Ever since Trump became a serious contender for the White House, and especially in recent days since he was sworn into office, confusion reigns. How can he say these things? How can he lie like that? Isn’t he completely contradicting what he promised during his campaign?
Then when confronted, Trump lambasts the critical press calling them “pathetic, dishonest, and fake news.” From barring certain news organizations like CNN and Politico from a press conference to openly accusing the media of lying, Trump has started a war with America’s free press–a protection guaranteed by the first amendment of the Constitution.
A recent Los Angeles Times editorial discussed Trump’s hatred for the press in detail. The article says, “He apparently hopes to discredit, disrupt, or bully into silence anyone who challenges his version of reality.” This article pointed out some real issues with Trump’s attitude toward our independent press in this country. Even when what he says can be proven false, Trump has no problem denying facts.
But there is another dimension to what has been happening in our country. It is a deliberate use of “confusion” which disrupts people’s stable mental framework and makes them more susceptible to mind control. For example, there are a variety of confusion techniques used in hypnosis. For example, delivering a dizzying amount of information that overloads and overwhelms critical thinking. Story after story, more outrageous than the one before it. Rewriting history, claiming he never said it.
Another technique is the “big lie” which is stating something which isn’t true. The bigger the lie is, the more likely it is to be effective in creating confusion because it creates incongruence. People always want to seek congruency–to see a reality that makes sense, and when someone with some authority says something outrageous, like “Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.” or “is a Muslim” and repeats it over and over again, an underlying confusion is created and through repetition, installed.
In Russia, this type of cyber/media warfare has been going on for years. Back in 2014, The Atlantic published an article discussing how Russia used to need ¾ force and ¼ propaganda to control its citizens. Now, it is ¾ propaganda and ¼ the threat of force–Putin’s control of his country’s television, press, and its online media.
The article gives many examples of how Putin has manipulated the truth in Russia to confuse and control citizens. He has done everything from inventing news stories to changing the names of nearby regions to support his goals. And, this has left average Russians sadly misinformed and manipulated. Russia has widened its cyber war to other countries. They reportedly did this to disrupt a Clinton Presidential bid and install Trump–someone they thought they could more easily control.
Information control used by cult leaders is one of the vital mechanisms of control. We need information to function. It is one of the basic components of my BITE model and something I have written about in my books. In Chapter 4 of Combating Cult Mind Control I discuss how controlling information is detrimental to freedom of mind and essential to build the cult identity.
I also wrote about confusion being one of the major techniques to “unfreeze” a person’s sense of identity in order to set them up to be given a new set of beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. A confused person can be easily manipulated and controlled. We need to use our critical thinking faculties to see through the techniques of destructive mind control. We need to stay grounded in “reality-testing” strategies and have access to fact-checked information.
Russia denies factual information, critical of the regime to its citizens who are dependent on state-owned or controlled media. In the United States, media outlets are being overwhelmed by fake social media news stories planted intentionally to divert attention to major news stories. Deception and limited access to news sources could severely impact the citizens of our country and cause mass confusion.
As a nation, it is important that we all take the time to realize what is happening and guard ourselves against this real threat. People who have experienced living in a totalitarian cult group and have done their healing work to really understand what was done to them are vitally important to intelligent activism. We know about black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking. We know about the use of phobias to control people through fear and make them more dependent on the authority figure. We also need to stay resourceful and not give up. We must demand that our journalists and news outlets continue to have the right to report the news– and especially explain social psychology methods used by cults and demagogues.