An illusion is currently being propped up, by politicians and the media, in the case against Attorney General William Barr. If you’ve only been following the legacy news outlets, you likely see Barr as a villain, compromised by President Donald Trump and attempting to withhold evidence of collusion in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
Yet, if you’ve been reading the information yourself, you’ve likely seen that Barr declassified the Mueller report and withheld only the parts related to grand jury investigations—information he cannot make public without breaking the law. Now, Democrats in Congress are holding Barr in contempt for not breaking the law, and all the talking heads are repeating the same slogan of “treason, obstruction, collusion!”
The propaganda tactic the Democrats and legacy news outlets are using comes straight from the propaganda playbook of Adolf Hitler, who wrote in “Mein Kampf”: “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”
The effect of these repeated slogans is that Barr is discredited in the minds of those who follow these political figures, news outlets, and talking heads—which ironically were just exposed by Barr and the Mueller report for lying to these same people for close to two years about the now disproven Trump–Russia scandal.
Again, the Democrats are using a tactic from Hitler. “Mein Kampf” states that when there is a change around the points being repeated in the propaganda campaign, “it must not alter the content of what the propaganda is driving at, but in the end must always say the same thing.”
“For instance, a slogan must be presented from different angles, but the end of all remarks must always and immutably be the slogan itself,” he wrote.
This is exactly the tactic they’re using. Democrats and the legacy news outlets have repeated that Trump colluded with Russia and that Trump attempted to obstruct the special counsel investigation. When the Mueller report concluded that Trump neither colluded with Russia nor obstructed the investigation, these same figures continued pushing the same false narratives—and did so by expanding the narratives to include Barr when he exposed their falsehoods.
In other words, they continued using the same slogan (“treason, obstruction, collusion!”), regardless of evidence. Staying true to Hitler’s playbook, the Democrats and legacy news outlets merely presented the slogans from different angles by using them to discredit Barr.
Meanwhile, by discrediting Barr, they’ve also discredited his conclusions on the Mueller report in the minds of their followers—thereby protecting themselves from the fallout to their lies.
Their tactic of discrediting Barr in the public consciousness will also act as an ideological smokescreen going forward. If Barr brings charges against possible crimes committed to create the fake Trump–Russia scandal—or the “Spygate” scandal, in which the Obama administration used the manufactured rumors to spy on the Trump team—the propaganda tactic now being used against Barr will make it appear he’s doing so with partisan intent.
The Art of Deception
The purpose of psychological warfare is to alter the way a person interprets information. To accomplish this, the information doesn’t necessarily need to be altered—just the conclusion that people arrive at.
This is mainly accomplished through the subversion of a target’s “cycle of meaning.” The symbology theory on how people interpret reality, and how groups can manipulate it, is explained in depth in the book “Blood Sacrifices: Violent Non-State Actors and Dark Magico-Religious Activities” by the Terrorism Research Center.
It states, “We, as a species, do not perceive objective reality but, rather, a series of limited, mediated, and interlinked symbolic schemas that we, as individuals, assume to be ‘reality.’”
According to the cycle of meaning, when a person sees an image, the image invokes meaning according to what the person has learned about the image, or the image invokes emotions according to the person’s past experiences. The theory holds that the collective of these experiences constitutes a person’s worldview.
Propagandists look to manipulate this process, using conditioning tactics similar to Ivan Pavlov’s experiments on dogs, in which dogs were conditioned to salivate at the sound of a bell. By associating food with the sound of a bell, the scientist conditioned the dogs to associate the excitement of eating with the sound of a bell. From the standpoint of propaganda, this subverted the dogs’ cycle of meaning to associate that feeling with the symbol of a bell.
This is also how agitation propaganda works. The propagandist intentionally agitates the emotions of a target, then tells the target to associate the emotion with a political issue. The political issue then becomes a symbol that triggers the intended emotional response.
Using this same tactic, Democrats and legacy news outlets have taught their followers to interpret Barr as a symbol of the same emotions they agitated when framing the false Trump–Russia scandal. Rather than admit their lie, they perpetuated it by expanding the slogans they used in this campaign to include Barr.
Thus, through these methods, the propagandists have turned Barr into a symbol of obstruction. The result is that, in the eyes of their followers, anything Barr now does will be interpreted as obstruction. This tactic has allowed the Democrats and legacy news outlets to avoid the fallout of lying about the Trump–Russia scandal, and to continue their deception.