Thursday, April 16, 2015

Anti-Immigration Lies and the Fundamentals of Propaganda

There are three essential, defining characteristics of propaganda.

The first characteristic is that it is fully, substantially, or significantly false, not accidentally but deliberately inaccurate.

The second characteristic is that it elicits emotional thinking rather than logical or critical thinking. The emotions it is supposed to arouse are usually negative, most often fear and/or suspicion, anger, resentment or hatred, and intolerance and bias such as racism or anti-religious feeling leading to demonizing or demeaning an individual or group, or both, by linking them together.

The third characteristic is that it is part of a larger pattern demonstrating that it is part of a planned, intentional, calculated agenda that serves someone's purpose, usually political in nature, such as contrived wedge issues used to turn out voters. A perfect example of that would be the anti-gay marriage campaign issue used by Karl Rove and George W. Bush, for which the Bush campaign leadership later apologized, or the use of racial politics, dog whistle for ginning up racism, especially southern conservative racism.

A fourth characteristic, not as essential as the preceding three, but common, is to create a sense of belonging to an aggrieved group of people with shared negative feelings towards the individual or group targeted as the subject of the propaganda. Examples would be Islamophobic propaganda, anti-LGBT propaganda, and anti-immigrant or racist propaganda.

The following image from Face Book features all of the defining characteristics.

The clear implication is that Obama is offering preferential treatment in employment to undocumented immigrants, and that Obama is somehow responsible for anyone who is not employed.

This is factually inaccurate -- the first criteria or characteristic of propaganda.

From fact, back in 2010 (conclusions which continue to be true as supported by additional years of data and research):


Do immigrants take American jobs? It’s a common refrain among those who want to tighten limits on legal immigration and deny a "path to citizenship" — which they call "amnesty" — to the millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. There’s even a new Reclaim American Jobs Caucus in the House, with at least 41 members.
But most economists and other experts say there’s little to support the claim. Study after study has shown that immigrants grow the economy, expanding demand for goods and services that the foreign-born workers and their families consume, and thereby creating jobs. There is even broad agreement among economists that while immigrants may push down wages for some, the overall effect is to increase average wages for American-born workers.

So, who are those economists, those experts?  What studies?

Nat Journal has some specifics, from 2013:

Left and Right Agree: Immigrants Don't Take American Jobs

March 22, 2013 As Congress considers immigration reform, experts across the political spectrum say American jobs are safe.
That immigrants take the jobs of American-born citizens is “something that virtually no learned person believes in,” Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, said at a Thursday panel. “It’s sort of a silly thing.”
Most economists don’t find immigrants driving down wages or jobs, the Brookings Institution's Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney wrote in May. In fact, “on average, immigrant workers increase the opportunities and incomes of Americans,” they write. Foreign-born workers don’t affect the employment rate positively or negatively, according to a 2011 analysis from the conservative American Enterprise Institute. And a study released Wednesday by the liberal Center for American Progress suggests that granting legal status to undocumented workers might even create jobs.
The CAP study, led by the visiting head of the Washington College economics department, sought to predict what would happen under immigration reform. The researchers considered a handful of scenarios. In each, it was presumed that the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants would be immediately granted legal status. They then looked at the effect of those undocumented immigrants not being granted citizenship at all over a decade, getting it immediately, or getting it in five years.
Legal status alone would lead to the creation of 121,000 extra jobs annually over the next 10 years, they found. Getting citizenship within five years would increase that to 159,000 jobs per year. And receiving both legal status and citizenship this year would create an extra 203,000 jobs annually.

So, clearly NOT FACTUAL; tick off the first requirement of propaganda.

Undocumented people STEALING American jobs? That gins up fear, resentment, anger, a sense of being victimized, especially if you accept the premise without fact checking or critical thinking. Tick the box for the second requirement of propaganda as well; this propaganda creates the perception of a threat.

This kind of propaganda is rife on the internet, routine on right wing sources like F*cks News, and other right wing 'media' and right wing politicians.  For example we have this from Sarah Palin, via the propaganda site
To make matters worse, Palin said that the “forgotten man” who cannot catch a break will now see their tax dollars go to help take care of illegal immigrants while they are forced to compete with them for shrinking resources and jobs.

And we have Ted Cruz, presidential candidate in the running for the 2016 election, making the same claim as Palin -- and while Palin is an empty-headed dunce, clearly Cruz knows, or should be expected to know that his claims about joblessness is a lie.  Cruz is well educated, but all too willing to pander to the worst elements on the right.
From the Washington Examiner:

Ted Cruz: Immigration will increase US joblessness

But March organizers — including the Black American Leadership Alliance and Tea Party groups — do support curbing legal immigration, saying it could take jobs away from “millions of American citizens.” Cruz also claimed the Senate immigration reform would cost Americans’ jobs but without specific reference to legal immigrants.
“If this bill is passed, it will increase unemployment,” Cruz, R-Texas, said. “If this bill is passed it will increase African American unemployment. If this bill is passed it will increase youth unemployment. If this bill is passed it will increase Hispanic unemployment.”

Palin and Cruz are just two of many pushing this propaganda lie, giving us the third criteria of propaganda, that it is repetitive in serving a larger, calculated agenda; tick off that box as well.

And lastly, we see the demonizing of immigrants (both documented and undocumented)and the link to the president in an attempt to discredit him, and to portray both immigrants and President Obama as the enemy, as the villain, as the bad guys, when they are the opposite factually.

We have conservatives banding together in their ignorant, manipulated animosity. Tick off the fourth box identifying the criterion of propaganda.

Propaganda is the tool of tyrants and dictators, of the corrupt in power, or seeking power.  It is propaganda and those manipulated by it, not immigrants, that is the enemy of democracy and of America.

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