As I have mentioned throughout this series, far too many people will simply vote they way their favorite talking head on their favorite news program tell them to. Little to no research will be done, and most will not even know where the various candidates stand on the issues. And as I have said, this is a travesty. But the question that begs to be asked in relation to this is “why do people vote the way the media tells them to vote?” While there are multiple answers to this, such as people are lazy, people don’t want to be bothered with the whole election nonsense, people don’t understand the issues or the process and trust the media to inform them, as well as many others. There is one answer, however, that does bear some thought, and may very well change the way you think about the media. That answer is “Coercive Persuasion.”
Coercive Persuasion (also known as Thought Control, Thought Reform, or Thought Manipulation) is something we all practice on a daily basis. Every parent, when raising a child, engages in this practice. “Don’t talk to strangers, they could be bad people and hurt you” continually drummed into a child’s head will result in that child viewing strangers with a certain degree of mistrust. This would be a good form of thought manipulation as it instills in the child a way to remain safe. Of course on the other side of the coin, there are bad people in the world who will engage in their own form of though control and counter the parents teaching with, “Not all strangers are bad, some of them are good – would you like to have a piece of candy or see a puppy I have?” These bad strangers will generally strive to build up a friendship with the child until they can gain the child’s trust and once that goal has been achieved; they will proceed with their original plan and harm the child.
Law enforcement and the military utilize coercive persuasion techniques in their training of new recruits, in order to change their thinking patterns to be more in line with their new found jobs of protecting and serving the population of America. There are not many people who will voluntarily place themselves in harm’s way, even to the point of being willing to take a bullet, for a complete stranger. And yet, through their training, this is just what police and soldiers do on a daily basis. Coercive persuasion is also used throughout their careers in order to reinforce the officer’s or soldier’s responsibility to serve and remain loyal even in the face of overwhelming odds.
Corporations and companies also engage in coercive persuasion. “Buy Now! Before they’re all gone!” “Go ahead and get it now!” “Buy this for better health, a sexier body, improved performance, and be the envy of your neighbors!” “Buy your lottery ticket to today for a chance to WIN 10 MILLION DOLLARS!” And my all time favorites: “I’m a raccoon in your attic / a torrential rain storm / a deer on your headlights / etc., buy now and be protected from mayhem like me!” These are all coercive persuasion marketing techniques.
Coercive persuasion is not brain washing. I should point that out here. What you see in Hollywood, “The Manchurian Candidate,” etc., is nothing more than myth. Although it can be done, most people cannot be forced to do something they normally would not do. At least not unless the person had those proclivities to begin with. Coercive Persuasion techniques strive to simply change a person’s perception about things, and thus change the way they think. Fortunately, most people are immune from them, but there are some who simply cannot resist them (hence the popularity and success of the home shopping network), and this is the audience for whom these ads are created. I am very confident that once you realize this is being done, you will be able to point out a plethora of examples that I have not mentioned here.
Coercive persuasion seeks to alter or change the thought processes of an individual or group of individuals, who in turn will not only accept that change, but will go on to promote it as well. This not the same as a convincing debate or discussion which may or may not sway a person’s opinions. Coercive persuasion seeks to change a person’s thinking, their thought patterns to the point where they will believe something they may not otherwise believe. (Note I said believe and not do. Although an extensive conversation could be based on that statement alone, now is not the time, and here is not place.).
Dr. Tim Groseclose, the Marvin Hoffenberg Professor of American Politics at UCLA, who is an authority on the subject, has completed a study on how the media uses these techniques to influence and persuade their viewers to behave in a certain way in the voting booth. Dr. Groseclose’s conclusions have led him to say that if people did not watch the news, and simply focused on the issues and the various candidates stand on those issues, the vast majority of America would vote conservative. An interesting conclusion that really stresses the use and impact of coercive persuasion.
As I sat by the fire quietly contemplating the effects of coercive persuasion on individuals (not really, but it makes a great segue way), I began to wonder about the MSM’s treatment of Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. Romney is generally not vilified in the MSM. Yes, they will throw a barb here and a jab there, question his policies, etc., but generally speaking they refer to him as the darling of the conservatives, the object of tea party affection (and we all know how crazy the tea partiers are, right? At least according to the MSM).
Now I will concede that the left has attacked Romney, but they attack his policies and his stand on certain issues. But with Rick Perry it is totally different. The MSM hates him, and vilifies him every chance they get. “He’s crazy! He’s a clown! He’s just Texas BS! He’s all hat and no cattle!” Chris “Tingles” Matthews has even found time in his busy schedule full of “Obama Fantasizing” to really blast Perry. Why? Why the “pull out all the stops” vilification of Rick Perry? I have to wonder if this is some form of reverse psychology. Does the left realize that the harder they pound on Perry, the more likely the right is to vote for him? And if so, then why continue? Do they really want Perry on the ticket and again, if so, then why? Does the MSM secretly believe that Obama has little or no chance in 2012, and they want someone such as Perry (whose record in Texas is not much different than Obama’s is as President, at least with regard to jobs, the economy and islam). Is this a form of coercive persuasion that is being engaged in by the MSM?
That this is practiced by the MSM, through its constant and unrelenting vilification of the Tea Party movement, should be obvious. It is not enough to say that they disagree with the movement and its supporters, nor is it even enough to rationally explain why they disagree with the movement. No, the MSM & liberal elite engage in a continual barrage of invective filled rants against the Tea Party movement. “They’re crazy! They’re holding America hostage! Their ideas have been disproven by respected experts! They’re terrorists! They’re cannibals!” and so on, and so on, ad infinitum ad nauseum. Why?
Very few conservatives (if any) are glued to MSNBC, and other MSM outlets (unless it is to laugh uncontrollably at Al Sharpton as he pretends to be intelligent). The MSM’s primary audience is overwhelmingly liberal, and makes up the supportive constituency of the liberal elite politicians. So why are these liberal memes striving so hard to erect an unbreachable wall between the liberal citizenry and the Tea Party?
To me, the answer can only be that the MSM and liberal elite recognize that the Tea Party represents a real danger to maintaining their liberal base of support. In other words, if their liberal base of support ever sat down and listened, with an open and unbiased mind to the Tea Party platform, then they too would likely realize that the MSM and liberal elite are, for lack of a better phrase, full of sheep dip, and the resulting exodus from that failed movement would cripple the liberal socialist empire for a seriously long time.
Engaging in this intense and unrelenting attack on the Tea Party, the MSM and liberal elite strive to strengthen the liberal support base. As I said, the primary audience of the MSM are liberals. There are some in that audience, however, who are not liberal, and who are either completely undecided, or partially undecided (undecided with either slightly left or slightly right leanings). It is the hope of the MSM and liberal elite who appear on the MSM programs, to coercively persuade those individuals into the liberal support platform. This is clearly in line with Dr. Groseclose’s conclusions.
Clearly then, the MSM and the liberal elite are waging an unrelenting war against common sense, truth, justice, and conservative Americans. The reward, the “spoils of war” that they are hoping to gain is the hearts and minds of those who have yet to decide with side of the fence they are on, as well as strengthening and ensuring the loyalty of liberals throughout the land. The result of this “war” will be, I fear, a country divided as it has not been divided since 1861.
As I have encouraged before, I continue to encourage Americans everywhere to not be swayed by the talking heads that appear on our television sets. I encourage Americans everywhere to study and research the issues and the candidates thoroughly before November 2012, and make an informed decision, one in support of America, and not in support of any agenda covertly promoted by any individual or group.
I believe that our country is at war, and the war I am talking about is not being waged outside of our borders. It is being waged right here at home, and there is not just one “Tokyo Rose” or “Axis Sally” spewing propaganda at us, there is an entire army of them, and at 6:00 pm each evening (to quote Carol Ann in the film Poltergeist), “They’re Baaack!”