Friday, March 6, 2015

Propaganda 1: Daphne, Alabama and Old Glory

The little town of Daphne, Alabama was targeted for a smear, not because they did anything bad or wrong, just because they were convenient. The town's reputation was sacrificed on the alter of right wing propaganda, including by the religious right -- and they do like their flames among the deeply conservative Christian right in the deep south. Those haters like to light fires, both literally and figuratively.

 As noted at news (bold is my emphasis added-DG):
A weekend barbecue competition at Sam's Club in Daphne fired up more than meat on Friday after organizers ordered participants to take down their American flags due to a misinterpretation of a city ordinance.

In a Facebook post Tuesday night, Mayor Dane Haygood said the city "came under fire this past weekend when it was labeled as an un-American City by a participant" at Sam's Club National BBQ Tour.

"Unfortunately, the City of Daphne became the target of much ire on social media as city ordinances were cited as the source of the restrictions on flag display," Haygood said. "Daphne has no such restrictions nor did city officials engage with event organizers or participants in regard to flags or restrictions on signage."

He said American flags are "explicitly exempted" from the city's regulations.

The Kansas City Barbecue Society, which sanctions the competition, mistakenly thought the city sign ordinance prohibited flags and told participants they were not allowed to fly Old Glory. A firestorm erupted on social media, fueled by the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

Fox News even joined the patriotic controversy on Tuesday in an opinion column: "Stop the Insanity: BBQ pitmasters told to take down American flags."
Fox News, the Christian Post, and social media propaganda pushers like Right Wing News circulated a lie, and continued circulating that lie well after it was debunked.

That was not an accident, it was not an honest mistake, it was not an oops! for which any of the above have apologized or made corrections. This is not a one-off, this kind of story happens almost daily, along with other propaganda stories on the right.

 There really is not any equivalent, in scope or frequency, to this in the center or on the lef, in a concerted effort to create an us vs them mentality of pseudo-victims.

 It works by equating attacks on tradition, like BBQ, and attacks on the flag, and an attack on freedom all rolled into one emotional falsehood, told over and over and over to the same audience. Repeating it makes it feel true, or more preciesly 'truthy' to use the word coined by Stephen Colbert. And once it FEELS true, challenges to it FEELS like another level of attack.  Facts become the enemy.

That lie was propaganda, part of an agenda, part of a calculated and deliberate attempt to mislead, deceive, misinform and dis-inform the right wing base, and the further right, the greater the quantity of the deception (although the quality doesn't get any better). It is in the same group of propaganda lies that falsely pushes the notion that anyone who is not a right wing radical is either secretly or openly not only unpatriotic, but a threat to the nation. It is part of the same theme or meme that inaccurately circulates bullshit about students in schools not saying the pledge of allegiance ' in order not to offend anyone', or that people are being persecuted for wearing images of the flag on t-shirts.

I'm personally fond of debunking the fake presidential quotes, especially those attributed to the founding fathers.  But the right has other themes and memes, voter fraud, terroristic and diseased undocumented immigrants, Sharia phobia, they're-coming-for-to-take-your-guns, unions are evil, schools are trying to turn your kids gay, global warming is a hoax to enact martial law, etc.

The intent is to fear monger, to create a siege mentality, an emotional sense of gunned up manufactured puppet-string controlled outrage. With each new lie, that outrage is easier to get, the believers in the right wing propaganda become more gullible, and become more easily manipulated.

That is how propaganda works. It mixes lies with small details of truth -- there is a Daphne, Alabama and there are Barbecue Competitions. It gets the propaganda consumers to replace their critical thinking with emotion so they don't think, they don't reason. And after enough time passes under the influence of propaganda, of the big and little lies, repeated until they are internalized, those who consume those lies feel threatened by facts, feel angry at anyone who challenges the lies, and thereby intensifying the cycle of lies, the habit of believing lies - by choice.

It takes them from this:

to this and this, inside the heads and hearts of right wingers:

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