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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Separate them and they'll behave 

The Feet to the Fire forum last night was much less disruptive than previous events. Completely unrelated, of course, were the groups of pro-Righeimer folks scattered more or less diagonally across the seating area. That prevented the anti-folks from sitting in large enough masses to feed off of each other’s excitement (or rage).

The lead picture today shows what you, too, can do in a very short time to make a something you can use to distract a speaker. This sign-maker didn’t realize that the sign couldn’t be read from the stage – not even definitively identified from the front quarter of the room.

Sarcasm is a technique too

That second sentence in this entry was deliberately designed to demonstrate sarcasm used to make a point. Early in the campaigns we saw a lot of sarcasm. It’s been largely displaced now by name calling and labeling. That’s too bad, too, because sarcasm can be fun to catch – it usually requires a moment of reflection to realize the writer is trying to manipulate your opinion without confronting you with facts or logic.

And, I saw only one attempted gesture – guy in a blue-candidate shirt leaped to his feet then made a benign gesture and sat when he noticed an old white-haired guy taking pictures. I got a blurred image, anyway.

Facts and logic

So, the crowd was reasonably well behaved as they watched Righeimer use facts and logic to demoralize and dissolve Foley. (Did I mention that Foley is a lawyer with an office in Newport Beach? Like one of our Council candidates reminds us about himself.)

Other views

Left-winger Geoff announced in his blog today that Foley looked “composted” to him and published a photo of her designed to reinforce that belief. Mostly, however, he confined his remarks to name-calling and distorting information. He didn't seem to be palpating, salivating and screaming, and I think his more timid approach was because he wasn't convinced his side was well-defended. He’s right.

Techniques to think about

Bandwagon: Propagandists use this technique to persuade the audience to follow the crowd. This device creates the impression of widespread support. That’s what the signs and disruptions and crowd cheers are designed to do, and Bandwagon is one of the first seven propaganda techniques identified, way back in the 1930’s. When confronted with Bandwagon propaganda, consider the pros and cons – and look for some facts before joining in. You could be joining a group of kooks instead of joining with the masses. I’ll rest my case without mentioning any names; the most flagrant example is well-known to Costa Mesa.

Card Stacking: A propagandist uses this technique to make the best case possible for his side and the worst for the opposing viewpoint by carefully using only those facts that support his or her side of the argument. He’ll attempt to lead the audience into accepting the facts as a conclusion. In other words, the propagandist stacks the cards against the truth. Card stacking is another primary propaganda technique, and was used by both sides during the debate.

However, the “soft” questions to Foley and the more confrontive questions to Righeimer were another use of the technique. Card stacking is the most difficult technique to detect because it does not provide all of the information necessary for the audience to make an informed decision. However, it didn't help Foley, who pretty well self-destructed, and didn’t hurt Righeimer who seems to be used to being attacked.

Register to get a better sign

The Big Labor money that’s buying TV time and sending those heavy, bright, frightening mailers to your mailbox didn't help the guy with the sign. I guess he needs to register as Anti-V in order to get better graphics. After all, with the couple hundred thousand dollars poured into the Costa Mesa election just recently, surely the labor unions could help this poor fellow get a better sign to flash at the dais.

Short flic but to the point

U-Tube presentation that’s worth a look:

Lots of propaganda pouring through Costa Mesa for this election, due to the Big Labor interest in defeating the Charter. We’ll identify some more in another blog.

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