The scapegoating strategy has been a go-to tactic of many powerful entities to hide their truths. In this episode, Bill Stierle and Tom talk about the missing factors in the skills of journalists that’s needed to expose illusions. They talk about simple yet innovative methods that can be utilized to expose the lies while showing empathy. Learn Bill and Tom’s insights on how President Trump’s belief system works and know how his words should be understood and broken down. They also emphasize the importance and benefits of stopping the lying narrative in order to bring out the truth.
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Scapegoating And Purchasing Truth Part 2
Bill, you looked like you are comfortable in a very soothing place.
I am. I feel delighted that my virtual beaches are behind me. I feel like I’m outside and engaging in the world more fully than I am. It’s delightful to be on the beach with you, Tom.
For those of you reading this blog, you’ve got to go to PurchasingTruth.com and check out the video to see this. It is worth seeing. In any case, I’m looking forward to picking up where we left off last time. Now that I’ve had several days since we made that last episode and I’m a little less exasperated than I was, then we can talk about scapegoating and purchasing truth, which is a great way to frame a lot of what we talked about last time.
Scapegoating is an interesting strategy that a human being does when they’re trying to protect self-worth or their version of the truth. It’s easier to assign blame or wrongdoing to somebody else because every human being makes a mistake and every organization has its own blunders. To say that that person’s blunder at 1% is more or the same as my blunder at 50% is what the theme of scapegoating has to do. Anytime you use a label or a diagnosis, it handcuffs both the listener and the speaker. The speaker doesn’t know that they’re handcuffing themselves because they’re getting a short-term impact and all they’re doing is reinforcing a limited belief. With this latest round of scapegoating, it’s very challenging and very difficult.
That’s exactly what the President was doing, wasn’t it? He’s reinforcing a limiting belief. He keeps reinforcing many of them and misdirecting the White House press corps, except for the people from Fox News, for whatever it was they were asking. Those journalists do not have enough skills to get the President off of that posture.
They don’t because he’s ready to market, brand, and spin towards his version of the story. The story that he would like to tell, not the story that’s in alignment with the facts. Many very powerful attorneys also do the same tactic. They spin or tell a story that the jury is listening to and they’ll come then to the witness and say, “Was that true?” The witness says no. The problem is that the attorney spent fifteen minutes or seven minutes weaving the story instead of trying to get the facts because the facts are not in their favor for their client. They are spinning away from the truth and not trying to find out, “I can see how you can see my client had did this thing and you’re right.” Attorneys are never going to say that. They’re going to try to put the positive spin on it.You minimize bad news when you do your own illusion. Click To Tweet
What can we do about this? That’s always what it lands on. The President feels enthusiastic about being an optimistic cheerleader. He’s trying to comfort the nation by ignoring facts. “I don’t want to be the person to bring bad news.” Bad news and marketing don’t go together. Bad news and branding don’t go together. In fact, even if I had bad news in association with my brand, it’s still a great brand. It’s still the best brand ever. This is why you can fail in a vodka, casino, airline, as a football owner, and all those things but you know the Donald Trump brand stands for quality. How does it sits for quality when you’re failing all over the place here? The Donald Trump brand is a quality hotel. I get to Donald Trump steaks. It’s the best quality steak.
Clearly, the market’s placed it and see it. It doesn’t believe your brand. They don’t want to spend that much different than twice as much for a steak that is delivered to you because your brand and your quality is not as good as you pumped it up to be. He is the brander-in-chief and if they start calling him the brander-in-chief, the marketer-in-chief or the salesman-in-chief, what happens is that these kinds of framing pieces to say, “He’s one of the best branders and marketers, look at all the success that he’s had with the money that he spends for his different products and the investors that he’s gotten on board.” The investors have lost their money, but they’re the ones that got taken by the brander-in-chief or by the marketing person-in-chief.
He’s the self-proclaimed cheerleader-in-chief. He said it himself, which spurred a whole lot of memes to be made showing Donald Trump in cheerleaders’ outfits that were not flattering at all. That was very much self-inflicted wound there. He was using that to defend when he’s saying, “We’ve got this under control. We’re going to beat this. It’s not going to be that bad. Everything is fine. Don’t worry about it. Don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain. We’ve got this.” Don’t people see through that when he’s saying, “I’m the cheerleader.” “You weren’t being truthful with us, Mr. President.”
He can’t see through that. Cabbage Patch Kids are the best toy to cuddle with somebody. I pulled a reference from 1995 to show you how that particular Cabbage Patch Kid was?
I thought it was even in the mid-’80s myself, but they’d spent a couple of decades.
The main reason why I brought that in there is because when a brand and a product gets established in the consciousness of a person, it brings the person or transports the person back to when America was great again. I want America to be great again. Who doesn’t? When was it not? The problem is that America has lots of problems. The problems have been exasperated by the people that believe that this guy is going to make America great again. That’s the problem. They still believe. They are in the sunk cost fallacy. They put their bet, they put their vote and they move it of their vote.
Even if they lose their job.
Even if they lose their no, “He makes me happy. I’d like a confident person that knows and is rich. I want to stand next to the rich person.” There was a show a long time ago, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. It got to be a little bit unsettling because you’re watching this affluence as your own income was not buying you as much. All of a sudden, it became, “I’ll never get that. I’m not watching that show anymore. It’s too painful to watch.” This wonderful thing that this rich person can afford that no one sits at this big table that they’d put on the middle of their yacht. Initially, the show was great because it was the ’80s, money was rolling, there was this thing, and a lot of people are getting rich because they didn’t have to pay as much taxes and so-and-so. They could buy bigger things, do things, and they could look at upward mobility as it was the possibility of thing.
From the ’80s, when the tax base was being shifted and put more on them and the economy was going in the other direction, they had no idea that they were never going to get that shot over the next 30 years. It’s important. The scapegoating part of it is I can scapegoat somebody other than the rich and famous. I can scapegoat somebody that’s foreign. I can scapegoat World Health Organization like Donald Trump did. “I’m going to take their funding away because they should have called and they should have let me know earlier.” The answer was they did and you ignored them. I’m going to say something very profound as I haven’t done before on this show. Donald Trump sells himself to believe is right and what he says is right and true. He’s in his illusion that he’s great.
You mean that he is living in his bubble and he believes it.
He believes himself. That’s so unsettling. If people call him lying, he’s not lying. He believes himself. I would like to say that’s worse. It’s worse to have somebody in illusion than somebody that’s a straight out liar because somebody that’s in illusion can’t tell the difference between truth and not the truth. When bad news comes his way, he pushes it away and goes, “Nope.”
You combine that with somebody who admittedly does not read. He does not read. He does not research. He doesn’t study things. He has people tell him things. This is scary because it came out that one of his cabinet members who is part of this Coronavirus Task Force, Peter Navarro, had written a significant memorandum, warning the President this could have a $3.2 trillion impact on our economy and that more than 100,000 people were going to die. The President says, “We didn’t know anything about it. We didn’t know it was bad.” He had it there and did not do anything with it.
That’s the problem when you do your own illusion. What you’re doing is you’re going to minimize bad news. He might have said, “This is not going to be anything else. I can talk my way out of this.” The fact is that if you believe that there’s only going to be five and somebody even asked him and said, “There were going to be five and they were going to be gone.” He says, “They are going away. The things are reducing.” It’s like, “No, they’re not.” You said this thing about winning. I didn’t know that we were going to be winning with the pandemic and soon to be winning as the number one nation with the number one deaths, which is the one to look at.
We already own that distinction, don’t we?You don't have to make something 100% new to be a millionaire. You just need to be 10% new. Click To Tweet
We got the population, we’re number one.
In infections and in death.
Italy is still a little bit ahead of us. Italy is at 18,000 deaths and we are at 16,000 deaths. In total number of tests, that’s great but it’s proportional. There were seventeen deaths per million in the US and now there are 49 deaths per million. Italy is 302 deaths per million. The proportion is what to look at. As soon as he says “Nobody tests the way we do.” The answer is yes and we have the second number of deaths in the world. You’ve got to be ready for the spin, the marketing and the selling that Donald Trump speaks and not to allow his perception and his perspective of optimism to last at the truth level that it does, which is only a partial truth at best. That’s one of the challenges that media regrettably and the reporters don’t have the dexterity to do because they’re stuck in, “That’s factual but it’s not the perspective.” We will probably be number one in deaths per million by the time this thing’s over. Whether we get to 300 or 400 deaths per million. It’s hard to say.
One of the things that scapegoating does is it gives the media and Donald Trump the red herring that they are going to start to pursue. As they pursue that red herring, what winds up happening is that they get caught in, “He shouldn’t speak that way. That’s not the truth.” Instead of and I would recommend it would say, “The President is holding that perspective. If we start measuring apples to apples, that perspective is in alignment with this truth.” What happens is they’re setting their narrative next to his narrative. We mentioned this on part one of scapegoating is you don’t have to make something 100% new to be a millionaire. You just need to be 10% new. The reason why it needs to be 10% new is because the human being has got to believe that this thing works. Once they believe it works then they can buy product 2, 3 and 4 because it’s right next to the thing that they’re already buying or paying for or whatever.
We see how he’s on the podium and scapegoating the World Health Organization claiming they didn’t share information soon enough, didn’t warn us, and all this thing, which we know is not true. The journalists in the White House press corps try to call him out on it and say, “It is true.” They talk about the memo that Peter Navarro wrote. It’s like, “You had that.” “No, I didn’t.” He battles it and they don’t have the skill. They’re not going to have enough skill and the different media organizations are not helpful for their people to even try but the main anchors can then take that.
The anchors have got to do a better job of taking what’s being reported and not trying to create as one anchor said, “Please let the daily briefings keep coming.” He’s saying more and more things that you can make great videos out of. Joe Biden can make great videos out of these things because they’re the next damning thing that this character is saying. We don’t know if he’s going to be a one-term president yet. The reason why we don’t know that is because of the extensive financial support he’s getting from the 1%, and the extensive political support he’s getting from the Republicans because they don’t want to cross him. They don’t want to say, “I never agreed with the President.” We’ll hear that after he’s not elected. None of them are sticking their heads up above the foxhole. To put a little bit of more ugliness in this is that Mitch McConnell has not stopped appointing judges. The President has not stopped rolling back environmental pieces.
Behind the scenes, they are still destroying the protective elements for the people. The thing he said people have put into place, and then the judges are going to keep those current laws in place because those are the ones that the court will come up against. “This was signed in order. This is the thing, I’m sorry you lost 1,000 cows because of the fracking that took place.” It’s like behind the scenes because the truth and the distractions are taking place. What’s not taking place is getting him to compassionately walk the plank, compassionately get out there by saying, “Let me see if we got this, Mr. President. You would like to hear that the World Health Organization should have known earlier and should have let you know earlier. Is that correct?” He has to say yes because that’s what he said. Watch this weird sentence. “You would like them to take accountability because they could have let you know sooner because they got it wrong. Is that what you’d like us to hear?” Yes. Instead of you’re not paying attention and you are ignoring it.
The interesting thing is if some of the journalists do this with intention and are not caught off guard. They should be going in with questions they intend to ask. If their producers and them are coordinated enough, they could be asking those questions. “Mr. President, you would like us to hear that the World Health Organization did not warn us until this date or did not warn us until it was too late or something.” He would say, “Yes.” Meanwhile, they can be putting up on the screen over the President’s right shoulder or left shoulder, “World Health Organization informed the world of this on X date.” There are other ways to have the President walk on that plank, show him compassion and empathy, and show to the world that he’s not being truthful without getting the President into that place of contempt in that briefing which is going to evolve the whole thing.
Even though the reporter asks a question that has benign energy to it, what do you say to the Americans that are scared? He’s like, “That’s fake news. Why are you doing that?” He has believed and he keeps promoting inside himself that this will go away soon. It’s like the bad parent. It’s like the mother or the father to be general neutral here. They are terrible parents that they beat their kids this way. They neglect their kids away. The parent will say, “I’m the best parent. I am a great parent to my kids. I’m teaching my kids discipline. I’m toughening my kid up.” You’re going like, “You’re abusing your kid here.” The parent’s point of view is that, “It’s a lot better than what my dad did to me.” From their perspective, they are a good parent. From a societal’s perspective, “Why you hit your kid like that?”
Those are fair examples. As you’re saying that I’m thinking back to the family that got arrested and had they’re 8 or 9 kids removed from the house because these kids were literally chained to their beds in their bedrooms and were not allowed to have any life outside of the home. They believed they were wonderful parents. I agree. Their perspective maybe that way.
That’s exactly the way I would request the news media to start thinking about Donald Trump. Don’t think and get off the lying narrative. Here’s a person that is in the space of wishful thinking. He’s being a cheerleader. He’s reinforcing the people to believe the same way that he does. We need somebody else that could give us more honesty moving forward.
That is fantastic and brilliant. If you’re Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, Jake Tapper, Rachel Maddow or Brian Williams and some of the people at ABC or CBS, I don’t know them as well. A combination of what you’re saying and what I was suggesting. If they can school their journalists that are in those press briefings to ask the empathetic, compassionate question that is going to make the President feel heard, feel like you’re acknowledging him, you are amplifying his self-worth, you can do that. Get him to like you and answer the question or agree with you in the moment, but then have your producers back in the studio either putting up the graphics of him contradicting that or the real fact and having him speak lying about it right there. What amusing to me about this and poetic justice is that the President’s staff may say, “When he was asking you that question, you should have seen what CNN put up on the screen. It was not flattering to you.”
He will not be able to acknowledge it because they liked me already. He can’t even see it on the screen because his beliefs are the same as the parent that is locking their kid to the bed. They’re saying to themselves, “I am protecting my kid from the outside world, which is dangerous.”
He might think, “Somebody back at CNN did that but this guy liked me in the room. He was nice to me.” What’s going to happen is the President will continue being a moth to the flame in those press briefing moments even if he heard “What they said on the screen was not the same as what he was telling me in the room.” He won’t think about that in the moment. You ask him the empathetic, compassionate question and get him to say yes. He’s going to love that moment, eat it up, and continue to engage with you and not move on to the next guy and say, “You’re a terrible reporter.”The media needs to back off. Go with the sizzle and expose the illusion, not prove the illusion. Click To Tweet
A terrible reporter to him is one that does not feed into his sales marketing branding messages.
Go with it, seriously.
Be ready to plant the seeds of empathy, which is, “You would like an acknowledgment that you locked down China and you’re glad that you did it.” Yes. “Do you feel that lockdown was sufficient? We’d like to give you an acknowledgment that that lockdown was sufficient.” Yes. In hindsight, he’s walking into the trap that he doesn’t know that he’s even there because he’s following his sales and branding messaging. He would like an acknowledgment that he made some decisions. “You like some acknowledgment that you stop the travel from Europe.” Yes. “You’d some recognition that that was done in a timely way?” Yes. Timely is a month and a half late but that’s not what’s important. He’s seeing and playing into his own illusion. He’s not lying. I know it’s a weird thing to say. Is your kid lying when they take an ice cream out of the freezer if you don’t know that they’ve taken it out? No. They got the ice cream out. You ask them, “Where did the ice cream go?” “I don’t know.” It’s in their stomach already. They don’t know where it went. “Where is it now? I don’t know where it is now. I don’t know where the ice cream is.”
“I don’t know where it went. It went somewhere down the toilet down the street but I don’t know where it is now.”
Stop with the lying narrative. They got to find scapegoat next to protect their own self-worth, respect, narrative and they’re going to look for opportunities to hang it on somebody else. It’s exasperating. Both of our voices are exasperated because on two fronts. One, Donald Trump’s messaging is causing us to be exasperated because our need for truth isn’t met, and exasperated because our need for skill and mastery is not being met by the people that are asking the questions of him.
The thing that kills me is I keep seeing these reporters go down this tragic path and use the wrong words and approach it the wrong way. It’s always about fact-checking, which then the President and people that are on team Donald Trump always frame as got-you questions. It’s not helpful. This is what’s counterintuitive, Bill. It’s like when you taught me in my sales process. If there are any new readers here, I engaged Bill years ago to train me to be a better salesperson. You told me, “Tom, there is this point in the process and this can be an arc of what happens in a single sales phone call. It could be over time multiple calls, but mostly within one phone call, you’ve got to inject doubt at some point.”
I’m like, “I’m not so sure that we can deliver that. Let me hear some more.” You get them to talk and open up. It’s counterintuitive but that works. The reason I mentioned that is it’s counterintuitive to the news media, to the journalists out there, and to the anchors that they should not directly call the President out on the facts and directly call out that he is lying. You can achieve much more and get to the truth in a more effective way. Letting the President hang himself out to dry or walk that plank by charging directly into, “Mr. President, you said this, isn’t that true?” “No, I never said that.”
With the World Health Organization, “I am not going to fund them. I have looked for ways to constrict their funding.” In other words, he said, “I’m pulling it back. Next question.” I can’t believe the person even walked into the question but they said, “Do you think it’s a good idea to cut the funding during a pandemic?” “I’m not sure if I’m going to do it. We’re going to look at ways.” “Didn’t you say you are definitively going to do it?” “No, I didn’t.” It looks like a got-you question. They keep thinking that this is a person that’s going to take accountability. It’s going to be factually accurate and it’s going to have integrity, which is the need that he doesn’t have. Donald Trump’s words do not match his feat. His words match a vision that triggers the belief that something is going to get done. They’re building the wall more so they can have more miles of the wall done. They’ve accelerated the wall building and here’s how they’ve done it. They’ve offered money to unemployed people to carpool from different cities to drive down together. It’s a pandemic problem.
Can you be 6 feet apart from anybody in a vehicle? I’m not feeling that meets my needs for safety.
All these people are out of work. They need money, “Here’s money. I could give you money for a wall.” I’ll take any money I can. I might get exposed. I might not get exposed. I’m driving down to do a wall. It’s the short part of the equation. It’s exasperating because it is by inserting doubt, which he constantly does. “I don’t know if he can do that. I’m not sure if he’s going to do that.” “Yes, we can. I told you we could.” “No, I can’t.” It’s like, “Is this steak good?” It is not the steak. He is not able to sell steak but he is able to sell the sizzle.
Donald Trump sells sizzle. It’s all sizzle, it’s not the steak. I got to say it and I feel so unsettling about this but just like professional wrestling, it’s the sizzle that makes the difference. It’s the personalities that get in the ring together. It is not the steak of the contest. Who’s going to win has been predetermined. They practice those moves, so people mostly don’t get hurt. They do get hurt. Landing on a table gets hurt, they get hurt and some people die over it, but they are selling the sizzle. He is a sizzle seller. It’s not truth. Stop it. Media, back off. Go with the sizzle and expose the illusion. Don’t prove the illusion. Who wants to prove it?
That’s profound there, Bill. That what they need to learn. Don’t prove it, you got to expose it. That is brilliant.
Another metaphor that goes with that too is a balloon. You fill a balloon up with air and the balloon gets bigger. Don’t try to pop the balloon because they have a balloon that’s already inflated and ready to go. They’re like, “I told you that it was fake news.” They have the balloon already filled. The best way is to use empathy to let all the air out of the balloon so the person can’t talk anymore. I know if there’s a counterintuitive part to that, but you want the President to start saying yes to his illusion so he has nowhere to go. Yes to the illusion of cheerleading that he is communicating to us.
If the news media who are often in the President’s crosshairs, which was pretty much everybody but Fox News and some of the conservative newspapers and blogs. If they played a team sport and coordinated some of their questioning and plan some of this out so that whenever the President, for whatever reason, is unhappy with one of them then they move on to the next one. They continue to get him to agree and expose himself. That would be very helpful too. These people need to go back to school, big time.Explaining doesn't work in the sales process. Click To Tweet
Tom, just to expand upon this because this is a wonderful conversation. For them to get a hold of trying to run a play that is going to last under a minute. It’s like you hand the ball off, it’s getting tackled. You throw the pass, it’s incomplete. Everybody regroups, they get the next play. I would request that Joe Biden do not do any long interviews. Joe Biden is to do short interviews that he can make two or three points and get out. That’s it.
No unforced errors.
A long interview, all it does is get Joe Biden into explaining and also backtracking into history. You and I both know how explaining doesn’t work in the sales process. Explaining how something works will guarantee the person will buy it because they understand it, but they won’t do it. They know it, but they won’t implement it. That’s the big reason why Hillary Clinton got beaten. That’s a whole other discussion.
The best thing Joe Biden can do is continue letting Donald Trump fumble at what he’s doing, continue to be a cheerleader, have things not happen the way he cheers them to be, and set himself up. It’s ironic because the way the Republicans had set themselves up in the ’90s as restoring family values, integrity, and all these things. Joe Biden needs to stay in that space right there and be the counter-narrative to the current occupant of the White House and don’t get caught up in how are you going to make healthcare work? Set the vision that we are going to make sure that all Americans are taken care of. Stay in that world and forget explanation. Forget the plans that Elizabeth Warren pulled out. The plan didn’t help her.
It flattened her out. It did flatten her energy. She could take a run in eight years if she wants to but her narrative has got to pivot, got to get strengthened, and more savvy. She’s fiery, she’s got some good shops, and she’s smart as heck. As far as marketing and sales, none of them know how to market and sell. It’s no surprise that capitalist society wouldn’t put a former actor, Ronald Reagan, and brander or marketer in charge from one part of it because selling security, safety and infrastructure is a hard sell for Americans because they want to have it. They don’t want to think about it or pay for it. If you don’t pay for it, you got to sell the thing.
I’m interested in the future to get a little more into Joe Biden, how he moves forward and what’s happened with Bernie Sanders. We’re going to have that coming up soon too. Take a little bit of a break from the exhaustive daily Coronavirus daily briefings.
Tom, it has been wonderful. Thanks a million. Thanks, everybody for reading.