How Fake Pundits Manipulate Us Into Believing Their Nonsense

A series of traffic detours led me to a new coffee shop. As a serious coffee snob, I stick to my tried and true spots. Still, it’s good to change things up. It makes life more interesting.

Gloom hit me the second I walked in. The décor screamed a “corporate” like atmosphere. The chairs and benches were clean and modern but cold. Picture yourself sitting in the breakout area of a conference room.

Unlike my go to spots, they had two big screen TVs. They both showed Fox news. I assume the businessmen who frequent this place prefer it.

I avoid the news as much as possible. They spin everything into a crisis. That’s by design of course. We find bad news irresistible. Even though I can’t stand Fox news I couldn’t keep my eyes off of it.

The Genius Of The Fake Pundit

I like to observe the news pundits who give their “expert” advice. Why do so many of us accept their wisdom without question?

The authority of being anointed an expert explains some of it. The symbolism of being on a news show explains a bit too. There’s also something else. Fox seems to do it better than most other news sites. Only a few radio personalities beat them.

Their Secret Weapon

Here’s what they do so well. They take the emotions of their audience and put them into words. These emotions are difficult to articulate. The pundits take on that role. It gives them great power to shape beliefs by assigning labels to their emotions.

They zero in on feelings of frustration, anger and loss of hope.

Here’s the brilliant part.

Putting their feelings into words tells your audience you’re listening to them. Putting those words on TV gives it authority. It gives their audience permission to feel the way they do.

All the popular personalities on radio and television do this.

It works like this.

Learn about your audience. Dig for their anger and frustration. Find out what they feel hopeless about.

Your audience feels this but cannot articulate it.

If you voice it for them they will listen.

What’s Failure Insurance?

To gain their loyalty, most exploit failure insurance. This transfers the blame for their misery. Just like auto and life insurance transfers risk to a third party, failure insurance transfers blame to a third party.

You’ve put their feelings into words. You’ve transferred blame to a third party. Now, go for the knockout punch. Deliver your solution. The smart pundits demand solutions that are impractical to implement. If you suggest something impossible, it takes away the possibility of hope. Impractical plans at least give the illusion of hope.

They Can Never Prove You Wrong

If your plan never gets executed, nobody can prove you wrong. That’s the beauty of it.

How do you make something impractical? Always demand a little bit more than the other side is willing to give. Then you can say:

“See. I told you they’re against you.”

Politicians sometimes pay the price later. Some of them (in battleground districts) need to deliver results. A talk show pundit never needs to deliver on anything. They can spout their fake wisdom forever — and they do.

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