The Psychology Behind Brainwashing

Episode 121

Introduction

This weeks podcast is one of a 3 part series.  Each episode can be stand alone, but as you will see with each one, there are linkages with the other two.  This episode tries to break down the different areas of brainwashing and the ideology and intention behind each category. I will quote from some of the reference sources listed, but there are many more that there was no possibility of including it in one podcast, but they are listed for your reference.

I try to break down the main areas where the psychologist professionals operate and how the practice can manifest into our societies, and certainly with the growth of social media, not always used in a good way.

Next weeks podcast focusses on the mind control aspects and how it has been used in the past and in the present day. We will explore experiences from decades ago, and modern day practices that many people are not even aware that this is being done to them without their knowledge or permission.

The third and final section of this short mini series looks at toxicity within groups and families and how to recognise it, and how to remove yourselves from it if you so desire.  The link between all three podcasts are the groups including families.  When I give examples of certain situations and practices, my hope is that as we go through this episode and the others, that you naturally begin to think of groups of people who are doing this now in front of you every day, in some shape or form.  It is quite possible that you did not realise that this practice is being done to you, or you never thought of it as brainwashing.

I wont name them outright, but to help you as we go through this, I would suggest that you think of the societal groups structure that we have discussed many time, which include the UK Royal Family, Aristocracy, Newspaper Barons and their Royal Reporters, Televised media personnel, Government, Police to name but a few.

I would like you to consider where any of these groups are operating and what kind of methodology do you think applies to them, and what could they hope to achieve if they are involved in this practice in any way.  Examples I will give here and now, in terms of the impact on a target person, couple or group is hatred generated by a proportion of a country’s residents towards one person, or a couple, or groups fleeing a war zone.  Hatred towards people that the majority of the population have never met. What methodologies were and are used which ensure that 8 years later in the case of one individual, the rhetoric leaving the mouths of some people has become so toxic, that they are almost frothing at the mouth.  If you take a stand back and take a helicopter view of what is happening, you will start to see the similarities in the phrases used, and the behaviour.  Ultimately, there becomes a point where the masses of hatred become clone like. They draw strength from one another, and the camaraderie that is growing gives them the impression that they are stronger for it.

The telling aspect of this, which has been proven by research over the years, and certainly in my research over the years, from my university days to just navigating my way through life, is that if you take away the brainwashing element and its components, the mindset that was created by manipulation over time, starts to erode, and the original mindset of increasing numbers of people begins to surface again.  Not everyone- a few remain on their new skin so to speak, but the majority over time, begin to show signs of the ‘old’ personality emerging again. Possibly with a recognition of how the change occurred and as a result, the chances of being so easily swayed over time, would have less chance of succeeding.  If you read some of the reference sources listed at the end of this article, you will see, that the sheer bombardment of certain practices used to ‘break’ the spirit of individuals, ultimately leads to acceptance of a new ideology, just to ‘make the methodology used previously stop’.  A few never return to their former selves, but most, once removed from that bombardment, with the added understanding of what is being done to them, they can differentiate and compartmentalize actions.

Groups have more likelihood to change their stance, if they break away from each other, and make the efforts to form a life outside of the group.  For many this is a hard step to take, because they fell into these types of groups because of the lack of self esteem in their lives outside of it.  Moving into these type of hate groups has given them purpose and status.

Toxic families are even more complicated, but the bottom line, when the group is a family, who are now set in their ways, invested in protecting the status quo, because it has been a way of life for centuries, they will fall on their swords to defend it, and see no other way of life that will give them purpose than to carry on to their last breath trying to save it, and all who depend on its existence.  The only way a few find peace after recognising the practices being done and why, is to escape.  I wont say leave, because that is not a choice given to any that want to have free thought.  It literally means to escape, forge a new life, and set boundaries to protect oneself and any family they wish to build. Any communication that takes place with those family members subsequently, should really take place after a time of no contact, and then if it is a desire to gave some kind of contact, then it should only take place without any of the new boundaries being crossed. The danger that lurks within this toxic family scenario is the emergence of Cult status.

The next two podcasts will highlight the similarities of toxic families and cult behaviour. The goal is to preserve the status quo, and to that end, any means is acceptable to achieve the aim.  Any means. If nothing else, I hope my helicopter view of how society can slip into these patterns of behaviour, because of the carefully orchestrated messages and actions of a very small group of people, bombarding the wider groups of people daily with a belief system, that they are proving every day that Malcolm X was correct when he said:-

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” ― Malcolm X

Some would be horrified to know that they are in agreement with Malcolm X.  Horrified by the same type of brainwashing we are exploring over the next three podcasts that led them to the view they have of Malcolm X.  Just one example.

So let us take a look at brainwashing and what it means.

What is Brainwashing?

Quotes from some of the reference sources at the end of the article.

Brainwashing is a term that refers to both coercive persuasion and a systematic process aimed at altering an individual’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviors through various psychological and manipulative means. This process often involves isolation, indoctrination, threats, rewards and the use of propaganda to remove free will.

While most psychologists believe that brainwashing is possible under the right conditions, some see it as improbable or at least as a less severe form of influence than the media portrays it to be.

Some definitions of brainwashing require the presence of the threat of physical harm. Under these definitions, most extremist cults do not practice true brainwashing since they typically do not physically abuse recruits. Other definitions rely on “nonphysical coercion and control” as an equally effective means of asserting influence.

Regardless of which definition you use, many experts believe that even under ideal brainwashing conditions, the effects of the process are most often short-term — the brainwashing victim’s old identity is not in fact eradicated by the process, but instead is in hiding, and once the “new identity” stops being reinforced the person’s old attitudes and beliefs will start to return [source: Psychological Harassment Information Association].

Basically, if you coerce someone into abandoning their religious beliefs in favor of a new atheist identity, they’ll likely re-embrace those old beliefs once you stop pushing the new identity onto them.

Social Influence

In psychology, the study of brainwashing, often referred to as thought reform, falls into the sphere of “social influence.” This type of influence happens every minute of every day. It’s the collection of ways in which people can change other people’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

For instance, the compliance method aims to produce a change in a person’s behavior and is not concerned with his attitudes or beliefs. It’s the “just do it” approach. Persuasion, on the other hand, aims for a change in attitude. For example, “Do it because it’ll make you feel good/happy/healthy/successful.”

The education method (or “propaganda method,” which is when you don’t believe in what’s being taught) goes for the social influence gold, trying to affect a change in the person’s beliefs. For instance, “Do it because you know it’s the right thing to do.”

Brainwashing is a severe form of social influence that combines all of these approaches to cause changes in someone’s way of thinking without that person’s consent and often against their will [source: Working Psychology].

Isolation and Dependency

Because brainwashing is such an invasive form of influence, it requires the complete isolation and dependency of the subject, which is why you mostly hear of brainwashing occurring in prison camps or totalist cults.

The agent (the brainwasher) must have complete control over the target (the brainwashee) so that sleeping, eating, using the bathroom and fulfilling other basic human needs depends on the will of the agent.

In the brainwashing process, the agent systematically breaks down the target’s identity to the point that it falls apart. The agent then replaces it with another set of behaviors, attitudes and beliefs that work in the target’s current environment [source: Britannica].

Brainwashing Techniques

Let’s examine an expert’s description of the brainwashing process and find out what makes an easy target.

In the late 1950s, psychologist Robert Jay Lifton studied former prisoners of Korean War and Chinese war camps. He determined that they’d undergone a multistep process that began with attacks on the prisoner’s sense of self and ended with what appeared to be a change in beliefs. Lifton ultimately defined a set of steps involved in the brainwashing cases he studied:

  1. Assault on identity
  2. Guilt
  3. Self-betrayal
  4. Breaking point
  5. Leniency
  6. Compulsion to confess
  7. Channeling of guilt
  8. Releasing of guilt
  9. Progress and harmony
  10. Final confession and rebirth

Each of these stages takes place in an environment of isolation, meaning all “normal” social reference points are unavailable, and mind-clouding techniques like sleep deprivation and malnutrition are typically part of the process.

There is often the presence or constant threat of physical harm, which adds to the target’s difficulty in thinking critically and independently [source: Changing Minds].

We can roughly divide the process Lifton identified into three stages: breaking down the self, introducing the possibility of salvation and rebuilding the self.

Stage 1: Breaking Down the Self

According to Lifton, the first stage of brainwashing involves breaking down an individual’s sense of self. This is achieved through isolation, deprivation of familiar social connections and manipulation of their environment. There are four steps in this stage, including:

Assault on Identity: You Are Not Who You Think You Are.

This is a systematic attack on a target’s sense of self (also called the identity or ego) and their core belief system. The agent denies everything that makes the target who they are:

  • “You are not a soldier.”
  • “You are not a man.”
  • “You are not defending freedom.”

The target is under constant attack for days, weeks or months, to the point that they become exhausted, confused and disoriented. In this state, their beliefs seem less solid.

Guilt: You Are Bad.

While the identity crisis is setting in, the agent is simultaneously creating an overwhelming sense of guilt in the target. They repeatedly and mercilessly attacks the subject for any “sin” the target has committed, large or small.

The agent may criticize the target for everything from the “evilness” of their beliefs to the way they eat too slowly. The target begins to feel a general sense of shame that everything they do is wrong.

Self-Betrayal: Agree With Me That You Are Bad.

Once the subject is disoriented and drowning in guilt, the agent forces them (either with the threat of physical harm or of continuance of the mental attack) to denounce their family, friends and peers who share the same “wrong” belief system that they hold.

This betrayal of the target’s beliefs and of people they feel a sense of loyalty to increases the shame and loss of identity they are already experiencing.

Breaking Point: Who Am I, Where Am I and What Am I Supposed to Do?

With their identity in crisis, experiencing deep shame and having betrayed what they have always believed in, the target may undergo what people in the lay community refer to as a “nervous breakdown,” or a collection of severe symptoms that can indicate any number of psychological disturbances.

It may involve uncontrollable sobbing, deep depression and general disorientation. The target may have lost their grip on reality and have the feeling of being completely lost and alone.

When the target reaches their breaking point, their sense of self is pretty much up for grabs — they have no clear understanding of who they are or what is happening to them. At this point, the agent sets up the temptation to convert to another belief system that will save the target from their misery.

Stage 2: The Possibility of Salvation

In Lifton’s second stage of brainwashing, agents present the individual with a perceived pathway to salvation or relief from their suffering. This creates hope and dependence, as the target begins to believe that compliance with the agent’s demands is the only way to attain relief or safety, deepening their vulnerability to manipulation.

Leniency

First, the brainwasher shows leniency. With the target in a state of crisis, the agent offers some small kindness or reprieve from the abuse. The agent may offer the target a drink of water or take a moment to ask them what they miss about home.

In a state of breakdown resulting from an endless psychological attack, the small kindness seems huge, and the target may experience a sense of relief and gratitude completely out of proportion to the offering, as if the agent has saved their life.

Compulsion to Confess

Next, the brainwasher offers an opportunity for confession. For the first time in the brainwashing process, the target is faced with the contrast between the guilt and pain of identity assault and the sudden relief of leniency.

The target may feel a desire to reciprocate the kindness offered to them, and at this point, the agent may present the possibility of confession as a means to relieving guilt and pain.

Channeling of Guilt

Guilt is the real reason many subjects are in pain. After weeks or months of assault, confusion, breakdown and moments of leniency, the target’s guilt has lost all meaning — they’re not sure what they have done wrong, they just know they are wrong.

This creates something of a blank slate that lets the agent fill in the blanks: They can attach that guilt, that sense of “wrongness,” to whatever they want.

The agent attaches the target’s guilt to the belief system the agent is trying to replace. The target comes to believe it is their belief system that is the cause of their shame. The contrast between old and new has been established: The old belief system is associated with psychological (and usually physical) agony; and the new belief system is associated with the possibility of escaping that agony.

Releasing Guilt

Next, releasing the guilt is a key step. The embattled target is relieved to learn there is an external cause of their wrongness, that they are not inescapably bad — this means they can escape their wrongness by escaping the wrong belief system.

All they have to do is denounce the people and institutions associated with that belief system, and they won’t be in pain anymore.

The target has the power to release themself from wrongness by confessing to acts associated with their old belief system. With the target’s full confessions, they have completed the psychological rejection of their former identity. It is now up to the agent to offer the target a new one [source: Singer].

Stage 3: Rebuilding the Self

Once those critical early stages of brainwashing are complete, it’s time to move on to a more harmonious — if destructive — relationship.

Progress and Harmony

The target is now presented with a path to alleged progress and harmony. In other words, “If you want, you can choose good.” At this stage, the agent stops the abuse, offering the target physical comfort and mental calm in conjunction with the new belief system. The target is made to feel that they must choose between old and new, giving them the sense that their fate is in their own hands.

The target has already denounced their old belief system in response to leniency and torment, and making a “conscious choice” in favor of the contrasting belief system helps to further relieve their guilt: If they truly believe, then they really didn’t betray anyone.

The choice is not a difficult one: The new identity is safe and desirable because it is nothing like the one that led to their breakdown.

Final Confession and Rebirth

Next comes the final confession and rebirth: “I choose good.” Contrasting the agony of the old with the peacefulness of the new, the target chooses the new identity, clinging to it like a life preserver. They reject their old belief system and pledges allegiance to the new one that is going to make their life better.

At this final stage, there are often rituals or ceremonies to induct the converted target into their new community. This stage has been described by some brainwashing victims as a feeling of “rebirth” [source: Singer].

From Firsthand Accounts

A brainwashing process like the one discussed above has not been tested in a modern laboratory setting, because it’s damaging to the target and would therefore be an unethical scientific experiment. Lifton created this description from firsthand accounts of the techniques used by captors in the Korean War and other instances of “brainwashing” around the same time.

Since Lifton and other psychologists have identified variations on what appears to be a distinct set of steps leading to a profound state of suggestibility, an interesting question is why some people end up brainwashed and others don’t.

What Do Brainwashing Targets Have in Common?

Certain personality traits of the brainwashing targets can determine the effectiveness of the process. People who commonly experience great self-doubt, have a weak sense of identity and show a tendency toward guilt and absolutism (black-and-white thinking) are more likely to be successfully brainwashed, while a strong sense of identity and self-confidence can make a target more resistant to brainwashing.

Some accounts show that faith in a higher power can assist a target in mentally detaching from the process. People who’ve suffered abuse in childhood, have been exposed to eccentric family patterns and who have substance abuse issues are also more likely to be influenced [source: Curtis].

Counter-training

Mental detachment is one of the POW-survival techniques now taught to soldiers as part of their training. It involves the target psychologically removing oneself from their actual surroundings through visualization, the constant repetition of a mantra and various other meditative techniques.

The military also teaches soldiers about the methods used in brainwashing, because a target’s knowledge of the process tends to make it less effective [source: Webb].

While the U.S. consciousness was turned to brainwashing in the 1950s in the aftermath of the Korean War, brainwashing has been around for longer than that. Scholars have traced the roots of systematic thought reform to the prison camps of communist Russia in the early 1900s, when political prisoners were routinely “reeducated” to the communist view of the world.

But it was when the practice spread to China and the writings of Chairman Mao Zedong (“The Little Red Book”) that the world started to take notice [source: Boissoneault].

Brainwashing Then and Now

Patty Hearst is caught on a surveillance camera during a bank robbery in San Francisco. BETTMANN/GETTY IMAGES

Public interest in brainwashing briefly subsided after the Cold War but resurfaced in the 1960s and 1970s with the emergence of countless non-mainstream political and religious movements during that era. Parents who were horrified by their children’s new beliefs and activities were sure they’d been brainwashed by a “cult.”

The mass suicides and killing sprees committed by a small percentage of those cults seemed to validate the brainwashing fears. Some parents went so far as to have their children kidnapped by “deprogrammers” to remove them from the influence of cult leaders.

Hearst’s Brainwashing Defense

One supposed victim of brainwashing at that time was Patty Hearst, heiress to the Hearst publishing fortune, who would later use a brainwashing defense when she was on trial for bank robbery. Hearst became famous in the early 1970s after she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army (the SLA, which some deem a “political cult”) and ended up joining the group.

Hearst reports that she was locked in a dark closet for several days after her kidnapping and was kept hungry, tired, brutalized and afraid for her life while SLA members bombarded her with their anti-capitalist political ideology.

Within two months of her kidnapping, Patty had changed her name, issued a statement in which she referred to her family as the “pig-Hearsts” and appeared on a security tape robbing a bank with her kidnappers.

Patty Hearst stood trial for bank robbery in 1976, defended by the famous F. Lee Bailey. The defense claimed that Hearst was brainwashed by the SLA and would not have committed the crime otherwise; in her mental state, she could not tell right from wrong.

Hearst was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison. She only served two; in 1979, President Carter commuted her sentence [source: Wilson].

NB: Two reference links shown below giving up to date details of Patty Hearst as she is today.

The Future of Brainwashing

The future of brainwashing, if Hollywood and the conspiracy theorists are to be trusted, involves much more high-tech approaches, like say, implanting a chip in someone’s brain. But most scientists agree that the field of neurology is nowhere close to that level of understanding of the human brain.

As the term “brainwashing” has now been around for decades, it is naturally facing an evolution of sorts. The term is thrown around pretty liberally, often used to describe the people immersed in controversial social systems, such as QAnon or the anti-vaxxer movement [source: Rodriguez].

However, many psychologists believe that using the term “brainwashing” to describe what’s happening to these people is inaccurate as the true thought-reform process of brainwashing requires isolation and absolute dependence of the subject to be effective.

By comparison, involvement in groups like QAnon is voluntary, and their success is often precipitated by the involvement of trusted friends, family members and other like-minded individuals [source: Lokere].

Coercion and Conditioning

Instead, some scientists are gravitating toward the use of different terms to describe situations such as those, which are nonetheless hallmarked by big changes in attitude and actions. Coercion is one such alternative term, used to describe an incident where someone does something they don’t really agree with because they feel threatened in some way.

So, they don’t necessarily align with the belief, but they have no choice but to follow suit. For example, the wife who goes along with QAnon conspiracy theories her husband spouts because it keeps the peace in her marriage.

Also, many people are not so much brainwashed as they are conditioned. If a person is repeatedly praised for certain behaviors and penalized for others he or she naturally gravitates toward the desired behavior. This is used all the time with training children or dogs to behave, but it’s definitely not considered brainwashing under those circumstances.

Lastly, people who experience conversion to drastically different beliefs or emotions are usually inspired by a life-changing event, such as a near-miss accident, loss of a loved one or other major experience. So, no one is really forcibly telling the person what to do or how to behave, but they seek out other people with similar views to feel validated [source: Moore].

It’s just not that easy to change a person’s core personality and belief system, and the incorrect use of “brainwashing” can do quite the disservice.

This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.

The Art of Brainwashing

What’s in a “like”? What we share in social media can be used to coax us.

 

Have you ever tried to convince someone of something?

Or have you ever been convinced of something?

Of course you have.

Everyone has. We are constantly bombarded with commercials for products to buy, and exposed to people’s rants, in real life or online, about how we should be voting, and what we should be eating, reading, angry about… The fact is that nowadays “convincing” is a business. The art of persuasion – or “brainwashing” if you prefer – is very profitable, and we are all subjected to it on a daily basis.

Before social media, advertisements were on our TV, on billboards, on newspapers. They would appeal to you only if you were part of their target audience. Otherwise, they would just be ignored and forgotten. For instance, you wouldn’t have payed much attention to the following Polly Pocket commercial unless you were a 10-year-old girl, or someone who needed to get a gift for a 10-year-old girl. It was 1994, and gender roles were acceptable and fair game.

However, we have been #blessed with social media and its personalized advertising tailored just for us – see the terms and conditions from Facebook below. They’re committed to showing us relevant advertising, based on the information we provide, sometimes inadvertently. Our likes, comments, status updates,… are all used to design a perfect strategy of persuasion. But does it really work?

 

The right ad, just for you

In a study recently published in PNAS, researchers from Columbia, Stanford, Pennsylvania and Cambridge, looked into the effectiveness of advertising campaigns within social media. They studied different psychological traits from digital footprints. These are characteristics that we show online through our Facebook profiles, Instagram pictures, tweets, blog posts or personal websites. Those traces of ourselves can be used to assess our psychological profile, to some extent.

Source: CC0 Creative Commons

In their study, they used Facebook “likes” as a version of digital footprints, and focused on two personality traits: extraversion and introversion. Looking into the “likes” of over 25,000 users, they classified those said Facebook users who liked “Parties” or “Slightly Stoopid” as extroverts, and those who liked “Stargate-SG1” or “Computers” as introverts (apparently the researchers believe that stereotypes are a valid starting point for these studies). They designed different versions of a beauty ad aimed at women based on the psychological trait of extraversion versus introversion. Slogans such as “Dance like no one’s watching (but they totally are)” or “Love the spotlight and feel the moment” were designed to attract extroverts, whereas the introvert-targeting ads stated that “Beauty doesn’t have to shout” or “Beauty isn’t always about being on show”. When the extrovert-targeted beauty ads were shown to the extravert audience, those subjects were more likely to purchase the product than when the introvert-targeted ad was displayed on their Facebook page, in spite of the fact that the product was exactly the same.

This online surveillance leading to persuading us to buy more things that we don’t need, might seem innocuous when compared to brainwashing and persuasion aimed at political and war gains.

Mind control and brainwashing have been long-lasting goals for governments all around the world. Imagine if you could manipulate your enemies’ will with a simple injection. Isn’t that the dream of a government? It may sound like I’m describing some sort of political thriller, but truth is stranger than fiction.

Extract from a previous podcast published last year.

This extract from an article in the Independent published in November 2015, still applies today.  Events since that article has provided more than enough evidence which clearly states there is a growing problem, relating to the various ways now that hate rhetoric is spread around the globe, and the targets of that rhetoric are suffering and some have lost their lives.  It links to aspects of Human Rights Legislation, and the framework around the Human Rights Act, needs to reflect the modern developments in terms of how to recognise and deal with perpetrators.

The role of the media in the rise of hate crime in the UK is unequivocal. For too long now the right-wing tabloid press in the UK has vilified minorities and vulnerable groups. This vilification is by no means a new phenomenon and has long existed in British Media.

By 

Sajda Mughal OBE

7/7 Survivor, Multi award winning community activist and counter extremism expert.

24/10/2017 12:29pm BST

Unrecognisable upsurge in open bigotry and subsequent hate crime in the UK evidencing a resurgence of racism on a scale many would not have viewed as possible in 2017. Reports of hate crime have gone up an unprecedented amount in aftermath of the Brexit vote and the recent spate of terrorist attacks in both London and Manchester. The attacks in Manchester and London saw a five fold increase in hate crime, these crimes had a specifically anti-Muslim rhetoric.

The role of the media in the rise of hate crime in the UK is unequivocal. For too long now the right-wing tabloid press in the UK has vilified minorities and vulnerable groups. This vilification is by no means a new phenomenon and has long existed in British Media. Experts have been warning for some time that antagonistic media coverage has been fuelling an increase in anti-Muslim and Islamophobic hate speech and crime.

In the past years, there have been several circumstances where the British media have subject groups and individuals through the ‘other’ to an unparalleled torrent of abuse. The recent and continuing refugee crisis, gave rise to an extreme rhetoric of hate. Evidence of this is best capsulated, in The Sun article, that compared African migrants to cockroaches, this article triggered a response from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, made a powerful statement about the incitement of hatred in UK newspapers, calling out in particular the tabloids for their sustained attack on refugees and migrants. Al Hussein stated that “History has shown us time and again the dangers of demonizing foreigners and minorities, and it is extraordinary and deeply shameful to see these types of tactics being used in a variety of countries, simply because racism and xenophobia are so easy to arouse in order to win votes or sell newspapers.” This statement succinctly summarises the dangers and how truly detestable such behaviour is particularly give the motives.

Further, the repulsive anti-immigration rhetoric that formed parts of the Leave campaign and the successive Brexit vote, which was supported by the fore mentioned newspapers, that were complicit in the hate speech of the refugee crisis. A post-Brexit climate has created a society in which hate crime has become a regular reality for far too many.

So, what is the Overton Window?

The Overton Window is a model for understanding how ideas in society change over time and influence politics. The core concept is that politicians are limited in what policy ideas they can support — they generally only pursue policies that are widely accepted throughout society as legitimate policy options. These policies lie inside the Overton Window. Other policy ideas exist, but politicians risk losing popular support if they champion these ideas. These policies lie outside the Overton Window.

The Overton Window can both shift and expand, either increasing or shrinking the number of ideas politicians can support without unduly risking their electoral support.




Another example




The Overton Window doesn’t describe everything about how politics works, but it does describe one key thing: Politicians will not support whatever policy they choose whenever they choose; rather, they will only espouse policies that they believe do not hurt their electoral chances. And the range of policy options available to a politician are shaped by ideas, social movements and shared norms and values within society.

Meghan and Harry Netflix Documentary – Hit the Raw Nerve of Tabloid Prejudice

This next section is an article written by David Olusoga who took part in the Netflix documentary.  The full article is in the reference sources listed at the end of this article.

As the couple carefully explained on camera, the telling of their own story in their own words is the purpose of the documentary. “Shouldn’t people hear our story?” asked Meghan in the first episode.

As I appear as one of its talking-head interviewees, I have found the past few days revelatory in a different way. Being caught in the series’ blowback is to be shown – in bleak and granular detail – how a six-year campaign of tabloid abuse has left huge numbers of otherwise reasonable people both obsessed with and contemptuous towards a young couple they have never met.

My Twitter feed is rarely pretty, but recent days have been particularly unappealing; a primordial soup of defensiveness, racism, misogyny, jingoism and whataboutery, garnished yesterday with an antisemitic conspiracy theory, as the documentary’s producer comes from a Jewish family.

Race was only ever one element in the dismal catalogue of mistreatment Meghan has been subjected to, and it is only one element of this series. But what is said by the couple about race and racism in Britain is new and revelatory, in part because black people and their families so rarely choose to speak publicly about their personal experiences of racism. This reticence stems from the knowledge that there is always a price to be paid for doing so. That price is currently being extracted from Meghan and Harry by the British tabloids.

Having recovered from their disappointment over the absence of headline-grabbing details, the papers launched their inevitable counterattack, one that even by their standards was extraordinary in its scale and fury. The Daily Mail carried more than 20 pages on the documentary. The vindictiveness of the tabloids was last week dialled up to new levels, not simply because attacks on Meghan sell papers but because the tabloids themselves have been called out by the Sussexes.

Having lost touch with irony decades ago, the tabloids sought to refute the criticisms levelled against them by engaging in exactly the behaviours of which they stand accused – shameless exaggeration, wilful misinterpretation, misattribution and at times inchoate fury, all the while maintaining their absolute refusal to even countenance the idea that race has any influence over their attitudes.

 From the moment Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their relationship known to the public in 2016, the message many Britons sent to her was clear:  You aren’t one of us, and you aren’t welcome. Meghan, a biracial, divorced American actress, was far from what many envisioned as a fairy-tale match for a beloved member of the British royal family. While many in the UK welcomed her, the British tabloid media and a large swath of the Twitterverse were not kind.

The couple’s announcement that they’re distancing themselves from the royal family has been met with shock and anger by many in England and beyond.

Suddenly, the message for Meghan has changed from “Why are you here?” to “Where do you think you’re going?”

It is clear that the UK enjoy telling Meghan that she is not welcome, and to constantly say how much they loved her on her wedding day, and how much the UK paid for this and that, and then they derive some type of sick pleasure to know that the treatment of her caused such obvious distress to both Harry and Meghan.

As for the Coronation, that has had tremendous difficulty in arousing much interest around the world or in the UK, still the gutter UK media were on daily doing polls, interviewing fellow right wingers about this and that, and a myriad of body language experts from some unknown entity who supposingly did their training, and the message was loud and clear, stating that Meghan was not welcome, and not to come.  They took great delight in saying how much they did not want to see her there, and then when she turned down the invitation, they were mad as hell.  Only British media could display such duality in terms of their output each day.  The income generating hate rhetoric for months, went too far, and their money spinner that they all felt was a certainty suddenly evaporated away in seconds of its announcement.  The complete and utter shock, that a confident female who knows her worth, for the 2nd time said No to the institution.  The first time being when she walked away from abuse, and let it be known that she knows her worth, and she will respond to their nonsense.  She is not so grateful to be part of that cartel and to give up her own agency.  What so many people covet, regardless of how they may be treated, this fabulous strong lady said no thanks, you do you, and I will return to a better way of life and safety for my family, not to mention improvement in her mental health.

This 2nd refusal to be the sacrificial lamb at the event that was deliberately placed to happen on Harry and Meghan’s eldest child’s 4th birthday, assuming that despite all the don’t come we don’t want you rhetoric, they truly believed that Meghan would place them above her child.  SMH.  Meghan simply said No I will not be attending.  The absolute shock. The King thought he was being smart by picking that date, but it is yet another example of a poor decision and complete lack of awareness

Royal Reporters Totally Unnecessary

The treatment of Harry and Meghan is exactly the same game being played by the same tabloids inciting their readership to stop the infiltration (as they see it) of the wrong shade of person entering the figurehead white supremacist UK Royal family.  High societal groups are held in esteem by those feel some sense of stability and pride to have the figurehead family at the helm.  It is all about optics not real outcomes proven by factual information. The tabloids could care less about the finer points, it encourages and then incites the rage and then writes fantasy tales every day, which read by the masses of their readership, increases sales of their rags and more money is made.  The tabloid owners lose no sleep over any casualties among their chosen targets for ie, or the abusers out there prepared to fall on their sword to keep Britain British, as long as they can still travel everywhere with ease, and be treated like special people.  More and more they are realising that they are not considered special outside of the UK, and they seem most put out.  What they fail to recognise, or if they are aware but choose to ignore the realities of the facts, is all the newspaper owners live outside of the UK, so all the chaos that they create to make money, does not impact them in any negative way, because they choose not reside or pay taxes to the UK, and all the extra money being made enables them to be able to opt out of being part of the Lord of the Flies environment they helped to create.

Targets and the worker bees that the tabloids and the establishment  create from their rhetoric are collateral damage if anything occurs to any of them.  They have dehumanised them from the start.  When the day comes that the middle and working classes are not dehumanised by the people at the top of society ho they believe care about them, will learn the hard way, and likewise all the Rotyal Reporters who truly believe that the BRF is their friend, and that they are valuable to the BRF and vice versa, will also learn that painful lesson, that they are just worker bees to the hierarchy, and lose not a moment of sleep when any of you are made redundant, and that day is coming.

Zero justification for all of you to write about the same topics and people, using the same clearly agreed buzz words and phrases, in order to destroy the reputation of someone, or to break their spirit, or in the extreme, stop their heart from beating.  When the same two people that you used to write multiple articles a day about, do not even live in the UK and they have stepped back from Royal duties, you have zero reason to write about them.  Now your gravy train has dried up and you are reduced to accepting free dog biscuits and less than £80 appearance fee to go in front of a camera and spout hate and twisted truths. Your salary is based on writing about the The Royal Family.  The clue is in the name “Royal Reporter”.  If any are needed one person could do it, with an Artificial Intelligence software package to do the searches for information.  The rest of the RRs are surplus to requirements already, and that penny will drop too one day to both newspaper Barons and the RRs themselves.

How you can get up each morning and write the things that you do, knowing the damage you are trying to create is shameful.  The repeat of this behaviour and relentless pursuit of your target, is illegal and one day that is another penny that will drop, and you will all realise that you are collateral damage to the newspaper industry.  Good Luck with that, because I for one, will lose no sleep over that legal action when it comes.  The comedy Press badge that you all wear, is a meaningless item, and is no shield against what will one day come your way – to most of you

Congratulations, Team UK has managed to alienate itself from all sensible people with critical thinking skills.  The establishment and its partners in crime, feel emboldened to carry on as they have been doing since 2016.  Ie you all think that you are doing a marvellous job because you all tell each other that every day. You are the group who still think Britain is great.  You are the group that has marginalised people you have decided do not fit in here in the UK  You are the people who only use rhetoric in terms of people struggling in poverty and living in beyond basic conditions; you do not actuallu care, because many of those in poverty worship the ground you all walk on.  The BRF are led by people who have questionable ways of moving through life, but they continue because of the symbiotic relationship held between some of those top tier groups in the societal structure.Government officials and newspaper barons run the country now.  The daily bombardment of hate incitement has worked.  You have managed to persuade enough people to regard certain groups of people as being less worthy.  The brainwashing generally worked on those in the same age group as the Monarch.  The majority of the country are no longer monarchists, and the age group who are, represent less than 30% of the population as a whole. The tide is turning.  The brainwashing has minimum impact on non Monarchists, not least because of what was stated earlier in the podcast, once people know the game that is being played and the various options that can be employed, they are no longer persuaded by its rhetoric. UK media (printed and televised) have managed to play a game where they were winning initially, but now because none of you could read a room, you have been losing the war, battle by battle, but your confidence would not allow you to face facts.  Just like with the Brexit vote, you are convinced that your rusty ship with holes in its hull, is now circling the drain, and the smarter nations vessels glide smoothly past you and wave and laugh. The figurehead family is looking far from a viable option.  Not least nature will ensure very quickly that the House of Cards is weak and only held in place by a reducing number of friends in the top tier groups. None of you are popular enough to survive on your own – you are all supporting each other.  The fact remains that the majority of the UK population accounts for way more votes than the groups with money in various places.  Increasing numbers understand the methodology used in the brainwashing that has gone on before and post Brexit, and they will not be influenced and made to suffer like they have in the past 8 years and beyond. You are all circling the drain of your own actions.  The world is watching a once great nation act the bully, and ignore the law and common decency.  This country will pay the price for that for decades to come. The media industry and the Hate for Hire model will be recorded in history for the rationale behind it and what it ultimately became.  A weapon of Mass Self Destruction.

A repeat of the quote stated at the start of this podcast:-

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” ― Malcolm X

 

Ivy Barrow

3rd March 2024

Reference Sources

https://positivepsychology.com/gaslighting-emotional-abuse/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-chemistry/201803/the-art-brainwashing

https://homework.study.com/explanation/the-three-phases-of-brainwashing-are-dependency-dissonance-and-attitude-change-true-or-false.html

https://wikidiff.com/brainwash/manipulation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thought_Reform_and_the_Psychology_of_Totalism

https://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/83028/14769178.pdf

https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/brainwashing.htm

https://thecinemaholic.com/where-is-patty-hearst-now/

https://thecinemaholic.com/how-did-patty-hearst-husband-die/

 

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