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Feel manipulated by cable TV and social media? You are. Deal with it

Written By | Sep 1, 2019
feeling manipulated, cable TV, social media

Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with Comically Incorrect. (See link at the end of this article.)*

WASHINGTON. It’s rare that I get my news and / or commentary via social and cable TV media anymore. In excess of 95 percent of what appears on these sites and channels is a witches’ brew combining left-wing bias, post-colonialist theory, lies, damned lies and pure fabulation. Do you, like me, feel manipulated by cable TV and social media? Well, you are. It’s not your imagination. So let’s face it and deal with it.

Feel manipulated by cable TV news and social media? Join the club

Rational human beings can no longer regard the vile output from today’s phony media mavens as “news.” So what is it, then? What’s their product? Answer: Pure entertainment. At least if you’re an under-40, college indoctrinated pretend socialist whose knowledge of politics and history dates from the dark days of the hateful Reagan Administration. And if you like hearing, 24/7, what you already claim to know. You may not feel manipulated. But you are. Today’s Cable TV news channels and entertainment channels along with social media platforms make sure of this.

MSM no longer offers “news.” We get is entertainment masquerading as news, and with a left-wing tilt

Today’s “news” is, in fact, pure entertainment for today’s rising, under-informed rising generations. It’s the end product of an insidious left-wing movement that started in the late 1960s. Radicals quietly but relentlessly demoted real, objective reporting in favor of personality based entertainment shows masquerading as news. News with an inevitable left-wing twist, however. And that’s nearly 100 percent of what we read or see on cable TV and the internet today. Small wonder that rising generations, who no longer read, swallow this indoctrination and make it their own reality.

Also read: Internet influencer and motivational speaker, Jay Shetty, exposed for plagiarism

So how do we cut through this childishly simplistic media gibberish, chatter and blatant, essentially Marxist propaganda on cable TV and social media?  Oddly enough, I stumbled upon some extensive and pretty good guidelines from a self-professed “progressive” who’s also fed up with today’s media propagandists. Coming from the left, however, her rationale for some of these guidelines differs significantly from my own preferred rationale and approach.

Some surprising common sense from a “progressive” writer

So today I begin a series of articles offering my edited Reader’s Digest version of Caitlin Johnstone’s original article and helpful tips. With with some of my own commentary following each tip. Reasons behind the edits: Limiting their length, mainly, as too much verbiage doesn’t get many eyeballs on iPhones and other such devices. But also occasionally trimming rationale I disagree with and substituting my own, since Johnstone’s tips, in and of themselves, are all eminently reasonable.

I should note at this point that Johnstone rather generously puts her work in the public domain, something I’ve rarely seen these days and a rather brave act I respect. So I’ll set this piece in such a way that you know what’s actually by Johnstone, where I’ve trimmed her comments for the sake of brevity (and, if necessary why) and what’s written by me. I.e., Johnstone gets the credit for all 32 tips. But I get to comment on her comments. On the other hand, I never take credit for someone else’s work. I learned that in grad school way back in a galaxy far, far away.

No matter what your political persuasion, Johnstone’s ideas, which I discovered a few weeks ago via ZeroHedge, are well worth taking to heart, particularly with Election 2020 fast incoming. No doubt Johnstone and I will cancel out each other’s vote next November. But following her helpful tips in your own way could help eliminate buyer’s remorse on the morning after election day 2020. Assuming, of course, that we don’t find the Nation in open, armed rebellion at the urging of our increasingly hysterical, disgraceful and irresponsible “mainstream media.”


BTW, this isn’t a fisking of Johnstone’s article. It’s just that I have a different point of view on some of these tips. I offer them here. You can disagree. It’s okay.

For the sake of fairness, if you want a link to Johnstone’s complete, original article, entitled “Thirty-Two Tips For Navigating A Society That Is Full Of Propaganda And Manipulation,” just click here for the real deal. I’ll provide the link once again at the end of each additional entry in this whittled-down but still rather long series of upcoming posts. Feel free to go along with and / or agree with Johnstone’s original comments. Or go with my fairly different take on Johnstone’s tips here. If you feel manipulated by politicians, the media, teachers, professors and everyone else, you owe it to yourself to at least read and think about each tip, regardless of commentary.

Since the original article is of considerable length, I’m going to break it down into several articles of roughly 5-8 guidelines apiece. I’ve learned that today’s internet readers tend to stop reading after about 1200 words max. Hopefully, splitting these thoughtful tips and commentaries into bite-sized pieces will help in this regard. I’ll include cross references to earlier entries as we go on. I’ll also emphasize the manipulation that goes in in cable TV and social media, most of it promoting leftist ideas and ideals. Johnstone’s original piece had broader targets. We’re both right.

So let’s get started with what I’d like to call

32 Tips for Avoiding Propaganda Hell

(The first 5)

1 — Understand the fact that humans are storytelling animals, and that whoever controls the stories controls the humans.

[Johnstone elaborates.] Mental narrative dominates human consciousness; thought is essentially one continuous, churning monologue about the self and what it reckons is going on in its world, and that monologue is composed entirely of mental stories. These stories can and will be manipulated, on an individual scale by people we encounter and on a mass scale by skillful propagandists.

My Comment: In other words, it’s all about the dominant “narrative,” generally as expressed on CNN and MSNBC and promoted via Facebook, Twitter, and slightly more subtly, via Google Search and YouTube. The “social networks” and the world’s dominant search engine mold the narrative further by ensuring that conservative and libertarian points-of-view are demoted, defunded or eliminated entirely. Thus, the preferred left-wing, world-government narrative remains. Social networks also routinely defund, demonitize, ban and disappear videos supporting conservative or libertarian positions. If you feel manipulated by these partisan charlatans, guess what? You are indeed manipulated.

2 — Be humble and open enough to know that you can be fooled.

[Johnstone elaborates.] Your cognitive wiring is susceptible the same hacks as everyone else, and manipulators of all sorts are always looking to exploit those vulnerabilities. It’s not shameful to be deceived, it’s shameful to deceive people.

Comment: Great advice. Consider all sources to be liars until you can prove otherwise. Pro-left propaganda and the selling of ads is the primary business of today’s fake news media. Not the truth.

3 — Watch people’s behavior and ignore the stories they tell about their behavior.

[Johnstone elaborates.] This applies to people in your life, to politicians, and to governments. Narratives can be easily manipulated and distorted in many different ways, while behavior itself, when examined with as much objectivity as possible, cannot be. Pay attention to behavior in this way and eventually you’ll start noticing a large gap between what some people’s actions say and what their words say. Those people are the manipulators. Distrust them.

Comment: By their uncensored tweets ye shall know them.

4 — Be suspicious of people who keep telling you what they are and how they are, because they’re trying to manipulate your narrative about them.

[Johnstone elaborates.] Be doubly suspicious of people who keep telling you what you are and how you are, because they’re trying to manipulate your narrative about you.

Comment: As in, we’re all “racists.” Because the media says so. And Al Sharpton, too. Again, if you feel manipulated by these charlatans, you’re on the right track. It’s who they are and what they do.

5 — Learn to see how trust and sympathy are used by manipulators to trick people into subscribing to their narratives about what’s going on.

[Johnstone elaborates.] Every manipulator uses trust and/or sympathy as a primer for their manipulations, because if you don’t have trust or sympathy for them, you’re not going to mentally subscribe to their stories. Once you’ve spotted a manipulator, your task is to kill off all of your sympathy for them and your trust in them….”

No comment needed. Perfect your kill switch.

Agree or disagree with these tips and / or this commentary? Do you feel manipulated by this article? If you plow through the ads after the end of this piece, you’ll eventually find our Comments area. Jump in and fire away one way or the other. But try to be reasonably civil. We do moderate comments here at CDN. According to our policy here, we “disappear” vile comments, just like YouTube routinely de-ranks conservative videos.

Next: Tips to avoid getting snared by the propaganda mall proprietors.

– Headline image: Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with Comically Incorrect.


Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17