those that rely on traditional media may never heard of the following:

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. additional Hermann Göring quotes

the mass media has been leading this country into one war after another based on lies and appeals to emotions at least since World War Two if not much longer. They've never made much of an attempt to educate the public about the tactics that they use to control the public instead of responding to the will of the people. Most people are shocked by Adolf Hitler, as they should be but, whether you like him or not, Mien Kampf describes propaganda tactics far better than the traditional media does, assuming people use reasonable discretion to sort out the rabid antisemitism or other manipulation tactics that aren't being presented right, like when he falsely attributes the worst use of propaganda to his opponents when his is worse.

There are now better sources of information to expose these tactics in alternative media outlets or library books that the media and political establishment never mention; but until educational efforts are made to inform the public how to sort through propaganda we won't have a sincere democracy. Instead we'' continue having a pseudo-democracy where the politicians continue manipulating the voters instead of responding to their concerns.

Obviously I think that Bernie Sanders is the only candidate that the traditional media is willing to cover that makes many claims that remotely stand up to scrutiny and can be trusted to implement a reasonable amount of reform.

If there is a more qualified candidate it is one that most people have never heard of since the media doesn't cover most candidates that don't get approval from corporations that finance campaigns. The closest thing to an exception could be Jill Stein who may be the only remaining chance if Hillary Clinton and the establishment manage to rig the media coverage and nomination for Hillary Clinton.

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