One thing that has become very clear to me in the last few months is that TPTB have dialed the smoke machines up to 11 trying to blanket us in a thick fog of misdirection and disinfo. It’s just an intensification of what they’ve been doing for a long time. I came across this article from cracked.com on “5 Ways to Stay Sane in an Era of Non-Stop Outrage.” It sounded like click-bait but actually offered some surprisingly sound advice. What caught my eye, though, was the advice to “Understand the ‘Firehose of Falsehoods.'” What’s that?
The “Firehose of Falsehoods” propaganda model … is a technique allegedly used effectively by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, taking advantage of the internet and social media to overwhelm the populace with a machine gun spray of false news, inflammatory accusations, and conspiracy theories. It doesn’t matter if the information conflicts, it doesn’t matter if any of it is backed by reliable sources — sheer volume is all it takes, because the average person has a limited capacity to sift through it.
Your brain is an organ, a physical mass of jelly that burns calories for energy. It can be overworked the same way that an athlete’s muscles or your drunk uncle’s liver can. Already, 90 percent or so of that energy is burned worrying about your sex life, job, bills, family, friends, pets, diet, leaky bathroom faucet, favorite sports team, and the fact that you still don’t know who PewDiePie is and you’re now afraid to ask.
The “firehose” model recognizes that at some point, most people will give up.
Now, I personally don’t think Donald Trump or his administration are carefully crafting some Putin-esque strategy…. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s intentional, though, because the effect is exactly the same. This is how he got into office in the first place — he stuffed the information channels with bullshit so that nobody else could be heard. The media in 2017 is the perfect landscape for this.
The news treats every tweet as an official White House press release / policy statement, each one requiring a whirlwind of analysis, debunking, and snide replies from a hundred million citizens eager to fire back. Six shitstorms a day, on top of the normal flow of real news — the executive orders, Cabinet appointments, legislation, etc.
Cracked borrows the term from a RAND Corporation policy paper that fingers Russia for recently inventing this model. We know better than to single out Putin or Russia or Trump or the MSM. And of course the phenomenon pre-dates Twitter or the internet. Propaganda firehoses are spraying us from every possible direction, aimed by Intelligence operatives at the behest of our governors. But despite RAND’s misdirection, the metaphor is apt and the description of the methods hits home.
I check the new posts on r/conspiracy about once a day. Well over 99% of it is garbage. But for those unable to recognize that, the sheer number and variety of stories being pushed on a constant basis is enough to completely overwhelm and confuse. And that is its purpose. To drown us in noise, knock us off balance, keep us disoriented and, above all, to hide the truth behind a thick, perhaps impenetrable, layer of fog. All we can hope to do is cut through it, layer by layer, hoping to find a sliver of sunshine.