Konrad Becker Files – Persuasive Internalization

An attempt to win “the heart and mind” of the target is defined as persuasion. Although persuasion is demanding, because it needs to induce attitude change, which entails affective emotion-based change, its effects are more sustainable as the target accepts and internalizes the advocacy. There is an interesting reverse-incentive effect regarding internalization of advocacy, where lower incentive for compliance favors a higher internalization and therefore a higher potential for adaptive change. Paradoxically, people will show more attitude change when they are given smaller rewards for performing behaviors than when they are given larger incentives and rewards.

The Politics of the Hoax

UFOs attend marginal events, or appear during episodes of upheaval, chaos and disjointedness, when inhibition is low in a population, when disorderliness rules the day, when rational resistance is belated. Then, an unveiling occurs, when a collective’s experience is most interstitial. It adopts the UFO or is made to adopt the UFO as the flag which represents an occurrence for which words are inadequate — an event that undermines everyday expectations, when beliefs are uprooted. The image of the UFO may not originate in the group, the witness, but may be a projection from without, a concealment strategy by that force caught, so to speak, in an unguarded moment, or as a cloak that was presented intentionally in an effort to reinforce preconceived notions about something that is otherworldly. Though perceived as a disc or cigar-shaped dirigible or what Charles Fort referred to as ‘superconstructions,’ a UFO, in fact, may be none of those things. That is merely the impression that is left with the observer, the witness, the group.

Or the world truly is not as it appears, and some intervention takes place on a fairly regular basis — an intervention from without — and evidence of the illusion is presented, the projection mechanism revealed, but men know not what they see. They leap into the arms of a tried and true trope: the UFO. The notion of nuts-and-bolts spacecraft is then reinforced and the raw revelatory experience occluded totally.

Or the world is exactly as it appears, and one is party to a pernicious hoax, perpetrated by one’s peers.

The effective hoax must be timely and must strike hard and fast; it must achieve an upper hand when the socio-cultural girdings by which a collective is bound are loosened, as by revolution, war, rapid technological change, or disease.  It is chaos of which the hoax and the hoaxer must take advantage and its aims are almost always propagandistic. The hoax must at once appear substantial and supernatural, such that it will readily assume legendary status, conveyed orally, and most importantly, imperfectly. The hoax must quickly find endorsement. The endorsee must be considered reliable from a historical perspective and she must contribute to the hoax a handful of facts that may be verified when the hoax comes under scrutiny, as the hoaxes which are designed to endure inevitably do.

Hoaxes are a special type of deception. They are not required to possess a kernel of truth. In fact, unlike disinformation, the hoax is not typically designed to conceal so much as it is to distort or augment a preexisting worldview. Hence, its own premise may be a complete fabrication and it will continue to function as promised because it has been wrapped in, very often, an uncountable number of layers of facts, all of which are verifiable but unrelated to the event in question. The study of the facts alone ensures that the hoax remains a function of a culture for an extended period of time.

That being said, the hoax itself becomes less important over time, certainly less important than the facts in attendance. What remains of significance is the subtle change induced in a population by the hoax, though the change may not be an explicit one. Interestingly, it is the point at which an obsession with the facts diverges from the hoax from which they originated that the hoax is finally, effectively, mythologized. Once mythologized, it is safe to assume that opinion associated with some fundamental aspect of human affairs has been and will continue to be … managed.

There is a word for this type of opinion management: queuing. The aim of queuing is predictability. In a systematically queued population, the outcome of the sum of most human action is known, even when adjusted for extreme outlying events. And the hoax is that method whereby which a host population’s native and dynamic regard of the world is subverted and supplanted with trained expectation.

✖ From the Novel, Orchard Park and Other Works

The conflation of misinformation with disinformation has resulted in erroneous thinking…

Some disinformation campaigns are better than others. The best campaigns aim to exasperate and exhaust their audience: attrition is the key to maintaining secrecy.

When one misdirects unintentionally, one remains a noble agent of truth.

The conflation of misinformation with disinformation has resulted in erroneous thinking, assigning like values to two unlike terms. Misinformation seeks to misinform its intended audience — it’s content is inherently untrue. Disinformation, on the other hand, always possesses a kernel of truth, but is packaged in such a way that it may easily be discounted in the event that it comes under meaningful scrutiny. Disinformation is managed fact. It is the responsibility of disinformation’s audience to decoct fact from fiction. In practice, it is rare that the facts survive the fictions with which they are bundled. This is disinformation’s overarching strategy.

Error also is the Shadow of Truth. -Albert Pike

Whilst misinformation is skill-less, disinformation requires expertise, or draws upon sanctioned trusts with expertise. Hard data is subsequently shielded, or inoculated from widespread propagation, by ensuring that it is encapsulated in a concocted, untenable context. This is the means by which disclosure may be achieved, then discredited. Facts become sport: easy to ridicule, simple to hate. Not only does the disinformant tell the truth, but he also engineers a climate that guarantees he may continue to work in his chosen field without further interruption.

Konrad Becker Files: Infobody Attack

Information Age communication-technologies ring the bell of propaganda age in an attack on the infobody, the shared presuppositions and myths of the rival and conflicting parts of the social system. The growth of communication tools, the dramatically accelerated flow of persuasive communication through the manipulation of symbols and basic human emotions is not only a system to entertain and inform, but to inject individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior, the Integration through Psychological Media into the social body.

Information is flowing faster than most people feel they can absorb or acquire the additional information needed to make decisions and to be able to control the outcome. This situation provides the ground for Electronic Warfare, tactical deception and Psychological Operations. To distinguish between information and propaganda becomes virtually impossible. Information, a myth filled with the landmarks of consensual hallucination. [Source]


The Cartographers

World maps, the tool of power politics and military intelligence, project proportional distortions of n-dimensional space onto the plane for propaganda purposes. Maps not only offer an abstract view of the world itself but also contain information about those who create them. This becomes particularly obvious with old maps. If we want to find out from which perspective the world is presented, we just have to look for the center of representation.


The Gatekeepers

In 1960, journalist A. J. Liebling wryly observed that “freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” Although he may not have put it in those terms, Liebling was talking about the role of gatekeepers in the media industry, another way in which cultural values influence mass communication. Gatekeepers are the people who help determine which stories make it to the public, including reporters who decide what sources to use, and editors who pick what gets published and which stories make it to the front page. Media gatekeepers are part of culture and thus have their own cultural values, whether consciously or unconsciously. In deciding what counts as newsworthy, entertaining, or relevant, gatekeepers use their own values to create and shape what gets presented to the wider public. Conversely, gatekeepers may decide that some events are unimportant or uninteresting to consumers. Those events may never reach the eyes or ears of a larger public.

In one striking example of how cultural values shape gatekeeping, journalist Allan Thompson points to the news media’s sluggishness in covering the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Almost one million people were killed in ferocious attacks in just 100 days. Yet, as Thompson notes, few foreign correspondents were in Africa, and the world was slow to learn of the atrocities in Rwanda. Instead, the nightly news was preoccupied by the O. J. Simpson murder trial, Tonya Harding’s attack on a fellow figure skater, or the less-bloody conflict in Bosnia (a European country, where more reporters were stationed). Thompson argues that the lack of international media attention allowed politicians to remain complacent. With little media coverage, there was little outrage about the Rwandan atrocities, which contributed to a lack of political will to invest time and troops in a faraway conflict. Richard Dowden, Africa Editor for the British newspaper The Independent during the Rwandan genocide, bluntly explained the news media’s larger reluctance to focus on African issues: “Africa was simply not important. It didn’t sell newspapers. Newspapers have to make profits. So it wasn’t important. Cultural values by gatekeepers on the individual and institutional level downplayed the genocide at a time of great crisis, and potentially contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.” [3]

The digital age hasn’t eliminated gatekeepers; it’s just shifted who they are: “the editors who pick featured artists and apps at the Apple iTunes store, who choose videos to spotlight on YouTube, and who highlight Suggested Users on Twitter.”

Gatekeepers had an especially strong influence in old media, in which space and time were limited. A news broadcast could only last for its allotted half hour, 22 minutes with commercials, while a newspaper had a set number of pages to print. The Internet, in contrast, has room for infinite news reports. The interactive nature of the medium also minimizes the gatekeeper function of the media by allowing media consumers to have a voice as well. News aggregators like Digg.com allow readers to decide what makes it on to the front page. That is not to say that the wisdom or cultural values of the crowd is always wise—recent top stories on Digg have featured headlines like “Top 5 Hot Girls Playing Video Games” and “The girl who must eat every 15 minutes to stay alive.” Media expert Mark Glaser noted that the digital age hasn’t eliminated gatekeepers; it’s just shifted who they are: “the editors who pick featured artists and apps at the Apple iTunes store, who choose videos to spotlight on YouTube, and who highlight Suggested Users on Twitter,” among others. And unlike traditional media, these new gatekeepers rarely have public bylines, making it difficult to figure out who makes such decisions and on what basis. [4]

Observing how distinct cultures and subcultures present the same story can be indicative of those cultures’ various cultural values. Another way to look critically at today’s media messages is to examine how the media has functioned in the world and in the United States during different cultural periods. [Source]