Branding plays a huge part in how truth is perceived and purchased. In Brand America, the way truth is distributed is dependent on loud, attention-grabbing, clickbait headlines that ultimately warp the information contained within. Bill Stierle and Tom continue their deep dive into truth in Brand America. They go into social media—the internet as a whole, for that matter—and its importance in the way truth circulates and is consumed.
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Truth And Brand America Part 2
AWe’re going to pick up from where we left off talking about Truth and Brand America. There are relevant events in our country that relate to this especially when it comes to that Republican brand in America. We want to talk about the Democratic brand in America too. I wonder how we’re going to talk about some of these things when we set it up in the previous episode and something always seems to happen that presents itself.
The biggest challenge again is to gently, if we’re going to get to the truth. We’ve talked about truth perspective on how you’re seeing the projection of your belief on the wall like, “If I believe something already, I am not looking for the other truth. I am looking to validate what I’m seeing. This is the way I see it.” Rather than backing up, getting a perspective, and looking from things both sides. Whether it’s the phrase per capita that got called on. The way the interview went is he was working as of around the concept of per capita, but not using the word correctly. One side of it we’ll see, “No, he was.” Meaning, this thing over here, look over here at this projection. He’s spinning it. One of the Fox reporters once said that he exaggerates then spins and the Fox person called that truth. He’s never told a lie. What he does is he exaggerates and spins.
What happens if the exaggeration is over the line of truth? That part is very difficult in messaging because we want to be able to make our decisions on facts more than we want to make our decisions on speculation. We can play with the speculation. We can move into the idea, creativity, and find an alternative solution to something but we don’t want to depart from the fact. Great innovation takes place when we start with a fact, then we build upon it, and then we look at that fact to say, “How has this fact come into being?” That’s where we get to question our beliefs. Is the world flat? Is the world round?
That’s very helpful. Let’s help bring in the event context here and what were the potential damages to the Republican brand in this case. The event is Donald Trump, everyday tweets. That’s his direct line to his 70 million-plus base of support and direct communication with them. He put out two tweets and Twitter decided that it was necessary to put a footnote under his tweet because of what the President said or stated in his tweet. You have to call it a fact-checking kind of a footnote.
They put an eye on it, then you had to click it, and you had to look at it.
The people have to voluntarily click it. What’s interesting about this, the particular tweet and there were a couple of this that happened to him. I’m highlighting one, but the tweets related to the President is very much against the concept of mail-in ballots claiming that they are fraught with fraud. That’s my words and not his. He uses a much more colorful language to say that mail-in ballots are bad, and they should not be allowed. I’m not going to talk about my belief.
That’s the observable opinion/projection of what he thinks the reality is. If he has reality, then he has all those viewers. They’re choosing to put their vote or their loyalty to him. They’re going to say, “No, he is correct.” Let’s put this in perspective before we roll up our squeak because when we’re in this category called test allies and enemies. That’s where this category of discussion is. We’ve got to keep our finger on a perspective. Let’s put this tweet from the perspective of a grocery store tabloid. We have one of those tabloids, the Sun, Globe, and National Enquirer, all these different tablets. On the cover, they have a picture of a celebrity couple and they both looked miserable. Underneath, it says, “Rocky road for such and such couple.”
Something tantalizing on the internet. We call it clickbaity. In the print world, it’s a headline that’s going to grab your attention.
All of a sudden, the person picks it up. That thing shows up on the tabloid for several months in different pictures. The couple for their part, are going like, “How did we get here if nothing was going wrong?” or they look at the picture and say, “Maybe there is something wrong. Look how miserable both of us looked.” The point of a tweet like this is to create the experience of doubt and skepticism. We want the viewer to have the feeling of doubt and skepticism, and then resource us as the giver of information.
I’m going to read about a tabloid but you and I both know when we read the tablet article, it’s a lot of sizzle with not necessarily a piece of steak. In other words, there’s no divorce filing. If that happens, they’ll put that in there, then they’ll also spin the story about you won’t believe what they said to each other, and the violence that was in the household. Whatever they want to make up from that point becomes the next sizzle that goes with whatever the steak is. In this case, there is this concept and this belief about voter fraud where the validation of that truth has not been found by people whose job it is to investigate that thing. Twitter for its part says, “Here’s a little eye on here. You may want to research this on your own because this is not congruent with the truth. We’re not going to take some steps to let people know that this person is creating doubt. We’re going to create doubt with their doubt.” Do you see what just happened?
This is what set the President off, because never before in the history of his Twitter account, has Twitter put this kind of a footnote on his tweet. The President interestingly claims that he’s being censored. In that process, he is trying to hijack the truth of the word censorship because nowhere did Twitter cross out, block out, remove anything that he said. They put a footnote with an exclamation point in a circle. Essentially an eye or whatever that says, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots. If you want to learn more about it and make your judgment, here’s a resource that has information on that.”Donald Trump’s daily tweets are his direct line to his 70 million plus base of support. Click To Tweet
The implication is the President’s tweet is not in alignment with truth. They’re offering that. The President is furious because he believes his Twitter feed should be his to say whatever he wants. A bastion of free speech. I truly think Twitter is still allowing it to be free speech. If they wanted to censor him or felt that he had crossed the line so much, they would have suspended his account but they haven’t done that. Now he’s blowing this all up. He’s drafted an Executive Order, then threatening to regulate social media platforms, as much as you can through Executive Order. Even threatening to shut them down. The irony of that is he loves Twitter. He needs Twitter because he is much more brazen and outspoken. Making hyperbolic claims and statements on Twitter than he even does on television when he’s being interviewed or even from his own podium and in a press briefing. He doesn’t want to shut down Twitter at the end of the day.
It’s one of the biggest challenges that adults speak versus twelve-year-old speak. When a 12, 13, or a 14-year-old is doing things and behaving in ways that the parent doesn’t seem like they can do anything about, the more pressure they put on the kid, the worst the kid is towards them. Who’s the person that has the authority and who’s the one that’s going to have the last word? A big part of this scorched-earth language Executive Order is, I’m going to do something and say something that is not considerate of others, not consider the rule of law. I’m going to put it out there, and see what you do about it. See how much dysfunction is going to take place next. If I’m looking for brand impressions, looking to rile a base up, and looking up to say, “This is the way it’s going to be. Clear heads are not going to prevail. It’s who has the greatest pocketbook, and who has the greatest voice and megaphone is the one that wins.” That’s difficult for us to be in that space.
I’m going to say something unsettling. For years and years, the tobacco company kept things hidden about the dangers of their product. It was money and megaphone. It’s nothing to see here, not nothing happening here. Meanwhile, the number of deaths that came from smoking was at the level it was over all those years, until finally, somebody of ethics and integrity said, “Yes, we’ve been doing it.” All of a sudden, it was the weakest league link of the chain. If you think about the weakest link, which is unsettling to even think, it was the one that had integrity, truth, and broke that thing. What’s wound up happening to the Republican Party is that there’s no place for them to stand. There are still places, but there will be no places to stand for ethics and integrity until that ultimate person, whatever that high ranking respectful person says, “At last, sir, don’t you have any decency and respect?” It lands and radiates through the adult population say, “They don’t. They’re not in that space.” It’s all the President’s men again which is where this is going to hit, it’s very difficult from a branding perspective. Republicans are painting themself in a corner. There’s a way out, but none of them are looking at it, or none of them are messaging a way out.
There are some that are trying. You hear little bits. We heard from Mitt Romney being somewhat critical, less than supportive of what the President is doing on Twitter. Saying, “He wished he wouldn’t Tweet about these things.” He recognizes the brand damage occurring to the Republican Party so do the people at The Lincoln Project. We’ve talked about that. If the President does sign this Executive Order, I’m sure this is going to get caught up in the courts and be an Emergency Petition, in front of the Supreme Court. What he’s doing here is not in alignment with separation of powers, and the laws that exist. What he’s trying to do is, in some ways, rewrite a law that is very specific to what became part of the foundation of the internet.
There are 26 words in particular law, that have made the internet and intimate platforms not subject to the same regulations and laws, as newspapers and magazines when it comes to certain kinds of lawsuits. The President’s trying to go to where it feels very safe in suing whoever he’s up against because he feels he can outlast them and he has more money than them. Now, being President, it’s the Justice Department that would probably be suing. The internet and these platforms have been seen as very safe since whenever the mid-‘90s as places where free speech can reign which there are pros and cons to that. There’s a lot of speculation that Twitter is going to lose because Donald Trump’s megaphone is too big, Twitter is too small to an extent, and Twitter has been being beat up for a while in many ways as a platform.
You can imagine if he were to file the lawsuit, and then Twitter goes into receivership and bankrupts itself just to kill the platform. It’s like, “Do you want to do scorched earth? Yes, we’ll do scorched earth.” All of a sudden you took all these voices out, and your own because you’re saying that no one’s voice is more important than all the voices uncensored. Censored is the thing, but its fact-check is different than censoring. It’s what has taken place is a fact-check on truth. We speak about language as emotion, it’s the feeling of doubt is caused when the need for truth is not met which then causes the mind to be confused. After a doubt, you get confusion. Once you get confusion, then you can hijack somebody with an alternate reality. It could be this.
As soon as skeptical shows up, the need for trust isn’t met. Trust is the activator. Trust activates skepticism. Doubts being activated by truth, but once you get both of those things going, there’s a type of confusion that shows up is, “I don’t know where to find the truth. I don’t know what the truth looks like.” I can’t trust that site, even if the site is a fact-checking site. Somebody put up a post. This is one of the things, I check the environment to see what the environment is going to do when I take a look at something. There’s been an old video of supposedly Bill Gates debriefing the CIA about vaccines used as mind control.
It was first launched in 1995. What are these facts-checking sites Snopes has it on there that this is a hoax? It’s disproven. There’s no validation on it, but yet this video somebody sent to me on the internet. I got it in on as a message or a post. I was going like, “Is this thing true because I didn’t hear anything about it? It was the first time I’ve ever heard of this thing.” I went out to Snopes and I found it. I said, “Here it is. It’s a hoax.” I’m extending trust to this platform, so I’m going to repost it right next to theirs and I got a backlash. You cannot trust them. I’m going like, “You can’t trust them?” They’re supposedly the fact-checking site. I’m not sure if you can trust them because they also have on their site that is partly true. They also will split the difference if there are some parts of this post that is true and some parts of this post that is not true and they will break out. “Here are the parts that are true and here’s the part that is not true.” The writer will do their best effort to fact-check it to put it up there as partially true.
The person went into this thing about it. They could not trust it, but that’s what’s happening here. Once you confuse a person, creating enough doubt, creating enough skepticism in the person’s physiology. The back part of their brain, their limbic brain goes into what’s called the elephant sits down. The long, “I don’t know what to do, so I don’t know what direction to go. Therefore, I am going to make it all not true because I have comfort at calling something a lie rather than doing research to find out my belief is not true.” It is disturbing.
It’s interesting because I see this a lot of time when people find a partial untruth about something that is not in alignment with their beliefs, then they label it all as you can’t trust it. It must not be true or certainly, at least you can’t believe it because part of it is not true. Going back to what we said in the last episode talking with Ann Coulter, not so much in facts and truth. When she uses tragic language adjacent to truthful statements she was making, it makes it too easy for people to cast her as a loudmouth, pundit, not to be trusted and ironically not having civil discourse and the very truth and weight of what she is saying is lost.
The administration’s written a draft Executive Order, which has been reviewed by certain news outlets. It was leaked. What this draft order is targeting a law known as the Communications Decency Act Section 230 of the law, provides broad immunity to websites that curate and moderate their own platforms. This is giving them the leeway to do that without censoring people, without violating their free speech and things like this. This act has been described by legal experts as the 26 words that created the internet, which is really what makes it hard for the Justice Department or President Donald Trump or someday Citizen Donald Trump from suing Twitter.
If that happened, I would hope that Facebook and some of the other platforms band together to the way in the Watergate Era when the New York Times was bringing out the Pentagon papers. The Washington Post did the same, they were attacked by the Justice Department and the President under the guise of national security. They banded in the spirit of journalistic integrity, and the right of the people to defend the practice of journalism before the Supreme Court. They won in a unanimous decision. Personally, I would hope that there may be good things that come from the President trying to do this if Twitter doesn’t fold. I don’t think the President wants Twitter to fall because that’s his megaphone.Trust is the activator. Trust activates skepticism. Click To Tweet
He’s taking out his truth and doing and saying things, so that people cultivate doubt and skepticism in their body, “Fight among yourselves, therefore, you can’t fight with me. I’m going to put out this thing and I get to say it my way because I have the biggest megaphone and my truth is bigger than your truth. My dollars are bigger than your dollars. I know what I’m doing here, and I get to do what I want.” It’s like, giving that 10-year-old and 12-year-old access to the candy cabinet, the rebellious 14, 15 or 16-year-old access to the liquor cabinet. It’s the same thing. It’s like, “I get to drink the way I want to. I get to eat candy the way I want to. I get to stay up all night because I’m old enough now.” It’s like, “No, you’re not. You’ve got to get your rest, and I’m your parent. You don’t have to not sleep now, you cannot sleep when you’re an adult.”
As we go down this process, what is Brand American going to do with holding up the rights for freedom of speech and being able to be tolerant and honest? You’ve got to be tolerant and honest about, what people say to each other, and it’s almost like respectful language has got to make a comeback. It’s one thing to use profanity and there are asterisks in there, but the respectful language has got to make a comeback. It’s, “You do not talk like that. If you talk like that, there are severe consequences to your financial income and your career and your things.” You can talk like an adult and a compassionate thing. You can make some choices of somebody out of integrity, but you are not to retaliate against the truth. That would be something I would prefer the Supreme Court and the Court System to do. If somebody tells the truth and then is at the brunt of the retaliation of that truth. The bully that’s coming in and doing that to get away from. To use a label in here for a little bit of humor here. However, the person trying to get their respect met at the expense of truth. There’s got to be some kind of energetic experience to it, something that has got to be lost when a person does that.
There should be. We’re all in big trouble as a nation if this goes on.
The thing I would like for our audience to get ahold of is language is frequency. Language is vibration. If we pick better words and better frequencies, things go better for us. If we take junkier words and language, it doesn’t go as well for us. For example, if we see a predator bird flies into an area, and one crow sees that predatory bird in the area. It will start sending out signals at a frequency that the predator can’t hear. Immediately the 10 or 20 crows in the area, will fly to another area and start harassing that hawk because the language that they’re speaking is more powerful than the predator that’s in the area. The Republicans have got to gather their crow energy and deal with the predator that they put in the White House, as well as the other people that are in the White House that are also causing brand damage. They’ve got to band together and take care of their environment called the Republican Party.
I don’t think enough of them have the will to do so.
They are scared. They think that they’ve had the experience of, as soon as you speak up that hawk is going to fly right at you, but they’ve got to use a different frequency. The frequency that includes integrity, that includes truth-telling. Mitt Romney is starting to get there a little bit. The other ones are squeaking up a little bit. The Lincoln Project is doing it, but their language has another set of problems too. You can’t call a person a liar and not have the person come after you because that’s what a predator does. Truth and the frequency of language might be possible. We have to kick around the next title a little bit. How do you get the vibration of a group of people to move on what is your best version of what you want the party to stand for? Have Republicans re-cultivate that because they are not in a place to re-cultivate that right now. They’re just crossing their fingers and hoping for the best. If Donald Trump wins, then the crows can continue to be picked off by the predator. If they lose, they have to regroup and refigure out where their identity is and where their leadership is.
One particular way that’s coming to mind as you said that because one of the things that the President has tried to do in attacking Twitter is attacking the fact-checker. This is pretty common. They always try to brand the fact-checker as a Liberal, as a Democrat and cast doubt on the truth of the fact by saying the fact-checker is not impartial, the fact-checker is one of them, not one of us.
We’ve done a show or two and we can bring the belief biases out again for a spin because this is a great example of once you get somebody on a bias, the truth’s already been hijacked. The truth is a casualty already.
How do the Democrats paddle that and not be painted in the corner of the Republicans trying to cast them?
Thanks, Bill. Until next time.