GOP political strategists are good at what they do and they have been at it for at least four decades culminating with our forty-fifth president.
Lee Atwater is credited with coining the phrase “Perception is reality” back when Michael Dukakis fell to the Willie Horton weak on crime meme. Atwater worked with Karl Rove, Paul Manifort, and Roger Stone who devised a set of strategies that have given the GOP a lock on winning elections across America. This is not a conspiracy theory, it’s crafty application of combative propaganda techniques in a political culture where winning is the only option and nobody who counts cares how it’s accomplished.
Here’s how perception is manipulated to play the media and the American people, to game our democratic systems, and to get a lock on the levers of power.
Lies to Truth in Ten Steps
Here is Robert Reich breaking down the steps:
It is a progression that muddles people’s ability to distinguish truth by creating an illusion that many people accept and believe what started as an easily disproven lie. Lie … disputed fact … partisan divide … alternative fact. When people rely on what they think others find credible perception shifts. Truth becomes a perception and not a rational assessment made by weighing the evidence.
Gaming The Media
Manipulating the media has become a profession in our age of ratings and for-profit news coverage. Keeping the numbers up is a survival issue for print, radio, and TV. Fox News has demonstrated that news as entertainment captures and holds audiences. Outrage and drama fuel good ratings. Authenticity, fact, and nuance – not so much. Here is Reich again to illustrate how deception can prevail even with the best efforts of our free and independent press.
By creating the perception that the media is unfair and biased, all criticism becomes suspect allowing bold lies to persist.
It is no accident that public funds for non-commercial radio and television have been cut by GOP legislation. It’s also intentional that Sinclair Broadcasting has been allowed to acquire rural radio stations across the nation. Control of the media is control of perception.
Fostering Corrosive Doubts and Fears
Doubt and fear fog the intellect and cause humans to fall back on more primitive coping mechanisms. This opportunity is exploited by human predators to get over on others. Sociopaths and domestic abusers commonly “Gaslight” victims using the tactics Robert Reich attributes to Authoritarianism in this clip:
The Impact on Individual Perception
The effect of all of these tactics is very personal. By messing with our perceptions, by playing us, our mood and our general outlook is altered. In this last clip Reich characterizes four syndromes…
Robert Reich is a gifted teacher and an experienced political insider who is very self-aware and who now has a large following of youthful progressives. He is doing great work to show what’s behind the curtain in the political theater we are bombarded with daily. He’s worth following on social media.