Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rumors and Propaganda

"I've told people that hunting for spies is like trying to find a ghost in the fog. You've got to believe first of all, that they're there. And you have to have enough drive to keep looking."
- Scott Carmichael, Criminal Investigator (Ret.), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA, the Intelligence arm of the Pentagon).

That is how it is with hunting spies. As confusing as it is, this is also how it is with conspiracy theories or divining political maneuvering in real time. While spy hunters are in dangerous intellectual territory by seeking a foregone conclusion, it is typically after being alerted to an actual threat based on real intelligence, analyzed by actual intelligence, and they then seek more evidence to support it.

Civilians, amateurs, in fact most Americans do not have that expertise and field experience.

So what they "find" is typically mere conjecture, pure and simple. Pattern finding of coincidences or potential for something where there really is no something there to be found. Much of that has to do with "feel good" findings, possible and sometimes not even plausible situations that support their polarized contentions and beliefs about things that simply do not exist.

And I'm not even getting into things like "confirmation bias".

Yet for some, their nice and tidy faux beliefs serve their purpose in the moment, if not in an historical context.

That is to say, it may be information that travels like wildfire across the nation. It may even keep (and has kept) political candidates from office. Only coming out much later that it was false or completely fabricated information, depending on whether it was respectively, rumor or propaganda; misinformation or disinformation submitted out onto civil society with purely partisan political objectives.

Though sometimes it is just a money generating effort, or a publicity stunt by typically right wing media if not by an opponent's political enemies.

This is a problem with much of our news media today as instant information, twenty-four hour news cycles, and for profit news overwhelms facts and reality. They move so quickly that there is little or no time for due diligence on their part, for triangulation of sources and info so that in the end we are getting information that can easily be "off", off kilter, or completely wrong.

The speed of news today can do irrevocable damage before reality hits. Too often too many never hear a retraction, or a rectification. While those who did the damage even if innocently, get completely away with what is in effect a cancer on society. Many times bad information is not later corrected or apologized for at all.

Other we get news that is simply describing what we can clearly see onscreen in a redundant report that truly serves no purpose whatsoever other than to fill air time. All this leads to a bubble, a frustration, a desire in the individual to find closure when much of the time there simply isn't any to be found, and perhaps never will be.

Especially when the information being shared is intentionally wrong.

Do try to be aware, but also try to "find" what really is going on when it truly exists. Speak as if you are offering conjecture when you are, because much of the time that is what you are sharing. Pure conjecture. Do not present it as if it is fact just because you think you have "found" something, have been told by others that it is true, or simply wish it were true out of spite.

Rumors and Propaganda.

When I was in the military one of their biggest efforts on a daily basis was rumors and propaganda running wild. At first I thought it was stupid when I heard of it in basic training. Then with our quarterly security indoctrinations and seeing these things in practice among fellow military and even their families, I came to understand what the military has long known. The sheer destructive power of those two things.

We actively worked to keep rumors and propaganda in check. Because when we didn't, bad things happened. Just as we can see today in America with at times absolute nonsense spreading like wildfire.

Today these are frequently compartmentalized on the internet in graphical memes. Memes as most of us know, can be quite entertaining, funny and useful. Especially in a sharing facts (not factoids, false or unproven facts) even in using sarcasm against lies, propaganda and foolishness. But they can also be destructive as perhaps you have already seen, as most of us have.

When I was young and in the military one of us would tell our Sgt. what we had heard, concerned about it, looking for comment about it. Much of the time he would consider it, then blow it off as just more Rumors and Propaganda. And just about all of the time he was right. It saved us a lot worrying over a lot of nonsense.

It saved us grouping together against the "other", whomever it was the traveling nonsense was about. Much of the time it would be able the higher ups. Therein you get that polarization of us against them and in a structure where there is a command line, control needs to be maintained. Even if it is merely control by truth and reality over that of incorrect information..

We had been told back then that the military was the "perfect society", a microcosm of overall America. We had to keep rumors and such in check or they would be even more devastating than they can and have been in America at large.

If only America at large showed as much attention and concern over rumors and propaganda as we did in the military, we might not be in such a morass of ignorance and even stupidity. Instead sadly, many people latch onto nonsense and share it as fact. The result of which is quite obvious.

We need to try to realize whenever we are hearing or sharing information what might be rumors or propaganda rather than as solid news and information. If we do that, we will save us all a great deal of what is currently going on all across this country. Lies and misery. Lots of confusion and frustration observing whatever information can be found. Even incorrect information, because it is up against such a strong desire for understanding and closure. We may not now or within the timeframe necessary, ever really know the truth.

Especially if we do not have the capacity to understand it in all its complexities.
Especially when at times, simply none can be found.

Let me restate my point and put it into words some will more betterer understand even more clearily....

I'm not saying I'm any kind of a genius here. Or that I'm an expert. Though I do seemingly and not infrequently have more of a handle on the extent and correlation of some of these things than do some who speak so boldly, so loudly, who do not think they can ever be incorrect. Or who admit they can be incorrect, but never really exhibit that.

Sometimes these are people who very possibly do know better, even if they can't openly admit it even to themselves. Sadly, if you are sharp, if you are the type to acknowledge these things, if you do try to curb bad information, then you may be some of those who think this is you too, a part of the masses of people sharing nonsense, when very possibly it's simply not the case.

 That, is the kind of murkiness we're dealing with here. Not all of us realize that and as I have said, some of those who have loudest voices tend to be the most ignorant of their inconsistencies and incorrectness.

All I'm saying really is this, and excuse my vulgar irritation here:

F*cking pay attention people!
Because some of you out there are just spewing total bullsh*t all over the rest of us!
It's damaging what you love most. What we all love most. Our country.

 At times it's even going against your own true desires and best interests.
Not to mention it makes you look like a complete tool to those of us who can see it.
You will lose in the end because reality and truth have to win out. Truth falls into a slot that fits with reality. Lies disintegrate over time because the bulk of history won't fit up to it. It takes time, but  eventually it happens.

 As for those of you who are not sharing all this nonsense....
Speak, the Hell, up! We need you!
Push back against ignorant bullies.
We need you but we need them too!
We need them to start seeing what they are doing
How they are going so far afield into our collective enemy's hands.

 Still there's hope. There's always a sun on the horizon.

 It's just a matter of how soon we want it to arrive. To shine on the lies and expose the truths. To warm us in its brilliance and wrap us in its protective arms of honesty and reality.

 It's really a matter of how long you may want to push back the inevitable in overtaking all the rumors and propaganda that we have been and will continue to be infected with.

 There is still hope. There is always hope.
It's just not based in lies, rumors or propaganda.

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