My experience is that there are some people with whom I cannot reasonably debate. I keep pondering why. A piece of it, I suppose, is that they don’t know what to believe. And that confusion, it seems, is quite intentionally devised.
At the end of December 2019, there was a special segment of Meet the Press called Alternative Facts, the assault on truth. My wife and I didn’t watch it for four months but found it quite interesting.
And disturbing. “When folks were asked, in a CBS poll, where do they go for trusted information, among Trump supporters, they cited the president himself. 91% of Trump supporters said he’s where they go for accurate information, fact checks be damned.” This explains a lot.
Someone named Ben Nimmo explained the four things that disinformation actors do if they want to attack their enemies or defend themselves against criticism, #1, dismiss. Attack critics to erode their credibility and invalidate the facts. #2, distort: If the facts are against you, make up your own facts. #3, distract. Whataboutism, or the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” defense. If you’re accused of something, accuse someone else of the same thing. #4, dismay — threats and intimidation.
Kernel of truth
The next segment was the anatomy of a lie. “All successful lies begin with a kernel of truth…” The topic happened to be CrowdStrike being hired to investigate the DNC server hack. “So if you want to propel your lie, just keep issuing falsehoods. The truth has one voice. But lies are infinite. Eventually, IMPOTUS was lying, “The Democrats, National Committee, they gave the server to CrowdStrike. It’s a very wealthy Ukrainian. It’s a Ukrainian company. That’s what the word is.”
“You can continue to make more and more lies, which then wears out anybody trying to rebut them… You can make lies faster than you can refute them. And THAT is often the goal. I had erroneously thought the goal of disinformation was to make people believe something that’s not true.
Rather it’s to get people to say, “It’s SO confusing, I don’t know WHAT to believe.” This is even true of things they might have seen with their own eyes. The truth is squeezed out, or at best is in competition with what Kellyanne Conway called “alternative facts.”