February 24, 2016

Misleading or Flagrant Deception?

gold fish_shark fin

This week’s spotlight is all about misleading or flagrant deceptions. Anyone who uses the Internet quickly discovers what photoshopping means. There are several forms of this, some more covert and perhaps innocent than others. For example, if I want to say something like, “We live in a universe that reveals its Creator every time we sense that special feeling of awe,” the best way to make this little statement gain traction is to give it to someone like Einstein or Gandhi. You don’t have to say they said it, just write it under their picture, and post this new photo containing your statement. This may be dishonest, but it’s neutral in the sense that it is not aimed at damaging or corrupting the truth about someone.


Then there is the photoshopped job where you buy a commercial picture like the one Cruz used this past week, and put Rubio’s face on one figure and Obama’s on the other portraying them as buds shaking hands. But there is also another form that is equally virulent but gains far less attention from the media. This one occurs when you take a picture of say Trump, put a headline under it like, “Trump spits on the Pope,” and then a story that follows where the storyline does not represent the headline. In other words, since most people will see the photo complete with headline, but only a few will read the entire article, your article can discuss what the Pope said about building a fence and how Trump truthfully responded, both initially and in follow up—but never state that Trump spit on the Pope (something he obviously didn’t do.)

Bogus Memes

Indeed, one of our regular listeners, Bryan, sent me a photo he found on Facebook featuring the headline, “Ban Bernie Sanders Now,” and showing the horned face of Col Sanders from KFC with further copy stating things like, “In 2012 Bernie Sanders was caught snorting weeds, do you want him as president?” and “Once tried to hit baby.” The statements are outrageous, but how many people take time to fact check them. Take for example this one that was sent Ravinder—a photo of Trump saying, “If I were to run it would be as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They love anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.” This is a totally bogus meme, but pay attention to what’s being said. Not only does this example ill dignify Trump, it frames Republicans as all being stupid. That’s how frames work and this sort of framing is not just misleading, it can literally devastate a candidate’s campaign and for no more reason than a label. The labels race is on: Cruz is a liar, Rubio a robot, Bush has no energy, Clinton is owned by Wall Street, Sanders is an atheist, and so forth.

Labels are Definitions

What’s in a label after all? Well a label tends to carry a definition with it, as I have discussed in the past and fully fleshed out, together with the matter of framing, in my book, “Gotcha! The Subordination of Free Will.” Think about it for a minute. When Janet Napolitano described returning vets and Second Amendment supporters as potential terrorists, in her National Security Domestic Extremism Dictionary, what was she really saying? The definition did not stand for when the outrage led stories on news networks, she called it back. A label is a definition and if you define a returning vet or a gun rights supporter as an extremist, the marker has suddenly moved.

The dirty tricks are hot and heavy this political season, including framing that comes by way of doctored videos that have every appearance of being real. Did you see the video the Cruz campaign ran of Rubio saying that there were no answers in the Bible, when indeed what Rubio really said was, “All the answers are in the Bible.” As you might expect, Cruz disavowed foreknowledge of this and blamed it on a staffer.

Word to the wise, pay attention! Fact check. It’s no longer a world of what you see you can believe! No—it’s become a world of question everything!

As always, thanks for the read and I appreciate your feedback.

Eldon Taylor

Eldon Taylor

Eldon Taylor
Provocative Enlightenment
NY Time Bestselling Author of Choices and Illusions