Monthly Archives: May 2016

Scott Adams (“Dilbert”) thinks Donald Trump is a master propagandist

I have no idea if Trump is a master propagandist but Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams thinks Trump is highly effective at using the methods of persuasion. Propaganda is a set of methods for persuading others to adopt an action (in this case, vote for Trump):

SCOTT ADAMS: I’ve been studying persuasion for decades and when I saw Trump last summer displaying the tools of persuasion I thought, ‘Oh my God, he’s not a crazy clown. Everything he’s doing, including his complete ignoring of the facts, is persuasion perfection. I called him to be the landslide winner in the general election last year.

Essentially he’s basically bringing a flamethrower to a stick fight. There’s nobody using the same tools that he’s using. So his complete ignoring of facts are actually part of the persuasion because he doesn’t give you targets. He doesn’t give you details of his policies, usually. So he’s reducing the number of targets while making you feel good and focusing on the things he wants. So it’s not about facts, it’s about focus and attention.

Source: ‘Dilbert’ Creator Scott Adams to Bill Maher: Donald Trump Will Win Election In A Landslide | Video | RealClearPolitics

Which is similar to the techniques used by Bernie Sanders. For example, Sanders proposes a health care system more luxurious than any in the world (no premiums, no co-pays, no co-insurance, no deductibles, no prescription costs plus full dental, vision and mental health)  saying we can deliver vastly more while saving everyone thousands of dollars. The math does not work at all but the vision is delightful and it gets his supporters to “feel good”. Facts (and math) do not matter in the sales pitch.

Trump and Sanders are both masters of propaganda, each selling ideas that make little sense when one looks at details. Both hook their targets on an emotional level. Once System 1’s quick and intuitive thinking is engaged, System 2’s data-driven and logical analysis is thrown out the window.

And then there is Hillary Clinton with her entire plane load of baggage. Oh, this is LOL material: “Unlike Donald Trump‘s lies, which he usually vomits up spontaneously like a vesuvian geyser, Ms. Clinton’s were carefully prepared, typed up and repeated for all the world to hear over and over again.” There’s even funnier quotes at the link!

It’s just propaganda!

Note

Thinking Fast and Slow author Kahneman, and creator of the “System 1 and System 2” thinking concept acknowledges that 11 of 12 studies cited in his chapter on “priming” were from weak studies. That chapter implied that “subtle cues in their environment can have strong effects on their behavior outside their awareness“. This does not mean his conclusions are wrong but that the evidence supporting his conclusions may be weak on the subject of “priming”. This acknowledgement is independent of the System 1/System 2 thinking style issues.

#OccupyDemocrats is giving propaganda a bad name

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