Disinformation Tactics: The Methods Used To Keep You In The Dark
1) Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.
We see this tactic in many forms. For example, projecting your own movement as mainstream, and your opponent’s as fringe. Convincing your opponent that his fight is a futile one. Your opposition may act differently, or even hesitate to act at all, based on their perception of your power.
2) Never go outside the experience of your people, and whenever possible, go outside of the experience of the enemy.
Don’t get drawn into a debate about a subject you do not know as well as or better than your opposition. If possible, draw them into such a situation instead. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty in your opposition. This is commonly used against unwitting interviewees on cable news shows whose positions are set up to be skewered. The target is blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address. In television and radio, this also serves to waste broadcast time to prevent the target from expressing his own positions.
3) Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.
The objective is to target the opponent’s credibility and reputation by accusations of hypocrisy. If the tactician can catch his opponent in even the smallest misstep, it creates an opening for further attacks.
The disinformation crisis: The American Media's alliance with the soviets
You Are STILL Being Lied To: The NEW Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, H
4) Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
“Ron Paul is a crackpot.” “Dennis Kucinich is short and weird.” “9-11 twoofers wear tinfoil hats.” Ridicule is almost impossible to counter. It’s irrational. It infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage. It also works as a pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
5) A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
The popularization of the term “Teabaggers” is a classic example, it caught on by itself because people seem to think it’s clever, and enjoy saying it. Keeping your talking points simple and fun keeps your side motivated, and helps your tactics spread autonomously, without instruction or encouragement.
6) A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
See rule number 6. Don’t become old news. If you keep your tactics fresh, its easier to keep your people active. Not all disinformation agents are paid. The “useful idiots” have to be motivated by other means. Mainstream disinformation often changes gear from one method to the next and then back again.
7) Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. Never give the target a chance to rest, regroup, recover or re-strategize. Take advantage of current events and twist their implications to support your position. Never let a good crisis go to waste.
8) The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.
This goes hand in hand with Rule #1. Perception is reality. Allow your opposition to expend all of its energy in expectation of an insurmountable scenario. The dire possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.
9) The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
The objective of this pressure is to force the opposition to react and make the mistakes that are necessary for the ultimate success of the campaign.
10) If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside.
As grassroots activism tools, Alinsky tactics have historically been used (for example, by labor movements) to force the opposition to react with violence against activists, which leads to popular sympathy for the activists’ cause. Today, false (or co-opted) grassroots movements use this technique in debate as well as in planned street actions.
The idea is to provoke (or stage) ruthless attacks against ones’ self, so as to be perceived as the underdog, or the victim. Today, this technique is commonly used to create the illusion that a certain movement is “counterculture” or “anti-establishment.”
11) The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.
Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. Today, this is often used offensively against legitimate activists, such as the opponents of the Federal Reserve. Complain that your opponent is merely “pointing out the problems.” Demand that they offer a solution.
12) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. The targets supporters will expose themselves. Go after individual people, not organizations or institutions. People hurt faster than institutions.
1) Make outrageous comments designed to distract or frustrate: An Alinsky tactic used to make people emotional, although less effective because of the impersonal nature of the web.
2) Pose as a supporter of the truth, then make comments that discredit the movement: We have seen this even on our own forums — trolls pose as supporters of the Liberty Movement, then post long, incoherent diatribes so as to appear either racist or insane.
Here is a live example of this tactic in use on Yahoo! Answers.
The key to this tactic is to make references to common Liberty Movement arguments while at the same time babbling nonsense, so as to make those otherwise valid arguments seem ludicrous by association.
In extreme cases, these “Trojan Horse Trolls” have been known to make posts which incite violence — a technique obviously intended to solidify the false assertions of the notorious MIAC report and other ADL/SPLC publications which purport that constitutionalists should be feared as potential domestic terrorists.
3) Dominate Discussions: Trolls often interject themselves into productive web discussions in order to throw them off course and frustrate the people involved.
4) Prewritten Responses: Many trolls are supplied with a list or database with pre-planned talking points designed as generalized and deceptive responses to honest arguments. 9/11 “debunker” trolls are notorious for this.
5) False Association: This works hand in hand with item #2, by invoking the stereotypes established by the “Trojan Horse Troll.”
For example: calling those against the Federal Reserve “conspiracy theorists” or “lunatics”. Deliberately associating anti-globalist movements with big foot or alien enthusiasts, because of the inherent negative connotations. Using false associations to provoke biases and dissuade people from examining the evidence objectively.
6) False Moderation: Pretending to be the “voice of reason” in an argument with obvious and defined sides in an attempt to move people away from what is clearly true into a “grey area” where the truth becomes “relative.”
7) Straw Man Arguments: A very common technique. The troll will accuse his opposition of subscribing to a certain point of view, even if he does not, and then attacks that point of view.
Or, the troll will put words in the mouth of his opposition, and then rebut those specific words. For example: “9/11 truthers say that no planes hit the WTC towers, and that it was all just computer animation. What are they, crazy?”
1) Control The Experts: Most Americans are taught from kindergarten to ignore their instincts for the truth and defer to the “professional class” for all their answers. The problem is that much of the professional class is indoctrinated throughout their college years, many of them molded to support the status quo. Any experts that go against the grain are ostracized by their peers.
2) Control The Data: By controlling the source data of any investigation, be it legal or scientific, the government has the ability to engineer any truth they wish, that is, as long as the people do not care enough to ask for the source data. Two major examples of controlled and hidden source data include; the NIST investigation of the suspicious 9/11 WTC collapses, in which NIST engineers, hired by the government, have kept all source data from their computer models secret, while claiming that the computer models prove the collapses were “natural”.
Also, the recent exposure of the CRU Climate Labs and their manipulation of source data in order to fool the public into believing that Global Warming is real, and accepting a world-wide carbon tax. The CRU has refused to release the source data from its experiments for years, and now we know why.
3) Skew The Statistics: This tactic is extremely evident in the Labor Department’s evaluations on unemployment, using such tricks as incorporating ambiguous birth / death ratios into their calculation in order to make it appear as though there are less unemployed people than there really are, or leaving out certain subsections of the population, like those who are unemployed and no longer seeking benefits.
3) Guilt By False Association: Governments faced with an effective opponent will always attempt to demonize that person or group in the eyes of the public. This is often done by associating them with a group or idea that the public already hates. Example: During the last election, they tried to associate Ron Paul supporters with racist groups (and more recently, certain Fox News anchors) in order to deter moderate Democrats from taking an honest look at Congressman Paul’s policies.
4) Manufacture Good News: This falls in with the skewing of statistics, and it also relies heavily on Media cooperation. The economic “Green Shoots” concept is a good example of the combination of government and corporate media interests in order to create an atmosphere of false optimism based on dubious foundations.
5) Controlled Opposition: Men in positions of power have known for centuries the importance of controlled opposition. If a movement rises in opposition to one’s authority, one must usurp that movement’s leadership. If no such movement exists to infiltrate, the establishment will often create a toothless one, in order to fill that social need, and neutralize individuals who might have otherwise taken action themselves.
During the 1960’s and 70’s, the FBI began a secretive program called COINTELPRO. Along with illegal spying on American citizens who were against the Vietnam conflict or in support of the civil rights movement, they also used agents and media sources to pose as supporters of the movement, then purposely created conflict and division, or took control of the direction of the movement altogether. This same tactic has been attempted with the modern Liberty Movement on several levels, but has so far been ineffective in stopping our growth.
The NRA is another good example of controlled opposition, as many gun owners are satisfied that paying their annual NRA dues is tantamount to actively resisting anti-gun legislation; when in fact, the NRA is directly responsible for many of the compromises which result in lost ground on 2nd amendment issues. In this way, gun owners are not only rendered inactive, but actually manipulated into funding the demise of their own cause.
6) False Paradigms: Human beings have a tendency to categorize and label other people and ideas. It is, for better or worse, a fundamental part of how we understand the complexities of the world. This component of human nature, like most any other, can be abused as a powerful tool for social manipulation.
By framing a polarized debate according to artificial boundaries, and establishing the two poles of that debate, social engineers can eliminate the perceived possibility of a third alternative. The mainstream media apparatus is the key weapon to this end. The endless creation of dichotomies, and the neat arrangement of ideologies along left/right lines, offers average people a very simple (though hopelessly inaccurate) way of thinking about politics.
It forces them to choose a side, usually based solely on emotional or cultural reasons, and often lures them into supporting positions they would otherwise disagree with. It fosters an environment in which beating the other team is more important than ensuring the integrity of your own.
Perhaps most importantly, it allows the social engineer to determine what is “fair game” for debate, and what is not.
Alinsky himself wrote: “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”
One merely needs to observe a heated debate between a Democrat and a Republican to see how deeply this belief has been ingrained on both sides, and how destructive it is to true intellectual discourse.
Special thanks to AgentOgden for helping with the arduous task of compiling the numerous disinfo-tactics being used today.See Also:
For further reading on Alinsky debate tactics, some of which goes a bit beyond the scope of this article, please see this piece on the “Alinsky Method” variation of the Delphi Technique, as well as this summary of Alinsky’s “Rules for the Ethics of Means and Ends” which is highly pertinent to the subject of moral relativism.