Lies → Fear, Hate & Anger & Angry People Are Eager To Believe More Lies.
Hate & Anger Are Addictive & Profitable Products.
We are so divided and infected by lies, fear, hate and anger because for the first time in history, without any accountability, anyone can distribute outrageous lies for profit to millions of people who are eager to believe them.
Telling Lies To Millions Is A Profitable Business
The internet has no gatekeepers and there are no legal or financial sanctions to deter people from making a business out of spreading anger, fear, lies and hate. In fact the bigger the lie, the greater the fear, hate and anger it engenders and the more money the publisher makes.
If It’s On Facebook Then It Must Be True
Ordinary people have always been gullible, but today huge numbers of people treat everything they read on the Internet about people they dislike as automatically true. For them, if somebody they know on Facebook says something is so, then it is so. Period.
For them every rule of evidence established over hundreds of years of jurisprudence has been flipped on its head.
For them, accusations are true by default and are false only after proof instead of the other way around.
This anger-hate-and-lies-for-money business model didn’t start with the Internet, but the Internet has freed it from requiring a large, corporate host into an “anybody can play” business model.
It Started With Yellow Journalism
The first major example of selling fear, hate and anger was probably William Randolph Hearst and “yellow journalism.” After him, others tried it but with less success. The National Inquirer springs to mind, but their stories weren’t really believed by even most of their own readers, leastwise by the general public.
Fox Turned Anger Into A Multi-Billion Dollar Business
The hate, fear and anger business model remained a fringe operation until the hypergolic combination of Rupert Murdock and Roger Ailes.
When Ailes hired Tobin Smith as a Fox commentator/host, Ailes told Smith:
“I created a TV network for people 55 to dead.”
Smith asked Ailes, “What does our viewer look like?” and Ailes told him:
“They look like me…White guys in mostly Red State counties who sit on their couch with the remote in their hand all day and night.”
“What do they want to see?” Smith asked and Ailes replied:
“After the producer/host scares the shit out of them, I want them to see YOU tear those smug condescending know-it-all East Coast liberals to pieces . . limb by limb . . . until they [the viewers] jump up out of their LaZ boys and scream ‘Way to go Toby…you KILLED that libtard!’”
Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Laura Ingraham weren’t selling information. They were selling anger, outrage, and emotion. Their “bad guys” were liberals or “libtards.” They were selling good guys beating bad guys where the so-called panel discussions were really scripted “entertainment” and, like professional wrestling, the good guys, the Conservatives, were preordained to defeat the bad guys, the Liberals, every single time.
Tobin Smith lays out the details on how Fox implemented this business plan in his book: FoxNation: Inside the Network’s Playbook of Tribal Warfare.
In his Medium article “FEAR & UNbalanced: Confessions of a 14-Year Fox News Hitman. How Roger Ailes & Fox News Got Rich Scamming America’s La Z Boy Cowboys and Selling Out America’s Soul” Smith said of Fox:
“By careful design and staging Fox News manipulated (and ultimately addicted) the most vulnerable people in America to the most powerful drug cocktail ever: visceral gut feelings of existential outrage relieved by the most powerful emotions of all . . . the thrill of your tribe’s victory over its enemy and the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
“. . . Fox News turned our democracy and politics into performance art and efficiently sold the soul of America to the highest bidder in return for 2-minute ad sequences aired during the performance intermissions.”
Why Does Anger Sell?
Why are lies, fear, anger and hate such appealing and addictive products? Because anger and hate are exciting, enjoyable and addictive emotions.
People enjoy being angry. They like feeling moral outrage. They like knowing who the bad guys are. The more people think about the bad guys, all the bad things they’re doing, how they’re out to destroy their country, their race, or their ethnic group, the more excited they get, and people like getting excited.
People like having that feeling of moral outrage. They become used to it, then addicted to it. They want to feel it again and again. They want a daily update on what the bad people are doing and the things the good people are doing to stop them. They want to boo the bad people and cheer the good people.
People love the emotions they feel when their side, the good guys, beats the other side, the bad guys. People enjoy their daily fix of hate and anger. Inducing fear, anger and hate gets people coming back again and again, day after day.
“We showed them! That’s what happens when you mess with us! We’re number one!”
Then And Now
Before The Internet
Because newspapers TV news operations are financially liable for the defamatory material they publish they established practices designed to assure that their stories were at least arguably accurate enough to avoid legal judgments.
You couldn’t just go to the Miami Herald or the Denver Post and get them to publish an article claiming that the Nazis never operated any death camps. Because of liability issues, you couldn’t even pay them to publish an ad that could be shown to be completely false.
In the days before the Internet you could stand on a street corner and shout your lies. You could Xerox a pamphlet and hand it out to your neighbors, but by and large your crazy theories died on the vine.
Ailes realized that hate, anger and fear are cumulative, addictive and profitable, but he needed a TV network to peddle those emotions for cash.
But that’s no longer the case. Today’s world is fundamentally different.
After The Internet
Today, unlike newspapers, radio and television, anyone can publish lies that reach millions of people, and the platform, Facebook, Twitter, whatever, has no liability for the false material offered on its site, and thus it has no real incentive to block the lies.
The more clicks Facebook gets, the more money it makes. The more outrageous the claims that appear on its platform, the more clicks it gets.
With the Internet you can disseminate your hatred and lies not just to hundreds but to millions with no restraint, no recourse, and no accountability. And the platform you publish them on will make more money by letting you do it.
For the first time in history, people with almost no capital have a tool that allows them to profitably sell fear, hate and anger to millions with virtually no financial risk or accountability.
Getting Your Daily Dose Of Outrage Is Like Taking Slow Poison
It doesn’t really matter who the bad guys are. In fact, they’re probably not really, factually, bad guys at all.
All that really matters is that somebody told you they were bad guys and for reasons of your own you believed them because you wanted to. You wanted to have a reason to hate the people whose opinions, race, religion or social class were different from yours.
Most people don’t start out strongly hating Jews, blacks, Muslims, immigrants or liberals all at once. No, the hate builds up, like taking a small, daily hit of heroin. A little today. A little more tomorrow. And the next day and the next until, eventually, you’re addicted and you can’t get enough of the stuff.
Let’s say you were raised by a father who distrusted Jews and now you don’t much like Jews either. One day you find the website, TheTruthAboutJews.com. It has an article about how a Jewish landlord doubled the rent and then evicted several old, poor, white tenants. There is a daily crime blotter reporting all the crimes committed in the last two days by Jews. An editorial blames the Jews for the economy’s poor performance.
“Boy, those Jews are worse than I thought,” you think. You go back the next day and there’s a story that says that there were never any German concentration camps, just prisons where Jewish and other criminals were locked up for sabotaging the war effort.
“Those lying Jews,” you think. The next day when you go to the site there’s more of the same. Pretty soon Jews are looking like the worst people ever. Clearly, something has to be done about those Jews whom the site tells you hate America and are planning to use the banks to steal everyone’s money.
Drop by drop, day by day, the poison accumulates in your mind.
The more outrageous the content, the more people it attracts. The more people who visit the site the more demographic data it can sell, the more advertising it can sell, the more merchandise it can sell, the more money it can make.
There Is No Accountability
And there is no downside. By law, the operators of the site have no responsibility for lies that are told by third parties who post columns or comments on it. Anonymous columnists could be anyone from anywhere. Even if a writer told a specific defamatory lie about a specific person it would be financially almost impossible to identify that person, find them, sue them and recover from them.
Peter Thiel reportedly spent ten million dollars on the lawyers who prosecuted the Hulk Hogan/Gawker lawsuit. How many people can afford to do that?
Not only does TheTruthAboutJews.com site poison it’s visitors’ minds with endless hate, it also warns them not to believe what anyone else says about Jews. It tells its patrons that anything they read in the mainstream media about Jews is a lie because the “mainstream media” is controlled by Jews.
Anyone Can Be The Target & There Is No Antidote To The Poison
Of course, the target doesn’t have to be Jews. It can be anyone — liberals, Democrats, conservatives, blacks, Muslims, immigrants . . . .
Each site warns their visitors to avoid any “mainstream” sources of information because those other sources are under the influence of the target group and therefore cannot be trusted.
Supposedly Normal People Come To Blindly Believe Outrageous Lies
Recently a dean and a professor at Virginia Wesleyan University resigned after publishing the following on Facebook:
“If you were ignorant, anti-American and anti-Christian enough to vote for Biden, I really don’t want to be your social friend on social media. I wouldn’t hang out with you in real life, I don’t want to hang out with you virtually either. You have corrupted the election. You have corrupted our country.”
How does an educated, theoretically intelligent person come to believe that all the people who voted for a relatively moderate Democrat in a presidential election, a majority of the voters, almost eighty-million Americans, are ALL ignorant, anti-Christian, corrupt, and hate America?
What web sites has this guy been getting his news from over the last two or three years?
I had a friend who was blind and spent most of his time at home listening to the radio. He discovered Rush Limbaugh and began listening to him hours and hours a day, every day.
Every day he got more and more wound up, angrier and angrier. He believed everything he heard and the more he believed the angrier he got.
One day he told me with absolute sincerity, “I would like to line up every Democrat in America, put them up against a wall and kill them all.” And he absolutely, seriously meant every word of it.
Driven By Repeated Lies, People Are Self Dividing Themselves Into Hate Groups
Why are our politics so contentious?
Because so many people are dividing themselves into their own little cults and daily sucking up lies and hate about people they don’t like to the point that there is not even any agreement on historical, economic or political facts.
The former two-term President and First Lady are running a pedophile ring out of the basement of a pizzeria? Sure, they believe that. All Democrats hate America? Yes, of course that’s true.
Tens of millions of Americans absolutely believe that:
- Democrats are all socialists who hate America.
- Republicans are all racists or religious fanatics.
- Liberals are all socialists who want to steal hard-working people’s money and give it lazy black people who just want to take drugs and live on welfare handouts.
- Conservatives are all pawns of rich people who want poor people to work two or three sweatshop jobs because that’s all they deserve and if they can’t afford to feed their families or pay for health insurance then they deserve to just starve or get sick and die.
This may have started with Roger Ailes’ business model for Fox, but the profitability of using lies to sell hate, anger and fear together with people’s gullibility and their rabid desire to find a reason to hate those they disagree with has shattered our society in ways that I fear we cannot fix.
Do you think I’m overstating the problem?
The overwhelming majority of the German people consented to if not approved of Hitler’s rounding up of the Jews and eventually the “Final Solution” because he told them over and over and over that Jews were genetically evil people who had conspired to cause Germany to lose WW I.
Lies and hate work.
– David Grace (www.DavidGraceAuthor.com)