23January2017

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Filtering The Election

 

Introduction

When the likes of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar Assad, and now Donald Trump, are declared the latest 'New Hitler', we learn little except that they are enemies of the establishment. It means the 'On' button has been pressed on a propaganda machine designed for maximal demonisation, leaving no room for public doubt. This inevitably drives comparisons in the direction of Hitler and the Nazis.

The rationale is well-understood by the public relations community. Phil Lesley, author of a handbook on PR and communications, explained the spectacularly successful strategy for obstructing action on environmental issues:

'People generally do not favour action on a non-alarming situation when arguments seem to be balanced on both sides and there is a clear doubt... Nurturing public doubts by demonstrating that this is not a clear-cut situation in support of the opponents usually is all that is necessary.' (Lesly, 'Coping with Opposition Groups,' Public Relations Review 18, 1992, p.331)

Conversely, when action is required, the issue must be presented as one-sided, clear-cut, black-and-white.

This doesn't mean that Saddam Hussein wasn't a tyrant, and it doesn't mean that Trump isn't a grave threat to uncivilisation; it means that establishment enemies are described as 'New Hitlers' for reasons that have little or nothing to do with any threat they might pose.

In Trump's case, the public was not being softened up for invasion, bombing and murder, although his liberal opponents have often 'joked', with complete unawareness of the irony, about assaulting and assassinating him.

Read more: Filtering The Election

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