As the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump wields a lot of power, and with that power, he has hijacked truth and the use of language. With his touting of hydroxychloroquine as some sort of miracle drug to fight COVID-19, President Trump has set a potentially lethal precedent when it comes to pursuing truth. Bill Stierle and Tom discuss the repercussions of President Donald Trump’s statement on hydroxychloroquine on the truth of the COVID-19 pandemic. The power to arbitrate and declare truths on a stage as public as the President’s is a great responsibility so it is essential for the people to remain vigilant and watchful.
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Hydroxychloroquine and the Purchasing of Truth
Bill, just when I thought things couldn’t get any more through the looking glass, President Donald Trump came out and said he’s taking hydroxychloroquine. I got to tell you, many things went through my mind there. It was a chin dropper for sure.
I bet it was shocking and surprising to you as well as it was and everybody else in the press corps. I felt disheartened that they didn’t language and ask better questions around that. They stayed in the trap of pursuing facts instead of with the languaging strategy of pursuing empathy and allow the President to come forward. Instead what happened is he was able to repeat his talking points. When a person is pursuing a fact and we see this in the courtroom all the time with good attorneys is that they’re presenting a story. They’re not pursuing facts or trying to create a search of facts, a lot of times the prosecutors are, but the defendants, “We’re trying to create an alternative story about why my client is innocent.” The prosecutors have got to tell a story of why they are guilty. The President says the sentence, “I’m taking it.” The best sentence that’s next is, “Mr. President, could you be feeling scared and you’re protecting yourself with that medicine, is that correct?” “Yes.”
That cuts them off from the second talking point that he’s ready to deliver because now, it’s, “You’re choosing protection from a medicine that has not been proven through the medical community, is that correct?” “Yes.” He cuts him off from the third talking point. “Protection to you looks like taking medicine because you feel fearful about the virus.” “Yes.” “It doesn’t matter if the medicine works, you’re going to protect yourself any way possible. Is that correct?” “Yes.” It takes away from the red herring distraction of an unproven message. That’s one of the things that empathy does. We’re hitting our audience on the forehead because if they haven’t read a Purchasing Truth episode before and they’re reading it now, they’re going like, “You’re kidding me.” If you empathize with the lie, it has to go away. It loses all its steam.
Regrettably, the press corps doesn’t have the skills or the presence of mind to empathize with the President. Donald Trump might get himself tripped up because some of the language you chose there about, “You’re fearful of the virus and you’re looking for protection of any kind for yourself, is that right?” I don’t think the President would have such an easy time admitting he’s fearful of anything. I don’t know if he can do that.
Scared, worried, anxious, pick some emotions that are a little less down the scale because it’s well-known that he’s a germaphobe. It’s well-known that he’s fearful that people are going to poison him. He would go to McDonald’s randomly, so he would know that there would be no one there to know. He was going to be there so nobody could poison him. He’s off the edge a little bit on this one. No one’s ever doing that because he would deny it. Even though he said that this is a strategy he’s done with McDonald’s, that’s a part of the core belief that he goes by. I’m taking it. The motive is protection is the need. Watch how it turns quick. It sounds like, “You would like to have protection for yourself and you would recommend that Americans protect themselves. Is that what you would like?” “Yes.” “You would like them to protect themselves on your own or are you going to make the drug available to everyone?”
He would get himself tripped up fast there.
The need is protection. He’s not taking it because he has it.
It’s an alternate reality. Call me a little cynical but I have a lot of doubt that he’s taking it and I wonder what his other motivation is.
I love the perplexity of your face because it’s outstanding. He’s not interested in the truth. He’s interested in eyeballs, impressions, the voter being doubtful and confused, and he knows all these other people don’t know. He ran on that. I know these bureaucrats don’t know. He has one on that premise and he’s sticking with it. Even Ronald Reagan’s speeches from ten years before he was President were the same as when he showed up as being a President. He didn’t change his speeches from the beginning, not even a little bit. You can take four speeches over a twelve-year period, every three years and the speech is exactly the same. Donald Trump is not changing, he’s not adapting, he’s not moving off of the script. Republicans are silent. Why? They can’t move off the script. Any one of them gets moved off the script, their head is on the block.When real good attorneys are telling stories, they’re often not pursuing facts. Click To Tweet
He’ll cut them loose and turn on them like he’s done. Everybody else, Michael Cohen and everybody that has in any way in Donald Trump’s mind shown disloyalty. This was bizarre because Donald Trump loves the shocking moment. The eyes of the world were on him as if they weren’t going to be anyway, when he said, “I’m taking it.” “You’re taking what?” “The hydroxyl.” “What?” He utters this statement, which also blew me away. We know from many reports and statements from the FDA, CDC, doctors, and nurses all over the place. He said, “All the frontline workers are taking it.” He pulls that out of nowhere. He makes a statement that is going to resonate with and confirm the beliefs of his biggest supporters. I don’t know if you saw this one, Bill, but there were protests in some of the states again about opening back up. In particular, a CNN reporter was at one of these events to shine a light on what these people are protesting.
He’s helping what their cause is because he is reporting what it is they are protesting and why they’re protesting. These people even turned on him and said, “You’re part of the problem. You’re fake news. You’re part of the deep state.” They kept throwing out all the Donald Trump little languaging messages there. One of them who was aggressive walking up on this reporter, the reporter is wearing a mask, most of the protesters are not because they want their freedom back and don’t believe they should have to wear a mask. They walk up on this reporter and said, “Can you please keep your distance?” The protester said, “No, I’m fine. I’m taking the hydroxychloroquine. I’m all set,” which was complete BS. I’m sure he’s not taking it, but he’s then taken what the President says, which he’s taking it therefore he’s safe. This is getting out of control, it seems.
I know that we’ve talked about how the elephant’s brain gets hijacked. It starts believing anything that’s in alignment with that narrative that I’ve already paid for. I’m loyal with my vote, therefore I’m loyal to whatever this person is saying. This is why it’s hard to get out of the mob, why it’s hard to get out of a cult, why it’s hard to get out of a church. You’ve got to leave a lot of stuff behind if you want to get out. A lot of the needs of yours goes under the bus. I’m thinking about it. Another client of mine was getting out of a church that she was in. She was like, “The church and their belief structures kept people in the church.” As soon as you left, everyone is going like, “What happened to her? She’s not going to heaven. She’s not doing this. She’s left the guru, whole other things.” In other words, it scares that tribe when people start leaving and they start to entrench around the leader.
As different people that they used to respect leave the tribe, they start to entrench on the leader that is left. George W. Bush comes out and says, “It’s time for the Republicans to stop doing what they’re doing and stop following this person because it’s not good for the nation.” All the elephants that followed his narrative will say to him, “Here it comes.” You’ve got us into the Iraq war and you are a bad person for doing that. They’re not going to discount the leader that’s in charge. They’re going to look for the flaw in the leader they used to follow and vote for. They’re going to find the fault in that person.
They don’t want to admit that they made a choice that is going in a not so in direction.
They’re dopamine. Their physiology has been hijacked between the reward of the promise, drain the swamp, the anticipation of throwing Hillary Clinton in jail, and the uncertainty that Donald Trump mentions on a daily basis. His narrative is now 30% to 50% uncertainty. It’s hard to tell. We’ll see how it goes. It’s important that the economy opens up, “Hint, hint. Don’t you want your freedom again?” Health is overrated. He’d been ignoring health for years but shopping is not overrated. Remember how good you feel when you shop? Yes, we do. George W. Bush didn’t have that narrative, “We’re taking care of the war. No one’s going to come here again. We’re in-charge. Don’t look at what we’re doing here spending trillion dollars on the military and the bombs while we’re running over. Don’t look at the lives of American’s loss while we’re over here because you are safe to go back to the malls and shop.” Within three months, they all did.When you’re loyal to your vote, you’re also loyal to whatever that person is saying. Click To Tweet
Don’t you agree our situation is a little different because the war was an unintentional decision and it was not here? Whereas the virus is involuntary, it was thrust upon us and this is something that the President cannot control although he’s trying to control the narrative.
He moved from Obamagate and as soon as it started going south a little bit and wasn’t getting any traction, he keeps throwing spaghetti on the wall. That’s what marketers do. I don’t know about you, Tom, but when you receive an envelope in the mail, it has all those Valpak little flyers in there, that’s them throwing marketing spaghetti at the wall. If the thing works, it gets them 1% to 3%. “I don’t care. I thought they’ll fill any because I put this little flyer in. I spent $300 on this little flyer and I got a $2,000 job from the $400 that I spent on advertising. Good money.” Marketing and sales is an exchange of money for engagement. All I’m interested in is the engagement part of it. I am not interested in the truth part of it. Language, impressions, and stories are the things that engage the human body to increase engagement with a reward, anticipation, and uncertainty. Teachers would be better if they sold their lessons.
Schools would be much more interesting. “You will not believe what you’re going to learn at this hour. You’re going to learn one of the most significant pieces of mathematics that are going to take place. I’m not sure how we’re going to get there but by the end, I think all of you are smart enough to step up to this lesson.” That’s an anticipatory set. I am hooking the person with the excitement of learning. Do teachers do that? Are they trained to do that? No, they feel inauthentic. I’m exchanging facts with them. The students on their part are like, “Why do I need this? It doesn’t matter. Who cares about fractions or decimals?”
That’s how you know if you get a deal if you’re buying something or not if you know percentages, decimals, and fractions. It’d be nice to know that. Anyway, language is being hijacked, and as Donald Trump said that, I remember one of the Fox people got right on it and said, “This has been proven to kill people. You will die if your things.” I can’t remember which one of the guys did it in real-time, but he stepped right in and said, “No, this will kill you. The President went too far.” His ethics and integrity got, “I can’t defend this because not only is the virus going to kill you, but the prescription that the President gave is going to kill you.”
Anytime somebody especially on Fox News comes out and makes such a firm statement contradicting something Donald Trump says, you’ve got to have respect for them for stepping out on that plank by themselves. You know that Donald Trump is going to turn on and throw all kinds of shade and go scorched earth on him a lot of the time.
Neil Cavuto set himself up for a job at MSNBC. He set himself up as if Shep Smith isn’t going to show up on one of these channels in the next three years after his hiatus is gone. These folks, Megyn Kelly, they’re going to move over in a way that’s going to make a difference because they go, “I get to have a little bit of opinion still, but I don’t have to be tied to such a strict narrative. I don’t have to be hung.” What you and I are introducing to the audience here is how to have an emotionally sober conversation. An emotionally sober conversation is going like, “I see what you’re going for but I’m not biting. I could choose to be outraged, but instead, I’m going to be passionately empathetic until it looks more embarrassing for you than it does for me. You’re not riling me up on this.”While the virus can’t be controlled, the narrative surrounding it can be. Click To Tweet
I agree that we need more of that civil discourse to take place. What everybody sees on their televisions and in the media is something different. Did you see what Nancy Pelosi said when Donald Trump came out and said, “I’m taking hydroxychloroquine?” She came out and said, “I’m concerned for the President. I don’t know that he should be doing that because this drug is not proven to help Coronavirus. In fact, they say that people of his age class and of his weight class, morbidly obese, it’s dangerous for them and they can have heart problems.” Nancy Pelosi is not helping because she’s labeling him as morbidly obese.
She’s trying to compete for eyeballs and listening. The way to get listening, if I were Nancy Pelosi, I would say this sentence, “Some people might feel worried and scared for the President’s health. For me, I’m concerned about protection for the American public. Separate them.”
That takes some real skill.
She’s going to take the bait and think she needs to be the advocate. Donald Trump splits all the time. A lot of people tell me that they were successful at it. The doctors are saying this, so I’m going to listen to these other people that I know that are in my secret chamber in the back that are informing me of. I happen to have the resources that say, “They’ve had some success at this.” The press is going to take the bait and go like, “Who are those sources?” “I can’t tell you or I have to kill you. I can’t tell you because that’s the secret room and you don’t get to be in it because you’re a liberal.” Splitting the narrative and it’s those people that told me and those experts are not fully right all the time. You know because here’s all this evidence that the experts are not being right. From time-to-time, the experts aren’t right but statistically?
How bizarre is it that the White House physician either is being forced to say, “Yes, I suggested or I at least approved the President taking this unproven drug.” I can imagine the conversation with the President, “Why don’t I take hydroxychloroquine?” The doctor says, “It’s not proven to help and it may be a little bit dangerous.” “Is it going to hurt me or is it likely that I’ll be okay if I take it, even if it doesn’t help me?” He berates this doctor into saying, “You could probably be okay or do it if you want to do it. I’ll reluctantly prescribe it for you.” The President made it seem like, “All the frontline workers are taking it. Anybody can take it.” He’s making it seem like people could pick this thing up like it’s vitamin C and start taking it.
Here’s the way that reporter needed to ask that. I know that this will be a helpful piece. What the reporter needed to ask him this question, which is, “It sounds like you’re feeling relieved because you’re getting support from your doctor to get a prescription for you. Is that correct?” “Yes,” because he’s a yes man. He’s got to say yes to his thing. “It sounds like you’re recommending that other doctors also prescribe this to Americans, is that correct?” Either he has to say, “Yes,” or he has to go back and say, “No, you better go with the doctor.” If he says yes, there’s a little bit of a liability piece moving forward for him. There’s a thread of legality. Donald Trump has gotten away with all kinds of loose language and even when he loses his lawsuits, he has so much money. He doesn’t care about the loss. He’s caring about the eyeball and the impression. That’s the thing you’ve got to understand about him. He is not interested in the truth.
The brilliance of what you were saying there, Bill, is that if you walk the President down that path, you ask him those questions that his ego cannot say no to. He has to say yes. He walks himself out on that liability plank. He won’t even think about that. He won’t realize that “I’m endorsing this drug. I’m saying that everybody should take it.” He’s going to have his core base calling their doctors trying to get prescriptions for this thing over the phone. That’s where the cynical part of me was like, “Who’s his friend at this drug company that owns this drug that he’s trying to prep up their stock?”
I’m not even interested in that fact. I’m interested in what he’s doing which is capturing eyeballs. All I’m interested in is how he’s purchasing his form of truth. His form of truth is, “I know and I am the captain of my own ship.” I have what? “I’ve got tons of money and that means I’m smart.” Money does not mean you’re smart. What money means is that somewhere the value of a money exchange showed up in your life. It doesn’t mean that you’re smart. It doesn’t mean that you have wisdom. It doesn’t mean you have influence. It means that you have and a big recipient of money from your father, grandfather, or trust. That’s all it means. It doesn’t mean you have a handle of your life.We need more civil discourse to take place. Click To Tweet
All this is again about Donald Trump is the king of the hill, the top boss dictator. It’s about him having all the attention on himself, meeting his need for self-worth.
Self-worth, identity, and capturing the eyeball of the voter. One of the things that I’d like to talk about next is how these different repeated messages to keep the dopamine alive, his voters engaged, and a person that is going to sacrifice his life by getting sick with COVID. That’s the thing that’s getting hijacked and the person doesn’t know it. Napoleon had a quote similar to this, “I’ve learned that people will die for a medal, for a right of respect and recognition. They will meet that need at the expense of their own life. I will be known as somebody that died at the battle of Waterloo.” Who’s going to tell the story? My family will tell the story for generations and that’s all that matters. They’re sacrificing their lives for their future respect when they’re not around. Welcome to the way it needs work. It’s the way that needs narrative work. Tom, this has been fun. We’ll take a look at the top seven needs people will die for. That’s what we’ll do next time.
Thanks, Bill. I look forward to that.
Thanks a lot.