Hate Sells category archive
Sam and his crew discuss a recent CNN interview with a woman who fell down the QAnon rabbit hole. I submit that the significant element of her story is that she did not seek out the claptrap; rather, “social” media served it up to her, because eyeballs.
Michael Judge argues that Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the recent election was stolen from him have provided a playbook for autocrats abroad. A snippet:
Exhibit A is Burma, also known as Myanmar, where, after months of claiming their party’s massive losses in Nov. 8 parliamentary elections were due to “widescale fraud,” military leaders carried out a coup this week, arresting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy party, and handing power over to army chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.
I find Judge’s condescension towards the name of Myanmar problematical.
Myanmar has been Myanmar (in its native language, Mranma Prañ) for almost a thousand years. The name, “Burma,” was a legacy of British colonialism discarded three decades ago.
At Psychology Today Blogs, H. Colleen Sinclair examines the tactics that demagogues (and would-be demogogues) use to persuade their followers to hate and to follow the hate with hate-full actions, such as, say, just to pick an exammple, overrunning a national legislative hall. She idendifies three elements:
- Firing Up Emotions
- Constructing the Threat
- Disengaging (the) Moral Compass
Follow the link for an examination of each one.
Tim Steller takes issue with the concept that somehow some Americans are more American than others. A nugget; follow the link for the rest.
Now, with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris taking office, it’s the Trump supporters’ turn to accept that there is another “real America” out there. Avid Trumpists want to portray Biden supporters as radicals or globalists or elitists, but come on — there aren’t 81 million Americans fitting all of those categories put together.
They are also real, everyday Americans from real America.
Watch closely, and you will see that, when some politician or pundit starts avowing his fealty to “real Americans,” it precedes divisiveness and bile.
It is worthy of note that the two greatest threats to have faced this country have come, not from external enemies, but from homegrown bigotry, greed, and hate.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Charles Johnston looks at the dynamic–and the dilemma–posed by “social” media and the disinformation superhighway. A snippet; follow the link for the rest:
By offering electronic substitutes for real fulfillment, our likes and clicks mimic the mechanisms of addiction (addictive substances work by providing the feedback that accompanies feelings like pleasure or power while requiring none of the vulnerability demanded for the real thing). It has been a dirty secret of high teach companies that they were optimizing programs for these addictions effects, but we would see the effect even without their efforts. Simple optimization depends on hijacking our attention—an necessity that is multiplied many times over by the fact that sites are advertising driven. Addiction is a much more reliable way to get attention than providing content that actually benefits us. A related consequence is that social media algorithms inherently create distortion and “fake news.” It has been well documented that the soap opera of sensationalized contend (sic) (and outright lies) is much more likely to attract eyeballs—and more likely to trigger search algorithms—than real news.
Arash Javanbakht, writing at Psychology Today Blogs, explores how “social” media’s algorithms, designed to keep us eternally engaged in ephemera, lead us down the disinformation superhighway. A nugget:
The artificial intelligence behind these platforms determines what you see based on your social media and web activity, including your engagement with pages and ads. For example, on Twitter you may follow the politicians you like. Twitter algorithms quickly respond and show you more posts and people related to that political leaning. The more you like, follow and share, the faster you find yourself moving in that political direction. There is, however, this nuance: Those algorithms tracking you are often triggered by your negative emotions, typically impulsivity or anger.
As a result, the algorithms amplify the negative and then spread it by sharing it among groups.
Scot Maxwell reports on how Florida is allowing public funds to pay for private prejudice under the guise of “freedom of religion.”
The editorial board of the Las Vegas Sun considers reasons why the Republican Party strives to gut out the vote and argues that the root of them lies in its decision to become the party of only some of the people. Indeed, they argue that the party is no longer in any classical way “conservative”; it’s not interested in conserving anything.
They list several factors leading to their conclusion.
- Going back decades, the GOP’s overall campaign strategies have pitted Americans against each other by dividing the population into “us” versus “them” — us being white voters, them being voters of color.
- Today, the Republican Party must suppress votes because it’s a minority — and is one by choice.
- The GOP understands that “us” is a minority group led by an even smaller minority — certain big-money interests . . . .
- The GOP’s absolute refusal to try to create a bigger tent by listening to the needs of a larger population — and therefore court them — means one thing: It doesn’t want to represent anyone other than its narrow leadership.
- The corollary of this is that the modern GOP wants to silence everyone else.
Their reasoning echoes a point that I have made many times in these electrons: Richard Nixon’s odious “southern strategy” has come full circle. The Republican Party is now the party of the Secesh.
Follow the link for a detailed discussion of each of those factors and for the Sun’s larger conclusions.
At Psychology Today Blogs, Christine Louise Hohlbaum reflects on the power that we have ceded to technology companies. It is a particularly timely article amongst the swirl of lies and conspiracy theories surrounding the upcoming election.
Here’s a snippet:
(Salesforce CEO Marc–ed.) Benioff claims: “We need to do nothing short of reimagining the social contract for the twenty-first century.” (page 50*) Tech was born to do good. In its evolution, it has started to wreak havoc that is imperiling our democracy. Through false political ads, filter bubbles that reinforce people’s beliefs instead of exposing them to a wide variety of ideas, and a troublesome twenty-six word provision (Section 230 in the Communications Decency Act of 1996) originally intended to protect internet platforms from liability and to incentivize effective moderation of content (and has thus become a free-for-all in which no one is held accountable), we are in dire straits.
*The citation is from Which Side of History?, a recently published collection of essays.