Fake news: Wag the public
Using the visual arts and even drum beats to manipulate the unsuspecting public are nothing new. The most recent example is a photo-shopped Time Magazine cover rigged to show a two-year-old Honduran girl as a symbol of family separation at the border. While the editors of Time may feel entitled to their hatred of President Trump, they should at least be factual. The girl was never separated from her illegal-alien mother. Both were living in a government family residential center. Time had to issue a retraction.
Trickery, however, can be a used for good or for evil. For example: When Hitler’s motorcade neared the Nuremberg Stadium, Dr.Goebbels had snare drummers lining the streets, drumming at the rate of the normal human heartbeat. As Hitler drew closer, the drum beats were faster. When Hitler entered the stadium, the drums were beating so fast the crowd experienced mass hysteria, swooning at the sight of Hitler.
During WWII, when the British fleet was packed into Alexandria Harbor, magician Jasper Maskelyne used a fake lighthouse, fake harbor lights, and canvas sheeting to disguise nearby Lake Mariout to look like Alexandria Harbor. When Nazi night bombers approached, Alexandria Harbor went dark. The fake harbor lit up. Result: only Lake Mariout was bombed. Next, Maskelyne’s troops painted fake bomb craters on top of the canvas sheeting. Come morning, Nazi reconnaissance planes reported Alexandria Harbor destroyed.
When Wonder Wife and I did political consulting, a client wanted to announce his pro-growth platform in front of his shiny-new office building. Right next door was an abandoned rail yard. The mainstream media (MSM) favored his opponent. We knew they would set up their TV camera tripods to frame our client against rusting piles of steel. During the night, we took a garden hose and soaked the ground where we knew the TV crews wanted to set up, leaving the only dry ground where we wanted them to place their tripods. Our client was shown on TV with his new building in the background.
To trick Hitler into thinking the Allied invasion of Europe would come from the Mediterranean, the Brits had the actor, Clifton James, double as General Montgomery. James even fooled some of Monty’s staff. The fake Monty flew to Gibraltar. A known Nazi spy saw "Monty" there. He sent an urgent message to Berlin. Hitler fell for the hoax.
Closer to home, when, then Colorado U.S. Senator, Tim Wirth, wanted James Hansen, the apostle of man-made global warming, to testify before Congress, Wirth scheduled the hearing for the hottest day of summer. Mysteriously, the air-conditioning for the hearing room went belly up. When the global-warming guru testified, the senators, the media, the spectators, and the witnesses were all drenched in sweat. The panel voted unanimously that man-made global warming was real.
The Hollywood movie "Wag the Dog," provides the classic tale of how spin masters can trick the media and the naïve public into believing almost anything -- even a fake war with little Albania, to include a fake war hero who was, in real life, a homicidal maniac.
Today, when the MSM substitute hatred of a particular person for facts, they prostitute a once proud profession.
©2018. William Hamilton.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. In 2015, he was named an Outstanding Alumnus of the University of Nebraska. Dr. Hamilton is the author of The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: the Sage of Sheepdog Hill, Pegasus Imprimis Press (2017). "Central View," can also be seen at: www.central-view.com.
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