psychpol

August 10, 2012

WHY SPIN, WHY LIE?

Filed under: Psychology and Politics — psychpol @ 2:17 pm

We have witnessed another sad chapter in the current presidential campaign. An ad was produced by a Super-Pac affiliated with the Obama effort to be reelected. It is implied, in the ad, that Romney’s actions killed a steelworker’s wife. What a cold-hearted rich guy!

This is not a mild accusation. However, when the facts are examined, there is no causal relationship between the closing of a steel plant years after Romney had any involvement, and the cancer death of the wife.

Not to worry. The Democrats have brought a parade of  lying (sorry, I mean “spinning.” Feel better now?) spokespersons who claim no knowledge of the steelworker or his story. They deny attempting to associate Romney with the wife’s death. Furthermore, there is strong evidence that Federal Election Law has been violated.

We shall see if any of our legislators have the courage to exercise their responsibility to the people and bring a public action.

But truth is not the point of this campaign. It is to stir the emotions of a frustrated electorate, and distract us from the real issues that impact our daily lives. In rage, we can act blindly, and that is the goal of the “caring” people and candidate who create the campaign strategies.

One can  access the quotes of Obama regarding transparency, post partisan governing and other claims from the past. These  have not been the truths of his administration. This fact is of course denied. It is the Republicans’  fault!

Nonetheless, we felt better hearing it, as many are tired of the corruption and duplicity in today’s political life. Somewhere in us, those with some capacity for independent thought abhor the road we are now hurtling down.

There are countless examples of  lying in today’s political world, and in this presidential campaign in particular. Just listen to Stephanie Cutter or Bill Burton denying knowledge of the steelworker’s situation, when in fact they had been involved in sourcing and distributing he story.

They lie without blinking an eye.

If you are a partisan, you may use the equivalency argument to dismiss the lies. This goes something like “well they all do it. What’s the difference? Think I will stay home, watch a video and text the person next to me.”

All candidates are not the same. They have ideas that will direct their priorities in governing, should they be in office. Look at their records and life histories for a clue as to what they will do.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

The moral equivalency theme is a favorite for media such as CNN or MSNBC or major newspapers that draw equivalence between the Palestinians and the Israelis. You know, one wantonly sends rockets into the other, while the other defends itself. Clearly an equal offender situation, no?

Why do many of us not see the lies and react with proper confrontation and outrage? Why do many perpetrate such falsehoods, without  even acknowledging them?

Well, there are several facets, starting with The True Believer who holds an ideological position. In this case, one sees only the information that bolsters their belief. To do otherwise is to produce personal discomfort.

Such persons operate on emotion, effectively disconnecting the higher cortical centers of the brain that allow for reason, analysis and self-reflection.

This produces a feeling of  “being right,” and an accompanying righteousness and disdain for those espousing contradictory information. Many politicians play on this process of stirring up anger. The Obama gang uses this as a central strategy.

Class warfare is no extreme descriptor when referring to their campaign tactics.

And it appears to be working because many like to feel righteously indignant. It gives them a sense of purpose in their otherwise less than fulfilled lives.

Then we have The Professional Spinner. This individual is a practiced liar, often with a law degree or a background in public relations or communication. Their job is to distort truth, appeal to emotion and cause you to question your beliefs about an issue.

Repeat the lie enough times, and people will start to believe it, or at least wonder if it might be true. You know, what is in Romney’s tax returns that he won’t release? Must be terrible, otherwise the campaign and political “leaders’ wouldn’t be focusing on it. Not that we have real problems that need to be addressed. Who cares? What is he hiding?

You know, if you just look at it from our angle, it is different! Perception is reality goes the postmodern mantra of today. Tell it to the wall you just crashed into, thinking it was a welcoming, soft blanket.

By believing that your subjective experience must be true, you are absolved from critically analyzing all the data. It is the lazy person’s socially acceptable out from the demands of citizenship.

You know, “I’m too busy and have lots of video content to look at, texts to send, songs to download, etc.” .

 So, the spinning industry stimulates a brain structure in the primitive regions associated with fear and anger. This becomes bound to a certain set of ideas and an opponent. 

Spinners practice  lying as a kind of art form and mental game. One  wonders about their central core, if there is any left. Who raised them?

The goal is power and the spoils that come with it. The price of losing one’s integrity is of no matter when a winner is sitting on a pile of gold.

Will we, the people, care enough to examine all the facts? Will we be independent enough in our thinking to use all of our brain power to reason?  Can we count on the American people and the media to make an effort to reject lies and spinning?

Or will we simply march in line, feel satisfied, blame the other and tell one another how superior we are to those Red  Staters?

Will we embrace the daily lies of the Obama campaign, and its attendant hypocrisy and strategy of bashing Romney? Will Romney, surely a good man of values (look at his history), stand up to these falsehoods and attacks, and claim the moral high ground?  Will he fight?

Will he be able to convince us that reason and issues and social ideology are at stake here?  The future of our country as we have known it?

Or, shall the ideologues and spinners again win the day by packaging a destructive candidate into the same old spinning savior?

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