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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Certainty and Sensation: Glenn Beck, Fox News and MSNBC.

Be sure. Read your books, e-mails and web pages; watch your Fox News, MSNBC and be sure. This is the subtle but brutally persuasive and destructive culture that we live in. We think we know. We are taught to grab onto something and be sure about it. I was watching Glenn Beck the other day, in a family members home, and I was struck by his smug face and general demeanor of certainty. But, not just his certainty: the entire audience looked and acted certain. Then it struck me that the words aren't the indoctrination. It's the certainty.

Most people have heard of classical and operant conditioning (If not, read the links below). Most people know that they can associate two things in their mind. However, what most people don't know is the profound and unconscious power that these principles play in their life. A clever person can use these to associate a behavioral disposition and feelings with a certain stimuli---say  colors, shapes or persons---and then cause that behavioral disposition and feeling almsot whenever they want.

Fox News, MSNBC and their ilk are do this very well. They stimulate dopamine with bright colors and high emotion to stimulate a feeling of certainty. There is a human principle called the availability heuristic. And, it is a mistake of the human brain, which sacrifices speed for accuracy, where what most quickly comes to the forefront of the mind is considered most certain. Emotion, bright colors and other things that stimulate salience---something that causes a person to notice it or feel it more keenly---places it into the human memory more firmly than other less vivid and visceral stimuli and therefore causes it to come into conscious awareness faster and brighter. It creates the feeling of certainty.

Fox News and MSNBC have created and associated this feeling with grammar, certain key words, certain color combinations,  certain intonations and anything else they please. They stimulate, grow and exacerbate the feeling of certainty to epic proportions and then associate it with their choice of political ideas, books, products and political candidates. They do all this without the audience ever know it's being done.

People like what Fox News and MSNBC want them to like; people get angry at what they want them to get angry at; and people do what they want them to do. All the while, the audience is sure that they are correct, when they are being led along like a well trained dog---believing whatever their master wants.

People like Glenn Beck and stations like Fox News and MSNBC are the master of these people. And, the behavioral principles are so powerful that they have reached inside the audiences very soul. And from there, they are shaping our nation by their clever marketing (brain washing). People are voting on spoon fed opinions and on carefully selected facts and taught to be sure about only one source---FOX or MSNBC.

Stop them. They are shaping our nation according to commercial and political interest. Not the interest of gullible nation that voted them in. They are making a sham of democracy by brilliantly wielding psychology. Stations like Fox News and MSNBC change the way voting is done and even the entire culture. We shouldn't limit free press, but we need to stop kind of wholesale manipulation of the people. Right now we have less choice than a person in China. Our restriction is just less obvious.

Politics isn't a normal institution. It wields the greatest nations. It shouldn't be treated like a normal institution or group. So, in order to stop the manipulation, we need to limit the amount of information candidates are allowed to announce. They shouldn't announce that they are running. There should be third party, highly watched, watchdog sites and sources that list the qualifications of the candidates, and keep their names private---like education, grades, experience (filtered), finances, Ratings of general charisma (for diplomatic reason), net worth (within a range), IQ and other cognitive test and any other useful and on point category 

We should eliminate dichotomous labels like democrat and republican and make it about actual qualifications and not cookie cutter categories. By doing this, we have eliminated the power of someone like Glenn beck or stations like Fox News and MSNBC. People are not voting on labels they are voting on actual qualifications without the colors and emotion.

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