By Stuart Bruce, 22/01/2017
I’ve read a whole lot of lies about Trump already. Despite being passionately anti-Trump, it is still disheartening to see so many who are willing to lie about Trump and give evidence to Trump supporters of false anti-Trump statements. It’s amazing just how prolific the ‘fake news’, purely propagandistic segments of the online media are. I imagine for most people, it makes discerning the truth much harder and fosters the default position being the proven phenomenon of selection bias or creating your own echo chamber by selecting mainly or even only the items you agree with.
The most concerning aspect of this development from a communications perspective, is that it will likely extend the tenure and authority of Trump, delaying the point when a critical mass of citizens realize that he is simply a conman and most of the news they read was progaganda
The problem is that to truly discern propaganda you either need expert communications analysis skills (and even then more nuanced propaganda can easily deceive) or some kind of emotional experience of being deceived by that propaganda. Sadly, millions of Americans might be about to experience such an occurrence when the republicans remove Obama’s healthcare reforms and supposedly “replace” with something “better” that poor people can’t afford. We might see many millions of people that voted for Trump because of ISIS or immigration (or just because they liked his “make America great again” vibe), and then took his proclamations about replacing Obamacare with something better seriously.
When they actually lose their healthcare and their life is put at risk, they will endure the emotional experience of taking Trump’s conman propaganda at face value, and then finding the reality to be the exact opposite. Up until that point, they will have explained away discrepancies as a result of deceptive media interests and the corrupt leftists etc etc. But when the glaring reality of potentially being without life-saving treatment hits home, they will suddenly reconcile their cognitive dissonance by turning against Trump.
It’s a hard thing to do though. Trump supports would be turning against themselves and their ego – having to admit that they were duped. That’s why it will likely take a serious emotional experience of his deception for those people to move. They need something that hits them at a deeper level in order to get them to question those irrational, front brain lenses that they used to explain away their previous cognitive dissonance regarding Trump.
The important question though, is how long will it take for Trump supporters to get to that point and whether it will be before Trump has done irreparable damage to the American society and the planet’s climate? The Trump machine’s spin doctors will also be easily prepared to fudge the facts, divert attention and keep their Obamacare replacement policy artificially cheap until the media’s glare has subsided. That might allow them to go two or three years keeping their head above water, giving them maximum time until the preponderance of tragic anecdotes of the poor and uninsured increases from a trickle to a flood.
This is the game we’re in now. Probably a majority of people in America can see he’s a conman, yet through the corrupt electoral college system and amazingly extreme jerry-mandering, the conman was “elected”. His base of supporters that put him in and are needed to re-elect him in four years time are in a race against their own emotions and political psychology identities. How long will it take them to realize that so much of what they absorbed and took to heart, was simply propaganda?