Dumb, Numb & Under Putin’s Thumb
Say what you will about Vladimir Putin, but the bastard is smart. Wickedly, wonderfully and woefully smart. Masterfully skilled in the art of KGB tactics, he senses weakness and deftly uses it to destroy his enemies. And despite denials from the Trump administration, America is no exception. Make no mistake: Putin sees the United States as his biggest adversary and wants to destabilize and destroy us. And with the Donald’s help, he’s succeeding. If we step back and took a good honest look at ourselves, we can see just how well Putin is playing us and how he’s using Donald Trump to do it.
The Dumbing Down of America
We may have launched Apple, Google and Facebook but outside of the tech industry (and maybe because of it?) America has become a nation of greedy infants demanding to be spoon-fed a steady stream of on-demand diversions and byte-sized bits of bullshit. Trump’s surreal rise to the Presidency is the direct result of both reality TV and our strange celebrity obsession. Again and again we see that quality counts for little in modern America — it’s our need to consume more and more and think less and less that has brought us to this dangerous precipice.
The Numbing Effect of Media Overload
Trump’s regular use of outrageous lies, self-aggrandizing hyperbole and deranged behavior is nothing new. Prior to his election, we heard it at his rallies and read it in his bizarre early-morning tweets. And in the beginning some of us felt real shock. Some were in awe. Others felt outrage. But the more insanity he served up, the more we got used to it as “the new normal.” After his election, people on both side of the political divide naively hoped that once Trump took the office, he would become more “Presidential.” But it never happened. Less than a year into his administration, with daily doses of insanity, lies and evidence of treason assaulting our over-taxed brains, many of us have become almost clinically numb to it.
Lessons From The Putin School of Propaganda
There are four techniques of misinformation consistently employed by the Kremlin to keep the Russian press and citizens in check and very much under Putin’s control. An article posted by Bryan Schatz for Mother Jones in November of last year lays them out clearly and in detail. Coined by Yuriy Savytskyi as “the 4 Ds of propaganda,” they include the following manipulative maneuvers which I’ve illustrated with Trump’s preferred vehicle of propaganda, Twitter.
#1: DISMISS by denying and demolishing an obvious fact…
#2: DISTORT by adding fabrications (or “alternative facts”) to information on real facts…
#3: DISTRACT by diverting attention and accusing adversaries of wrong doing…
#4: DISMAY by using scare tactics to control people with frightening“facts” and/or predictions…
The Best Protection From The Propaganda Machine
Both Putin and Trump have a very definite outcome in mind when they employ the “4Ds” — and with such an embarrassment of evidence, it’s not hard to figure out. The whole point is to get people so completely burned out and/or confused that they give up on the debate. As an American, I have never been so proud of the commitment to truth I see in the media and by members of Congress every day. Not all of them, of course, but I have to give big props to The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and MSNBC in their tireless pursuit of truth. And as a resident of Connecticut I am expremely proud of my representatives in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy and Jim Himes are fighting every single day to do their jobs and protect the values set down by our Founders in The United States Constitution. Without the patriotism and vigilance of these media outlets, elected officials and others like them, we could quickly find ourselves living in the long and dangerous shadow of the Kremlin.