Lies can be made to seem true when they are repeatedly told, over and over and over again.
Repetition is what makes fake news work, too, as researchers at Central Washington University pointed out in a study way back in 2012 before the term was everywhere. It’s also a staple of political propaganda. It’s why flacks feed politicians and CEOs sound bites that they can say over and over again. ….
The effect works because when people attempt to assess truth they rely on two things: whether the information jibes with their understanding, and whether it feels familiar.
You do not need to look very far to find examples of lies that were repeatedly endlessly:
- “you can keep your health plan”
- “you can keep your doctor”
- “my plan will save the typical family $2,500 per year”
As long as it sounds possibly plausible, and even better, it agrees with your wishful fantasy, the endless repetitions turn lies into facts.
How can you protect yourself from being taken in by lies?
I have no answer to that question. You may spot the lie, but if you mention to someone else that you believe it is a lie, you will likely be insulted, treated rudely and likely told you are a denier. Even if they agree that the statement is a lie, then they often say “But everyone lies”.
Telling a lie is a positive virtue where once upon a time, telling lies got people in trouble.
As long as telling lies is tolerated and supported, fake news and social media propaganda will flourish! We are in the golden age of propaganda!