RAND research as well as others like PEW research have put out their findings on the Russian propaganda tech. The Russian propaganda model is high-volume and multichannel, and it disseminates messages without regard for the truth. It is also rapid, continuous, and repetitive, and it lacks commitment to consistency.
Although these techniques would seem to run counter to the received wisdom for successful information campaigns, research in psychology supports many of the most successful aspects of the model. Furthermore, they suggest that the very factors that make them effective also make it difficult to counter. Traditional counter propaganda approaches will likely be inadequate in this context.
What none of the reports and papers I have read thus far seem to note is that the focus of the campaign is narrow and continuous. No matter if the message is consistent, what is consistent is the objective of the message. No matter the consistency of the target, if the objective for that target is also the same.
Let’s say the blast comes in AGAINST Trump’s latest falderal with the Military. The rush of comments into the News Media articles are all against this act — the highlight subject being transgender service men.
Then, next week there is a PRO rush on a State legislation for anti-transgender topic. In this rush the comments are flooded with anti-transgender information. (so they are pro for the state legislation).
The commonality we can see in this back and forth inconsistent message from the propaganda engine, is the consistent message that the government isn’t working. In the first it was a given that the courts would block this effort — and putting in a rush for Pro Courts emphasizes the lack of legal understanding of the White House as well as the bigotry. This transgender issue shouldn’t even be happening in the US. Hell, Israel passed legal protection and government protection back in 2006! You, know? The people who wrote the OT? right?
The second shouts the same message, because it brings the legislation into the limelight, puts it into a high enough backing that it becomes national and agian it is a given that the higher courts aren’t going to back this. A given — message? Government (the law makers) don’t know anything about the law.
The message and effort is the same, and highly effective.
The question then is ‘why’ go to this effort for this message?
When people consider engaging with facts and information any number of factors come into play. How interested are they in the subject? How much do they trust the sources of information that relate to the subject? How eager are they to learn something more? What other aspects of their lives might be competing for their attention and their ability to pursue information? How much access do they have to the information in the first place? How confident they are in their ability to understand the topic?
The commonality in all of these, and many others is: time and ability. Do I have the time, is it likely an area I’ll understand given my resources and my trust in those resources.
If the message of the Transgender issues are muddled, while the sources of information are put into states of untrustworthiness, the issue isn’t going to be met with an educated response from the general public. It’s that simple. I muddy the waters, you say fuckit.
Fuckit is a slope, and it gets easier and easier to adapt as an attitude toward facts and information. So, the campaign begins with outer-edge issues no one is quite sure about — LGBT rights, Third wave Feminism, School System Models, Immigration, and Tax laws. As these churn the mud rises, sources loose trustworthy status, Fake News is declared, Alternative Facts are proclaimed. The fuckit level rises. When that happens, muddying issues that are better known and understood, becomes easier to ride in on the wave of frustration already existing — things like Net Neutrality, personal privacy, free speech and human rights can be attacked.
The model isn’t attempting to make you believe one way or the other. It’s making your apathetic to the issue and nonplussed by the stance adopted.
But then, this is all facts and information, so you probably said fuckit way up there some place…
Further Reading and References: