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Greenscam: Scientific Mass Manipulation in ActionErsun Warnke Salem-News.com Business/Economy Reporter
If the goal is to produce a dumb animal that will walk calmly into the slaughterhouse, then providing this animal with information would be grossly counterproductive.
(EUGENE, Ore.) - Recently, a large number of internal documents from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia were posted onto the internet by an anonymous source.
One of the documents from this collection of information is a short pamphlet put out by the “communications agency” (i.e. free-market ministry of propaganda) Futerra Sustainability Communications, which is headquartered in London and has offices in New York. Futerra, according to their website, specializes in propaganda focused on buzz words like “green,” “ethical,” “climate change,” and “corporate responsibility.”
The contents of this pamphlet are not revolutionary in the field of propaganda, but they show very plainly how modern propaganda techniques are employed. Propaganda, also known as advertising, public relations, or communications, is focused on mass persuasion. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that both relies on academic research, and funds academic research into human behavior. The purpose of this intensive study of human behavior is to discover new methods of mass manipulation.
The pamphlet I am reviewing here is focused on “communicating” to the public concerning climate change. This pamphlet is the property of Futerra, and I am sure that they charge an obscenely high price for it, which would typically prevent the public from ever seeing it. Due to copyright laws, I can only present excerpts of the pamphlet, for the purpose of review and criticism.
The title of the pamphlet is “The rules of the game.” It is explained that “The game is communicating climate change; the rules will help us win it.”
The rules are as follows:
“Blowing away myths”
“Don't rely on concern about children's future – Recent surveys show that people without children may care more about climate change.”
Surveys show people really have no humanity at all, so why bother trying to appeal to it. Realpolitik was the seventies, now we have Realpsychotique.
“Don't … criticize – It is unproductive to attack that which people hold dear.”
Dumb animals will never change their behavior, so don't even bother trying to convince them to.
“There is no rational man”
See comment above.
“A new way of thinking”
“telling the public to take notice of climate change is as successful as selling tampons to men.”
Very edgy. Good way to let the reader know that even though you are a tool and a shill you are still hip, and maybe even a bit rebellious.
“Use both peripheral and central processing – direct attention can change attitudes … peripheral messages are just as effective. [example:] snapshot of Gwyneth Paltrow at a bus stop can help change attitudes toward public transport.”
“Central processing” is rational argument, “peripheral processing” is sub-conscious irrational persuasion.
“Link climate change mitigation to … home improvement, self improvement, green spaces or national pride”
Repetitive association is a very common propaganda technique. The principal is to create a linkage in the mind of the target between two otherwise unrelated ideas by continually repeating them together in the same context. This is the majority of television advertising. Think: pretty women and sh#@*y beer, or just about any other product sold to men.
“Use transmitters and social learning – targeting [trendsetters] will ensure that messages seem more trustworthy”.
Who cares if the underlying message is true? Just make sure you convince Rush Limbaugh and Al Gore.
“Beware of cognitive dissonance – Confronting someone with the difference between their attitude and their actions on climate change will make them more likely to change their attitude than their actions.”
Don't point out peoples' hypocrisy, that will only push them into denial. Instead, turn their hypocrisy into righteous indignation and get them to support policies that will force other people to bear the costs of their environmentally destructive behavior.
Linking policy and communications
“Everyone must use a clear and consistent explanation of climate change”
Scientific uncertainty? We've heard of it...
“Research shows that energy efficiency behaviors can make you seem poor and unattractive. We must work to overcome these emotional assumptions.”
A tiny wealthy elite is responsible for the majority of consumption. The envy and hatred of the rest of the population for this elite must be propagandized out of existence. How else can we convince them to reduce their consumption even more, so that the elite can maintain their grandiose standards of living?
“Create a trusted, credible, recognised voice on climate change.”
Trusted, credible, recognized voices on climate change don't exist. They must be created by propaganda firms.
“Use emotions and visuals – Classic marketing rule: information doesn't always work … emotions and visuals usually do.”
Information and rational persuasion don't work when you are trying to persuade people to engage in irrational and self-destructive behaviors. If the goal is to produce a dumb animal that will walk calmly into the slaughterhouse, then providing this animal with information would be grossly counterproductive.
“Communications must be sustained over time.”
Persuasion through irrational arguments and sub-conscious manipulation requires mass repetition, which takes persistence.
“Partnered delivery of messages will be more successful.”
Call your friends at the newspapers, tell them you are already backed by several major corporations, and that a handful of up-and-coming/washed-out celebrities are supporting your cause. Once you have a publishing date for the article, call your friends at the television news networks, and offer them your pre-packaged propaganda reel to run on their nightly broadcast. Post it on your Twitter page from your Iphone, because, like, Twitter is so the hot new thing.
This pamphlet is interesting, not because of its sophistication, but because of its audacity. The theories describe here are unoriginal, and many have been in use for decades already. A lot of this pop-psychology is really amateurish, but it reveals the contempt that the authors have for truth, the public, and public policy. The fact that this pamphlet is published by one of the leading propaganda firms advising the government of the UK on climate change “communications” gives you an idea of the attitudes of the elected officials who consume this garbage.
Remember: the future survival, health, and well being of humanity and the planet is a game. The rules of this game can be laid out on a few glossy pages by a team of hack PR shills regurgitating pop-psychology. This must be credible, because it is bought and paid for by major governments, corporations, and universities. As they say, “there is no rational man.”
Salem-News.com Business/Economy Reporter Ersun Warncke is a native Oregonian. He has a degree in Economics from Portland State University and studied Law at University of Oregon. At a young age, his career spans a wide variety of fields, from fast food, to union labor, to computer programming. He has published works concerning economics, business, government, and media on blogs for several years. He currently works as an independent software designer specializing in web based applications, open source software, and peer-to-peer (P2P) applications.
Ersun describes his writing as being "in the language of the boardroom from the perspective of the shop floor." He adds that "he has no education in journalism other than reading Hunter S. Thompson." But along with life comes the real experience that indeed creates quality writers. Right now, every detail that can help the general public get ahead in life financially, is of paramount importance.
You can write to Ersun at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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